This Corporate–Academic Partnership Continues to Deliver

By Rebecca L. Weber

Through a partnership with UPS, Moraine Valley Community College students can get a part-time job that also offers financial assistance for school.

UPS has an offer for Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) students who need to work part time while attending school.

Through the Chicagoland Regional College Program (CRCP), MVCC students can earn a part-time paycheck at UPS and have the cost of their tuition, fees and books covered. Students also receive a $300–$500 monthly stipend and additional academic support, if they need it.

UPS started CRCP with two partner colleges, one of which was MVCC, in Palos Hills, Illinois. Today, the program partners with seven Chicago-area community colleges and universities.

Some 1,700 students, or about 43 percent of the program’s participants, have attended MVCC through CRCP. In the spring of 2015, 124 of 125 MVCC students successfully completed the program.

CRCP received state funding in the past, but not now. “State funding in Illinois is nonexistent at this time,” says Severo M. Balason Jr., dean of enrollment services at MVCC. “Because of our relationship with UPS, guess what? They pick up the slack.”

How the program works

Students start as package handlers at UPS’s facility in Hodgkins, Illinois, which processes between 1.7 million and 2 million items daily. They work the night or early morning shift Monday through Friday for 3.5 to 5 hours per shift, starting at $10.10 per hour.

They don’t have to work weekends or holidays, but they do need to be able to lift and lower up to 70-pound packages. About 30 percent of CRCP participants have been promoted to first-level management positions while in the program.

CRCP students get priority registration at MVCC. This is not just a perk, but a necessity for those working the UPS graveyard shifts. Without having the first crack at classes that start in the early afternoon, these students would not be able to take the necessary coursework.

Students who want to continue at UPS can enter MVCC’s 30-credit plant-engineering certificate program, which focuses on maintaining buildings and older infrastructure. Eighty-six percent of students who earn the certificate are promoted to UPS plant-engineering jobs.

More than 40 percent of program participants have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and the college tracks all program participants. If students are struggling midsemester, they can meet with an academic adviser.

“I review the registration status of each of these participants,” says Balason. “I’m helping my partner retain their employees, and it helps me determine if these are good students who will continue.”

Providing critical support

CRCP data show that about half of the students in the program wouldn’t be in college without the program and its benefits. Sixty-four percent of the students said that without CRCP support, they would have to look for a second job.

Before starting at UPS and becoming a CRCP student, Stanzeal Castile, of Bolingbrook, Illinois, attended a trade school that he later learned was not accredited. “I was left with no career and $40,000 debt,” he says. “My grandfather, who is a former employee of UPS, inspired me to apply for the job. I remember walking into the CRCP office to register, and I’ve never looked back.”

Servelure McMath Bostick, CRCP’s associate executive director, would like to expand the program with funding from the state. “We’re hopeful that we will be written back into the state budget,” she says. “Our legislators believe in the value of this program.”

Rebecca L. Weber

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.

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