LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 31, 2017) – The University of Louisville is one of six colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its 2017 Models of Excellence recognition program.
“The University of Louisville Metropolitan College’s unique partnership with UPS and Jefferson Community and Tech is a win for the schools, company and students involved,” says Tim Goral, University Business senior editor. “It illustrates the powerful effects a university can have on its city’s economy.”
In 1998, shipping giant UPS considered moving its overnight air hub out of Louisville, Ky. In response, University of Louisville, Jefferson Community and Technical College, the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky developed an innovative education initiative to keep UPS in town. The program, named Metropolitan College, aims to to help UPS improve workforce retention while eliminating a financial barrier to higher education for Kentucky residents, says Courtney Abboud, director of workforce and student development for Metropolitan College.
Students in Metropolitan College work approximately 15 hours per week at UPS and attend courses at the university or community college. Approximately 60 percent of Metropolitan’s 2,300 students are enrolled at the university and 40 percent attend the two-year school. If students commit to work through the semester at UPS, the company pays half of the tuition. The balance is covered through federal and state grants and a state tax credit to UPS.
So far, 4,698 students have earned associate’s, bachelor’s and graduate degrees through the program.
Metropolitan College also has built-in career guidance.The Career and Academic Planning Program requires students to complete a career assessment and meet with a counselor regularly. After completing 30 credit hours, they create a résumé and set career goals. At 60 credit hours, students complete an online experiential learning module and the counselor helps them obtain related professional experience. Then, at 90 credit hours, students participate in mock interviews geared toward their career goals.
“The goal of the program was not to create long-term UPS employees, but to provide a temporary workforce and then put credentialed employees back into the workforce” in other companies throughout Kentucky, says Abboud.
Metropolitan College has also been a win for UPS, which initially struggled with a workforce shortage. Before the college launched, the average tenure of an overnight worker was eight weeks. Today, it’s almost three years.
In addition to University of Louisville, Summer 2017 Models of Excellence honorees include: Central Georgia Technical College (Macon, Ga.); Endicott College (Beverly, Mass.); McDaniel College (Westminster, Md.); University of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyo.); and Villanova University (Villanova, Pa.).
Launched in 2015, Models of Excellence is a national recognition program honoring colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives that are bolstering student success. These are the last of 64 institutions to be honored as Models of Excellence.
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