PHOENIX — Arizona’s public universities benefit the state’s economy by attracting and partnering with businesses, creating thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars in direct and indirect expenditures each year, officials told state lawmakers Wednesday.
“A lot of people see education – particularly higher education – and they question the cost-benefit of it,” said Wayne Fox, assistant dean of The W. A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University. “So the more we’re able to impart the economic realities of it … that’s a good message.”
Fox and representatives from Arizona State University and University of Arizona gave presentations to the Senate Commerce, Energy and Military Committee Wednesday. Each spoke about the contributions of their schools to Arizona’s economy and workforce.
Fox told the committee a recent NAU study found the school’s direct economic impact in the state to be $1.6 billion in 2010.
He said 75 percent of that impact occurred within Coconino County and that one in eight jobs in the county is directly linked to the university.
“Those are pretty big numbers for little old NAU,” he said.
Sethuraman Panchanathan, senior vice president of the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development at Arizona State University, highlighted the school’s many programs that aim to further economic development through research and innovation.
“President (Michael) Crow really believes, and rightly so, that a university is a large enterprise and that we advance people and things,” he said.
Panchanathan said ASU’s partnerships with large corporations such as Boeing and Intel give students experiences that directly translate to job skills. Programs such as iProject at the College of Technology and Innovation allow students to work with industry partners to solve real-world problems, giving them unique experience in their fields of study, he said.
Mike Proctor, vice president of regional development and global initiatives at University of Arizona, focused on the school’s relationship with the defense and technology industries. He told the committee the defense industry accounts for tens of thousands of jobs in the southern part of the state.
“Some of them are here for the sun and the sand,” he said. “But some are here … because of the good flow of higher education agency and industry.”
He said the university has created several educational programs aimed at meeting the needs of the defense industry. For example, he said, the school recently added a Masters of Arts in International Security Studies and Bachelor of Applied Science in Meteorology.
Proctor called universities “unique social institutions” that can empower both students and communities to create opportunities through innovation.
“If you look at the U.S. economy, we still have the largest economy in the world, and we got there through leading,” he said. “And that’s what innovation is about.”
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Water tips to save money, help save the Earth
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life
- 5 potential warning signs about your child's development