Partnerships

##AUTHORSPLIT##<--->Partnerships are growing at a phenomenal rate. This may beaccelerated by a supposed easier access to a record amount of venture capitalin the last few years, and by the greater availability of government moniesfavoring partnerships. National and international events are occurring as aresult of partnerships, which are boosting local economics by providing betterservice to communities.

For example, Intel is transformingthe Costa Rican economy. Recently, the country’s GNP climbed by 8.4%, withoutput from the Intel plant making up half of that growth. There is no concernthat the company is simply getting “cheaper labor.” Intel’s input is in theform of salaries for about 2,000 employees, along with electricity bills andpayments to contractors. While the company pays these employees a much lowersalary than a comparable employee in the U.S. (as an example, atechnician-level employee in Costa Rica earns $5,000 per year compared to$20,000 - $40,000 per year in the U.S.), the salary and benefits are still farsuperior to the average Costa Rican per capita income of $3,200 per year. Thepartnership is satisfactory to all parties.

Motorola, Symbol Technologies,Connect Things and Air Olie plan to invest up to $500 million in a company thatwill create “Web codes,” or bar codes to be embedded in consumer products, andin publications like brochures and company advertisements. A person who wantsto purchase a product advertised in a magazine would scan the Web code on theadvertisement with a barcode-enabled wireless phone and have an instantconnection to the e-commerce site offering the product. Services such asrefilling a prescription, checking the weather, or paying bills are planned.However, it may be difficult to convince the consumer of the need for this kindof service. One-scan access to a product on the Internet may require someselling.

Many reasons are stated forforming partnerships between educational institutions and businesses. Theseinclude, among others, to help educators cope with the superabundance ofinformation, provide large scale solutions, develop integrated systems, work togetherto take advantage of new e-learning activities, help utilize new tools, assistin solving educational problems, share resources, exchange information, andhopefully make money. Many different kinds of partnerships exist. To mentionjust a few:

 

· A partnership among six cultural andeducational institutions, which include Columbia University, the N.Y. PublicLibrary, the Smithsonian Institute, the National Institute of Natural History,the London School of Economic and Political Science, Cambridge University Pressand the British Library System, is being formed. Users will be able to accessonline resources, such as course material, periodicals, textbooks and articles.Rates for courses are to be determined by the individual institution. An AcademicCouncil consisting of senior faculty members and curators will review thematerial for academic and editorial integrity.

 

· The U.S. Department of Labor isawarding more than $80 million to help with the technical skill shortage,awarding monies primarily to partnerships that average workforce developmentand involve both public and private sectors. The government’s selectioncriteria for funding projects includes sustainability, cost effectiveness, andinvolvement of community organizations through partnerships.

 

· To help meet the needs of informationtechnology workers, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Widener University and3Com are partnering to build a multimedia distance learning curriculum, whichwill train high school students in Chester, Penn. for job placement. To educatethe community, Pennsylvania’s Governor Ridge also held a “virtual ribboncutting ceremony” for the new e-commerce Center for Excellence, a jointpartnership bringing together Penn State University, the Commonwealth ofPennsylvania and Microsoft. The center will provide a resource for educatingPennsylvanians about the recent trends in e-commerce, and about the benefits ofdoing business over the Internet.

 

· The Center for Advanced Research andTechnology (CART) was formed by a partnership involving the Clovis and FresnoUnified School Districts, the State Center Community College District,California State University at Fresno, and the Fresno business community andlocal government. A primary goal of CART is to help high school studentsdevelop skills and expertise for future employment. Students will attend CARTthree hours a day, in addition to the time they spend in their regular highschool classes, working on assigned community-based projects.

 

· Corporate university partnerships,which offer college courses over the Internet, are increasing. Pensaire, in LosAltos, Calif. is one example of a partnership that delivers online coursesdesigned with academic partners (Harvard Business School Publishing, theUniversity of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Duke University of SouthernCalifornia’s Annenberg Center for Communication). Pensaire’s finance topicsinclude asset and liability evaluation, risk management and global financialmanagement. U-Next, a Deerfield, Ill. based company partly owned by KnowledgeUniversity and backed by Michael Milken and Oracle Corp., is starting a virtualuniversity called Cardean, delivering courses designed with help from ColumbiaUniversity, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, Carnegie MelonUniversity and the London School of Business. U-Next’s emphasis is alsofinance.

 

Conclusions

Partnerships are trying to deliverbetter performance, lower cost and more services. Businesses are realizing thattheir growth depends on people, and they need all the human resources educationcan provide. Communities are recognizing the value of partnerships, and theimportance of everyone’s participation in the education of our youth.Educational institutions are sharing more with each other, especially as theybecome more global and move to education in cyberspace. It is not a newexperience for educators to identify and invest in activities that help meetthe goals of their institution. Their responsibility is to choose wisely.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.

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