Brian K. Fitzgerald serves as BHEF’s chief executive officer, developing long-term strategy for the membership organization. Under Dr. Fitzgerald’s leadership, BHEF’s National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative (HEWI) has emerged as the organization’s strategic enterprise. Through the collaboration of its business and academic members, the Initiative includes regional projects addressing high-demand, high-skill workforce needs in regions across the country, as well as national networks that disseminate learning from the projects and scale effective practices. The initiative deploys a model of strategic business engagement in higher education to address our members’ high-priority workforce needs.
Backed by some of the nation’s most committed business and academic leaders, BHEF has launched highly innovative regional partnerships in data science and analytics, financial services, cybersecurity, water and materials sciences, and energy engineering. At the core of this effort is BHEF’s transformational model of strategic business engagement with higher education. The model aligns five levers of impact, to move from transactional relationships to strategic partnerships between the two sectors. Through this initiative, the model enables business and higher education to build sustainable, high-impact regional projects in emerging fields that meet regions’ high-demand, high-skill workforce needs, increase undergraduate interest and persistence in these disciplines, and help students graduate college workforce ready.
Additionally, BHEF has developed a comprehensive, four-phase strategy to scale these projects at the project, network, university system, and national levels. These groundbreaking insights are described in BHEF’s playbook, The National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative: Forging Strategic Partnerships for Undergraduate Innovation and Workforce Development.
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