State Farm donated $30 million to ASU to help fund a new education and career development program called Pathways for the Future, which will target high school and community college students as well as adults to further higher education.
The program supplies financial aid to Maricopa County residents wanting to enroll in online ASU courses hoping to learn today's evolving workforce skills.
Pathways for the Future enables learners to gain skills in three academic tracks including engineering, business or liberal arts and sciences, according to a press release.
The four groups the program is targeting are high school students, Maricopa County community college students, ASU students and employees wanting to learn new skills.
Upon completion of one of the tracks, the program intends for the learner to have become skilled to adapt to the changing workforce and gain an associate degree, undergraduate degree or undergraduate certificate.
Financial support will be available to those who apply on ASU’s website and money will be disbursed via ASU’s normal financial aid and awarding mechanism, an ASU spokesperson said in an email.
“There’s also supplemental financial support, so the scholarship endowments cover the cost of attending the summer bridge programs and allow for crisis funding and emergency grants,” said Brodie Hurtado, public affairs specialist at State Farm.
“The entire program is 6 classes, they’re seven-and-a-half week courses," Hurtado said. "And the certificate program is either to upskill or reskill adult learners."
The direction of the courses on each track can be flexible, varying from person to person.
“Pathways actually will create a course map for students, so depending on which direction they’re looking to go, those classes will fulfill those requirements depending on what the degree completion requires,” said Hurtado.
The main reason for this donation is to enable career professionals to compete for new and evolving jobs in the workforce.
“Technological change holds enormous promise and the potential for job creation," said State Farm Chairman and CEO Michael Tipsord in the press release. "It also challenges employees, employers and students and presents a change we all must adapt to.”
Funding from State Farm will also allow ASU to advance its support of me3, “a fun, interactive online game that pairs a student’s interests with possible careers and educational pathways,” according to ASU's website.
State Farm has a hub located in Tempe, just north of ASU’s Tempe campus, which was one of the main reasons for the collaboration.
“State Farm has been a good neighbor to ASU for the past several years – our aligned values and our mutual commitment and investment of human and financial capital makes for an ideal partnership in Pathways for the Future,” said ASU President Michael Crow in a statement after the announcement.
ASU being named the most innovative school in the U.S. five years in a row is another reason for State Farm choosing to partner with ASU, Hurtado said.
State Farm also liked that several schools and programs within ASU allow the school to develop and maintain connections with institutions across Maricopa County.
“The existing network that ASU has with local high schools and community colleges really makes a large impact,” said Hurtado.
Employees from State Farm will also be able to access this program and further their education to be better prepared for the changing modern-day workforce.
"Together, our goal is to help people work through what will be a significant transformation in the economy,” Crow said.