To continue delivering high quality service amidst budgetary restrictions, universities and colleges are increasingly turning to the private sector for help. The private sector benefits from the unique resources and networking capabilities of institutions, which can convene relevant stakeholders, while the private sector contains the expertise needed to facilitate the use of those resources.
Universities and colleges can be important local assets, contributing to local and regional economies in a variety of ways: they educate and train students, produce talent that can benefit the workforce, purchase local goods and services, and employ people who spend money locally.
In addition, campus research and innovation can be commercialized, resulting in the formation of spin-off businesses that boost the local economy. Colleges and universities, often through their business schools, provide direct support to firms and entrepreneurs via training, technical assistance, student internships, and business incubation.
To address today’s challenges of shrinking budgets and increasing workloads, institutions should embrace the concept of collaboration. Universities and colleges can leverage this effective tool as they partner with private sector and nonprofit organizations, as well as state, local, and federal government agencies to achieve goals and deliver services, such as:
- Campus redevelopment
- Community revitalization
- Access to intellectual property
- Access to talent—students, graduates
- Customized training and career development for employees
- Responsive partnership to meet changing needs
- A high “quality of life” community with good schools and a network of resources for innovation
These various forms of collaboration, known as public-private partnerships (P3s), entail the linking or sharing of information, resources, activities, costs, investments, and capabilities by organizations to achieve an outcome that could not be achieved by the organizations separately. A P3 refers to arrangements in which all partners incur costs and share benefits related to their efforts.