An internationally known economic development expert told a crowd at Marshall University Wednesday that higher education institutions can be the key to growing a state's economy.
Malcolm Portera, a chancellor emeritus of the University of Alabama System, was at Marshall to outline ideas and initiatives he's headed in Mississippi and Alabama to improve the economy there. The 71-year-old Portera has helped the southeast with programs that have driven the manufacturing back to the region resulting in $15 billion in capital investments. Portera said much of that economic investment is tied to the universities and was accomplished during his time at Mississippi State University and with the University of Alabama System.
“Link these universities, this university specifically to grow the economy in the state and the investment that is required to get that done is not unusually small, that needs to happen,” Portera said.
Portera said after having conversations with Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert, he realizes West Virginia faces economic challenges, but he said universities can make a positive change.
“You have to find a way to do what needs to be done to grow the economy of the community and of the state and you know some partnerships make a whole lot of sense it seems to me,” Portera said.
Portera has helped draw the manufacturing industry to Alabama and Mississippi, including investments form Nissan and JVC, which manufactures home, mobile and automobile electronics.