Going Back To School On Your Company’s Dime
North American Precis Syndicate
Many firms find it pays to invest in re-educating their employees. (NAPS)
Corporate Tuition Assistance Programs Are Growing In Popularity.
How To Capitalize On The Trend And Find The Right Program For You.
(NAPSI)—What is it like to be a hot commodity? American workers
should know. With a jobless rate at a near−record
low, companies are competing for highly skilled employees. At the same time,
a Deloitte study predicts that by 2020, the skills we use at work will have
just a five-year shelf life.
That puts employees in the driver’s seat. And that’s why one
of the biggest shifts in 2018 in corporate benefits is leaning toward
continuing education. Making education available to employees positively
affects a company’s bottom line, and has a great impact on employees
through performance, job satisfaction and advancement opportunities.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2011 Student
Survey, employees report that tuition reimbursement is one of the top three
most desirable corporate benefits.
Now is the time to explore opportunities with your employer to obtain new
certifications, a first-time degree or advanced degree.
That’s what Alex Myers from Portland, Oregon did. Myers is a human resources professional with Quality Custom
Distribution, a division of Golden State Foods that provides distribution
services to customers across the U.S. In her company’s HR generalist
role, she’s tasked with ensuring the employees in her division are a happy
and healthy extension of the company through stellar customer service. She’ll
willingly admit that prior to taking advantage of her company’s
education benefit to go back to school, she lacked
the education she saw in the junior employees around her.
“I knew personally that I had a younger crowd coming up behind me,
and I didn’t have any qualifications, and it felt really odd,”
Myers says. As an HR professional who is tasked with nurturing a positive
workplace culture and developing employee skill sets, she knew she needed to
take her own advice.
“I was terrified. Going back to school was one of the hardest
decisions I’ve made in my adult life,” Myers explains, especially
as she now splits her time between being a full-time professional and mom.
A solution for students like Myers who balance a career, family
responsibilities and other life commitments while pursuing a degree is
Competency-Based Education, also known as CBE programs. CBE is a growing
method of education that allows students to move at their own pace through
curriculum, taking advantage of existing work experience and knowledge to
advance more quickly—only spending time learning what they don’t
Because of its direct ability to bridge the skills gap and provide busy
adults with a program uniquely tailored to them, CBE has exploded in
popularity. Today, there are more than 500 CBE programs nationwide and many
are tapped by companies as part of corporate benefit programs providing
tuition assistance, including the Brandman MyPath program that Myers enrolled in through Brandman University. The Brandman
MyPath curriculum has attracted partnerships with
more than 100 corporate partners, including Discover Financial Services, The
Walt Disney Company and Walmart, because the
curriculum is representative of real-world knowledge, skills and abilities,
not just theory.
“I looked at the Brandman MyPath™ program…and found it was designed for
those of us who work 40 hours a week and then some, who are raising families,
and want the flexibility and the control that it gives you,” says
Myers. She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Business
Administration. “When we can tie our learning to our reality and what
we live each day it becomes something tangible. You can appreciate it more
and realize the depth and value you are gaining from your growth and
development through knowledge.”
The return on investment came pretty early in Myers’ education, when
her manager recognized her new skill sets and promoted her to a larger
facility in Portland. There, Myers puts her learning into practice at the “bigger
location with more associates to take care of. I pounced on the opportunity
to make a move.”
“I’ve seen her develop from being someone who’s really
passionate about the business—that’s just innate and who she is—but
once coupled with the education, it’s just taken her to another place,”
says Melissa Vieira, senior regional human resources manager for Quality
Custom Distribution and Myers’ manager.
And Myers agrees. “Continuing my education and quest to obtain a
degree has opened up new opportunities through making me a more valued
intellectual asset to my company and probably adding to my future career
opportunities that not even I am aware of yet.”
The environment for corporate “retraining” or “uptraining” is ripe. A 2016 Lumina Foundation study
found that for every dollar the participating companies invested into its
education reimbursement program, it generated an estimated $1.44 in
Now is the time for employees to explore opportunities and talk with their
employer. Here are three suggested steps:
1. Identify your benefits with your
HR Department representative. Do some investigative work to uncover if
your company has an established education program and what tuition assistance
benefits are offered.
2. Determine your personal goals.
How do your personal educational goals benefit your employer, now and in the
long term? Ensuring your goals are aligned with company goals can help you
feel comfortable approaching your manager, and also allow you to clearly lay
out how your education can benefit the company.
3. Research educational programs
that will help you accomplish your goals. Work with your company to find
a degree program that provides you learning outcomes relevant to your job.
Also consider the modalities—can you make it to a physical classroom at
designated days and times? Do you need to attend remotely, with the pace set
by the professor? Or would an online, self-paced, competency-based education
program that meets the needs of working professionals who need to juggle
work/life balance suit your needs? CBE can be a thoughtful and responsible
option that won’t take you away from your responsibilities as a
“Many adults return to
school with Brandman MyPath
at Brandman University. By taking advantage of
their work experience and knowledge, the Competency-Based Education program
helps them balance career, family and other commitments while working toward
a degree. http://bit.ly/2zUFo5b”
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)