Economic Opportunities Program

Models of Success

There are many employers that have successful partnerships with community colleges. These partnerships take many different forms. Businesses and community colleges collaborate on curricula development; mentorships; internships; apprenticeships; tuition assistance and more. Effective partnerships benefit community colleges, businesses and students. 

Is your company:

  • Interested in more closely connecting its skills need with education and training providers?
  • Struggling to identify candidates with the right skills for open jobs?
  • Planning to help its incumbent workforce gain new skills?

Have you considered working with a community college?

Here are some examples of models of success from companies, labor unions and industry association across the country.

 Accenture  Gap  McDonald’s  RITE Board
 AFL-CIO  Goodwill Motorola Solutions  Snap-on, Inc.
 Bison Gear  Grainger  Multivision, Inc.  
 Discovery Communications  IBM  Next Era Energy 
 DuPont  Luminant  Pacific Gas & Electric  


Through Community Teach, one of its Skills to Succeed initiatives, Accenture is energizing and inspiring community college students, helping them develop skills and envision a future beyond what they might see today. Currently available at four community colleges around the country, Community Teach helps students develop professional skills and transition smoothly to the workforce. Through four in-classroom modules led by Accenture executives and one online training course called JobSTART101,students develop the “soft skills” not often taught in the classroom but needed to succeed in the professional world. Read more » 


AFL-CIO unions are partnering with community colleges across the country to help current and prospective members earn degrees and training in their industry. One partnership model that has seen success is through the United Association of the Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA), which operates a five-year apprenticeship program with community colleges across the country. In addition to local apprenticeship programs, the UA has also partnered with Washtenaw Community College to create a national program which allows members to take community college courses online, earning college credit from any location. Read more »

Bison Gear

Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. is a designer and manufacturer of horsepower electric motors, gear motors and gear reducers based in St. Charles, IL. Bison Gear has established a culture supporting the acquisition of education and credentials throughout the company. They partner with several community colleges to provide scholarships to new and incumbent workers, help these workers acquire workplace credentials and promote similar activity by other businesses.  Read more »

Discovery Communications

In 2011, Discovery Communications launched Discover Your Skills, a multimedia campaign that provides workforce skills and education through a website resource and public service announcements featuring some of the network’ s biggest stars. Discovery has also formed partnerships with Montgomery College in Silver Spring, Maryland and Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida.  The Miami Dade partnership also includes Miami Dade County Public Schools. Both partnerships consist of a three core elements: 1) career exploration panels; 2) HR on loan and 3) internship program at Discovery. The main goal of the program is to raise awareness about career opportunities and provide students with training and skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. Read more »

DuPont Washington Works

DuPont Washington Works partners with West Virginia University at Parkersburg to help meet the regional demand for skilled labor in chemical operations. Students complete a one-year program, with alternating courses and paid, on-site job training. The program culminates in a Chemical and Polymer Operator Technology Certificate. The Learn and Earn program gives students the opportunity to link classroom instruction with practical work experience, and can result in a job opportunity at DuPont or with other polymer companies located in the area. Read more »


In 2010, Gap Inc. launched Gap for Community Colleges. This program, currently serving 21 markets across the United States, provides scholarships and helps community college students develop skills for entry-level retail management and career advancement. More than 1,200 students have been trained through this program. Read more »

Goodwill-Community College Career Collaboration (C4)

In 2009 with support from Lumina Foundation, Goodwill Industries International and the American Association of Community Colleges launched Community College Career Collaboration (C4), an initiative capitalizing on the alignment of the organizations’ missions to advance career success for low-income and unemployed workers. In over 60 communities around the country, local Goodwill organizations and community colleges work together with sponsoring employers to prepare workers with employer-valued skills and credentials for new jobs that are in demand within each community served. Read more »


Grainger, North America’s leading distributor of industrial supplies, has contributed more than $2 million since 2006 to support technical education in the form of scholarships, toolkits and technical education program support and awareness. Their Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program offers scholarships and tools to students at over 100 community and technical colleges across the nation to support the goal of completion at these two-year institutions. Grainger also has sought opportunities to promote the benefits of technical education in a variety of public forums including a roundtable “In Search of the Skilled Worker: The Finding, Training and Placing of Workers in the Skilled Trades” at the Aspen Institute in February. Read more »


Now in its second year of operation, IBM’s P-TECH, connects high school, college and the world of work through deep, meaningful school and company partnerships. Students receive a grade 9-14 education and graduate with a high school diploma, an associate in applied science degree in Computer Information Systems or Electromechanical Engineering Technology, and are first in line for consideration for jobs at IBM. This initiative has already expanded to Chicago and recently plans were announced to launch the initiative in upstate New York. Read more »


