FSU Awarded Funding for Office of Regional Development and Engagement
Last Updated on Oct 27, 2017 at 11:15am | Garrett County Economic Development
Gov. Larry Hogan announced a state investment of $300,000 to establish a new Office of Regional Development and Engagement at Frostburg State University, one of a series of state investments in Western Maryland outlined in a speech in Cumberland last Friday.
“To further encourage economic development in Western Maryland, today I’m pleased to announce that, in next year’s budget, we will invest $300,000 to establish a new economic development office at Frostburg State University to help capitalize on the research of their faculty and to partner with local businesses to grow the Western Maryland economy,” Hogan told the crowd gathered at Cumberland’s Historic City Center.
The Office of Regional Development and Engagement will integrate university resources with regional partners in Western Maryland to help communities and companies be competitive and meet the challenges of economic and community development, according to FSU News and Media Services.
“As the state’s only comprehensive higher education institution in Western Maryland, Frostburg State University is uniquely positioned and staffed to serve as a catalyst for economic growth throughout the region,” said FSU President Ronald Nowaczyk. “The Office of Regional Development and Engagement will serve as the primary contact point for regional organizations and companies to utilize the intellectual capital of Frostburg State to address regional opportunities and challenges.”
The office will have three main priorities.
The first priority will be to “sharpen and support” the regional focus on industry clusters identified for their potential in the region. Those clusters include back-office operations for larger businesses such as financial, business and information technology services; life sciences and health care, especially in the testing and development field; light “lifestyle” manufacturing operations, such as for recreation; and regional opportunities in energy and farm-to-table food production.
The second focus will be regional entrepreneurship. The office will leverage the resources of FSU and the Small Business Development Center to support entrepreneurs. A particular effort will be made to encourage Frostburg alumni, including recent graduates, to bring their businesses to Western Maryland or create new ones in the region.
The third priority will be in education, done in collaboration with the region’s community colleges. This may include the creation of “just-in-time” certificates, micro-credentials, or badges in knowledge areas best suited to the needs of regional industries. Efforts will also increase the awareness of best practices in rural economic development.
Additional details regarding the office, including location and staffing, will be determined at a later date. Funding will come from the fiscal year 2019 Maryland budget.