Research Topics

Research on State Policies to Align Higher Education and Economic Development

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 highlights innovative practices under way in Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, and Washington. The study found that a growing number of governors, higher education institutions and systems, and business leaders 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. The final report, Degrees for What Jobs? Raising Expectations for Universities and Colleges in a Global Economy, was prepared by Erin Sparks and Mary Jo Watts of NGA, Dr. Carl Van Horn and Maria Heidkamp of the Heldrich Center, and Dr. Aaron Fichtner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (previously with the Heldrich Center). (Funded by a grant from NGA)

Education & Training
Workforce Policy & Practice
Funded By: 
higher education
economic development
state policy