Creating a Workforce for the New Economy
Merrimack College is educating its students with the skills they need in a specialized economy and partnering with employers to fill high-demand positions.
There has never been a year quite like 2021. In the midst of economic and social upheaval, employers struggled to fill job openings as millions of Americans changed jobs or retired.
To help meet this rising demand, Merrimack is building a pipeline of talent for a wide range of industries - from biotechnology, healthcare and finance to data science, information technology and education. Not only are Merrimack students well educated, they are also prepared with the critical-thinking and communication skills they need to thrive in the modern workplace.
Training the Employees of the Future
“There are those who talk about a well-rounded education and employee training as if they were mutually exclusive,” said President Christopher E. Hopey. “Truly, the best workers have the breadth of knowledge and imagination that contributes to great problem solving, as well as the depth in a given field required to make contributions in an increasingly specialized economy. Merrimack is positioned to address both of these needs.”
To that end, Merrimack is partnering with employers to help them:
- Fill high-demand positions through internships, co-ops and career events
- Develop custom programs that meet specific talent or skill needs
- Provide ongoing workforce education ranging from graduate programs to corporate non-credit training, to help upskill and reskill employees
- Advance research goals through innovative faculty collaborations
- Elevate their presence through unique on-campus sponsorships with Division I athletics teams or visual and performing arts programs
- Invest in next-generation innovation opportunities such as incubator and maker spaces, research labs and early college programs
By collaborating with Merrimack, employers can help attract and retain the best employees by investing in their education — and their future.
Transcending the Traditional Classroom Model
Building on the College’s reputation for supportive, high-quality instruction, Merrimack offers online courses and degree programs that help working professionals build their skills in specialized fields. Through a collaborative partnership with EdTech pioneer Meteor Learning, Merrimack has developed an online curriculum that meets the unique needs of corporations and individuals. From bachelor’s and master’s degree programs to specialized certification training, the courses are designed to help participants refresh their skills and advance their careers.
For companies with specific needs, Merrimack even creates custom programs that equip participants with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the jobs that they want. “Many companies today are desperate to hire data scientists and data analysts, for example,” said Donna Ritchie, COO of Meteor. “Merrimack’s strengths in that field means they are delivering exactly the kind of workers that employers are eager to hire.”
Educating Tomorrow’s Teachers
Online teacher training programs through Merrimack’s Winston School of Education and Social Policy have been very well received. “These are the same courses that are taught on campus,” explained Interim Dean Deborah Margolis. “The students in the online M.Ed. program come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are current teachers looking to add an additional area of expertise like special education, while others are career changers looking to enter the education field.”
The teacher training program is flexible, and participants can finish all the requirements for a master’s degree in as little as 12 months. Just like in-person students, online participants are matched with practicums and student teaching opportunities. The 400 learners enrolled in this program span the Commonwealth from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and the islands.
Anticipating the Needs of the Modern Workforce
Meteor CEO Bill Rieders credited the success of these programs to Merrimack College’s administration. “President Hopey anticipated both the need and methodology for these programs years ago. I am constantly impressed by his foresight, leadership and vision.”
Dean Margolis pointed out the practical advantages of online offerings. “Our online program didn’t miss a beat during the pandemic, and instructors in those courses were even able to share much of what they knew about online teaching with colleagues who had to pivot during the interrupted 2020 school year.”
By adapting to meet the demands of an ever-evolving, increasingly hybrid workforce, Merrimack is expanding its reach and making a measurable impact on the future of employees and employers alike.