Shippensburg University partners with Franklin County to boost economic development


FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. – A new partnership between Shippensburg University and the Franklin County Area Development Corp. is designed to bolster economic development in south-central Pennsylvania.

Formalized late last month with the signing of an agreement by both organizations’ presidents, the partnership will take advantage of SU’s and FCADC’s individual resources “to improve economic, entrepreneurial and workforce development.”

“While Shippensburg University itself has a significant economic impact on south-central Pennsylvania, we can extend that positive influence even further by joining the considerable resources on our campus with those of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation,” said SU President Jody Harpster. “We look forward to expanding not only our relationship with FCADC, but also our commitment to serve the region that is our home.”

“The relationship between FCADC and Shippensburg University always has been strong, but this agreement formally affirms our support for one another and pledges that we will work collaboratively in support of initiatives that will enhance the education and economic well-being of our region,” said L. Michael Ross, FCADC president. “Given the transformative development currently taking place in our region, the timing of this could not be better.”

Among the goals outlined in the agreement are:

  • Promoting the region to both entrepreneurs and existing businesses, particularly those that would benefit from research conducted at SU.
  • Pursuing financial support to foster intellectual property creation and stimulate economic development.
  • Engaging alumni to promote educational and business opportunities provided by the university.
  • Teaming with local governments, chambers of commerce and businesses to enhance economic and workforce development efforts.

The university’s outreach centers — including the Small Business Development Center, the Center for Land Use and Sustainability and the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation — will be an important component of the partnership, Harpster noted.

Through the Center for Land Use and Sustainability, SU professors recently studied the regional economic impact of Letterkenny Army Depot for FCADC. They found the depot contributes directly and indirectly to more than 8 percent of Franklin County’s workforce, equaling a nearly $500 million economic impact.