An innovative program that has paid the college tuition of thousands of students while helping Louisville’s United Parcel Service Worldport shipping hub expand its workforce has been named a “Top 25” program in the Innovations in American Government Awards.
“Just as the UPS hub has changed Louisville’s economic footprint, so has the Metropolitan College program – making it possible for thousands of young people to earn a college degree while getting solid job experience that in many cases has led to a great career,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.
The awards, sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, recognize outstanding programs that improve quality of life for citizens. The 25 were selected from hundreds of applications. Five finalists and one winner will be announced later this year.
More than 1,550 students are participating in the program this semester at either the University of Louisville or Jefferson Community & Technical College. Since the program began in 1998, more than 13,000 students from more than 100 Kentucky counties have participated.
In exchange for working part-time on the late shift in UPS’ Next Day Air operation, UPS pays the tuition for any employee attending UofL or JCTC and then receives 50% for tuition paid from a state tax credit to UPS. In addition, students can receive a reimbursement of up to $65 per class for textbooks. The student employees are paid a competitive $8.50/hour and receive a benefits package. Recognizing that these students are balancing work, school and family, MC offers meaningful support services, including support at UPS and extensive academic support and career development through MC student development counselors. UPS also provides incentive payments for academic success.
“Metropolitan College provides excellent value for UPS, the city of Louisville, and the state of Kentucky,” said UPS Airlines President Mitch Nichols. “Our company gets a stable workforce that is better able to serve our customers, and the region gets educated workers ready to compete in the global economy. We appreciate the recognition from Harvard’s Ash Institute.”
“These Top 25 innovations in government offer real, tangible ways to protect our most disadvantaged citizens, educate the next-generation workforce, and utilize data analytics to enhance government performance,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government program at the Ash Center. “Despite diminishing resources, these government programs have developed model innovations that other struggling agencies should be inspired to replicate and adapt to their own communities.”
To see the full list of the Top 25 programs, click here.