Education at Work

How industry and academia can partner on degree programs.

How can universities and businesses collaborate to help employees complete degree programs that lead to promising careers? According to a report recently issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which examines experiential learning programs in ten existing education partnerships, these organizations can consider adopting three best practices:

Focus on ROI. Incorporating career- specific know-how into a traditional curriculum empowers both students and employers.

Be transparent. Stakeholders on both sides of an academic-industry partnership should create clear goals and responsibilities.

Be intentional about competencies and link experiences to career pathways. Students then can translate their experiences more easily into skills that lead to success in the workforce.

The report also suggests that small companies should be involved in such partnerships, even though they do not have the same “bandwidth” as larger corporations to offer a multitude of opportunities to their employees.

“A student’s path to a meaningful and successful career can often wind through several education programs and a sea of rapidly changing job prospects,” says Cheryl Oldham, a senior vice president for the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce. “But with early input from the business community about what happens on the other side of the degree, both students and employers can find more value in the career development process.”

Read the report at

This article originally appeared in BizEd's September/October 2017 print issue. If you have comments or feedback on its content, please contact us at [email protected].