For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, DC (April 26, 2023)—Today, a coalition of national leaders hailing from higher education, government, business, the nonprofit sector, and the military announced the formation of the Council on Higher Education as a Strategic Asset (HESA). Over the next year, HESA will develop and propose recommendations for ensuring that higher education institutions can deliver the workforce and educated citizenry necessary to address the United States’ most critical national priorities.
“Technology and global interconnectivity are fundamentally uprooting workforce priorities,” said Michael Crow, PhD, president of Arizona State University and a co-chair of HESA. “The United States is falling behind in its vision for higher education, which is already endangering our security and competitiveness. We must act swiftly to reimagine collaborative approaches for higher education policy and funding that reflect changing economic realities.”
Historically, higher education has been central to national prosperity and security, especially during periods of intense industrial and technological progress. According to the National Governors Association, the United States has more than 10 million job openings, but only 5.7 million unemployed workers are actively looking for work. Many of these open positions, including in crucial areas such as health care, cybersecurity, and more, require specific skills and specialized education that higher education institutions can provide.
As other nations readily embrace higher education as a strategic asset, the United States must develop new approaches at speed and scale to ensure it remains competitive. HESA’s goal is to maximize the impact of higher education on global competitiveness, national security, democratic strength, and economic prosperity.
“Prior to the pandemic, the employment skill gap was growing. It’s worse now,” said Linda R. Gooden, chair of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, a member of several corporate boards of directors, and a HESA co-chair. “I live in Maryland and travel a lot. This isn’t a problem confined to one location or industry. This is a national issue that we need to confront. We have the power to do something about it if we can work together.”
Robert L. King, JD, interim president of Florida Institute of Technology and former assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education, will serve as the third HESA co-chair. “America’s strength derives from the talent of its people and the innovativeness of its leading institutions,” he said. “HESA is bringing together a dynamic coalition of leaders from the public and private sectors to identify how we can quickly retool higher education policy in service to the critical needs of our country.”
HESA’s first convening will take place on June 6, 2023. The organization plans to deliver its recommendations to the president of the United States and targeted members of the administration, select members of the U.S. Congress, state governors and legislators, and higher education governing boards and chief executive officers by June 2024.
HESA was inspired by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the premier membership organization advocating strategic board governance in higher education.
To learn more about the coalition and how you can support its work, please visit HESAUS.org.
The Council on Higher Education as a Strategic Asset (HESA) is a multi-sector coalition focused on ensuring America’s global competitive position by proposing new models for higher education policy, funding, and collaboration to develop the human capital required to support our national interests at speed and scale. Working with our nation’s leaders, HESA’s goal is to maximize the impact of higher education on global competitiveness, national security, democratic strength, and economic prosperity. For more information, visit HESAUS.org.
The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) is the premier membership organization that strengthens higher education governing boards and the strategic roles they serve within their organizations. Through our vast library of resources, educational events, and consulting services, and with more than 100 years of experience, we empower 40,000 AGB members from more than 2,000 institutions and foundations to navigate complex issues, implement leading practices, streamline operations, and govern with confidence. AGB is the trusted resource for board members, chief executives, and key administrators on higher education governance and leadership. Learn more at AGB.org.