Blue Economy Forum Urges Cooperation, Collaboration

WOODS HOLE – Business, education and economic leaders from Southeastern Massachusetts gathered yesterday in Woods Hole for a Blue Economy forum.

The event at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which was hosted by Congressman William Keating, was designed to facilitate a discussion between stakeholders to begin efforts for collaboration when it comes to innovation around water and marine industries.

“Today was really a convening to get to know each other and develop some partnerships to see how we can really put the blue economy at the top of the list of the innovation industries in Massachusetts because it is going to benefit Southeastern Mass,” said Wendy Northcross, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO.

The forum included presentations from Keating, Northcross, UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson, South Coast Development Partnership Executive Director Hugh Dunn, WHOI’s Mark Abbot and McClane Labs COO Dr. Yuki Honjo on the importance of working together, along with presentations from local businesses.

“Aligning the assets that we all have and moving in the same direction is going to make the region more vibrant and stronger,” Johnson said.

Northcross said the state’s population is highly educated and the initiative is seeking to provide future jobs for regions like Cape Cod.

“We are looking at ways to retain our young families and our youth,” she said. “Certainly they will go off to college, but we want them to come back and understand that the oceans are extremely important and there are great career opportunities there.”

Northcross said a student perception survey has been launched on Cape Cod to find out how high school students pick their career path.

“We are going to be doing more development in the school systems and with parents to explain the new coming jobs in the Blue Economy,” Northcross said.

There will also be a focus on regional branding to promote Southeastern Massachusetts as the epicenter for the Blue Economy.

“We want to just really grow and be competitive and important in the economic landscape,” she said.

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