Higher Education

Industry News

ASU Continues PPP Push with $30 Million from State Farm to Develop Personalized Online Learning Program

By Henry Kronk
February 05, 2020

Arizona State University (ASU) announced on February 4 that they had entered into an agreement with insurance provider State Farm to create a new online career development program known as Pathways for the Future. State Farm has supported the initiative with a $30 million grant.

Pathways for the Future is intended for career starters who want to pursue specific roles and careers that might lie adjacent to or outside of traditional paths. ASU says it involves a personalized approach. Instruction will be delivered online.

ASU and Statefarm Partner to Deliver Pathways for the Future

ASU and State Farm intend to offer the program to four specific groups of learners: people in high school, students at Maricopa County Community College, ASU learners, and employees currently in the workforce.

“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. “We believe strongly in the evolving model of universal learning, making higher education available to those from all socioeconomic backgrounds at any point in their lives. This is what the workforce of the future needs and what we hope to accomplish with State Farm. Together, our goal is to help people work through what will be a significant transformation in the economy.”

Instruction will fall into three general tracks: humanities and social sciences, business and leadership, and STEM.

“Technological change holds enormous promise and the potential for job creation. It also challenges employees, employers and students and presents a change we all must adapt to,” said Michael Tipsord, Chairman and CEO of State Farm, in a statement. “Today represents a new milestone in our relationship with ASU and builds on our corporate commitment to prepare not only for what’s coming, but for what is already happening. We look forward to growing this commitment with ASU and working together to build the workforce of the future through universal learning.”

All in on Public-Private Partnerships

ASU has enthusiastically pursued public private partnerships as ASU in recent years. Since September of 2019, the institution has announced branded education initiatives with Alteryx, Infosys, and Sprint.

On the ASU campus, one can also find the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center. In partnership with Amazon Web Services, the Smart City Cloud Innovation Center opened its doors at ASU’s Scottsdale campus last March. ASU also partnered with Uber in 2018.

In FY 2019, ASU earned $344 million from grants and contracts, including from the partnerships mentioned above, according to their annual financial report. The university says this sum was “primarily funded by federal agencies.” But at the same time, it rarely discloses the details of these partnerships.

ASU’s corporate partnerships often lead to university research being directed to uses and applications of various technologies provided by the companies involved.

For example, ASU began testing out uses of Amazon Echo Dots and Alexa technology in freshman dorms in 2017. They also held an undergraduate Alexa hackathon in June of last year. The Sprint partnership involves expanding the use of the telecom providers’ 5G service throughout Arizona. In addition, it created a research arm, Curiosity University, to research uses of Sprint’s Curiosity IoT platform.

Featured Image: Kevin Dooley, Flickr.