Last year at D2L’s annual user conference, Fusion, we invited Dr. Richard Irwin, Executive Dean of the University of Memphis Global, to talk about the LiFE program, a partnership between the University and FedEx Express. Joined by Joe Kelly, an Operations Manager at FedEx Express (and one of the first graduates of the LiFE program), Dr. Irwin shared how the University of Memphis Global worked with FedEx Express to give employees access to higher education and ultimately boost retention rates at its Hub locations.
Creating a LiFE Path for FedEx Employees
LiFE, or Learning inspired by FedEx, gives employees the opportunity to pursue higher education at the University of Memphis while continuing to work—with no out-of-pocket tuition costs to the employee. The impetus for this initiative? Solving for employee attrition.
Guided by their belief in career and professional development and their promote-from-within culture, FedEx Express executives knew education was key to creating a pipeline of strong internal candidates. Working with the University of Memphis Global, FedEx Express was able to eliminate many barriers to higher education, such as high tuition costs and entrance exams—but what about the challenge of balancing classes and a full-time job?
Brightspace for LiFE
That’s where Brightspace comes in. With Brightspace, UofM Global can personalize the learning environment for students and provide direct feedback through anytime virtual tutoring.
Features like gamification, including badges and certificates, help measure student progress; release conditions and intelligent agents make it easier to manage student workload and encourage course completion. Internal data from UofM Global points to 70% of students accessing content from mobile devices—especially during long commutes to and from work. With its easy to use, mobile-friendly interface, Brightspace helps employees to balance their work life and student life on the go.
Advancing Through LiFE at FedEx
I had an opportunity to check in with Dr. Irwin and his team at UofM Global and was excited to learn how the program has grown since publishing the case study.
Since launching the LiFE program, over 350 FedEx employees from FedEx Express and FedEx Logistics have earned more than 4,100 credits at the University of Memphis Global. In response to an ever-increasing demand, employees from some other FedEx Express locations will soon be given the opportunity to join their colleagues from Memphis, Indianapolis, Newark, and Oakland as LiFE students.
Creating a MAAP for Memphis Le Bonheur Healthcare
Beyond their partnerships with FedEx Express and FedEx Logistics, UofM Global is now also working closely with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, a top employer in the Memphis community and the largest healthcare services provider in the city. In partnership with several University of Memphis colleges including the College of Professional and Liberal Studies, the College of Health Studies, the Loewenberg College of Nursing as well as the division of Professional and Continuing Education, Global has launched another workforce education program: Methodist Associates Advancing Professionally, or MAAP.
The first MAAP students began at the University of Memphis Global earlier this year, pursuing undergraduate degrees in Health Services or Organizational Leadership through the College of Professional and Liberal Studies, or in Healthcare Leadership or Health Services from the College of Health Studies. Beginning this summer, employees will also have access to non-credit training to gain new skills and pursue employment in fields considered high need, specifically Surgical Technologist and Certified Nurse Assistants.
Partnering for the Future
As technology moves the world forward and the future of work becomes the present, upskilling employees will be critical for organizations wanting to stay ahead of the curve. Higher education institutions and corporations continue to drive the conversation about lifelong learning in the workplace, and the University of Memphis Global is leading the way.
On Monday, August 10, 2020, at this year’s virtual Fusion conference, Dr. Scott Vann, Dr. Katie Sharpe, and Barrett Schwarz from UofM Global will be sharing how AI tools within Brightspace support student success in corporate education partnerships. I encourage you to register for Fusion and attend their session to learn more about UofM Global’s workforce partnerships. Hope to see you there!