Roux Co-Creates Upskilling Educational Experiences for Partner Employers

Claudia Churchill joined The Jackson Laboratory, a global nonprofit biomedical research organization, in March 2022, eager to advance her career in a new role as a project manager. She soon discovered an exciting opportunity to gain foundational skills. Her employer was offering a six-week course in project management that it co-designed with the Roux Institute in Portland, Maine.

The course covered everything from an introduction to the practice to specific exercises on how to initiate, scope, schedule, and resource projects. Churchill learned, “how to do things more efficiently, productively, and consistently” alongside colleagues in other departments, and then applied those skills in her job. She says the course particularly helped her improve her time management. She adds, “The fact that my company would think so highly of its employees to offer this course and allow us to carve time out of our schedules to take it spoke volumes.”

Here’s why the Roux’s approach is unique

The Roux partners with many organizations, like JAX, across the state and across industries to co-design customized educational experiences that modernize their workforces by upskilling their employees in areas of critical need. These areas include data literacy, data analytics, artificial intelligence, project management, and life sciences. Other examples include a three-course series in analytics for early-career professionals at an international retailer, two courses in data literacy with a local bank, and AI and machine learning courses for companies in the healthcare and construction industries.

Roux faculty work closely with partners to identify specific skills gaps and contextualize both the curriculum and experiential projects to cover the partner’s business challenges and use its datasets. Direct relevance to work from this contextualization is the key differentiator in the Roux’s approach, says Liz Kohler, managing director of partnerships.

“We design educational experiences to enable teams to achieve critical business objectives,” she says.

Creating these experiences are integral to the Roux’s mission to provide economic development for Maine, and also align with Northeastern’s commitment to making a direct impact on the world through learning in the flow of work. Most courses are taught virtually and run between four and 12 weeks long. They can be stacked as a series, and some course experiences can count towards credit in Roux graduate programs.

 

We design educational experiences to enable teams to achieve critical business objectives.

Liz Kohler

Managing Director of Partnerships

The Roux Institute

‘Better prepared and equipped’

At JAX, the course has helped bring a common approach to process and communication companywide, says Shraddha Vadvalkar, associate director in the Office of the COO at JAX, who helped design the program. More than 100 employees across four cohorts took the course in 2022, and at least three more cohorts are planned for 2023. A skills survey of the first cohort, three months after completion, found “wonderful results.”

“We have a lot of learners now who feel they are better prepared and equipped to do project management. Many say they’re running meetings more effectively, and that it’s helped them create better cross-functional communications and create a project charter,” says Vadvalkar.

There’s still time for partners to work with Roux to design and deliver courses for their employees this spring. Contact [email protected] to get started.