Research on State Policies to Align Higher Education and Economic Development
Study of state policies that promote the alignment of higher education with workforce and economic development needs.
In 2010, the Heldrich Center, in collaboration with the National Governors Association (NGA), conducted a study of state policies that promote the alignment of higher education with workforce and economic development needs. The study report concluded that community colleges, four-year institutions, and research universities can make a more significant contribution to future economic growth by bringing their educational programs more closely in line with fast-changing market demand. State governments control nearly two-thirds of all higher education funding in the United States, and policymakers, employers, and educators increasingly recognize that the nation’s economic development goals cannot be achieved if postsecondary programs are not more closely aligned with the knowledge and skills necessary for the 21st Century economy. The study report highlighted innovative practices in Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, and Washington. The study found that a growing number of governors, higher education institutions and systems, and business leaders are working together to ensure that colleges and universities align their programs with the real-world needs of students seeking employment in a global, knowledge-based economy.