Archive for the ‘Education – Innovation’ Category

Old School: Target offers employees a paid tuition program…

August 9, 2021

Ah, for the good old days…

Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s it was commonplace for employers to offer tuition reimbursement programs to employees.

I know because I took masters courses in economics courtesy of a mid-sized machine tools company … and got my Univ. of Chicago MBA courtesy of a multi-national food retailer.

The terms and conditions were simple:  I had to pay upfront … and when I had proof of payment and a course grade that was B or higher, my employer reimbursed me for the schools’ tuition.

There was some small print requiring the courses to be “business-related” … but that wasn’t a issue in those days since workers were trying to advance their careers.

Companies benefited  since each job-related course increased employee’s value to the company and since the program had a “stickiness” that helped retention.

Employees benefited since they were getting a free education … and potentially a free degree.

Of course, there were indirect costs borne by the employees … mostly the sacrifice of free time since courses (and “homework”) were done in the evening or on weekends … and degrees seemed to take forever when taking only 1 or 3 courses at a time.

Bottom line: It was a win-win for companies and employees.

But, the tuition benefit seemed to fade away when tuition-inflation caused costs to skyrocket… and, when course offerings and degree majors became less practical and way less job-related.


Fast forward to today.

Many companies are rekindling the old school programs … offering employees a chance to complete or advance their studies at little or no cost.

The latest example: Target.

Team members will have a range of options, including courses for high school completion, college prep and English language learning as well as select certificates, certifications, bootcamps, associate and undergraduate degrees.

Target is partnering with education and upskilling platform Guild Education to provide easy access to more than 250 business-aligned programs from over 40 schools, colleges and universities.

Read the last lines carefully: only business-aligned programs from 40+ approved schools:

Schools, colleges and universities like the University of Arizona, Oregon State University and historically Black colleges and universities like Morehouse College and Paul Quinn College.

My bet: Target will be negotiating tuition discounts from the approved schools … rejecting schools with ROI-busting tuition increases.

Well done, Target.

Sometimes, old school ideas had merit…

Near-term, more online education is inevitable…

July 29, 2020

So, parents need to ramp-up for home schooling.

Those are pivotal conclusions that I’ve reached based on the following observations & assumptions:

> Some school systems are starting fully online this fall … and, the number seems to be increasing everyday.

> Others schools are mixing a hybrid of in-class and online learning.

> Even schools starting fully in-class will need to provide an online option for students whose parents opt them out of in-class.

> Similarly, even schools starting fully in-class will need to provide an online option for students who catch the coronavirus and are quarantined.

> Some (or many) schools that start in-class may encounter viral outbreaks that force them to reverse course and go fully online.


Bottom line: Near-term, more online education is inevitable… and, longer-term, it may become a permanent component of practically all educational programs.

So the critical question for educators to ask is not whether or not to go online … it is how to quickly develop and launch effective online teaching … and how to incorporate online learning in on-going curriculums.

For parents, the question is not if, but how to provide a nurturing learning environment at home.

Hillary preached that “It Takes a Village”.

But, sometimes you just can’t count on “the village” to raise and educate your kids.

In those instances, it’s nice to have a nuclear family to fall back on …


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