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UAlbany Launches Economic Forecasting Degree
Distinguished Professor Kajal Lahiri secures CGS/Ford Foundation Grant to launch program

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 8, 2005) -- The University at Albany's Department of Economics has implemented a new concentration in economic forecasting, offering both a professional master's degree and an advanced certificate in the field.  Kajal Lahiri, recently appointed to the University's highest rank of Distinguished Professor, secured two grants totaling $25,000 from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)/Ford Foundation to implement the program.

"Economic forecasting is a rapidly developing field with wide applicability in business and government," said Joan Wick-Pelletier, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "The program developed by Distinguished Professor Lahiri is designed to meet the needs of employers by training professionals to use state-of-the-art forecasting techniques. We are grateful for the insight of CGS/Ford Foundation for supporting this initiative and commend Dr. Lahiri for his efforts in making this program a reality."

"The increasing complexity of markets is fueling the demand for professionals who possess an understanding of the forecasting needs of organizations, the econometric tools to solve forecasting problems, and the necessary computer skills to generate optimal forecasts," said Lahiri. "Tools in economics, statistics, and computing allow economic forecasters to meet these growing needs of private businesses and government agencies."

The program was developed during a pilot phase last spring. The six students involved in the pilot program participated in paid internships, and found immediate employment related to economic forecasting in investment banking, media & marketing and in New York State government. The Department of Economics is currently exploring additional agencies in both New York City and Washington, D.C. to serve as internship opportunities, such as the Federal Reserve Bank and the Social Security Administration.

Lahiri is internationally acclaimed for his seminal and ongoing contributions to the areas of econometrics, health care and forecasting. He is noted for an ability to present findings in practical terms that are useful to governmental and international agencies.  His most recent contribution is the Transportation Services Index (TSI) that Norman Mineta, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, announced as "an exciting, new way to track the transportation industry's huge impact on America's growing economy."  BusinessWeek magazine hailed the index, saying it "should become a new crystal ball for economists and investors to peer into." Lahiri is also the winner of the 2004 Excellence in Pursuit of Knowledge Award from the Research Foundation of the State University of New York. He earned the rank of Distinguished Professor in 2005.

About the College of Arts and Sciences
The University at Albany's College of Arts & Sciences is the largest academic unit at the University. It provides the general education foundation of the undergraduate curriculum and is the intellectual base for study in a wide variety of disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The College's programs promote critical thinking and reasoning, aesthetic sensibility, and intellectual development, while providing career preparation to help students meet the challenges of the future and achieve their goals.

 


The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages more than 16,000 diverse students in nine degree-granting schools and colleges. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit www.albany.edu. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.


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