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UA and LCCC Announce Major Initiative

Dr. Luis M. Proenza, left, and Dr. Roy A. Church announce the formation of the Innovation Alliance at a press conference held at RPM International Inc 

March 26, 2007 - The University of Akron and Lorain County Community College have created a unique alliance to enhance innovation and economic growth in the region. The two institutions today announced the formation of the Innovation Alliance, a collaboration designed to align their strengths and resources, and accelerate educational efficiency, knowledge creation and economic development within an area between the campuses that they are calling the Innovation Corridor.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut, U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, 13th District, and representatives from all sectors of the Innovation Corridor - education, government, health care, manufacturing and high-growth industries - were present for the unveiling of the plan that will contribute to restoring the economic prominence of Northeast Ohio. RPM International Inc. hosted the event at its world headquarters in Medina in a show of industry support for the program.

“I applaud the leaders of The University of Akron and Lorain County Community College for having the courage, vision and determination to forge such an important regional partnership,” said Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher. “In utilizing academic resources, fostering innovation and developing strategic business approaches, the Innovation Alliance will serve as a model of success for communities across the state.”

Officials from the two institutions say the alliance will enhance the region's competitiveness and create a center of excellence in innovation.

"To compete globally, higher education, business and government must work in regional partnerships to support innovation and foster knowledge creation and thereby ensure an increasingly stronger and larger source of human capital," said University of Akron President Luis M. Proenza. "RPM International Inc. is a leading example of a business with the vision to support the entrepreneurial spirit and recognize the vital role of technological innovation."

"This alliance will help prepare our citizens for the development of a new economy in Northeast Ohio, an economy based around innovative creativity that will show that when our workers have a fair opportunity, they can compete with anyone in the world,” said U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton. She indicated that she looks forward to supporting the Alliance at the federal level to build a foundation and a set of priorities to help make the Innovation Alliance vision become a “booming reality.”

“Entrepreneurship and innovation are drivers of the global economy, igniting job growth and creating wealth,” said Lorain County Community College President Roy A. Church. “Developing highly skilled, entrepreneurial talent will stimulate new businesses and ideas and lead to long-term growth in Northeast Ohio. Consequently, higher education will be an important catalyst in this process.”

“President Proenza introduced President Church today as 'my kindred spirit.' This is what we're trying to foster throughout the state,” said Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut. “This is the kindred spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that cuts across all boundaries of the state so that we can work together to turn Ohio around.”

"Since its inception, RPM has relied on the talents and creativity of its employees to keep momentum in a highly competitive national and global environment," said Frank Sullivan, RPM president and CEO. "Partnerships such as the Innovation Alliance enable business and higher education to work together to create a highly skilled workforce that is more innovative and entrepreneurial."

Major initiatives of the alliance include: exploring the development of a collaborative back-office operation to increase efficiency; pursuing shared mechanisms to drive down costs; assisting existing industries to grow stronger and new industries to take root; and, working with K-12 education and industry partners to create the next generation of highly trained scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technicians. This includes creating and delivering joint applied baccalaureate degrees at 40 percent of the cost and in 25 percent less time in the high-growth areas of advanced manufacturing, health care and entrepreneurship, and developing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives with K-12 districts throughout the Innovation Corridor.

For information, call 888-570-7147 or visit the Innovation Alliance Web site at
innovation-alliance.org.

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Last modified: April 19 2007 10:57:30