In an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, Greensboro's unique higher education assets make a vital contribution to the city's economy and workforce.
In November, 2009 Greensboro's business and higher education leaders formed Opportunity Greensboro, a partnership focused on economic development. College presidents, university chancellors and key business and civic leaders began meeting bi-monthly to develop a joint plan of work. The higher education institutions that make up Opportunity Greensboro are Bennett College, Elon University, Greensboro College, Guilford College, Guilford Technical Community College, North Carolina A&T State University and UNCG.
The goals of Opportunity Greensboro's projects are to 1) drive the local economy, particularly the creation of higher paying jobs, 2) attract more national and state resources to increase our assets, 3) enhance Greensboro's brand as a community that is progressive and attractive to knowledge-driven companies and young professionals, and 4) create a forum for top leadership to collaborate both for the greater good and to enhance each institution.
Opportunity Greensboro focuses on three areas:
- Marketing Our Common Story,
- Facilitating Common Programs and Entrepreneurship, and
- Enhancing K-12 Education.
The Marketing initiative was launched in February 2011 with a multi-media campaign titled "Opportunity Thrives Here, So Can You."
The campaign had a three-tiered target audience:
- potential new and expanding businesses,
- potential employees and prospective students,
- Greensboro residents.
The Common Programs and Entrepreneurship initiatives is currently evaluating the potential for a downtown shared higher education facility, either physical or virtual, that will allow the colleges and universities to collaborate in the center city. This subcommittee is also considering a world-cultures diversity program, sustainability issues and related health activities.
The subcommittee on Enhancing K-12 Education is focused on gifted and talented, high achieving students who will appeal to high tech companies as future employees. Elon University is developing an early college high school that would enable high school students in the Alamance-Burlington School System to attend classes at Elon University. The early college will isolate 9th and 10th grade students in a self-contained building, but 11th and 12th graders would attend regular university classes; all students can receive up to two years of college credit. Greensboro College would like to partner with the Weaver Education Center on a technical arts middle college program. NC A&T State University has partnered with Guilford County Schools to open a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Early College on the A&T campus in fall 2012.