On Tuesday, the Department of Education announced the participants of an innovative higher education initiative, which allows universities to team up with other organizations, such as employers and nontraditional education providers, to offer bachelor’s degrees, primarily for low-income students. Northeastern was one of only eight institutions across the country to be selected, and the university’s partnership with General Electric garnered widespread national media attention.
“Higher education cannot keep doing things the way it has for the past 300 years,” President Joseph E. Aoun said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “We have to integrate the classroom experience with the world experience and the work experience.”
The university will partner with GE to launch an accelerated bachelor’s degree in advanced manufacturing, a first-in-the-nation program. It will combine online learning provided by Northeastern with experiential learning opportunities through GE-provided training and projects.
Here is a selection of the broad national coverage of Tuesday’s announcement:
The Wall Street Journal: Obama Administration to Fund Nontraditional Training for Students
Dozens of GE employees will make up the initial batch of students, the company said. Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun said college instructors will teach courses at the facility focused on how to use software to operate machines, giving workers hands-on experience.
The Boston Globe: Northeastern, GE partner to create manufacturing degree
Northeastern’s president, Joseph Aoun, said the goal is to offer faster, less-expensive degrees that incorporate real-world experience and that lead to jobs.
Northeastern, for instance, is teaming up with General Electric to offer an accelerated bachelor of science in advanced manufacturing. GE will provide hands-on training, while the university will co-develop the curriculums and provide support services. The degree will initially be open to GE employees in the spring, with plans to extend enrollment to the broader population, explained Northeastern President Joseph Aoun.
The Associated Press: Feds to test financial aid for unorthodox Northeastern, GE programs
At Northeastern, the new degree aims to combat what school officials say is a shortage of workers with advanced manufacturing skills. The program will launch next spring, starting with up to 50 General Electric employees as the first students. By fall 2017, the university hopes to expand the degree program to students across the U.S.
“And with new digital technologies like 3D printing, new skill sets are emerging that are rapidly changing workforce needs. That is why participating in programs like EQUIP with Northeastern University are so important.” – Todd Alhart, spokesman for GE Global Research
The highest-profile partnership includes General Electric, a massive multinational conglomerate, and Northeastern University, which is well known for its co-op program, which places students in semesters of full-time work, related to their majors, with more than 3,000 employer partners.
The Chronicle of Higher Education: Experiment With New Education Providers Also Tests New Ways to Measure Quality
Marketplace: Obama administration expands access to student aid
Consumer Reports: New College Financial Aid Program Aims to Get Students Jobs, Not Debt