Corporate learning partnerships


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Designed to give companies and higher education institutions a first-look at some of the best practices in designing a Corporate Learning Program, this overview provides insights and specific tactics for laying a great foundation for a successful partnership.

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Corporate learning partnerships

  1. 1. Vision, Strategy and Overview Joe Szejk Thought Leadership Series 402-960-4528
  2. 2. Introduction Over the two decades, the US workforce has become more technical and specialized, thus requiring employees to be more skilled. The percentage of federal funding for higher education and research & development has stalled during the current economic decline. As the demand for more educated workers grows, companies must discover new opportunities in order to remain competitive.
  3. 3. Corporate Learning Partnerships  A corporate learning partnership provides real value to organizations and its employees:  For the company, it addresses a specific need for educated employees;  For employees, they acquire new, tangible skills and expertise.  Along with helping the company and its employees, this also a tremendous benefit to the community as it fosters rising wages, which are mostly reinvested in local and regional economies.
  4. 4. Groundwork Institutions seeking corporate partnerships should first assess the need and the willingness to participate by companies:  Focus Groups  Industry Events  Surveys  Individual Meetings w/ corporate leaders High-level issues to address should include: academic programming, delivery vehicle & timing, support systems, cost. This research will determine institutional alignment with industry needs.
  5. 5. Considerations By nature, corporate learning programs are going to “look” different than the traditional model. Academic Programming – Specific in nature, the programs that the corporate partnership offer should be limited in scope, professional in discipline and concrete in outcomes. Programs in business and healthcare are prime examples. Delivery Vehicle & Timing – As with most adult learners, students in these programs are usually within their own cohort, often taking courses online, at their place of employment or during evenings or weekends. Modes can be blended or accelerated and courses may be bundled.
  6. 6. Considerations – Part Two  Support Systems – By nature, the students in these programs will vary greatly in academic preparedness, lifestyle and understanding of the university business model. It’s of vital importance to build an infrastructure tailored to the adult/online student needs: from online tutoring to textbook delivery.  Cost – Universities often allow for reduced tuition rates and a bundling of fees/additional charges for students in the program. Along with support systems, how the efficiently the charges and billing is handled by the university will greatly enhance the partnership. It is also recommended to research companies that offer tuition reimbursement as natural “first market opportunities” as those organizations have already allotted funds for employee education and actively promote it.
  7. 7. Basic Timeline Months 0 – 9  Goal: Conduct market research and present findings to university leadership; Months 9-15  Goals: Implement strategies, including strengthening of institutional infrastructure & induction of first cohort(s); Months 16-24  Goals: Expand course offerings; increase new enrollment; realize full ROI of initial investment; Months 25-36  Goals: Graduate first cohort; review effectiveness of program.
  8. 8. Final Thoughts There is a significant need for educated workers with specialized training and knowledge. Corporate Partnerships address that knowledge gap. Institutions must commit time and resources to research the market needs through a variety of instruments to determine institutional ability to meet need. Building from the ground-up, it will take a minimum of two years to realize full ROI; although this can be accelerated through new partnerships and growing enrollment. Corporate Partnerships require innovative and nimble thinking and on-the-ground infrastructure to be successful. Companies value educated workers and will commit organizational dollars only if the institution delivers on the promise. Services matter!