Updated: August 8, 2013 6:11AM
The South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium, an organization of 12 Southland university and college leaders, recently met with local economic development leaders to discuss how to collaborate more fully on regional development issues.
Ideas included branding the area to change its image and unite the region, supporting the region’s manufacturing and transportation assets and supporting small businesses, according to a consortium spokesman.
High potential infrastructure improvements including the Illiana Expressway and the third airport were seen as opportunities to enhance and leverage the region, according to a news release.
Discussion at the forum hosted at Moraine Valley Community College was facilitated by Ed Morrison of Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development.
Regional economic leaders providing insights into potential opportunities for higher education to help create development solutions included Reggie Greenwood, director of the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corp.; John Greuling, president and chief executive officer of the Will County Center for Economic Development; David Hinderliter, president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce; and Mike Van Mill, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County,
Frank Beal, executive director of Metropolis Strategies, an organization established by the Commercial Club of Chicago in 1999 to enhance the economic competitiveness of the Chicago region, addressed the area’s slipping economic vigor and the need for initiatives spanning local boundaries.
Carmel Ruffolo, director of corporate engagement and regional development for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, spoke about ways those schools worked with other southeast Wisconsin post-secondary institution efforts in transforming their region.
Members of the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium are DeVry University, Governors State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Joliet Junior College, Kankakee Community College, Lewis University, Moraine Valley Community College, Northwestern College, Prairie State College, St. Xavier University, South Suburban College and University of St. Francis.