Mason partners with Northern Virginia Chamber to connect regional business and academia

Posted: September 22, 2016 at 8:45 am, Last Updated: September 22, 2016 at 11:22 am

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George Mason University and the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce announced a comprehensive partnership on Wednesday to strategically link Virginia’s largest public university with the regional business community, a collaboration that will help drive the Northern Virginia economy into a new era.

In a far-reaching partnership between the region’s largest Chamber of Commerce and a top-tier research university, the Northern Virginia Chamber and Mason will work together to develop degree programs that address regional workforce needs in current and emerging industries. The partners also will co-host events, share office space and connect the region’s leading businesses with Mason faculty and researchers on the university’s campuses across Northern Virginia.

Mason thought and innovation leaders teaming with Northern Virginia business leaders will better position the region for an increasingly diversified local economy focused on government contracting, entrepreneurship and innovation, public policy, cybersecurity, hospitality and other businesses vital to Northern Virginia’s economic development.

Representatives from the Northern Virginia Chamber and Mason signed the partnership agreement Sept. 21 at the Northern Virginia Chamber Board of Directors meeting. Representatives from both entities will establish an institutional working group to discuss further objectives.

“George Mason University was created first and foremost to serve the educational and economic needs of Northern Virginia – and that’s what we have done for the past half-century,” Mason President Ángel Cabrera said. “We value our role as an economic engine, and by working closely with the Northern Virginia Chamber, together we can lead the region into its next prosperous era.”

Mason, through its “Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Economic Future” project, and the Northern Virginia Chamber each have independently identified an economic path forward for the region. Both institutions can better achieve their regional goals by capitalizing on their complementary strengths.

“We are thrilled to join with George Mason University on this unique, new partnership to strategically connect business and academia,” said Jennifer Aument, group general manager, North America, Transurban, and Northern Virginia Chamber Board of Directors chair. “The Northern Virginia Chamber is constantly looking for innovative ways to leverage our regional resources for the benefit of our members and our region’s world-renowned business community. There is no doubt that a partnership with our colleagues at George Mason University will help us to continue doing just that.”

Mason, with an estimated 100,000 graduates in the greater Washington area, earlier this year joined an elite group of 115 institutions with the highest research ranking from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. That distinction underscores Mason’s research of consequence and entrepreneurial capabilities, and spotlights its value as a talent magnet and pipeline that produces a career-ready workforce for the region.

By connecting with the Northern Virginia Chamber, Mason gains access to a diverse range of nearly 700 member companies with more than 500,000 regional employees, providing countless employment, networking and thought leadership opportunities for students and alumni alike.

“This partnership will bring together some of the region’s greatest resources for the benefit of Northern Virginia,” said Paul Liberty, Mason vice president for government and community relations. “A partnership like this maximizes on the intellectual and industrial heft of this region we call home.”

“Through our transition to the Northern Virginia Chamber, our goal is to be the premier regional business resource, and we couldn’t have a better partner than George Mason University in achieving that goal,” said Jim Corcoran, Northern Virginia Chamber president and CEO.

To read a message from Corcoran, and to learn more about the partnership, visit the Chamber’s website at www.novachamber.org.

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Write to Melanie Balog at mbalog@gmu.edu

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