Goal I Advance economic development issues of regional relevance through active participation in the key areas of Education, Transportation, Energy and Regional Leadership.
After decades of erosion of our industrial economic foundation, our region has been negatively impacted by out-migration of living wage jobs and, consequently, loss of population. Despite the emergence of a growing regional tourism product, the development of quality health care services and the strong presence of multiple institutions of higher education, population growth continues to be stunted, negatively impacting key measures of a viable community population growth and new business development. Additionally, elements of aging infrastructure such as limited transportation systems and broadband capacity are deterrents to increased private sector development.
It is time to capitalize on the economic impact of our institutions of higher education and effectively brand the collective benefits of our region to spur growth and expansion.
Emerging opportunities associated with the harvesting of natural gas development and the development and branding of an Energy Production Enterprise Zone are of increasing importance, particularly as the nation s energy portfolio seeks to expand in response to a national call-to-action regarding dependence on foreign energy sources. Likewise, the combined regional advancements in key infrastructure, such as the North/South Appalachian Highway and expanded broadband connectivity, will serve to position our service area to fully realize future population and economic growth.
Our region supports the advancement of economic opportunities by working in tandem with our bounty of the natural and historic assets found here. In managing those assets, we seek to broaden our business sector profile, capitalize on unique economic opportunities, and enhance our human capital through strategic growth initiatives.
Goal II Support the development of the region s emerging leaders.
The need for effective leadership exists in all corners of a community.
With time and age, the baton of leadership will pass. How can the current leadership prepare those who will follow us for the responsibility of ensuring the health and vibrancy of our community? With four successful years of the Regional Leadership Series completed, the responsibility of the Leadership Work Group shall be to offer a fifth round of programs to the region s emerging leaders and begin discussions with one or more of the four institutions supporting the program as it relates to the sustainability of the RLS beyond TGCC.
Goal III Align educational resources to meet the workforce and economic development needs of the region.
Preparing students for the world of work is vital and the business community universally recognizes the importance of education as it relates to a positive economic environment.
It is estimated that by 2018, two-thirds of all jobs in the US will require some amount of college-level education with more than half requiring some college, but less than a bachelor s degree. By 2016, the percentage of jobs in Maryland requiring some college preparation will be 77% according to Maryland s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations. To meet this demand, the Education Work Group recognizes that our region s public school systems, community colleges, universities and the business community must collaborate at levels and in ways not before seen.
Such collaboration will include learning about, understanding and responding to existing and anticipated workforce needs within our region, and developing educational programs and services to get more students the training, credentials, certifications and degrees needed for our region s economic growth and development.
If we are successful, the Education Work Group sees a future where: We are aware of what each other (business/education) is doing; the business community understands what the educational system has to offer; education understands business needs; Students are significantly better prepared for post-secondary life (workplace and/or college readiness); We re doing things together (K-12, Higher Ed, and Business) that attract people into our programs and impact economic development; Students understand their role as a consumer of education e.g., they understand the economics related to their educational pursuits; We attract resources (e.g., grants) to support our interest because of the highly collaborative and regional nature of these efforts.
The role of TGCC s Education Work Group, as it relates to each of these objectives, shall be one of support and the convening of appropriate groups.
Members of TGCC will continue to inspire the relationship with the leadership within its regional educational community in assisting with the review of its strategic plan, which ultimately could affect future growth opportunities in the region.