FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2012

Jeff Caldwell
Jeff.Caldwell@Governor.Virginia.Gov
(804) 225-4260


Suzanne West
VEDP
(804) 545-5806
Virginia’s Public Institutions of Higher Education Officially Sign up to help More Businesses say “Yes” to Virginia
-Memorandum of Understanding signed to launch job creation initiatives-


RICHMOND - The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Virginia’s public institutions of higher education and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to undertake joint initiatives to best market Virginia to businesses that will create jobs and invest capital.

The MOU was signed today at a ceremony at the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond.

The agreement is part of a larger initiative by VEDP to collaborate with organizations within the state to unify Virginia’s message in the global marketplace. This partnership is designed to result in a higher number of corporate contacts and project leads, increased opportunities for Virginia’s public institutions of higher education to support and work with corporate entities and vice versa, and a compilation of the respective economic development strengths of Virginia’s public institutions of higher education.

Specific initiatives in the MOU include:

? Outreach to businesses and other audiences promoting core strengths, assets, and expertise of Virginia and its public institutions of higher education;
? Identification and support of shared legislative priorities;
? Regular meetings among partners to align strategies and goals and;
? Annual summary of results.

“With the signing of this MOU, all of Virginia’s public institutions of higher education have come to the table to partner in economic development and job creation,” said Governor Bob McDonnell. “I commend VEDP, SCHEV and all the public education allies involved. The initiatives announced today will make the Commonwealth more competitive in the global market.”

“There is a pressing and profound need to build the next generation of economic development on the foundation of Virginia’s stellar public institutions of higher education,“ said Martin Briley, VEDP President and CEO. “This MOU signed today provides a meaningful blueprint to more fully leverage higher education as a differentiator in our economic development outreach marketing, and it reinforces the message to our corporate partners that our public colleges and universities are dedicated to leveraging research and workforces assets to benefit the business community and grow, retain, and recruit corporate investment and jobs in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

SCHEV director Peter Blake noted, “An agreement such as this may not have been possible a few years ago. But today, the stakes are too high – for our institutions and for the Commonwealth – not to pursue such strategies.”

“Virginia’s institutions of higher education are ready, able, and most willing to grow mutually beneficial partnerships with industry to help develop high-quality industries and jobs in the Commonwealth,” said Charles Steger, Chair of the Virginia Council of Presidents and President of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “We increasingly find ourselves developing “living laboratories,” places where sustained collaborations among our faculty, students, and industry help drive our discovery and learning agendas, while serving the Commonwealth through enhancing opportunities for economic development. This MOU strengthens our ability to build those partnerships, which in an era of resource constraints are our clearest path forward to sustaining the already high level of quality found across Virginia’s public colleges and universities.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a marketing organization, was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. The Partnership is a state authority, which is governed by a 25-member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor and the Virginia General Assembly. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion and international trade. VEDP has offices in Virginia, Belgium, Shanghai, Mexico, Japan, India and the United Kingdom.

SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly, and is a resource for information on higher education issues.

VIRGINIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

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