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For Immediate Release
Matthew Cookson, USNH: 603-862-0904
USNH Recognized for Economic Development Contributions in New Hampshire
December 2, 2008—LEE, NH—The University System of New Hampshire’s Chancellor’s Office received the “Commissioner’s Partnership Award” from the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development for efforts to attract and retain a skilled workforce and to encourage entrepreneurship in and out of the classroom. The award was presented to USNH by Commissioner George Bald at their annual meeting on December 2nd.
The recognition focused on two collaborative initiatives that USNH and the Chancellor’s Office have helped spearhead. The first is the 55% Initiative, an ongoing effort to develop creative ways to encourage more new college graduates to consider remaining in New Hampshire to launch their careers. Currently, about half of the students leave the state upon graduation, and the initiative’s goal is to retain at least 55% of those students through creative marketing efforts that encourage them to “stay, work, and play” in New Hampshire. Efforts are underway to build a web portal that targets this audience, promotes this overall theme, and provides useful and engaging information about starting and building a career here.
The second initiative is based on encouraging more students to think in an entrepreneurial fashion and builds on efforts in 2007 through the celebration of the state’s first ever “Entrepreneurship Week.” USNH, in partnership with the Department of Economic Development, Leadership Teacher, the NH College and University Council, the NH High Technology Council, and other organizations, is laying the groundwork for a statewide social entrepreneurship challenge in early 2009. This effort is based on an expansion of the Social Entrepreneurship Student Leadership (SESL) Challenge from the high school level to the college level as one component of a day where New Hampshire will embrace and celebrate its entrepreneurial spirit.
“USNH has been a tremendous force for positive change not only in the academic field, but in developing a highly skilled workforce that is ready to face the challenges of a global economy. The Chancellor’s 55% Initiative is an excellent way of retaining New Hampshire’s best and brightest young minds. This project has engaged young people in a way never before seen in our state. Students have taken part in focus groups and special assignments which detailed current challenges and creative solutions,” Commissioner Bald said.
“In addition, the Chancellor’s Office has been a driving force in New Hampshire Entrepreneurship Day. Students will be able to develop creative solutions to challenges in the following categories – the economy, education and the environment – with the winners to be selected as part of New Hampshire Entrepreneurship Day. This is a fantastic initiative for our students,” he added.
More information on the SESL Challenge can be found at www.seslchallenge.org.