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WPAOG Hudson Valley Project

WPAOG Hudson Valley Project

USMA recognizes that the prosperity of its neighbor communities is fundamentally linked to the success of the Academy. The AOG Hudson Valley Project (HVP) was created to directly support the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) Strategic Plan and the USMA Strategy by enhancing the economic vibrancy and attractiveness of the Village of Highland Falls and Fort Montgomery (Town of Highlands). The HVP comprises an economic development component by helping alumni network to invest in the Town of Highlands and an educational development component called CONNECT. HVP aims to improve the Highland Falls Intermediate School (HFIS); make the village a more attractive place in which to relocate, buy a home, raise a family, start a business; and focus the entrepreneurial clout of USMA alumni who want to help in the economic development of the Town of Highlands.  Support HVP

The Hudson Valley Project directly supports the USMA Strategy and the WPAOG Strategic Plan. A WPAOG Strategic Plan goal is to serve West Point. The HVP does so by supporting USMA Strategy line of effort three, which views the community as an important part of the West Point team in the recruitment of West Point Cadets, faculty, family, and staff. The HVP also addresses the WPAOG Strategic Plan goal to serve Long Gray Line members who want to visit a thriving and flourishing town outside Thayer Gate when they return to West Point.

WPAOG Hudson Valley Project

View CONNECT Website
A component of the Hudson Valley Project is CONNECT -- an after-school program with the purpose of providing impactful learning opportunities to Town of Highlands students. CONNECT pilot events are ongoing with the intent to launch the program full-time, five days per week, in the Fall of 2022. WPAOG views the improvement of HFIS as a lynchpin to increasing the prosperity of the Town of Highlands. West Point dependent students and DoD funds help the local high school achieve high ratings and a strong reputation. However, the HFIS does not benefit from DoD support, and its reputation and ratings suffer accordingly. A strong school is important to recruit and retain civilian employees to West Point whose workforce of 5100 civilian employees represents salaries of over $300M.  Encouraging more West Point civilian employees to live in the Town of Highlands would have a considerable positive economic impact on the town.

CONNECT is a partnership between WPAOG and the Highland Falls/Fort Montgomery Central School District with the mission to provide HFIS students with high-quality learning experiences that support their academics, expand their interests, and create opportunities to apply their learning in real-world contexts that are exciting and fun. The community has expressly welcomed CONNECT because it provides students with much-needed activity-based learning after the isolation of two years of COVID constraints. Among the many benefits of CONNECT to the community are that it can better link local youth to the vast number of activities, events, and opportunities at West Point; improve HFIS realtor ratings making the Town of Highlands a more inviting place to relocate, and provide USMA dependents and other students at James I. O’Neil High School community service opportunities by mentoring in the CONNECT program.

CONNECT also addresses a common request from town residents to increase Cadet involvement in the community and a recent call for increased Cadet community service opportunities by the First Captain of the Corps of Cadets. Academy leadership is supportive of CONNECT, recognizing it as providing community engagement opportunities for Cadets—a fundamental skill in their development as future Army officers. In the CONNECT pilot events, Cadets have been serving as valuable mentors to students and uniquely improving the goodwill between the town and West Point.

WPAOG Hudson Valley ProjectThe HVP includes an Economic Development component as well. WPAOG is gathering the support of alumni and friends to leverage their considerable networking power to pursue both commercial investment and philanthropic development ventures in the Town of Highlands. WPAOG offers alumni the capability to network and grow initiatives for economic development through its Alumni Support programs: platforms such as LinkedIn, Sallyport, Grad Link, and the WPAOG website (westpointaog.org), as well as events such as the annual West Point Entrepreneurs Summit. Given that West Point is the biggest employer in the region, it has a major impact on regional economies.

Beyond the important aspects related to cadet and faculty recruiting, increasing the economic strength of the Town of Highlands has many other tangible benefits for West Point as well. An example is improving the quality and number of non-faculty administrative and support staff as well as local vendors available to USMA. Increasing the real estate supply in the area would lessen USMA on-post housing challenges, increase the Town of Highlands tax base, and inject more money into the village economy.

Efforts to help improve the economic vibrancy of neighbor communities are becoming increasingly common for major institutions of higher education around the country. The HVP and its CONNECT program have the same intent: to improve the prosperity of Highland Falls and Fort Montgomery through an approach that supports the USMA Strategy and ultimately benefits both the Academy and its local community.

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