Trilogy Health Services has inked a partnership with Purdue University Global that will enable its employees to earn college credits through the online college for free.
The initiative, which officially launches on June 17, will give Trilogy’s roughly 15,000 part- and full-time employees free access to about 180 different online degrees, including associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s programs*. Under the agreement with Purdue, Trilogy is paying a discount rate for employees’ online classes, though the company can’t say exactly how much it will spend until employees start using the service.
Purdue University Global is an affiliate of West Lafayette, Indiana-based Purdue University. It was formed last year after the university acquired the for-profit Kaplan University.
“We specialize in helping employers upskill employees to meet the increasing demand for a highly trained and educated workforce,” Purdue University Global Chancellor Dr. Betty Vandenbosch told Senior Housing News. “We are dedicated to helping adult students who need flexibility to fit learning into their busy lives, making it possible to achieve a degree that will advance their careers.”
The new agreement is part of Trilogy’s ongoing efforts to recruit and retain workers, according to Todd Schmiedeler, senior vice president of foundation and workforce development for the Louisville, Kentucky-based senior housing provider. Trilogy’s overall portfolio includes 114 communities spread across Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.
“A bachelor’s or a master’s can really impact not only our frontline employees, but also our leadership and the employees at our home office,” Schmiedeler told SHN.
The move is aimed primarily at giving the company’s employees even more flexibility to pursue a meaningful long-term career while they make ends meet.
“So many people struggle with balancing working and going to school and having a family,” Schmiedeler said. “This is creating more opportunities that allow them to grow … while maintaining their family life.”
Another piece of the new partnership is financial. College classes are expensive, and the cost of a university education is rapidly increasing. At the same time, senior living employees are finding they need new certifications or degrees in order to get ahead in their career while some of them are also struggling to pay rent.
“We all know our business is changing and acuity is getting greater,” Schmiedeler said. “We say [to employees], we want to help you get into nursing school … and yet a CNA is making $13 or $14 an hour and trying to figure out just how to do that.”
Other ways the company attracts and keeps top talent is by helping repay their college debt, offering them scholarships or giving them career advancement pathways in the form of apprenticeships, all through its nonprofit, the Trilogy Foundation. To date, roughly 1,200 Trilogy employees use the company’s student loan repayment program, and about 4,000 are enrolled in the apprentice program.
“We believe in the flywheel of success,” Schmiedeler explained. “That starts with recruiting and retaining high-quality employees and giving them every opportunity to grow and advance in a career, but also to be better at what they do with regard to serving our residents.”
Trilogy isn’t the only company partnering with universities on education initiatives for employees. Just this week, LifeSpire of Virginia — a Richmond, Virginia-based organization with four life plan communities in the state — announced its first-ever educational partnership with Averett University.
Through that partnership, LifeSpire employees can earn a degree at Averett with scholarships awarded by the university, and Averett students will work as interns with the senior living provider. LifeSpire residents can also attend college-level lectures in their communities.
*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misstated that Purdue University Global offers doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs through the partnership with Trilogy. That is incorrect, and the story has been updated.