Implementing a degree completion program in your business takes the following steps:
Encourage, Educate and Engage, and Advocate.
Encourage: Emphasize the Importance of College Completion in the Workplace
Incorporate a philosophy of education attainment by emphasizing learning in career development and individual development plans
- Make both career and individual development plans a prominent feature of employee on-boarding documents and performance reviews.
- Encourage supervisors to review employee development plans and provide feedback on how their plans can support professional development.
Create a career development path for employees that allow supervisors to address gaps in education.
- Encourage and allow supervisors to be able to identify how employees’ educational goals would enhance their productivity or increase their ability to make meaningful contributions to the company.
- Supervisors should give projects and tasks that encourage the application of newly acquired skills, thereby enabling employees to see the value of what they are doing in pursuing a certificate or degree.
Education attainment should affect employees’ current position, promotions and transfers to new positions.
- Individual needs: What level of education does the employee want to achieve?
- Department needs: Assess the impact of acquiring these skills on the bottom line, including the cost of providing needed education.
- Organizational needs: Align the employees’ education and development goals to the organizations ability to achieve its mission.
- Tie salary/wage or job increases to educational level.
Educate and Engage: Empower employees to be smart consumers and to navigate the systems of education attainment
Help drive down costs and provide internal supports for your employees to be successful in their pursuit of a college degree.
Establish a College Tuition Reimbursement Program and other financial support programs.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows tax free contributions up to $5,250 each year.
- Consider how you would design a tuition reimbursement program and fund the program. You can offer a fixed amount to be standardized across the company or you can offer incentives based on performance.
- Implement a company scholarship program.
- Set up a college savings or life-long learning account as a payroll deduction.
Offer a flexible work environment.
- Allow working students some flexibility in balancing school, work and family.
- Ad hoc arrangements, such as allowing employees to leave early on exam days or to attend a daytime lecture.
- Formal arrangements such as a four-day work week.
Create a mentorship program for attainment by inviting someone in your company to become a College Advocate Mentor. They can:
- Coach employees on work life balance.
- Tell their own story of attainment.
- Provide tutoring or academic support.
Advocate by recognizing and celebrating the education attainment of your employees.
- Highlight the accomplishments of an employee in your company newsletter or intranet.
- Celebrate with a graduation luncheon.
- Present a letter/certificate from the CEO with words of encouragement upon enrollment and graduation.
- Plan meetings that recognize opportunities for continued learning and celebrate the success of employees and also engage others in the process of enrolling.
Advocate: Become an advocate for your employees in their education attainment efforts
Provide access to the Greater Minds initiative. Our neutral Navigator works with your business provide you and your employees information and services related to postsecondary education opportunities and affordability.
Our Navigator can provide:
- Short “lunch-and-learn” style workshops for employees with information on how to get started, persist and finish their education.
- Assist in identifying certificate or degree programs to meet the educational goals of your employees.
- Connect your employees to information on financial aid including FASFA, grants, scholarships and how to access student loans.
- Help with the pathway to credits and transfer credit alignment.
- Provide additional support throughout your employees’ degree program.