Region Forward Blog

John Cavanaugh: Colleges and universities create capital

Feb 10, 2017

Gallaudet University (Consortium of Universities)

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ State of the Region: Human Capital Report provides a great overview of the rich talent pools existing and needed for the Washington region to continue thriving. The 17 colleges and universities that comprise the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Region represent the best source of talent for our growing business, bio-technology, and cyber security industries.

Our academic programs cover the full range of the talent pipeline from entry level job skills and soft skills to highly advanced postdoctoral education.  Students can earn associate and bachelor’s degrees in advanced medical records as well as hospitality services.  They can enter the financial services industry by earning undergraduate business degrees and MBAs, or specialize in areas ranging from serving the nonprofit sector to international development.

Our universities also have strong programs that develop professionals for the region’s scientific research companies and intelligence analysts for federal agencies and the private sector.
None of this work would be possible without the very close collaborations we forge between our academic institutions and regional governments and businesses. For example, the Consortium was a co-founding partner of the Global Cities Initiative, along with the Council of Governments and the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and we have been a central partner in the 2030 Group Roadmap initiative. It is through these partnerships that we work jointly to anticipate changes in the regional economy, specifically target areas for growth, establish new businesses, and ensure that our core sectors continue to be strong. Those collaborations help us know what needs there will be for an educated workforce in both continuing and emerging areas.

For example, the emergence of the cybersecurity and biotech sectors resulted directly in the development of new and expanded academic programs. In the cybersecurity arena alone, the Consortium offers programs from the associate degree in cybersecurity at our community colleges to graduate degrees in cybersecurity and cybersecurity engineering.  Programs focused on entrepreneurship and business support systems, such as the numerous aspects of entrepreneurship (including degree programs) and university-based incubators were developed to create pipelines for individuals who plan to join established innovative companies and those wishing to start their own.
The Consortium members represent all sectors of nonprofit higher education across the District of Columbia (American University, The Catholic University of America, Gallaudet University, The George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University, National Defense University, Trinity Washington University, University of the District of Columbia), Maryland (Montgomery College, National Intelligence University, Prince George’s Community College, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, University of Maryland College Park), and Virginia (George Mason University, Marymount University, Northern Virginia Community College).
COG noted clearly in its State of the Region: Human Capital Report that the opportunities for growth in the region are great. But they cannot and will not happen without the educated talent pool created by the Consortium’s members. Only together will we be able to ensure the security and prosperity we desire.

Dr. John C. Cavanaugh is President and CEO of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.

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