June 13, 2007

College 360 helps students learn, play, explore and work

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How to attract 18- to 24-year-olds to colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio, then provide them with meaningful employment upon graduation is an ongoing challenge for educators and business leaders alike.

A regional nonprofit group called the College 360° Initiative wants to alleviate what has been termed drain brain that many Northeast Ohio communities currently face. By leveraging and integrating the region's higher education assets with the distinctive strengths of the community, College 360° hopes to increase the region's supply of college educated workers by attracting them at two ends of the student life cycle: When the student begins choosing a college and when the student graduates and seeks employment.

Formed just two years ago, College 360° integrates existing projects and activities from around the region into a comprehensive community strategy that focuses on academic, personal and professional opportunities, thereby giving students a complete or "360 degree" experience that they cannot receive anywhere else. Already College 360° has provided this important demographic with access to unique activities at such venues at the North Coast Harbor, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Jacobs Field, the Warehouse District, and more. The goal is to get students to explore and experience all that the various communities have to offer and in turn develop a greater appreciation for the possibilities that are available to them.

Case Western Reserve University is one of 16 college partners working with the College 360° to develop key messages and implement activities to reach these young people and begin to get them excited about learning, living, exploring and working in Northeast Ohio. Joining Case include the University of Akron, Cleveland State University, College of Wooster, Lake Erie College, Lorain County Community College, Ursuline College, Notre Dame College and Oberlin College. Corporate sponsors as well as a dozen not-for-profit organizations lend resources and expertise to the initiative.

Participating students receive discounts to sporting events, gallery and movie theaters; networking with other students across the region through message boards; regional college campus tours for prospective students; a career-focused Web site; and internship opportunities.

College 360° is governed by a steering committee of 18 leaders representing academic, business, government and civic leadership. Committee cochairs are Thomas Chema, president of Hiram College and Paul Dolan, president of the Cleveland Indians.

For more information contact Marsha Bragg, 216.368.6949.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, June 13, 2007 11:48 AM | News Topics: Arts & Entertainment, Campus Life, Collaborations/Partnerships, Community Outreach, HeadlinesMain, Students

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