Kristin Backhaus, dean of the School of Business at SUNY New Paltz, served as keynote speaker for a meeting of the Ulster County Office of Economic Development (UCOED), hosted by County Executive Michael Hein on Oct. 19.
Backhaus’s address focused on the College’s regional economic impact, and how many opportunities exist for partnerships, innovation and engagement between it and local businesses and entrepreneurs.
“Just as you think about how to make the most of your resources and how to manage your bottom line, so does SUNY New Paltz,” Backhaus said. “We share a stake in each other’s futures. All of us have something to gain from the strengthening of our ties.”
Backhaus moved on to speak in detail of her experiences leading the School of Business in collaborations among programs, faculty and staff, and organizations in the Hudson Valley.
She highlighted an initiative that has students working with the Town of New Paltz on capital budgeting plans; MBA students’ consultancies with regional companies; partnerships with the Ulster and New Paltz Regional Chambers of Commerce; and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which provides free tax preparation help for Hudson Valley residents who earn less than $54,000 annually.
Backhaus emphasized that these programs serve the regional economy not only with direct support, but also indirectly, through the creation of hands-on, applied learning experiences that help prepare current School of Business students to become effective professionals and industry leaders.
“What do we need to do to prepare students for their careers and their lives?” Backhaus said. “Are we building a foundation for our graduates that will carry them successfully into the next 5-10 years, or 2-3 decades? Will they be ready for the changes that are inevitable in business and society? The only way we get this job done right is to partner with business and the arts and healthcare and technology and all of the other fields that our students will enter. Collaboration is the way forward for us to remain nimble and not just responsive, but proactive in recognizing what our students will need.”
More information about the School of Business can be accessed online.
Visit the website of the Ulster County Office of Economic Development to learn more about future events and initiatives.