Soapbox

Roseville’s focus on higher ed is part of economic development strategy

Tim Herman
Tim Herman

The city of Roseville’s Higher Education Task Force set a bold vision in 2012: Make Roseville and south Placer County a hub for higher education by pursuing short- and long-term partnerships that would attract physical campuses and degree-completion programs.

The effort’s success is key to continued economic development, as residents in our growing region look for higher-education options in closer proximity, and businesses look for a qualified workforce where they locate and expand.

It’s only been three years, and we’ve made significant progress in the region.

▪ California State University, Sacramento, is well into the planning stages of establishing a satellite campus in the Placer Ranch area north of the city limits. This CSU “satellite” eventually would grow to a student population of 25,000 and could become its own independent CSU campus.

▪ At the same time and place, Sierra College is planning a 5,000-student transfer center on the Sacramento State satellite campus to improve transfer pathways for those seeking to complete a four-year degree.

▪ Clarkson University, a nationally ranked technological university from Potsdam, N.Y., has partnered with Sierra College on a unique transfer program for bachelor’s and master’s degrees that ultimately places Clarkson graduates back in our local workforce.

▪ The University of Warwick, based in England, a world-ranked research university, recently selected a south Placer site west of Roseville to develop its first full-fledged U.S.-based campus. Warwick will begin with a small number of postgraduate programs, eventually growing to a full campus accommodating more than 6,000 students by 2031.

These announcements highlight development of what we’re calling the “Innovation Corridor,” which begins with William Jessup University east of Highway 65, and heads west along the proposed Placer Parkway as it connects the proposed campuses of Sacramento State and Warwick University before reaching Highway 99.

Along with expanding the presence of campuses and programs, the task force has sought ways to increase the community’s level of educational attainment by reducing the time and cost required to attain a degree. A recent Milken Institute study found that adding just one year to a high school graduate’s educational attainment results in significant increases to wages and per-capita gross domestic product.

With this in mind, discussions led by task force member and Sierra College President Willy Duncan have produced agreements that remove unnecessary obstacles and provide students clear transfer pathways to participating four-year institutions.

Roseville’s focus on higher education is one part of a comprehensive economic development strategy, one that we’re convinced will pay dividends to our community long into the future. Our vision is ambitious, and it’s most certainly not out of reach. Like a marathon, it will take time, patience and sustained focus.

Tim Herman is a Roseville City Council member who chairs the council’s Higher Education Task Force.

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