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Another new college opens September 6, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Education, Workforce.
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Georgia Gwinnett College, the first new institution of higher education in Georgia inover 100 years, opened its doors last month. Like the new Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania, this school has workforce and economic development clearly in its sights:

Gov. Sonny Perdue, who was instrumental in obtaining funding for the college, praised the school as “a critical part of Georgia’s mission to educate our workforce.”

“This will be a model for our university system,” Perdue added. “We’re all watching very carefully. We need an educated workforce to be competitive in the world. This institution is going to impact more than just the education of our state: It’s going to impact business – the overall economic development strategy.”

I know two new schools in one year hardly qualifies as a trend, but I am finding this development interesting. Why are these new schools being created? Is it simply a geographic issue – that people want to study closer to home, or that communities want to host schools of their own as a means to encouraging a larger knowledge workforce? Or is it that the established universities and colleges are too insular to be responsive to demand for changes in workforce preparation outcomes? Or maybe another notion altogether.

Regardless, the creation of new institutions to help communities respond to the new economy is fascinating – and a theme I’m going to track.

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