Social and economic development is a strategic priority for Lakehead University, delivering experiential learning opportunities and connecting research and the community for economic development. More than half of Lakehead's students are enrolled in professional programs with a high affinity to the labour market, a fact that is reflected in the University's consistently high graduate employment rates. As a comprehensive university with a regional imperative, Lakehead remains responsive to the needs of their rural and remote communities.
In 2012, Lakehead University established the President's Advisory Council on Economic Development (PACED). PACED builds on significant community and industry connections that have historically ensured that programs and activities contribute to social development and the economic viability of the region. The University subsequently led a series of sector specific consultations, bringing together almost 220 people from different sectors including mining, environmental, waste management, forestry, manufacturing, health, tourism, and from Aboriginal communities. The challenge going forward will be to translate recommendations that address the regions' labour markets and "skills gap" into strategies and actions that ensure responsiveness to the economic needs of the region.