DePaul's Corporate Employer Outreach program has continued to grow both in size and scope of degree programs, reaching Fortune 500 and 1000 businesses from across the city.
Since introducing the CEO Program in 2014, DePaul has established 25 connections with Chicago companies including Northern Trust, United Airlines and Walgreens University. To date, 19 cohorts of students have participated, resulting in 622 new students at DePaul - 125 undergraduate, 458 graduate and 29 law students.
Most often cohorts pursue Masters in Business degrees, but some of the new companies to join the program are completing other degree tracks. The cohort at Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, for example, is completing a Masters of Public Health. Another example, the cohort at Health Care Service Corporation is working towards a Master of Science in Predictive Analytics.
"We are so proud of the initial success we've seen in this program" says Suzanne Depeder, associate vice president of Graduate and Adult Admission. "Moving forward, we expect business, technology and healthcare to be the most popular areas of interest within the CEO program, and anticipate a significant expansion of new student enrollment through our corporate partnerships. The CEO program is truly something unique within the DePaul community."
The CEO program managed within Enrollment Management and Marketing has progressed extensively since its launch in 2014. The initiative allows DePaul to connect with Fortune 500 and 1000 companies that offer their employees tuition reimbursement. The companies also choose which degree program will best suit the needs of their employees.
"Our goal is to assist businesses in creating educational solutions to attract, motivate, develop and secure their organization's brightest and most talented employees," Depeder says.
Here's how it works: at the end of the day, employees grab a quick dinner and meet back in their own workspace, which transforms into a classroom where they earn undergraduate or graduate degrees. A cohort partnership allows the group of employees to begin and end their degree program as an entire class within their workplace.
"The cohort learning style encourages co-workers to form relationships with people across the entire corporation," Depeder says. "A cohort class may include individuals across departments who come together to learn the same material."
Employers benefit from the CEO program by retaining highly educated employees. Employers run their companies more efficiently due to the skills that employees are learning through their course work.
Employees learn about the program through education events at their businesses, such as special topic lunch seminars.
"Through these informal events, DePaul has the opportunity to showcase its business values, which often align with those of the companies and get employees thinking about furthering their education," Depeder says.
DePaul creates new relationships with businesses to help with career placement for current students. Students nearing graduation will have access to a much wider base of companies and alumni within Chicago.
"We use the CEO program as an engine to develop new ideas regarding student career success and advancement at DePaul," Depeder says. "We know the program's growth will continue to have a positive influence on the entire DePaul community."