Editor’s Picks

Southern New Hampshire University Announces Strategic Merger with LRNG

By Cait Etherington
October 25, 2018

Over the past decade, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) has emerged as leader in the eLearning market. Now SNHU has announced a merger with LRNG, an organization that helps young people explore their personal interests and explore potential careers. With the merger, the New Hampshire-based university will now not only be able to reach a growing number of learners but also gain access to some of the cities where LRNG is already operating. The merger will also enable SNHU to expand its reach into new educational markets, since LRNG works not only with young adults but also students at the secondary level.

SNHU’s Innovative Approach to Online Learning

When SNHU realized that New Hampshire’s population was rapidly declining and their enrollments seemed bound to lag, rather than step back and accept the decline, they restructured to become an online learning leader. Since the late 1990s, SNHU’s enrollments have surged. At the same time, the institution is consistently lauded as one of the most innovative schools in the nation. Fast Company once even listed SNHU among the world’s top 50 most innovative organizations, and at 12, the school even was ranked higher than Tesla.

LRNG’s Mandate

LRNG launched in 2015 with a generous $25 million investment from the MacArthur Foundation. The primary mandate of LRNG is to work with cities and organizations to link learning experiences and career opportunities. A key focus of LRNG is to ensure that young people, especially those from at-risk communities, have both the support and information needed to make smart career decisions in a rapidly shifting economy. To begin, the LRNG platform helps young people explore local and national opportunities online. Gamification and badges are also used in the process.

The SNHU-LRNG Merger

In a press release issued by SNHU last week, the university announced that the merger with LRNG would enable it “to build a learning and workforce solution for cities and employers across the U.S.”

Paul LeBlanc, President of SNHU, is naturally enthusiastic about the the SNHU-LRNG merger: “At a time when many believe higher education inhabits the rigidly defined space between high school and workforce, SNHU is redefining higher education’s boundaries and creating personalized pathways that give learners just the right learning, at just the right time, at just the right place in their lives.” LeBlanc adds, “We are excited to work with LRNG and cities across the U.S. to address some of the most pressing workforce needs of our time and give people the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly complex and uncertain workforce and society.”

Connie Yowell, Executive Vice President and CEO of LRNG is also excited about the possibilities that will be opened up as LRNG joins forces with one of the country’s most innovative universities. As Yowell explains, “To establish real and meaningful pathways to the middle class for youth that need them most, the educational community must build seamless connections between learning and work, and passion and opportunity throughout a learner’s life. Joining forces with SNHU is an extraordinary effort to do just that and make a difference in the lives of our learners and their communities.” Connie Yowell will join SNHU’s leadership team in the role of Executive Vice President. In addition, Yowell’s staff will become SNHU employees.