September 15, 1999
Whitworth President to Lead Spokane Area Chamber
The vital connection between strong educational resources and economic growth is highlighted by Whitworth College President William P. Robinson's selection as chair-elect of the Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce. Robinson and other members of the 1999-2000 board of trustees were announced today at the chamber's annual meeting.
Robinson, entering his seventh year as president of Whitworth, is co-chair of the chamber's Higher Education Leadership Group and has played an important role in coordinating the efforts of area colleges and universities to support economic growth in the region. Creating stronger links between higher education institutions and the business community is one of his primary goals as he joins the chamber's executive committee this year and prepares to take over as chair of the board next year.
"The quality of education in our region exercises enormous influence on our economic future. In turn, the condition of our economy directly affects the support and strength of our educational programs," Robinson says. "My involvement with the Chamber simply is an acknowledgment of that interdependence. And to that end, I hope I can help raise the level of cooperation among those who influence and love the Spokane area."
With the realignment of public higher education in Spokane and the elimination of the Joint Center for Higher Education, the chamber has become the focal point for coordination between local higher education institutions and the business community. The chamber's Higher Education Leadership Group includes the chief executive officers of 15 local companies as well as the Community Colleges of Spokane, Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Washington State University and Whitworth.
The group has adopted a five-point plan to involve higher education institutions in regional economic development. The plan calls for local college and university leaders to actively participate in business recruiting and retention efforts, market the region's higher education assets, provide leadership in developing and promoting cultural diversity and training programs, explore scientific and technological research activities in the region, and ensure comprehensive course offerings linked to the region's needs.
In an era of low unemployment and stiff competition for attracting new businesses to the region, chamber leaders say that strategic planning for workforce training and development is critical for promoting economic growth.
Elsa Distelhorst, Director of Community Relations, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3243
Greg Orwig, Director of Communications, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4580
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