U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth says further investment in higher education could mean big things for innovation and growth in the future.
Duckworth toured SIUC's Transportation Education Center on Friday. She says federal and state support for higher education, coupled with incentives for graduates, could mean a dramatically different economy across the country.
"People from around the world send their kids to come to school here. World leaders send their kids to come to school here - right here in Carbondale, to go to school. And then what happens? We fail to keep them here."
Duckworth says there are opportunities for partnership on research and innovation in places like the Department of Defense as well as more traditional foundations and agencies.
Duckworth points to the high quality education that's available, sometimes in spite of a lack of financial support.
"We don't make the kind of investments into higher education that people do in Europe, that people do in Asian countries. And yet, we have the best institutions of higher education in the world."
She also says public financing for education is part of what makes this country attractive - and shouldn't be diminished.