The past year challenged many workers to “upskill,” or learn new skills; try new roles; and adapt to a rapidly changing workplace, putting education and development back at the forefront of employer agendas.
A new partnership between the University of Virginia and InStride, a company that provides educational services to employees at many other businesses, gives working adults access to career-accelerating, online programs from one of the nation’s leading public universities.
Through the partnership, UVA’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies will offer its online bachelor’s degree-completion and professional certificate programs to workers in InStride’s network of corporate partners.
“Employer education programs increase access and affordability to higher education for tens of millions of Americans, and this partnership aligns with our public mission of creating opportunities for working adults and building a more diverse workforce,” School of Continuing and Professional Studies Dean Alex Hernandez said.
UVA is regularly listed as one of the best values in higher education based on its affordability and high-quality programs, and it holds the No. 2 spot in Money Magazine’s 2020 Best Value Public University rankings. Students in UVA’s degree-completion program – working adults who return to finish their bachelor’s degrees – graduate at rates more than twice the national average compared to part-time students at other four-year public institutions.
Given the impact of the pandemic, a tremendous increase in the equity gap has left many underserved students without access to education, due to job function, extended furloughs or financial constraints. Providing quality workforce education opportunities can help corporations better address their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
“We feel incredibly fortunate to embark on this partnership with an institution with the prestige and reputation of the University of Virginia,” said Vivek Sharma, CEO of InStride. “UVA’s commitment to the working adult student makes it an excellent addition to InStride’s growing academic network and an exciting new provider for InStride’s corporate partners looking to meet in-demand skills and future workforce needs.”
Beyond digital skills, the school’s programs are also designed to develop the human skills employees need for long-term success, such as communication, resilience, emotional intelligence and ethics.
“Students finish our programs primed for collaboration and upskilling,” Hernandez said.
As a public benefit company, InStride drives business and social impact forward through workforce education. InStride partners with industry-leading companies such as Aramark, Carvana, Labcorp and Prime Communications to offer their employees the life-changing benefits of a college education through a network of top-tier universities. As a result, InStride’s corporate partners have enrolled more than 34,000 employee-learners in higher education, helping them avoid more than $300 million in student debt.