CSU Establishes New Office Of Community Development

Focusing the Outreach Effort:
Columbus State Universitys New Office of Community Development

Columbus State University is, and has been, an asset to Columbus and the surrounding community by providing immediate local access to post-secondary education and partnering with local business, economic and community development groups to enhance the quality of life in the region.

But for the most part, the university has made itself available only when asked.

This fall the University established the Office of Community Development to more proactively involve the university in the continued development of this region.

Reporting to the president of Columbus State University, the Office of Community Development has a mission to establish linkages throughout the community to bring the resources of the university to bear on the continued improvement of all aspects on the regions quality of life. The vision is to focus on more than traditional economic development issues such as job creation in the region.

As the offices title implies, the effort is to enhance educational opportunity and delivery, provide for business development with an emphasis on existing businesses, and expand economic opportunity throughout the region.

In its first few months of operation, the Office of Community Development has already begun to work closely with area chambers of commerce and other economic development units to find ways of involving Columbus State University in a more strategic way.

Columbus State, Columbus Technical College and the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce are partnering to offer, through the Georgia School to Work program, a series of activities designed to enhance the workforce preparedness of students in high schools. In the coming months, CSU will be offering a new program designed to provide workforce skill development for Welfare-to Work persons for employment opportunities in the regions hospitality industry.

The Office of Community Development also is working with regional development groups and state-level agencies to promote community development. Relationships with the Governors Regional Advisory Board, the Valley Partnership and the Economic Development Program of the University System have been established and efforts made to further involve the university in programs designed to affect both the economic and community well-being of the region.

Currently efforts are under way to establish programs in West Point and partnering with Andrew College in Cuthbert to expand educational opportunities.

A major thrust of the Office of Community Development is workforce development. These efforts involve traditional education delivery (secondary and post-secondary education), training programs to provide workforce skills for persons currently unemployed or underemployed in the region and employee training and development for local employers. A focus has been placed on education as the foundation for economic and community development.

The Office of Community Development also is involved in providing research efforts to support community development programs. Analysis of labor markets and demographic trends are provided as needed to support the marketing of the region to prospective businesses.

The Office of Community Development houses the newly formed Sales and Marketing Institute and the Center for Corporate Cultivation. These units are specifically charged to seek out education and training opportunities.

The executive director of the Office of Community Development is Michael J. Daniels. Daniels has been a member of the faculty and administrative team of Columbus State University for more than 20 years and has been actively involved in economic and community research. Through this new office he serves on the Governors Regional 8 Advisory Board and serves as the ICAPP Liaison Office for CSU.

The staff of Office of Community Development includes:

Charles Aiken Director of the Sales and Marketing Institute which focuses on the development of training programs in the areas of sales, marketing and customer service.

Candyss Westenhouser Program director for the Center for Corporate Cultivation that focuses on specialized training and development programs for local employers. She is also responsible for the development of programs in the area of workforce development.

Connie Brewer Assistant to the executive director who oversees office operations and coordinates the programs offered through office.

Craig Lenhard Program director oversees the research effort.

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For more information, contact Mike Daniels at 568-2296.