Brushing on a Coat of Success: University of LaVerne Partnership Brings Classroom to the Workplace

Provided by La Verne University

Nearly 100 team members from Behr Paint have pursued bachelor’s degrees in business management and business administration through the University of La Verne since 2006. And they did not have to leave their worksites to go to class.

Instead, the university came to them, offering classes at the international paint manufacturer’s locations. The growing demand for college education for working adults has made onsite corporate education programs a necessity for many organizations. And now, video-conferencing technology – such as Cisco’s TelePresence – is making it even easier for companies like Behr to bring college classes into the workplace.

“Working adults need degrees to advance in their careers, but sometimes they let the inconvenience of driving to a college campus stop them from pursuing their dreams,” University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman said. “Our corporate partnerships, such as with Behr Paint, bring education right to their doorstep.”

The University of La Verne, which has 10 campuses in California, partnered with Santa Ana-based Behr in 2006, offering Behr team members tuition discounts and onsite coursework. The partnership has included business management and business administration programs.

Students attend one class per week for 10-week accelerated terms. University of La Verne faculty teach upper-division coursework and college writing classes at Behr’s Orange County headquarters. Elective classes, structured around Behr’s needs, have included information technology and finance.

The benefits of the partnership are no longer exclusive to Behr’s Southern California team members. In 2016, the university launched a TelePresence program for out-of-state Behr staff. Twelve team members – stretched across company locations such as Washington, Texas, Missouri, and Georgia – are receiving real-time instruction through Cisco technology. A single instructor stands in front of a camera, broadcasting simultaneously to multiple sites. Students cannot only interact with the professor but with each other, seeing participants on their screen in a video grid.

“Personal development is important at Behr and it is something that we’ve really invested in,” said Richard Maus of Behr’s People Services Team. “We are so proud of the partnership that we have with the University of La Verne and of all the Behr team members who have participated in the program. We look forward to the program’s expansion and having the ability to reach even more of our team members.”