Friday, April 19, 2013

Fortune 500 Companies Offering Courses for College Credit

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Link to article:
Starbucks, Wal-Mart offer classes- for college credit

Businesses have for years offered training courses and seminars for skills and team-building.  But a new wave of rigorous training for company employees has been approved for full college credit toward associate's or bachelor's degree programs. Starbucks barista training and McDonald's famed Hamburger U are two top examples of this trend.

Excerpt: "A growing number of Fortune 500 companies, like Walmart, have grown tired of waiting for colleges and universities to produce the skilled workers they need and have started offering their own classes instead. And as an added bonus for employees: Many of these courses -- from Starbucks' Barista Basics to Jiffy Lube's finance fundamentals -- are eligible for college credit.

'What companies like is just-in-time learning that gives somebody a skill they need at the time they need it,' says Mark Allen, a Pepperdine University business professor and author of The Next Generation of Corporate Universities. 'What traditional universities do to a large extent is just-in-case learning.'

In Seattle, Starbucks workers take courses called Barista Basics and Barista 101. They can earn one and a half credits from City University of Seattle for each of the company's two barista classes, and three credits apiece for higher-level management courses.

Other colleges also recognize the Starbucks training for academic credit through the American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service, an organization that reviews and puts its stamp of approval on workplace courses. It's up to colleges and universities whether to accept the credits, but Mary Beth Lakin, director of ACE's college and university partnerships, says 2,000 institutions did so last year.

Every year, 5,000 McDonald's managers and prospective managers spend a week at the chain's Hamburger University at its Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters learning not how to flip hamburgers but how to sharpen their business and leadership skills.

The week-long training at Hamburger U is the capstone of months of study online and in-store with McDonald's trainers. During this time, employees can earn up to 23 credits toward associate or bachelor degrees. Higher-ups can earn as many as 27 credits."

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