In partnership with Tyler Junior College and Tyler Economic Development Council, Luminant, the largest electric generator in Texas, launched Luminant Academy in 2006. The 24,000-square-foot facility provides technical, lean manufacturing and leadership training for students and employees. The academy also offers a best-in-class career development program: Luminant Power Track. Now entering its third year, this innovative program offers high school graduates the chance to earn a full scholarship toward a two-year associate degree in power plant technology at Tyler Junior College or a two-year associate degree in electrical technology, mechanical technology or instrumentation and control at Texas State Technical College in Waco. Students may also choose to study electrical technology at Panola College in Carthage, Texas. Read more »


McDonald’s has made a commitment to Skills for America’s Future to expand English Under the Arches™, an English language learning program for McDonald’s managers, which provides up to 250 hours of structured class time. Individual franchise owners, known at McDonald’s as “Owner/Operators,” select high potential managers to participate in the program, pay their tuition and provide paid work time for the employees to attend classes while at work. In this unique delivery model a portion of the classes are conducted in real time, virtually, three hours per week. A contextualized curriculum accelerates proficiency gains and a unique delivery model encourages high attendance and graduation rates. Read more »

Motorola Solutions

Motorola Solutions of Schaumburg, Ill. continues to further develop its 20 year partnership with nearby Harper College. One example of this partnership is the development of the Choice Scholars Institute which is devoted to providing incoming freshman with the fundamental skills necessary to thrive not only in an educational environment but in a professional setting.  Motorola Solutions is contributing its expertise in a series of sessions titled, “Motorola Moments,” which involves Motorola Solutions professionals educating Choice students about valuable lessons concerning critical thinking, innovation, marketing, communications and interviewing.  Motorola Solutions and Harper College are committed to guiding the students of today to be better equipped tomorrow in a professional arena, making America more competitive on a global level. Read more »

Multivision, Inc.

In the beginning of 2009, Multivision, Inc. saw a massive and growing demand for IT professionals, specifically software developers with advanced skills. But still there was a huge skill gap within the available workforce for the skills the company needed. Multivision addressed this skill gap issue by starting an in-house Workforce Development Program (WDP) to develop the skills required to do the jobs for its projects, together with Northern Virginia Community College and other educational institutions. Over the past five years, the WFD program has trained over 500 participants, with a 90%+ completion and placement rate. Read more »

Next Era Energy

In 2007, Florida Power and Light (subsidiary of NextEra Energy) formed a partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Indian River State College (IRSC). These three entities are collaborating to create industry-recognized transferrable training and to offer opportunities for new talent to enter the nuclear industry workforce. Through the Apprenticeship Degree and Qualification Program, with a two year degree program and one year apprenticeship, Florida Power & Light seeks to hire 20 graduates a year over the next ten years. Read more »

Pacific Gas & Electric

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Company has pledged to Skills for America’s Future to expand its PG&E PowerPathway™ workforce development programs and will grow by 250% in number of people trained in 2013 compared to previous years. PowerPathway™ is a partnership among PG&E, California community colleges and universities, local workforce investment boards, community-based training organizations, military installations and industry employers, to fill the shortage of skilled workers needed in the utilities and energy industry. With over 71% placement rate into the industry, PG&E is cultivating career pathways into energy to help entry-level and experienced workers up-skill and prepare for good-paying, in-demand jobs in the utilities industry. Read more »

RITE Board

In 2009, a team of IT professionals from all industry and educational leaders in Northeast Ohio came together to form the RITE Board. The RITE Board seeks to increase the number of students in their 12 county area who are prepared and hired to meet the IT needs of employers in the region.  The group provides training, career awareness and guidance, internships and outreach and student support. Read more »

Snap-On, Inc.

Snap-on has been dedicated to technical education for over 50 years, contributing over $1 million annually to workforce training causes and helping to found the National Coalition for Certification Centers (NC3). The company’s central training model, the Snap-on Certification program, partners with more than 60 community colleges, and provides these institutions with a package that includes curriculum, tools, lab materials and access to a testing website. With successful completion of the test, students receive a certification, allowing them to demonstrate transferrable skills from a globally recognized company. In addition, Snap-on’s Student Excellence Program offers participants tools, equipment and tool storage at significantly reduced pricing to help students pursue their technical career. Read more »


Launched in 1998, Metropolitan College is a collaboration between UPS, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the City of Louisville, Jefferson Community and Technical College, and the University of Louisville. Serving 2,000-2,300 participants a year, this program provides UPS employees, who work in the overnight air operation, with resident tuition, book reimbursement,and; academic bonuses in addition to their salary and benefits. Read more »