Western Takes Pride in Economic Partnerships

St. Joseph News-Press, November 8, 2014 | Go to article overview

Western Takes Pride in Economic Partnerships


We recently reached midterm at Missouri Western State University, and that's always a time for evaluation and reflection.

Our university is committed to ensuring academic program quality and to developing new opportunities for our students. We're forming a master plan for our physical campus, preparing for our 2015 centennial celebration and gearing up for a capital campaign.

A recent News-Press editorial, however, drew my attention to another topic. The article proposed that the university explore more ways to contribute to economic development. That challenge made me contemplate what the university already does to enhance our region's economy, as well as how we might grow in that area.

Universities certainly have an obligation to serve their communities, and there is an undeniable connection between the success of a region's economy and the well-being of its university. On the most basic level, Missouri Western's annual $63.8 million budget represents substantial regional purchasing power as well as the provision of local salaries. Such expenditures, in addition to the monies brought into the community by our students, stimulate job development and the need for goods and services.

Human capital is undeniably a fundamental building block of stable economies. It's Missouri Western's responsibility to serve workforce needs by educating students who graduate and assume public, private and civic positions. In the nursing profession alone, nearly half of our graduates are employed by Mosaic Life Care each year.

Working with more than 300 community partners, Missouri Western also provides workforce development for current workers. This includes customized workforce training for more than 500 employees of regional companies each year. We also develop new degree programs and scholarship opportunities in response to emerging regional needs.

The university's employees generously volunteer their expertise each year through more than 19,000 hours of service to local boards, committees and organizations. …

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