Public colleges and universities sign economic development agreement
Virginia’s public institutions of higher education on Monday announced a new agreement with state agencies to help promote economic development in the commonwealth.
The agreement between college and university leaders with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the Center of Innovative Technology (CIT) renewed and expanded on a similar agreement signed in 2012.
Maurice Jones, Virginia’s secretary of commerce and trade, said at a signing ceremony that the commonwealth’s higher education institutions are crucial partners in economic development. When major companies are asked what they are looking for in a new location, the first response is a “high-quality higher education institution for my folks.”
The new memorandum of understanding adds CIT to the group, includes entrepreneurs in its target audience and takes more concrete steps toward crafting a coordinated marketing effort. One of the goals of the agreement is to raise awareness of what public colleges and universities have to offer in helping businesses and boosting regional economic development.
The expanded partnership is expected to increase the number of corporate contacts and project leads, improve internships and hiring opportunities for Virginia graduates and compile information about business-related research.
The new agreement will remain in effect until 2018.