Sponsored by the Lumina Foundation, the pitch competition was conceived as a way to address one of the biggest challenges facing both higher education and the economy to address the seeming lack of alignment between what a student learns and what employers need. University representatives pitched innovations on ways to strengthen the university-employer/labor market relationships to a panel of judges. And those ranked highest received the seed money to prototype the idea, explore feasibility, scale the idea or launch it.
The University of Houston's program is called " Innovations for Educating the Energy Workforce." It was presented by UH's Ramanan Krishnamoorti, chief energy officer. University of Louisville's "Institute for Product Realization—Connecting Education, Research and Job Creation" was also selected. It was presented by Neville Pinto, dean of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Cleveland State University's "Career Pathways Orientation" snagged the third prize. Byron White, vice president for university engagement at CSU presented.
- Dorothy H. Air, Associate Vice President for Entrepreneurial Affairs and Technology Commercialization, University of Cincinnati
- Chester N. Kennedy, Vice President and Chief Engineer of Training and Logistics Solutions, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training
- Nicole McDonald, Strategy Officer, Lumina Foundation
- William M. Sherman, Senior Vice President and Provost/COO, University of Akron
- Ed Smith-Lewis, Associate Program Officer, Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation