University participates in economic growth campaign

Retaining graduates in the area is one of the campaign’s main goals.

In 2013, more than 9,000 students graduated from Temple, marking the university’s largest graduating class ever. Andrew Thayer |TTN
In 2013, more than 9,000 students graduated from Temple, marking the university’s largest graduating class ever. Andrew Thayer |TTN

Temple will be one of the sponsors for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s city planning campaign, called “Roadmap for Growth.”

According to the GPCC website, the objective of the campaign is “to have a dialogue about economic growth issues, job creation and the election for Mayor of Philadelphia.”

Temple is one of six contributing sponsors to the campaign. Additional sponsors of the program include Comcast, PECO Energy and 39 partners, including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.

“We’re one of the largest employers in Philadelphia, so we felt it was important to be involved in an initiative that was promoting growth in Philadelphia,” said Ken Lawrence, Temple’s senior vice president for government, community and public affairs.

As part of the campaign, the GPCC will host town hall meetings throughout the city to allow citizens to voice their opinions and ideas relating to the local economy and job market.

There will also be issue forums for Philadelphia residents to discuss their ideas about improving conditions.

The campaign, which began in August, will hold three issue meetings in November, January 2015 and March 2015 before the next mayor is elected in November 2015. A final presentation of proposals will be given to the newly elected mayor in Fall 2015.

Lawrence said the university will host one of the scheduled large issue-forums on different public policy topics. Temple may also host meetings for each councilmanic district, Lawrence added.

 “Then, after the next mayor is elected, they will have an initiative to provide counsel to the mayor as he’s setting up his government,” Lawrence said. “That’s going to be a great opportunity for our faculty members, administration, and potentially students to be involved in trying to set up the next government.”

Other university officials that will be actively involved are Vice President for Strategic Marketing and Communications Karen Clarke and President Theobald, who is involved with the GPCC and serves as the co-chair of the College and University President’s Council.

“One of the four main policy recommendations of this campaign is focused on producing a well-educated workforce,” Clarke told The Temple News. “Temple is uniquely positioned to play a key role in educating the workforce that powers Philadelphia.”

Clarke added that Temple’s faculty will be encouraged to contribute ideas for developing the campaign’s growth strategies in areas like public policy, entrepreneurship and economics.

 “Temple and the city of Philadelphia have a dynamic relationship,” Clarke said. “We are intricately related to one another.”

Lawrence said the research being done to help determine what kind of policies will help bring companies to Philadelphia will be an opportunity for Temple to collect and analyze the same data.

He also encourages student attendance at the issue forum when it is held at the university.

“A large part of the initiative is trying to hear from all different levels of constituents,” Lawrence said. “But I think for students once you graduate you’re going to want a job, so I think it would be an opportunity for students to get involved in saying what types of things would make Philadelphia a place where they would want to settle down in.”

The location for the first Roadmap for Growth has yet to be determined.

Logan Beck can be reached at

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