Apr. 19, 2011
Shawnee State University President Rita Rice Morris met with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) at his Fourth Annual Ohio College and University Presidents' Conference with more than 50 other presidents across Ohio in Washington, D.C. in March.
The forum was aimed at connecting educators with business leaders to advance regional economic development.
"We had a great deal of discussion about how universities can support economic development and the role we can play in helping to create jobs in our communities," Morris said. "At Shawnee State, we work very closely with community leaders to develop the types of programs that they need. We also work with our legislators to continually advance programs that support statewide industry."
Several special guests addressed the forum, including Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), James Kvaal, deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education, and representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and NASA.
The forum also included several regional business leaders, including Alex Fischer, president and CEO, Columbus Partnership; Jim Leftwich, appointed to the Ohio Department of Development; Darrin Redus, chief economic inclusion officer, JumpStart; and Baiju Shah, president CEO and Founder, BioEnterprise. Brown is the author of the bipartisan Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act, legislation that would promote job creation by preparing workers with education and training tailored for jobs in regional high-growth industry sectors – like biosciences, clean energy, and advanced manufacturing.