Panel discussion at press event
These initiatives fulfill part of the University’s long-term strategic plan

The University of Texas Permian Basin is accelerating its focus on workforce and economic development in the region.  New innovation and workforce initiatives will be a driver for closing work force gaps and adding more jobs through entrepreneurial support for students, faculty, and the community. These exciting initiatives will stimulate entrepreneurial opportunities, provide valuable workforce training, and connect University research and expertise with industry leaders and the community.

These initiatives fulfill part of the University’s long-term strategic plan. This work includes: a business incubator and maker space, an advanced manufacturing center; four applied research centers; the Texas Water and Energy Institute, the Blackstone Launchpad, the Small Business Development Center, and more.  

“We are humbled by the outpouring of support from this community to allow us to provide these innovation and workforce series to the Permian Basin. This is important work, and we plan to do our part to drive our local economy forward. These initiatives are squarely aligned with our strategic mission, and we are excited to step up to the plate,” said UT Permian Basin President, Sandra Woodley.

Several funding partners have come together to make these innovation strategies a reality including the Midland Development Corporation (MDC), the Odessa Development Corporation (ODC), and the University of Texas System. The funding will allow the University to renovate space at the UT Permian Basin Library and the Center for Energy and Economic Diversification (CEED) as well as purchase equipment to for the applied research labs. These innovation spaces will support research, entrepreneurship, collaboration, and economic diversification.     

Also, the Blackstone Foundation is funding a Blackstone Launchpad in the Library to expose students to entrepreneurial pursuits. The University hopes to inspire a whole generation of new business start-ups and students will particularly benefit.   

“We want to make it clear that the Blackstone Launchpad is open to all students,” said Dr. Ryan Peckham, College of Business Assistant Professor of Management. “If a student is interested in Entrepreneurship this program is for them.Whether they be an art major, engineering major, or any other major. It's open for everyone. Students gain knowledge and problem-solving skills as well as develop an entrepreneurial mindset which benefits the community and future employers.