The recent economic downturn has caused corporate extinctions, cutbacks and significant job losses over most of the country, but Morgantown has remained an oasis of prosperityor at least stabilityduring these tough times.

How do towns like Morgantown, home to West Virginia University , Provo, Utah, home to Brigham Young University, and College Station, Texas, home to Texas A&M, do it? It seems their secret is not so well kept any more.

Recent national media attention has exposed the north central West Virginia town of 27,000 (and college towns elsewhere) for its low unemployment rate, great quality of life and excellent job opportunities.

The major catalyst for this success, as noted recently in Forbes magazine, is WVU .

Forbes has ranked Morgantown the No. 2 college town in the nation for jobs.( http://http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/19/college-towns-jobs-lifestyle-real-estate-jobs_slide_20.html?thisSpeed=30000 )

In general, universities attract not only students, but also new businesses and investments,wrote Forbes reporter Matt Woolsey.

As a public research university, WVU provides an educated labor force and centers of innovation for start-up businesses. It also provides partnerships with private sector business and organizations and government offices and programs.

The Wall Street Journal also recently featured Morgantown and WVU as a college town ripe in job opportunities, and the city has also been showcased in segments on CNN , CNBC and NBC .

Faculty experts in WVU s College of Business and Economics note that a research universitypartnered with a collaborative, entrepreneurial host citycan build and grow economic development and innovation.

WVU EXPERTS :

Tom Witt and George Hammond from WVU s College of Business and Economics are available to speak about the economic impact of WVU and the influences of a major universitys impact on a town.

Dr. Witt, associate dean for research and outreach and director of WVU s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) , specializes in regional economics, econometric modeling and forecasting, energy and public utility, and the West Virginia economy. He is the author of numerous research monographs, papers, and journal articles. Dr. Witt has co-authored Power from the Appalachians (Greenwood Press) and co-edited West Virginia in the Nineties: Opportunities for Economic Progress (WVU Press). He has served as project director and principal investigator on over $4 million of grants and contracts with organizations including West Virginia state agencies (Department of Commerce, Development Office, and Division of Forestry), Federal Bureau of Investigation, Environmental Protection Agency, Corps of Engineers, West Virginia Legislature, The Greenbrier Resort, National Institute of Justice, and West Virginia Tax Study Commission.

Dr. Hammond is associate director of BBER and director of the West Virginia Economic Outlook project, which includes forecasts and presentations addressing the outlook for the state and its regional economies. Dr. Hammond also publishes research on the determinants of economic growth, as well as convergence/divergence trends, for metropolitan and non-metropolitan economies in the U.S.