Economic Opportunities Program
Economic Opportunities Program
UPS Metropolitan College and Workforce Advisory Board Initiative
- Partnership of five institutions in business, government, and education
- 13,109 participants since 1998
- Between 2,000-2,300 participants per year
- 90% new hire retention
- Supports include tuition deferment, book reimbursement, and academic-based bonsues
Metropolitan College: An Introduction
Begun in 1998, Metropolitan College is a Louisville, Kentucky-based partnership of business, government, and postsecondary educational institutions. The program recruits participants from high schools, community college transfer fairs and partner colleges, and offers them both financial support for study and part-time employment at UPS.
“It’s been a great opportunity to get a college education, at no cost, and a chance at a long career with a great company."
- Darko Minic, Part-time Supervisor
How the Partnership Works
Metropolitan College is not a physical place, but a collaborative effort undertaken by five partners: UPS, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the City of Louisville, Jefferson Community and Technical College and the University of Louisville.
Program applicants are largely high school students near graduation, community college transfer students, or current students at Jefferson Community and Technical College and the University of Louisville. Open to all UPS overnight employees, participants work as part-time UPS overnight employees while attending school.
Participants receive an extremely competitive package of benefits and incentives, including:
- 100% undergraduate resident tuition
- Book reimbursement up to $65/class for books and software
- Academic bonuses including up to $500 for semester completion, and up to $600 at the completion of 30, 60 and 90 credit hours
- Graduation bonuses of $400 for an Associate’s degree, $1,000 for a Bachelor’s with an Associate’s degree, $1,400 for a Bachelor’s without an Associate’s degree
- Student support at work and at school including career and academic counseling
- Part-time employment
- Health insurance and paid time off
Financing the partnership is a shared investment by all five partners. The Commonwealth of Kentucky and UPS fund 100% of tuition, and a book reimbursement program. UPS funds all of the academic bonuses, and provides workplace support. Jefferson Community and Technical College, the University of Louisville and the city of Louisville provide funding for all program costs including recruiting, technology and student support staff, office expenses and other program related expenses.
As of the fall of 2012, 3,912 individuals, who had participated in Metropolitan College for one or more semesters, had earned 4,830 credentials including 1,327 certificates, 1,237 associate’s degrees, 1,914 bachelor’s degrees, and 256 advanced degrees.
In addition to all of the benefits for participants, Metropolitan College has dramatically stabilized UPS’s overnight workforce and provided reliable, skilled employees to staff UPS’s Next Day Air® in Louisville. In Louisville, 42% of the UPS part-time workforce consists of students, up from 8% before the Metropolitan College program. In addition, UPS’s overnight retention rate has climbed from less than 30% before the Metropolitan College program to an average of 86% among Metropolitan College New Hires. In 2012, the New Hire Retention rate among Metropolitan College Participants is 90% (almost double the 47% rate among non-participants). Average length of stay among new hires was eight weeks before the Metropolitan College partnership. It is now 147 weeks among partnership participants.
Workforce Advisory Board Initiative
As a commitment to Skills for America’s Future, UPS has recently expanded the scope of Metropolitan College by creating a Workforce Advisory Board Initiative that brings together multiple Louisville employers. The Initiative will ask participating employers to guide partner education institutions in establishing academic pathways that equip students with the skills for specific, in-demand fields. Employers will commit to interviewing graduates of the Metropolitan College program who went through identified career pathways.
This new partnership will help Louisville employers recruit local, highly-skilled workers and help graduates to find employment in Louisville following graduation—all while ensuring Kentucky maintains a competitive workforce.
“Our Workforce Advisory Board initiative is a creative and innovative workforce development and education strategy that will increase our ability to retain talent within the state of Kentucky and deliver effective low cost solutions to the partners.”
-Tom Volta, Vice President Human Resources
Skills for America's Future (SAF) is a non-partisan, employer-led initiative of the Aspen Institute. It is focused on creating a national network of partnerships among employers, community colleges, industry associations and other stakeholders. These partnerships are designed to ensure that American workers receive the necessary training to meet the skill needs of employers, giving them the opporunity to obtain and keep good jobs.
For more information about how your company can partner with community colleges and Skills for America's Future, contact Rene Bryce-Laporte at email@example.com