Education - Page 8 - Partners, from page 7

- Page 8
Partners, from page 7
more relevant to the community.”

UB helps prepare talent for the needs of many industries. “There’s a growing industry in Maryland – and elsewhere – for cybersecurity,” says Dalziel. “A tremendous number of job vacancies exist from Northern Virginia to Maryland in that field.

Entrepreneurship, too, emerges as a focus.

“We recognize that in the old days, the reason people did a MBA program was because they wanted to be promoted within their companies. That’s still true for half of our population. But a lot of people earn an MBA now because they want to run their own businesses,” says Dalziel.

UB remains heavily networked in with incubators. “We’ll have special sessions between business people and our students that cover how to give a presentation to angel investors. We like to think that we are linked into that business startup community, which is another important part of what’s happing in Baltimore,” says Dalziel. UB offers short, non-credit courses on entrepreneurship, too.

UB’s business partnerships help the school design curriculum and internships with an eye toward the changing business landscape. “We work hard to make sure UB is offering tomorrow’s curriculum, as well as just today’s,” says Isberg. Federal Government Turns To UMUC

Doing business with the federal government remains big business. So when higher education partners with the federal government, it’s a key business partnership. When University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) created an alliance, known as the UMUC Federal Education and Development (FED) program, the school’s press materials described it as “historic” and “first of it’s kind.”

Essentially, the partnership helps educate the federal workforce.

In 2014, the OPM and UMUC signed an agreement to create discounts for a variety of courses, certificates and degree programs for all current federal employees and their spouses and their legal dependents. In 2017, discount tuition benefits expanded to include a graduate program in cybersecurity and its MBA program.

In addition, this partnership taps federal subject matter experts as adjunct faculty, which infuses a public sector perspective into curriculum designed to prepare students for possible federal employment and advancement.

UMUC is not the only school to benefit from such an alliance. “OPM partners with a total of six other universities, yet the majority of the other schools are located beyond the D.C. metro area,” says Emily Ferguson, assistant vice president of client relationship management.

“I think that one reason that OPM is formalizing these agreements with universities is to close skill gaps in what the government has deemed ‘mission critical areas’ like cybersecurity, human resources, acquisition, economics, technology, engineering, mathematics, auditing and science,” says Ferguson. “UMUC targets almost all those areas with strong programs – especially in areas of cybersecurity, IT, human resources and acquisition.”

The FED program enrolls students from over 100 federal agencies, located in 42 states and the District of Columbia. UMUC reports increased enrollment and high levels of interest from federal employees and eligible family members.

The partnership seems to be working for both sides. “The federal government is a partner all around in terms of how an employer can work with a university,” says Ferguson. “They send us employees as students. They hire our students and work closely with our career services office. They provide adjunct faculty from the federal government for our programs.”

UMUC offers a virtual component that the federal government deemed necessary for its alliance. “UMUC is unique. As a hybrid university, it’s primarily an online university,” says Ed Bach, vice president of strategic partnerships. “We are one of the largest public universities in the United States that provides online, adult-centered education. I think this alliance is an opportunity to expose our programming to more people. Our mission is to provide education for students to advance their careers. With big skills gaps in certain areas, the need remains to quickly close those gaps. UMUC offers the educational capacity to do that.”

“We are extremely proud to partner with OPM on this innovative approach to strengthening the federal government’s workforce and talent pipeline,” says Javier Miyares, president at UMUC. •