Higher Education Partnerships Can Be A Win For Students And Businesses And The Community


Recently, Pace University released our first-ever Pace Business Poll.

It was a deep look at business conditions in the New York City metro area, where we have campuses in lower Manhattan and Westchester County. We found that 65 percent of respondents believe their businesses will be stronger after the pandemic, thanks in part to new or improved skills or products developed during this period, and about half are optimistic about the state of business in New York State. This was the inaugural Pace Business Poll, and we will repeat it twice a year, continuing to gauge changing attitudes among businesses in our area.

I’m proud of the valuable work we produced. But here’s the part that I think is most exciting: The Pace Business Poll is an example of the kind of synergistic partnerships that higher education institutions can build with their local business communities to simultaneously support business, advance knowledge, and give students valuable, hands-on training for their future careers.

Together, we’re giving businesses valuable information today, and we’re also building the workforce they’ll need in the future.

Pace was founded more than a century ago as an accounting college, and we’ve always maintained strong ties to the business community. The Pace Business Poll is a partnership with The Business Council of Westchester and The Business Council of New York State, two membership organizations composed of thousands of small and large businesses in our region.

Today we’re a broad-based liberal arts institution with a strong focus on experiential education. Our Westchester campus includes the Center for Student Enterprise in our Lubin School of Business, a collection of student-run enterprises that help students gain experience in entrepreneurship, management, sales, and other essential business skills. One of the enterprises is Pace Connect, a student-run research and call center, which conducted the poll.

More than that, Lubin is committed to providing its students with an up-to-date business education that builds the workforce employers in our area are seeking. On our New York City campus, for example, we recently launched the Lubin Center for Sustainable Business, which partners with area businesses to improve environmental, social, and governance issues and puts our students at the forefront of this increasingly crucial areas.

Similarly, by polling area businesses, we can learn what skills they’re seeking, what technologies are important to understand, and where the business community is heading. The insights we gain from the poll help us give our students a better education, and help our graduates to be even better-prepared employees.

Lubin Professor Kathy Winstead, director of the Center for Student Enterprise and the Pace Business Poll, noted how much the poll revealed about how business adjusted and adapted during the pandemic, and how that will affect their operations going forward. She also noted that businesses reported a greater awareness of the importance of work-life balance and employees’ wellbeing.

Together with our Business Council partners, we’re now getting ready to start on the next Pace Business Poll. While the inaugural poll focused on response to the pandemic, the next week will examine the return to work. We’ll look at many of the questions businesses are confronting in our new normal, including real estate needs, customer sentiment, and employee concerns. We hope to build on our previous success and include even more area businesses among our respondents.

This is what happens when partnerships work well. We’re all benefiting: the students who learn about business, the faculty who can better tailor their instruction, the businesses that gain valuable data and insights. It’s a win for all of us.



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