Partnerships between universities, hospitals, and the federal government can advance goals, including economic development and improved quality of life.
Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress details how the federal government can play a larger and more meaningful role in encouraging partnerships between cities and communities and anchor institutions to increase community revitalization and economic growth. Universities and hospitals, collectively called “Eds and Meds,” are commonly referred to as anchor institutions, as they are rooted in the communities where they are located.
CAP’s report notes that many American mayors, including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, are already smartly leveraging partnerships with anchor institutions to advance a variety of goals, including economic development, public safety, hiring, purchasing, and improving quality of life. The federal government—which has a history of supporting these partnerships—can help further this process and has a vested interest in exploring strategies that harness the power of anchors to increase community revitalization and economic growth.
“Universities alone represent roughly 3 percent of U.S. GDP and employ more than 3 million people annually—and many of these institutions are located in inner cities. It’s important that we enhance the ability of anchor institutions to work more strategically in the communities they call home,” said Tracey Ross, Senior Policy Analyst with CAP’s Poverty to Prosperity Program and the author of the report.
CAP’s report makes several recommendations for how the federal government can foster anchor partnerships. They include:
- Giving greater weight to place-based grant applicants that have strong partnerships with anchors. Federal leaders should ensure that initiatives better outline the possible roles anchors can take and better assess the strength of these partnerships to spur greater anchor involvement.
- Rebuilding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s, or HUD’s, Office of University Partnerships, or OUP. This office should assist anchors located in communities that have been awarded federal grants for place-based work by providing research and technical assistance around their roles.
- Ensuring HUD helps develop tools to measure anchor performance. HUD should work to improve anchor performance by encouraging the creation of dashboard indicators that demonstrate community impact and can be reported to Congress and other stakeholders.
- Encouraging HUD to work with anchors to promote affordable housing development. OUP should engage anchors around HUD’s housing development goals and offer matching funds for employee-assisted housing and AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA housing.
- Encouraging colleges to better utilize the Federal Work-Study, or FWS, program for service learning. The U.S. Department of Education should outline ways in which colleges and universities can better leverage the community service requirement to enhance educational and leadership experiences while benefiting the broader community.
- Ensuring a greater impact from the community benefit requirement under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. Federal leaders should expand the definition of community benefit and direct hospitals to work with local leaders to collaborate around the community health needs assessment to ensure resources are spent on shared priorities.
- Fostering small-business partnerships and mentoring. The federal government should encourage institutions receiving funding for research to implement programs that mentor local, disadvantaged businesses through additional funding opportunities. In addition, the Small Business Administration should support small-business intermediaries in identifying local and disadvantaged businesses that have the potential to work with anchor clients.
- Helping align community and technical college courses with apprenticeship programs. A previous Center for American Progress report recommended that the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor work with policymakers, accrediting bodies, and colleges and universities to greatly expand the number of effective articulation agreements in place.
Click here to read “Eds, Meds, and the Feds: How the Federal Government Can Foster the Role of Anchor Institutions in Community Revitalization.”
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