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Business to higher ed: Promote the positives

The president and CEO of the Greater North Dakota Chamber says the University System needs to toot its own horn more.

Andy Peterson says that’s one of the big takeaways he had from a meeting between college presidents and business leaders. The meeting was to talk about what business wants from higher education – in terms of a ready workforce. Peterson says the system is already doing a great job of meeting that need – and needs to tell that story.

"As North Dakotans, we over-achieve and understate," said Peterson. "We need to match that up. We can over-achieve, and, not brag about it, but tell the real story about our success."

Acting University System Chancellor Larry Skogen says the discussion shows just how important the colleges are to the state of North Dakota – and to the state’s economic well being.

"It was marvelous, wasn't it, to hear all those positive comments about how much they value higher education," said Skogen. "They want to get the conversation back to education, and what higher education can do for the private sector. I thought it was a marvelous conversation."

Peterson says business needs to be more involved with the colleges. And he says this meeting was the first step in making that happen.

Skogen says the challenge is to keep making the point that students do well, and businesses value them. He says the business community – and the students themselves – can help spread that message.