JEVS Human Services is excited to announce its new partnership with University of Massachusetts Global to expand educational opportunities through its JEVS EduConnect program. The program connects Philadelphia-area adults with an accredited, flexible online education option they need to achieve a college degree. The unique element is the support and guidance of a JEVS success coach who works with the student from enrollment through to the end of their degree program.
A private nonprofit university operating through 25 traditional West Coast campuses plus a virtual campus, UMass Global (formerly Brandman University) offers nearly 100 degree, certificate, and professional credentials for working adults. Beyond providing JEVS clients with another option for post-secondary education, JEVS EduConnect represents an integrated approach to helping adults in the community—many who have families to support and other socioeconomic obstacles to continuing and completing an education—to pursue a degree along a competency-based learning path that not only accommodates their scheduling needs, but fits their interests, immediate career goals, and lifelong ambitions. Moreover, with the support of JEVS post-secondary success coaches, individuals participating in the program will get results-directed support throughout their journey—from identifying their needs and goals, to applying for financial aid, to choosing the right degree type, area of interest and programming, to continued career guidance making them more valuable to current or potential new employers.
Advanced Education for Advanced Career Options
JEVS piloted its EduConnect program in January 2019 to change the landscape of post-secondary education by partnering with Southern New Hampshire University. JEVS saw UMass Global as the natural choice for its next partnership, based on the ways their programming, completion rates, university culture, options, services and resources parallel foundations already established. With an increased capacity to serve students on the East Coast, uniting with UMass Global significantly expands the options and opportunities JEVS can offer to the Philadelphia community. Topping the list are:
- ability to enroll at any time
- the ability to obtain a master’s degree, in addition to associate and bachelor’s degrees
- more extensive offerings in IT, organizational leadership, education, psychology and counseling
- military-friendly programming offering veterans a substantial number of credits for their time of service
- competency-based learning model making enrollment more attractive especially for individuals with limited workplace experience and proficiency in the online learning space
“We are thrilled with the extent to which UMass Global has expanded JEVS’s ability to serve the Greater Philadelphia community, and their commitment to serving nontraditional students,” said Jessica Baer, director of JEVS EduConnect. “Our mission is very much aligned with UMass Global’s mission, who shares our drive to empower working adults to move forward in their education, careers and personal fulfillment. With students at the center of their work, UMass Global has a very personal approach by curating each adult’s unique academic pathway to meet their specific needs and aspirations.”
Baer went on to say that UMass Global’s master’s degree offering is a game-changer, because many of the adults seeking post-secondary education support from JEVS are in the 30-40-year-old age range and looking for meaningful career changes that will be supported by them having a master’s degree. In addition, given that JEVS focuses on educational support for adults trying to balance work, school and family responsibilities, UMass Global’s virtual learning expertise—and the fact that approximately 90% of their students work while completing a program and approximately 56% of graduates do so while caring for children—were significant selling points. UMass Global is also well known for its academic excellence in serving active-duty military, spouses and dependents, and veterans, which is an audience JEVS EduConnect strives to support more in the coming months.
“When you look at the profile of adults coming to JEVS, they want expediency as well as quality, and affordability as well as convenience, when it comes to completing their degree,” said Baer.
“Our coaching model coupled with UMass Global’s academic support will set students up for success on their journey toward degree attainment and career advancement.”
Coaches are Key Element to Success
JEVS, who has worked in the job development and education space for eight decades, knows how vital it is to have support systems in place to help people overcome the gamut of challenges that start even before an adult decides to pursue a college degree. JEVS post-secondary success coaches support students every step of the way, from enrollment through graduation. Coach activities include:
- assisting with enrollment and financial aid processes
- onboarding participants into the program
- helping students to create a workplan that enables them to fit their online coursework into their daily lives
- problem-solving challenges ranging from finding a quiet place to work at home to understanding what a project is asking them to do
- organizing student study groups
- and working to accommodate working students with evening phone or video chat sessions
Most recently, coaches have organized biweekly “community” sessions, in which students engage with each other in an online platform. This community time allows students to work together with coaches, to collaborate on projects, and to ask questions to potential employers who are experts in their industry of interest.
“With the pandemic driving so much uncertainty in our world, this program and the opportunities we now offer in partnership with UMass Global couldn’t be better timed,” said Baer. “More than just offering a path to a college degree, we’re giving people an exhilarating way to see and work toward a promising future.”
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