GSU President speaks to U.S. House

Tayler Critchlow

Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel, Ph.D., spoke about higher education issues to a Congressional House committee in Washington D.C.

The committee was on Education and the Workforce, and the hearing was entitled “Keeping College Within Reach: Meeting the Needs of Contemporary Students” and Keel spoke for the importance of preparing for the 21st century workforce and the need for a Workforce-Grant University, according to the news release.

Keel was representing a Workforce-Grant University, explaining that students who participate in one of Georgia Southern’s many degree programs are taught the theory of the discipline and the practical aspects of how to apply the theory in real-world settings.

Committee member and U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) supported Keel’s statements.

“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,” Price said in the release.

Partnering with local industries and providing education opportunities that are in line with the dynamic and evolving needs of America’s job market will help universities like GSU to prepare to be strong leaders, Price said in the release.

“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,” Price said in the release.

Keel mentioned during the hearing that universities and colleges need to focus on both college completion rate and worker-readiness, especially in Georgia because of the statewide effort known as Complete College Georgia which estimates that by 2020 60 percent of jobs in Georgia will require and postsecondary degree, according to the release.

“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,” Keel said in the release.

The U.S. House has held a “Keeping the College Within Reach” series over the past year as Congress reauthorizes the Higher Education Act.