Colleges vital to region’s long-term success

College is often talked about as a place where dreams come true, the key to a successful career or where future leaders are shaped to change the world.

The greater Rochester area advantageously has a plethora of higher-learning institutions with distinct academic programs, campus traditions and sprinkles our community with learners from around the world. Each institution has a unique historical and architectural value that serves to inspire us and foment intellectual stimulation. These treasure troves are assets and serve as beacons for economic development in our entire region.

Our academic institutions inspire learning and function as business institutions, too. Let’s keep it real, college is costly, for better or worse, but well worth an investment, as it attracts a mosaic of talent. Students earn a degree, build relationships and engage in real-world learning experiences.

Colleges are ports of revenue affecting all products and services in all the distinct segments of our lives. Colleges transform communities through beautification projects, grants for research, interns, while constantly building a flow of educated people who must challenge the status quo for positive community outcomes. Colleges offer memorable lifelong experiences that bring talented alumni back to campus (our community). Not only do they serve as a source of knowledge, they spike revenues in our communities.

In recent decades, government, businesses and learning institutions have taken calculated risks to positively impact our region by making collaborative invests and propel their successes. This is evident by the economic investments plastered alongside our learning institutions consequently enhancing our quality of life. In order to revitalize our neighborhoods we’ve utilized colleges as our vital assets in our long-term regional economic development plans, College Town as our most recent example. These centers of learning provide waves of talented individuals who impact the way we live and distinguish our region on a world platform.

Our region is rich in natural resources that entice entrepreneurs while enhancing our credible colleges. It is the right time to spur economic growth and development for the benefit of everyone in our community. When investing in our community we must not be deterred by our failures, instead learn from them and build a picture of success. Monumental failures in business many times force us to see our assets differently.

As individuals, entrepreneurs, students, residents and governmental representatives, we must be alert to trends, make astute decisions and realize how colleges are vital to the long-term success for the continued growth of our entire region.

Tabita Torres is a senior relationship manager and coordinator of the Latino Leadership Development Program for the United Way of Greater Rochester.

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