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There’s been an explosion of business and academic partnerships in recent years and it isn’t hard to see why. Unemployment remains low and employees need more skills than ever before. At the same time, university enrollment rates are flat in the U.S., partially due to the increasing cost of student tuition. Yet while students might not be able to afford higher education, neither can they afford to miss out on the economic advantages gained from additional credentials or a college degree.
One example of a successful business-academic collaboration is the relationship between FedEx Express and the University of Memphis Global. Building on its strong relationship with the University of Memphis, FedEx Express collaborated with UofM Global to form an innovative education program. In less than six months, UofM Global designed LiFE—a custom degree initiative designed with the needs of FedEx Express’ workers in mind.
“We have a group of employees working at the Memphis Hub bussing in from Mississippi—a two-hour journey each way. These are employees commuting four hours a day, which proves they really want that job. Having LiFE accessible on mobile is our way of investing in those employees and giving them opportunities to develop themselves they wouldn’t have otherwise.” – Robbin Page, vice president of human resources for FedEx Express
By working together, FedEx Express and UofM Global made large-scale changes to their approaches to education. These changes addressed barriers to education employees might face, from finances to entrance exams, time constraints, and technology. The outcomes for both are positive: in less than a year, enrollment in LiFE has exceeded FedEx Express’ expectations, which has reduced attrition and has had the positive effect of helping with recruitment. Program enrollment has also contributed to increased growth for UofM Global.