The West Region Transportation Workforce Center hosted faculty, other university representatives, and city, county, transportation, and other public agency staff and organizational partners at a workshop on implementing sustainable agency/university partnerships. The workshop explored the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) model. The EPIC model offers a proven, replicable and sustainable locally-based model for building partnerships between universities and public agencies and other organizations while transforming higher education into an arena where students learn through real-life problem solving. To see a quick overview video of how the EPIC model works, click here.
The WRTWC was pleased to sponsor the workshop in partnership with the EPIC-Network and Gonzaga University. Trainers from the University of Oregon, University of Washington, and the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) shared the nuts and bolts of establishing EPIC partnerships, the potential benefits of EPIC model partnerships to both universities and public agency participants, and tips for launching a pilot year.
The workshop was designed as an interactive forum to provide peer-to-peer information exchange and tools for new programs to get started, as well as to create a support and collaboration network with existing programs. A working session provided participants with the opportunity to discuss potential partners and model adaptations for meeting local needs.
Marc Schlossberg, co-director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative at the University of Oregon, where the model was first pioneered, and Branden Born, co-director of the Livable City Year Program at the University of Washington provided an in-depth introduction to EPIC, including logistics and benefits; case studies from past partnerships; guidance on setting up a pilot year; and a Q & A discussion with agency and university representatives on successful implementation of the model.
Jeb Doran, Senior Project Manager for TriMet Capital Projects, presented examples of how agencies can successfully partner with universities to achieve specific desired outcomes. In particular, Jeb discussed how TriMet utilized the EPIC model to partner with the University of Oregon to achieve a variety of agency objectives related to transportation improvements, including streetscape design, habitat corridors, stormwater management, safety, active transportation, transit-oriented design, and mobility enhancements.