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Master’s plan Centenary brings classes to workplace

Samantha Cole, an executive assistant with Verizon Wireless, is working toward her MBA at Centenary College.-(PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

After years of facing the difficult issue of downsizing, many employers now are facing an entirely different issue: retention.

Believe it or not, workers are now leaving or quitting their jobs at a higher rate than at any time since 2008. So what’s the best way to keep them from looking for something better?

Bring the better to them.

Centenary College is helping companies do just that through its School of Professional Studies (SPS). Since 2007, the school has offered a program that brings its classes — and its instructors — to the workplace, enabling employees to earn advanced degrees without ever leaving their office.

Michael Graziano, the SPS director of enrollment, said the Hackettstown-based college specifically targets corporate partners for SPS, which started in 1999 as the Center for Adult Professional Studies before being rebranded in 2012.

“What we’ll do is have recruiting efforts on site, at the location, and the idea is to build a group of people right in their office,” he said. “They have the convenience of walking from their office right to the classroom.”

Here’s how it works:

  • The SPS program offers two master’s degrees (in business management and health management).
  • If a company has at least 15 interested employees and a place to teach, Centenary will send an instructor to the location.
  • Each class usually lasts 3 to 4 hours and is usually once a week for eight weeks.
  • The master’s program usually takes two years to complete.
  • Tuition is about $23,000, but there are corporate discounts of up to 15 percent.

The program is working. Last May, 86 people earned degrees, the most since the program began in 2007.

Centenary currently works with seven companies, making up 35 percent of the 700 SPS students.

Details and employee cost vary with each partnership, but some — including Verizon Wireless — have provided its employees with complete tuition reimbursement.

Andrew Sheldon
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