The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Spaces4Learning.

Community Colleges and Employers Work Together to Develop Digital Courses and Credentials to Address Skills Gap in High Need Areas

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Some of the most innovative community colleges from across the U.S. and leading employers, including Boeing and MetLife, have announced a new partnership designed to provide prospective employees with in-demand skills in the advanced manufacturing and financial services industries.

According to a recent survey of business leaders conducted by Gallup, employers are struggling to find skilled employees that can succeed in the rapidly evolving industries. To address this gap, four community colleges will work with employers to create curricula and credentials that match the needs of high growth industries.

“Community colleges have always been a critical pipeline of talent,” says Dr. Brian Inbody, president of Neosho County Community College in Chanute, KS. “By working with employers to actually develop course content, we are able to help students develop high-demand skills in the context of a meaningful academic environment. The Collaborative is a natural extension of our mission, and we’re proud to be a founding member.”

The three other community colleges joining the College Employer Collaborative (CEC) include Everett Community College in Washington State, LaGuardia Community College in New York, and Alamo Colleges in Texas. Employers representing the manufacturing and financial services include AGCO, Boeing, MetLife Premier Client Group, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, Waddell & Reed and Securian Financial Group. GAMA International, the professional development association for leadership and management professionals in the insurance, investment and financial services industry, has helped to convene some of the largest employers in the field for this effort.

The Collaborative was developed by corporate learning pioneer CorpU and Jobs for the Future, a national nonprofit focused on bringing educational institutions and employers together to address workforce demands. Courses will be developed using CorpU’s social learning platform, which is used by Fortune 500 companies and several of the country’s top business schools.

“This Collaborative will offer students new ways to skill up for in-demand jobs and offer employers new ways to work with colleges to meet their workforce needs,” says Gina Burkhardt, CEO of Jobs for the Future. “We hope this collaborative inspires more employers and colleges to invest in similar proactive efforts across the U.S.”

The course content will be developed in collaboration with employers and CorpU learning designers. The employer-driven design process ensures that the needs of each industry directly informs student learning. The online content that results will be delivered by employers, and integrated into courses offered at the colleges in formats that blend online and in-class learning.

“We work every day with forward-thinking employers who recognize the opportunity in partnering with academic experts to prepare their current and future workforce for the challenges of tomorrow,” says Alan Todd, CEO of CorpU. “By bringing together the best of academic content, real-time insights of employers, and our social learning platform, we are offering students the opportunity to pursue some of the most exciting jobs available.”

Students who successfully complete the courses will earn a credential recognized by employers in the Collaborative, which signals their mastery of these critical skills.

“The CEC is about preparing people for the jobs they need to do both now and in the future. Part of our learning and growth framework at AGCO is to Know, Share and Experience. Through this model, we have the chance to work with college partners to align the ‘know’ and ‘share' pieces to prepare learners for their experience on the job,” says Kathleen Stout, Global Manager of the AGCO University at AGCO Corporation. “While these are only two classes, if other colleges begin to adopt this model, we will see an employment pool with more people ready to apply their learning to evolving work environments like ours.”

The Collaborative will meet in mid-June to begin course design, and courses will be available beginning Fall 2015.

About CorpU
CorpU is reinventing corporate learning. We help the most successful companies in the world share knowledge, solve problems and activate the strategies that drive growth. Our platform applies the science of learning in organizations to unlock the collective genius of teams.

About Jobs for the Future
Jobs for the Future is a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure economic opportunity for all. We develop innovative career pathways, educational resources and public policies, resulting in increased college readiness and success for students and a more skilled workforce for employers. For over 30 years, JFF has been a leader in building connections between education and work that expand opportunity and strengthen our economy.