National University System Launches Workforce Education Solutions To Expand Educational Pathways for Employees in High-Demand Fields

With an emphasis on online and personalized education, WES provides quality, affordable training customized to meet industry standards and provide credit for prior learning; Effort addresses workforce skills gap, incorporating workforce competencies and accelerating time to degree completion

San Diego, CA – The nonprofit National University System (NUS), a network of undergraduate and graduate universities that provide quality, affordable higher education for more than 45,000 working adults, announced today that it is launching Workforce Education Solutions to expand its efforts nationally to create educational pathways for employees in high-demand fields. Workforce Education Solutions aligns degree programs with employer-defined professional competencies so that students can pursue a more direct and affordable pathway to degree completion. Through this approach, students acquire skills that allow them to advance their careers and fill future job demands while ensuing employers can benefit from a highly-skilled workforce.

Chris Graham
Chris Graham is President of Workforce Education Solutions at National University System

Workforce Education Solutions addresses a troubling skills gap nationwide in connecting higher education programs to the specific needs of employers and industry sectors. Due to this workforce skills gap, employers are finding it more challenging to attract and retain qualified candidates. As a result, according to industry forecasts an estimated 6.5 million jobs are likely to remain unfilled. Workforce Education Solutions leverages and represents a strong commitment to further advance the National University System’s strong track record of serving diverse student populations, including adult learners, and creating workforce collaborations with organizations and public agencies representing healthcare, banking, public safety, and K-12 and community college education.

“Workforce Education Solutions is addressing a critical need in addressing the nationwide need for highly-skilled workers through collaborations with organizations, companies and the public sector to develop educational and market-driven opportunities for our students,” said Chris Graham, President of Workforce Education Solutions at the National University System. “We look forward to expanding access to our online platforms and personalized learning approaches that are designed to support student success from the classroom to the workforce.”

“The National University System is pleased be expanding our efforts nationally to support student success and employer needs through Workforce Education Solutions,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, National University System Chancellor. “At the National University System, we believe that addressing the workforce skills gap is essential to ensuring our nation’s future, and we are dedicated to creating academic, career-focused pathways that provide access to a quality, affordable degree.”

Addressing Workforce Needs, Starting in Five Fields
Workforce Education Solutions leverages the strength of the National University System affiliated institutions, building on partnerships already in place and initiated by National University, City University of Seattle, John F. Kennedy University and Northcentral University. Workforce Education Solutions is focusing initially on five market-driven verticals with the intention to expand to additional categories in the near future. The initial areas of focus are:

  • BANKING AND CORPORATE: Workforce Education Solutions will work with banking industry groups, starting with the Washington Banker’s Association, to expand on a concept developed by NUS affiliate City University of Seattle to offer a credit alignment program for banking employees based on standards outlined by the American Bankers Association’s (ABA). Students with sufficient ABA credits may waive up to 25 percent of their MBA and undergraduate programs, significantly reducing time and cost. National University is aligning banking principle competencies into its MBA and Finance programs. Meanwhile, City University of Seattle, has offered credit alignments with Boeing’s training programs to create a pathway for thousands of employees to obtain their B.A. in Management and advance their careers.
  • PUBLIC SAFETY: National University has launched a program that incorporates prior academy education for public safety and law enforcement groups, resulting in a reduction of time and cost to obtain a degree. Workforce Education Solutions has created academic credit articulations with training credit approved by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), making it possible in some cases to reduce program time and cost by 40 percent and earn a bachelor’s degree in less than a year. The concept is being expanded nationally
  • HEALTH CARE: Workforce Education Solutions, through National University’s School of Health and Human Services, has aligned courses with Planetree International’s standards for patient-centered care. This partnership positions National University as a leader in collaborating with other health care facilities, including Sharp hospitals and medical care centers, that have also achieved Planetree recognition and a commitment to achieving the highest quality patient outcomes while serving diverse communities through a person-centered model of care.
  • K-12 EDUCATION: Workforce Education Solutions is piloting teacher pathways to increase greater diversity in the nation’s teacher workforce through partnerships with high schools and community colleges and access to affordable degree options from National University’s Sanford College of Education, which is among the Top Ten largest schools in the country. In addition, academic pathways are being developed at National University that include a focus on special education administrators, and para-professionals. The Applied Behavioral Analysis program, for example, prepares educators for the national Board Certified Behavior Analysis exam.
  • COMMUNITY COLLEGES: Workforce Education Solutions and Northcentral University will help faculty, staff and part-time workers earn Ph.D.’s and professional degrees, to provide additional education for administrators for career advancement. National University, which has partnership with 114 community colleges in California, is also strengthening its educational pathways for transfer students in career-specific fields.

National University System’s expertise supporting workforce education is based on its roots serving adult learners. National University was founded nearly 50 years ago by Dr. David Chigos, who identified a need to better serve and support the up-skilling of employees while working as director of learning for General Dynamics. While there, he saw the challenges faced by employees serving in the military who were regularly deployed and unable to complete their education at traditional institutions. He was inspired to create National University, which is dedicated to providing affordable, quality education for working professionals. Today, Workforce Education Solutions is working with numerous companies, including Wells Fargo, Easter Seals, Scripps Health, and Sharp Health Care, through National University System partnerships.

About National University System
Established in 2001 to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st Century, the National University System is a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving higher education and K-12 students that includes National University, Northcentral University, John F. Kennedy University, City University of Seattle, and the Division of Pre-College Programs. Learn more at National University System.

About Workforce Education Solutions
The workforce development arm of National University System, seeks to help the nation meet its need for highly skilled workers by developing educational pathways for working adults in key industries to advance their careers and earning power. WES partners with corporations, industries, and government agencies to align training with degree-bearing credits and keeps cost low for employees by recognizing prior learning and eliminating duplication between new courses and previous in-house training. Workforce training solutions are customized to meet industry needs by embedding desired industry practices/standards and competencies into coursework. Visit nusystem.org/partnership.