• Economic & Workforce Development

    Federal Policy Priorities

    • Advocate for reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (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.
    • Support broadband investments that enhance rural access, which in turn will provide increased access to postsecondary education. 
    • 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 imposed on states forces many welfare recipients to leave college before receiving the needed education and training. 
    • Support federal grants focused on urban communities that address specific needs unique to the urban environment, such as teacher enhancement, college access, and the revitalization of local economies. 

    State Policy Priorities

    • Urge states to include the higher education community as an essential partner in statewide economic development efforts.
    • Call for state policies and programs that promote the role of higher education, including public four-year institutions, in the development of the human capital that is essential to advancing state and local economic development and in meeting workforce needs.
    • Include all public four-year institutions in formal state sponsored programs designed to facilitate regional economic development. 


    Economic and workforce development is a strong focus of state colleges and universities. These institutions are anchors within their communities, serving as a pivotal link between public and private sector stakeholders. Our institutions are champions for regional economic innovation, competiveness and prosperity. AASCU institutions are focused on promoting economic and workforce development, community revitalization, teacher recruitment and greater access to college for rural and urban high school students and therefore support federal programs that maximize the educational and outreach capabilities of rural and urban public universities. Federal support for programs that assist regional state colleges and universities foster the economic, workforce and education system capacities of rural and urban communities is highly encouraged.

    Illustrations of federal support include the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program, providing support for rural broadband enhancements that facilitate rural access to postsecondary education, and funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of University Partnerships (OUP), which facilitates the formation of campus-community partnerships that enable students, faculty, and neighborhood organizations to work together to revitalize the economy, generate jobs, and rebuild healthy communities.