Higher Education and the Western Massachusetts Economy

Elms Trustee and President of Springfield Economic Development Council Rick Sullivan‏ had a great piece in the Republican last Friday about the tremendous contribution of higher education institutions to the economy of the region. The following are a couple of quotes from the article. I strongly encourage you to read it in its entirety.

“Western Massachusetts is fortunate to be home to some of the best colleges and universities, strong public and private secondary schools and technical programs in the country … The major asset of the Western Massachusetts region is the presence of so many world-class colleges and universities. These institutions are educating and training the very talent that private business is seeking.”

Rick’s article brings echoes of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan who attributed a lot of the great U.S. economic achievements during his tenure to what happens on college and university campuses: the training of a capable, nimble, and innovative workforce and the development of innovative services and technologies through engineering and science research.

The article salutes many of the novel approaches that colleges and universities are taking to making higher education accessible to a larger number of individuals in the region, including Elms College’s partnership with several community colleges to establish affordable, flexible, yet top-quality degree completion programs. “Elms College and Greenfield Community College, for example, have developed a program that allows students to achieve a degree in business management, early child care or education,” Rick writes.

In these challenging times for higher education, I thank Rick for reminding the public of the contribution of higher education to our society. I also salute the efforts and initiatives that all our sister institutions in Western Massachusetts are undertaking to make the region an intellectually vibrant community and to make a top-quality higher education accessible to all, especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Elms College is pleased to do our share in this very patriotic effort. Thanks to the great fiscal discipline adopted and strategic decisions made by the board and administration in the past decade, the college is on strong financial footing and well positioned to serve the Western Massachusetts community for decades to come.

While we educate our students and invite them to be part of something larger than themselves in the tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph, we model that behavior as a college by looking at regional problems and partnering with the community on how we can help address them from our unique vantage point, as an institution of higher learning.

Harry E. Dumay, Ph.D., MBA
President of Elms College
Friday, February 22, 2019