Category: Community

12
Mar

Doing More With Less:  Leveraging Business Partnerships for Educational Success

Written by: Shannon Snow

Recently, Snow Consulting Services was retained by a client to conduct some case studies on how the business community influences education. This client was looking for opportunities to increase the impact of education without requiring additional resources – hence do more with less.

During the process we identified several valuable lessons that can be considered when developing workforce partnerships between industry and education – lessons that we are excited to share with you.

Bright Horizons: Corporate Developed Curriculum

The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential has been around for decades, but in 2007 the eCDA program at Bright Horizons University was established.  Much of the curriculum development and delivery systems were created by Bright Horizons through utilization of external consultants and specialists, and then made available to educational partners. Bright Horizons has taken the burden of program development off the service provider and expanded the availability of quality, early childhood development education nationally.

Northampton Community College is Bright Horizon’s preferred educational partner.  They have created a stackable credential leading to an Associate’s degree that recognizes Bright Horizon’s internal training, allowing them to deliver online education to Bright Horizon’s employees nationally.

Lessons:

  • Industry driven and developed programming can be adapted to educational credentials.
  • Letting industry lead streamlines the development of skills-based curriculum.
  • Businesses can standardize curriculum nationally, utilizing their network to create educational standards.

Western Association of Food Chains: Workforce Based Competency Identification

Retail leaders shared a concern over lacking skills in the current workforce.  They recognized a need for increased education for management level employees.  As a group, with the help of an industrial psychologist, they developed the core competencies essential for success as a manager in the retail space.

This group reached out to local community colleges to partner in the creation of an online curriculum for the Retail Management Certificate.  A different model, the group partners with colleges nationally instead of one preferred educational provider.  Their commitment to excellence and career advancement led to industry changes.

Lessons:

  • Industry can lead by identifying competencies and leaning on educational providers for coursework development.
  • Valuing educational credentials can lead to an expectation of better skills within industry.

Health Careers Collaborative or Greater Cincinnati (HCC): Employer Support Equals Student Success

HCC was developed under the umbrellas of Partners for a Competitive Workforce, an effort of the Greater Cincinnati workforce network that brings all the area’s workforce initiatives together. HCC developed partnerships, that serve frontline incumbent workers from area hospitals along with jobseekers and unemployed/underemployed individuals.

Employer commitment and flexibility are key to the success of this program. Participants enjoy flexible work hours, funding and pre- payment options, support services such as childcare and transportation are provided, credits are transferable between institutions and more.  Developmental education is also provided to participants if needed.

Lessons:

  • Marrying workforce development efforts, employer needs, and educational initiatives can have a powerful impact when all partners are invested in the success of the program.
  • Employer engagement and willingness to establish a flexible work environment allow more individuals to access training.
  • Understanding of needs for developmental education in addition to industry required credentials increases student success.

Shannon Snow is the Principal at Snow Consulting Services. She is a licensed City Planner who focuses in facilities planning and operational support.  She has over a decade of professional experieEnce and founded Snow Consulting Services in 2016.

25
Jan

In Focus: Community

Written by: Ted Stilwill

Shannon has already mentioned in her introductory blog that Snow Consulting occupies the “middle space” between the initial visioning that drives project planning and the actual execution of the project.  As a team, we are also committed to three critical issues that drive our work in that middle space.  We know that we will have to know about the details that shape our client’s program direction as well as the client’s philosophy and strategies for operations.  But we also believe that we have to gain a third important client perspective.  We call it community, and it is our client’s grounded commitment to the stakeholders that they ultimately serve.  I would like to single out that community perspective for comment today and we will take up other perspectives in future posts.

For educational institutions, community is where they hope to have both immediate and long-range impactFor a non-profit or early childhood provider, community may be the families in a neighborhood. For a school district it may be the district’s students and their families.  For community colleges, their impact directly affects students as well as the economic potential of the region.  In my personal experience, the strength and effectiveness of the community connection is the most critical factor for achieving success in education.  The community connection means that the educational institution has data, stories and relationships that help them to understand and connect with their community.

We help clients nurture that unique community focus and establish important partnerships whatever their community, because an effective educational organization has a truly symbiotic relationship with its community.  Snow Consulting is committed to using both objective data and personal perspectives from the client and from community to help guide the success of any project.

Ted Stilwill is a Senior Project Facilitator with Snow Consulting Services. He has worked in education at the local, state and national level.  He most recently headed the Learning Community in Omaha, Nebraska.