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Higher education vital to economy, Greenspan says

Education is vital to the future growth of the country's economy, because workers and managers must cope with rapid economic change, Alan Greenspan said in a speech at the von der Mehden Recital Hall on Tuesday.

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Greenspan, who began his third term as chairman of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System in June 1996, focused his lecture on the heightened need for Americans to be educated if the country is to remain competitive in the still developing global marketplace.

"Expanded linkages between business and education should be encouraged at all levels of our educational system," he said. "Building bridges between our educational institutions and the private business sector should have payoffs in how well graduates are prepared to meet the challenges of an increasingly knowledge-based global economy."

UConn, he said, has developed programs to make these connections.

"Your university's plans for the Connecticut Information Technology Institute embodies this reality," Greenspan said. "You and your partners in the business community clearly appreciate the mutual benefits that will accrue as technologically advanced learning is grounded in real-world curricula - beginning with students and continuing for workers seeking to renew their skills."

Stamford-based CITI is a partnership between businesses, the community and the University to identify and train employees for the burgeoning information technology industry and to facilitate interaction and innovation among educational institutions and business leaders on information technology issues.

Higher education plays a crucial role in meeting new business needs, Greenspan said.

"At the root of both the rise in the demand for workers who embody so-called human capital and the increasing application of technology is the realization by business that remaining in today's competitive world requires unprecedented flexibility to adapt to change," he said. "Traditionally, broader human capital skills have been associated with higher education and, accordingly, the demand for college-trained workers has been increasing rapidly."

Nearly 500 people, including state legislators, trustees, business leaders, faculty, staff and students turned out for Greenspan's lecture, the first in The Greenwich Capital Markets Economic Seminar Series.

Renu Sehgal-Aldrich