Economic & Workforce Development

AASCU institutions play a critical role developing the talent capacity necessary to create economic growth, graduating more than three quarters of a million students annually. These graduates represent the backbone of the nation’s human capital network, representing both our current and future workforce. As regional drivers of economic development, AASCU institutions foster public and private sector innovation, entrepreneurial activity and job creation through partnerships, grants, contracts, and other consulting and outreach services. As such, the association promotes state and federal policies and programs facilitating their ability to serve as economic development engines.

Policy Advisories

Federal Advisories 


State Advisories 

Policy Publications

Policy Matters 

  • Student Loan Forgiveness Programs: An Evolving Workforce Development Tool - September 2009 (View PDF) 
  • Tapping State College Research and Development Capacity in Support of State Economic Development - October 2008 (View PDF) 
  • The Path to Prosperity: A Policy of Investment - May 2007 (View PDF)
  • Wrestling Rising Costs with Innovation - January 2007 (View PDF)
  • The Facts--and Fictions--About Teachers Shortages - May 2005 (View PDF)
  • Higher Education Role in Solving the National Nursing Shortage - October 2005 (View PDF) 
  • Strengthening the Science and Mathematics Pipeline for a Better America - November/December 2005 (View PDF 

Public Policy Agenda Priorities Related to Economic Development

       Rural Institutions 

  • Provide appropriations for the Rural Development Grants for Rural Colleges and Universities program. These grants encourage partnerships between rural colleges and universities and local entities that promote greater access to college for rural high school students, increase the number of adults in rural communities with a bachelor’s degree or higher, enhance training opportunities and stimulate technological innovation. 

       Urban Institutions 

  • Support efforts to reauthorize, authorize and fund programs that encourage research and partnerships between urban and metropolitan anchor institutions and their communities. These efforts are designed to promote economic and workforce development, community revitalization, teacher recruitment, and greater access to college for urban high school students. 

       Workforce Investment Act (WIA) 

  • Advocate for reauthorization of the WIA to more fully include and recognize the role of public four-year colleges and universities in workforce education and include state college and university leaders in planning and decision-making processes for state utilization of federal WIA funds. 
  • Advocate for increasing the allowable time limits under which welfare recipients can pursue a higher education as a direct work activity, given that the current 12-month limit forces many welfare recipients to leave college before receiving the needed education and training. 

       STEM Research and Workforce Preparation 

  • Increase funding for the programs in the America COMPETES Act and support specific funding designations to public four-year institutions for research and workforce development in energy and sustainability fields, including the Professional Science Masters program. 
  • Recognize the contributions of each sector of higher education in the strengthening of STEM fields—the resources of the entire community must be tapped when creating, funding and implementing STEM programs that educate future scientists, engineers and mathematicians, as well as create research opportunities for students studying in the STEM fields. 
  • Support and improve basic and applied scientific research and education activities for undergraduate programs in order to complement established graduate and research programming. 
  • Advocate for programs that recruit and support traditionally underrepresented populations into STEM fields, such as students of color, low-income students and women. 

       Federal Research and Development 

  • Promote increased funding for research that exposes undergraduate students to high quality research and mentoring, especially in health, energy and community development areas. 
  • Fund the development and renovation of laboratory facilities and equipment that will support energy research and innovation at all institutions of higher education. 

       Sustainability and Energy Efficiency 

  • Expand federal efforts to support institutions of higher education in improving efficiency in campus transportation, the campus’ physical plant and other institutional operations. 
  • Advocate for grant funding at the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies that support university research in sustainability, renewable energy and green technology. 


National Reports 

A Stronger Nation Through HIgher Education 
Lumina Foundation for Education
September 2010

Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018 
Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce
May 2010

Education Pays 2010 
The College Board
September 2010


State Reports