Georgia Southern University President Testifies in Congressional hearing on Higher Education

Georgia Southern University President Brooks A. Keel, Ph.D., testified before a Congressional committee in Washington, D.C., Wednesday in a hearing examining higher education issues. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing titled “Keeping College Within Reach: Meeting the Needs of Contemporary Students,” and  Keel spoke on the importance of preparing the 21st century workforce and the need for a “Workforce-Grant University.”

In his prepared remarks, Keel expressed how Georgia Southern serves as an example of a Workforce-Grant University. He explained that students who participate in one of the University’s more than 110 degree programs are taught not only the theory of discipline but also the practical aspects of how to apply the theory to a real-world work situation.

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Additionally, Keel noted that colleges and universities must now focus on both the college completion rate and worker-readiness, especially in Georgia with the statewide effort known as Complete College Georgia. This effort, championed by Gov. Nathan Deal and modeled after Complete College America, estimates that 60 percent of jobs in Georgia by 2020 will require at least some postsecondary credentials.

“Speaking today to members of the Committee on Education and the Workforce was a wonderful opportunity to share how crucial it is that today’s students are prepared for the workforce as they complete their college career,” said Keel. “Emphasizing the importance of a competitive education and a work-ready skill set that Georgia Southern and similar universities offer is a great way to show how postsecondary education is evolving to meet the needs of 21st century students.”

Committee member and U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), offered his support for Keel’s testimony and said, “As a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, I appreciate Dr. Brooks Keel testifying at today’s hearing. Georgia Southern University is a shining example of how higher education institutions can seek out innovative ways to better prepare students to enter the workforce with greater success. Dr. Keel and his team at Georgia Southern have shown real leadership on this issue, and we look forward to watching the progress of its workforce initiative. By partnering with local industries and providing education opportunities in line with the dynamic and evolving needs of America’s job market, universities like Georgia Southern are preparing the next generation to be strong leaders in a highly competitive global economy.”

“The president of Georgia Southern University, Dr. Brooks Keel, testified today on a subject matter that is important to me—preparing the next generation for the workforce,” added U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.). “Georgia Southern clearly has an important story and concept to share on how to prepare our nation’s students for work. We all know the workforce demands that exist in our economy today, and increasing that relationship between college and job placement is critical to fill the need for a highly skilled, and prepared workforce.”

Over the past year, the House committee has held the “Keeping the College Within Reach” series of hearings as Congress reauthorizes the Higher Education Act and the hearings provide an opportunity for committee members to examine policy and programs to support continued innovation in postsecondary education.

The committee heard from six other members on a panel including Kevin Gilligan, the chairman and CEO of Capella Education Company in Minneapolis; Dr. George A. Pruitt, the president of Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J.; David K. Moldoff, the CEO and founder of AcademyOne in West Chester, Pa.; Stan Jones, president of Complete College America in Indianapolis; and Dr. Joann A. Boughman, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the University System of Maryland.

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 125 degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement.  Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.

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