Education has widely been heralded as the key to success in the modern age. But how you get that education is something people are beginning to question. Despite a burgeoning public education system, the cost of college in the United States is becoming a challenge for many aspiring students.
The fear of crushing debt is driving the need for new solutions to help students find new routes to a career, whether that involves a degree, technical training or apprenticeships. For those seeking a career in construction, sponsorship is a great option. This modernization of the idea of apprenticeship is a win/win for students and employers.
What it Means to Sponsor a Student
Student sponsorship is a little bit like professional sponsorship in the way that it's a mutually beneficial relationship, but it also borrows from the practice of apprenticeship by capitalizing on the value of experience and human resources. In the construction industry, sponsoring students can apply to a variety of education and training programs, both traditional and nontraditional.
Entering into a sponsorship agreement allows a student to receive partial or total tuition reimbursement for their course fees and potentially other costs associated with achieving certification or degree in a specific field. Of course, the field of study will need to align with the type of work the company does to make the investment worthwhile for the company.
It's worth noting that businesses may write off up to $5,250 per year, per employee in tuition costs, which makes the investment a wise maneuver for business owners.
Terms of Sponsorship
In exchange for the money put up for tuition, the company expects to receive compensation in the form of labor from the individual being sponsored. Many schools require students to participate in an internship or co-op program as part of their education. Entering a sponsorship agreement typically commits the student to doing their internship with the company that they receive tuition assistance from.
In addition to participating in an internship, many sponsorship programs require that the student work for the sponsoring company for a fixed period of time following their graduation. If you're participating in or helping to build out a sponsorship program, it's important to consider the terms of a sponsorship agreement after graduation.
As an employer, you'll want to ensure that the conditions for students are stringent enough that you'll have competent workers coming out of the program when it's time to hire. For example, you might impose a rule that students must complete each of the courses in a specific curriculum with a score of B or higher.
Wins for Students
It's not hard to see why corporate sponsorship is such an attractive idea both for students and employers. As a student, you receive a substantial amount of assistance in paying for an education. That's not only helpful in the short-term, it eliminates the very scary reality of paying back college debt, which can burden people with huge fiscal challenges years after they enter the workforce.
It also gives students a fast-track into the workforce at a company they've come to know, where they have existing connections and a good track to advancement. When students are finished, the additions to their resume and CV will help them stand out among their peers who weren't able to begin getting real-world experience until later in their careers.
Wins for Businesses
With so many young people writing off the prospect of going directly into the workforce, access to good young talent in the construction industry can be a challenge. Sponsorship borrows the best parts of apprenticeship and rolls them up into a program that secures well-trained employees for multiple years.
If your business has the capital, it's hard to lose with a sponsorship program. You'll be investing in the future of your business, protecting your tax position and also promoting a positive image of your company in the community. Visibility through the education system will help drive business and promote networking.
If you haven't already started, consider what a sponsorship program for your company might look like. It's alright if you've only got the resources to sponsor a single student right now, that's better than nothing. Tracking the positive impact on your business should be quite straightforward if you begin recording the metrics early on.
You might be surprised at how cash-positive the investment ends up being for you, particularly when employees stay on for a long time after graduation. Ultimately, you should want to build a business where people want to stay, and who better to have around than those same students who got to know your operation from the ground-up?