Corporate Citizenship Perspectives

Supporting education: Meeting the needs of community and company

Posted by Paige Kelly on Aug 23, 2013 5:48:29 AM

In our most recent webinar, Supporting education: Meeting the needs of community and companyEDUWebinar, we learned from three professionals who have developed unique education programs that strategically align with their core business as well as their communities’ needs. Hilary Ayala, Director of Consolidated Edison’s Grassroots Management and Strategic Partnerships Programs, Janet Nicholas, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Dassault Systemes, and Dave Enzerra, Senior Director of Community & Public Affairs at Lubrizol Corporation, demonstrated how they successfully implemented and now maintain their education initiatives while facing budget constraints and global challenges. In this webinar we got an in-depth look into three programs that differ in scope, targeted participants, goals, and outcomes.

Hilary Ayala from Con Edison utilizes a grassroots approach, listening and optimizing employee passion for a program that addresses a key issue for both the betterment of local students, and for the company’s future in recruiting students that have excelled in the STEM areas (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Con Edison became involved in the FIRST Robotics competition in 1999 because it provides an opportunity for employees to connect with students on a one-on-one basis and to use skills that they use throughout their work at Con Edison, creating a win-win situation for both students and employees.

Janet Nicholas from Dassault Systemes took a different approach. She also listened to her local stakeholders, but decided to provide resources and education to teachers in the local school system. The Teachers at Dassault Systemes (TADS) program brings STEM teachers into Dassault’s Waltham, Mass., location and gives them resources and structure to help develop a new curriculum for their classroom. The six-week program includes several lunch-and- learns with Dassault executives and “field trips” that allow teachers to explore all of Dassault’s work. An impressive outcome of this program is the first-ever engineering class introduced in the Waltham public schools by one of the teachers.

Dave Enzerra gave a third perspective. He has the challenge of balancing Lubrizol’s local and global communities, and finding programs that make business sense for the company. To find this balance his team is continually looking for employee feedback and evaluating participation rates in order to find programs that employees are also passionate about. Dave knows that he has to rely on his co-workers who are in the field and communities every day. In Ohio they were able to work on a charter school from day one and be able to see this school open and flourish. Now that the doors are open, Lubrizol’s employees volunteer there for a social issue they believe in, allowing for a more holistic approach.

Despite the unique differences these three programs demonstrated, there were several key takeaways in common:

  • Listen to all stakeholders and implement a program that makes business sense
  • Don’t just maintain your programs, look for ways to improve and further intertwine it into the culture of your company
  • Find ways to create brand awareness through the programs
  • Provide metrics to external stakeholders, employees, and C-suite executives to demonstrate the impact and success of the program
  • Reward and recognize outstanding employee efforts
  • If you have a small budget, get creative and find ways to provide more in-kind services

To learn more about similar initiatives please visit our on-demand webinars.

Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Best Practices, Education, Signature Programs

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