Saint Joseph's College and the Maine Development Foundation today announced a change in their partnership that will increase educational benefits to Maine workers in 120 companies. The partnership will increase the tuition discount from 10 percent to 15 percent on August 1, and continue to waive application fees for employees of companies that are members of MDF's workforce and education program, called the Maine Employers' Initiative (MEI).
One focus of MEI is to work directly with Maine's employers to help them support their employees in college degree and certificate completion. In the last few years, 120 employers have taken steps to increase opportunity for their employees - ranging from flexible time off, to tuition assistance, to providing educational information with pay stubs or publicly recognizing and celebrating employees' accomplishments.
"Raising the educational achievement of our workforce is an economic imperative. We are delighted that Saint Joseph's College Online is making it even easier for Maine workers to complete their degrees and certificates and reach their highest educational potential," remarked Laurie Lachance, President and CEO of Maine Development Foundation.
"Maine lags behind New England in the proportion of adults with college degrees," she added. "Even if all of Maine's youth go on to complete a college degree, the state will still not have enough credentialed workers to meet future needs, so we absolutely have to think about increasing the skills and competencies of the people we already have in the workforce today."
Dr. Joseph Lee, President of Saint Joseph's, says the Employers' Initiative raises awareness of education's importance. "We are proud and excited to be part of this process to help adults complete their degrees," he said. "Convenience is critical to success, and we are pleased to offer online education for more flexibility."
Saint Joseph's College offers 14 online degree programs for working professionals, including the fields of health administration, education, business administration, nursing, accounting, theology, criminal justice, long-term care, and radiologic science.
Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, a member of the Initiative, has a number of employees enrolled in St. Joseph's online program. "We are happy to have committed educational partners like Saint Joseph's College helping us to advance the career opportunities of our employees," said President & CEO Michelle Hood. "Being part of the Maine Employer's Initiative complements one of our strong imperatives to address the current and future workforce supply demands of our system."
The Maine Employers' Initiative (MEI) is a program of the Maine Development Foundation focused on growing educational opportunities for Maine workers in the workplace, building connections between educational programs and workforce needs, and attracting and retaining the qualified workers that Maine needs.
"Innovative partnerships between Maine's businesses and our educational institutions, like the Maine Employers' Initiative, are critical to the future of our state," said Maggie Drummond, MEI Program Director. "This program is a great way for any employer in Maine to support employees' career and educational aspirations."