Monica Gordon, Prairie State College Trustee, says education is key to Southland’s economic development (Chicago Heights, IL) — Recently elected Prairie State College Trustee Monica Gordon explained to The Southland Journal today that the relationship between education and economic development is imperative to the future of the Southland.
Gordon, a Prairie State College Trustee, was elected in April, beating all 3 of the other contenders in the vote-for-2 race by a large margin. She maintains that her win was partly due to her experience in higher education. She was immediately elected as Secretary when she was sworn in.
Gordon previously ran for Illinois Senator for the 40th District, where she lost in the Democratic Primary to Sen. Patrick Joyce (D-Essex). She is currently the Director of Community and Government Affairs at Chicago State University.
Monica Gordon is Conquering the Digital Divide
The “digital divide” is described by the Harvard Business Review as, “the gap between those who have access to reliable internet service and those who don’t…Internet infrastructure is, of course, an essential element of the divide, but infrastructure alone does not necessarily translate into adoption and beneficial use. Local and national institutions, affordability and access, and the digital proficiency of users, all play significant roles — and there are wide variations across the United States along each of these.”
Trustee Gordon stated that closing the gap in the digital divide that exists here in the Southland is one of her main focuses as Prairie State College Trustee. She maintains that through closing the gap, students can accel and become movers and shakers within the community. “Our students need access to technology to thrive and succeed in today’s academic environment. We must provide all students with the appropriate technology tools.”
Gordon also said that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and compounded the many disparities that exist in some communities in education. “Some students are living without access to computers, internet, and other resources that have become imperative to success in our current state [of a pandemic]. It has always been my goal to see that low income and minority students have access to high-quality, affordable, and equitable education.” She continued by saying that through conquering the digital divide, the Southland will see various opportunities in workforce development. She said that producing workers proficient in “STEM and technology will make a significant positive financial impact here in the Southland.”
The Connection: Higher Education and Economic Development
“I stand by what I have always said,” said Gordon, “There is a symbiotic relationship between higher education and economic development. We need to encourage our youth to take their education seriously. Through their education, the Southland will see a bright and prosperous future.”
According to Gordon, colleges set a higher standard and help to create a more educated labor market. “Colleges can develop programs to serve their local region and develop continuing education and trade programs that align with the needs of the community. We can better the local economic fabric by facilitating partnerships among institutions, government, and industries.”
Monica Gordon, Prairie State College Trustee, says education is key to Southland’s economic development