BHEF Member CEOs and University Presidents to Unveil New Industry-Higher Education Partnership Model

Capitol Hill Event to be Followed by Strategic Meeting at the White House

Washington, DC (June 11, 2012) — The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) will launch its National Undergraduate STEM Partnership Strategy and Regional Workforce Projects today in a marquee event with U.S. industry and higher education leaders in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room on Capitol Hill (#NextGenWorkforce). BHEF’s members represent some of the most committed industry and academic leaders in the nation. No longer satisfied to be among those who “admire the problem,” BHEF’s member CEOs and university presidents are rising to meet America’s workforce and education challenges head-on.

BHEF Chair, Brit Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, and BHEF Vice Chair, Wes Bush, chairman, CEO, and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation, will make a special announcement regarding their regional workforce project – the Advance Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES).

The event will also include remarks by:

  • Marion Blakey, president and CEO, Aerospace Industry Association;
  • Roger Ferguson, president and CEO, TIAA-CREF and Former Vice Chairman, U.S. Federal Reserve;
  • Freeman Hrabowski, III, president, University of Maryland, Baltimore County;
  • Tom Kalil, deputy director for policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and others

Twelve projects, based in California, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin will address America’s toughest workforce challenges in engineering, cybersecurity, big data, life sciences, water, energy, and entrepreneurship.

BHEF’s regional initiatives will contribute to achieving the goals of the recent President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology’s (PCAST) February 2012 report to the President, calling for greater attention on the first two years of college and adding one million additional STEM graduates over the next ten years. The initiatives also respond to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competiveness, which called for increasing the number of industry-driven undergraduate research internships and production of engineering degrees nationally.

BHEF’s regional workforce projects showcase the commitment and urgency by businesses and higher education institutions to confront critical workforce challenges in their regions by strategically connecting companies’ core competencies with undergraduate education to increase persistence of students, particularly women and underrepresented minorities, toward degrees and careers in these high-demand areas.

Brian Fitzgerald, CEO of BHEF remarked, “These regional projects are exemplary models of industry and higher education collaboration to promote education innovation to address our nation’s STEM workforce challenges. This deeper collaboration exemplifies how BHEF is proving real solutions. By creating the platform that engages undergraduate students during the critical first two years of college, keeps them in high-demand fields, and equips them with the 21st Century skills demanded in these careers, BHEF is providing national proof points that can be scaled to other regions with BHEF’s national partners.”

BHEF has promoted a national partnership with industry and academic associations, professional societies, and federal agencies to develop a common action agenda on STEM undergraduate education to meet workforce needs. This core group will meet with senior White House officials tomorrow, Tuesday, June 12, to discuss the details of the National Undergraduate STEM Partnership and deliver an open letter to President Obama.

Read the Washington Post article on the University of Maryland and Northrop Grumman cybersecurity program.