Publish Date: 10/15/2008
October 15, 2008
MANSFIELD, PA— Mansfield University has received a $208,000 grant award from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) for its “Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders: The Entrepreneurial Leadership Center at Mansfield University” project.
The Entrepreneurial Leadership Center (ELC) will serve the campus and community as partners for state and regional economic development. The ELC will encourage the development of innovation and create entrepreneurial opportunities by linking MU to a network of community and business partners. With the implementation of this center, opportunities will be provided for students, faculty and staff and to learn entrepreneurial skills and develop products and services through a campus incubator program. The ELC will also encourage students to explore the opportunities for self-employment during their education and/or following graduation.
Community partners in the project will include non-profit organizations, small business owners and economic development agencies. They will offer their expertise and, in return, benefit by the training and educational programs offered by the ELC.
“This is an important initiative for the north-central region of Pennsylvania,” MU President Maravene Loeschke said in making the announcement. “Self-employment and small business start-ups and expansions would be an economic boon to the region. Many of our students have expressed the desire to stay in the region after graduation. This initiative will provide the kind of support that they need to make that a reality.”
Mansfield University will develop the ELC with an initial focus on the entrepreneur engaged in the arts and related fields. This will include potential entrepreneurs from the fields of fine arts, performing arts, graphic arts, literary arts, folk arts, arts administration and arts marketing.
Tioga County and the north-central PA region have seen a large increase in tourism for recreation and artistic events, festivals, and “artist’s trails.” The “PA Route 6 Artisan Trail” operates year-round and covers the 400-mile route from the Ohio to the New York border. The route goes directly through Mansfield and across Tioga County, promoting access to studios, galleries, museums and art retail operations.
The Deane Center for the Performing Arts, to be located in Wellsboro, is an example of an arts initiative in the pipeline right now. Also, feasibility studies for a private School of Crafts in Mansfield and a downtown Mansfield multi-purpose theater and performance facility have been completed.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, industry growth in arts, entertainment and recreation in the Northern Tier is projected to be 7.8% between 2004 and 2014. (http://www.dli.state.pa.us/landi/cwp/view.asp?a=140&Q=58425).
In his letter to President Loeschke, informing her of the award, PASSHE Chancellor James Cavanaugh said, “PASSHE Universities are key partners for state and regional economic development. These initiatives will enhance PASSHE’s higher education and economic development infrastructure and accelerate economic development throughout Pennsylvania. I congratulate you and your staff for the truly outstanding work you have done and continue to do on behalf of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and your regional community.”
Loeschke thanked Susan W. Sweet, director of the Center for Lifelong Learning, and Betsy Brune, director of Grants Development, the primary authors of the proposal, for their efforts in making the ELC a reality.
Project activities will begin in January 2009, with a formal opening of the ELC to occur later in the year.
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