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Corporate and workforce education combats the great resignation

A woman sitting at a kitchen table looks at a laptop screen while writing in a notebook.

Oregon State Ecampus plugs in to corporate benefits, employee support

By Carly Johansen

Oregon State University Ecampus is founded on the belief that everyone who wants to learn should be able to do so. With a focus on high-quality online learning experiences and affordability, we create innovative pathways to success for anyone who wants to learn, especially working professionals.

One of the ways we work toward this goal is through the OSU Ecampus Corporate and Workforce Education Unit’s collaborations with organizations looking to help their employees grow their professional repertoire or change their career trajectory.

If your organization is looking for ways to leverage great employee benefits, read on to see how Oregon State can meet your needs by helping you recruit great employees and keep them.

A brief introduction

First, meet Howard Burns. Burns, in his role as director of the Oregon State Ecampus Corporate Education Unit, serves as one of the university’s biggest advocates for this type of collaboration. Through industry experience, Burns has gained a clear understanding of both the opportunity and the need for tuition benefit programs like these to step in and provide a clear path for employees’ next steps.

“I come to Oregon State Ecampus after a career contributing to the organization objectives of industry leaders in corporate America — SAP America, Microsoft, Amazon, to name a few,” Burns says. “Through various corporations and positions, my efforts focused on enablement in the context of technology or educational partnerships.

“My vision is for Oregon State’s Corporate and Workforce Education Unit to transform employee educational benefits from a unique perk to a standard benefit in corporate America by providing valuable online learning experiences for employees and a robust return on investment for employers.”

And what exactly is corporate education? In a nutshell, Burns defines it as “a pathway for employees to change their current career trajectory with skills or talents not possessed or out-of-date.”

This means that an organization can team up with OSU to offer employees a scholarship to more affordably pursue a degree or certificate online.

The benefits for employers

While benefits for employees may be more obvious, corporate collaborations with Oregon State have high value for employers, too.

  • Tuition benefit programs are an effective staff retention strategy. They let your employees know that you are invested in their future and their professional success. As staffing challenges become more abundant, many organizations are looking for the best ways to keep quality employees around; this is one of those solutions.
  • They are also a way to build internal growth opportunities for current employees. While skilled labor and managerial skills can be hard to find, you can create an internal pool of qualified candidates through investments in upskilling for your staff.
  • Finally, corporate collaborations with a well-known university and nationally ranked provider of online education like Oregon State create a unique benefit that you can leverage in your recruitment and retention efforts.

Above all, Burns says, “These collaborations allow for innovative scholarship programs between OSU Ecampus and the employer that support the corporate entity’s innovation goals.”

The benefits for employees

Employees who enroll in tuition benefit programs come out with a plethora of valuable takeaways beyond the possession of a new degree, certificate or microcredential. Through corporate support, an employee can be empowered to achieve both professional and personal goals. According to Burns, steps toward those goals can include:

  • The acquisition of verified credentials (e.g., diploma, certificate, digital badge) and skills to grow within their organization or discover outside opportunities.
  • Increased economic agility via the acquisition of new skills, allowing learners to acquire high-demand skills with proportionate salaries.
  • The discovery and realization of their career growth aspirations.
  • Rapid, documented skill expansion via certificates or microcredentials, which can be stacked to eventually culminate in full degrees.

How Oregon State can meet your corporate and workforce education needs

Through Oregon State Ecampus, employees receiving a corporate benefit earn the same diploma that OSU’s on-campus students earn. They also gain access to unparalleled student support, courses taught by OSU’s world-class faculty and resources such as library services and free tutoring.

Your organization can work with Burns and the Corporate and Workforce Education Unit to tailor degree offerings for your employees. This could be a customized set of options for employees that are relevant to the career opportunities at your organization, or it could be a way to allow your employees to shape their career trajectories with open-ended access to all of Oregon State’s 100-plus online degrees and programs.

With direct support from our team, you can make choices and launch your education benefit program swiftly, make agile changes and customize your level of financial support for your employees.

Get started today

Chart a path forward that benefits employer and employee alike, leading to greater employee retention, engagement and satisfaction.

Ready to take the next step for your organization?

Contact Howard Burns


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