The University of Mary Washington has established the Center for Economic Research in partnership with the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance and the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.
A local source for regional economic analysis and expertise, the center was strategically created as a part of UMW’s Department of Economics to capitalize on access to highly regarded faculty and opportunities for student engagement. Through internships and employment opportunities, the center will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students to assist the center’s faculty in the research and preparation of reports on the regional economy.
“The center will produce reports generated by faculty experts who actually live and work in the region,” said UMW President Richard Hurley. “This allows for a better understanding of the nuances of the data collected and thereby enhances the validity and usefulness of the information.”
Tim Schilling will lead the center as the newly appointed director. Previously an adjunct professor of economics at UMW, Schilling has taught economics at a number of educational institutions. He also has served as the associate director for programs at the Powell Center for Economic Literacy in Richmond and as director of economic literacy programs at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for 16 years. Schilling has a master’s degree in economic history from Central Michigan University in history.
The center will appoint an advisory board to assist in prioritizing the region’s needs for research and reports. The board will be comprised of UMW faculty in addition to representatives from the Alliance and the Chamber.
“This type of collaboration demonstrates that we are serious about our region’s competitiveness,” said Curry Roberts, president of the Alliance. “As Virginia’s rapidly emerging fourth metropolitan area in the Urban Crescent, the Fredericksburg region faces stiff competition for economic development projects. UMW is a phenomenal asset for our area and can clearly assist us with timely, accurate and unbiased information we critically need.”
During its first year, the economic research center plans to complete a study on the nearly 70,000 commuters who live in the Fredericksburg region in order to better inform regional business decisions. The center also will establish the framework for the completion of semi-annual regional economic reports, with the first report expected to be disseminated in the spring of 2016.
“It is imperative that we gain a better understanding of our current population’s job trends and capabilities so we can create even better local employment opportunities, said Susan Spears, Chamber president and CEO. She noted that the region has grown more than 400 percent since 1970 and is projected to nearly double again by 2040. “More than 40 percent of our workforce leaves the region daily, she said. “The time is right for this partnership. Together, we will strengthen our business base and add to our community’s overall quality of life.”
For more information about the center, contact Tim Schilling at (540) 654-1515 or firstname.lastname@example.org.