Cleary U.

It Takes a Village: The Partnership Between Education and Industry

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Cleary University sign Livingston campus

Cleary University has always focused on building partnerships between industry and education because, as a business university, such partnerships move us forward and set our students up for success. 

Dr. Matt Bennett, Senior Vice President, Institutional Advancement, says that as a large employer in Livingston County and a key economic contributor here, we have an obligation to keep the economy running.  

Students come to Cleary to gain business skills and mindsets to make them marketable. This helps the businesses we partner with. Together, we grow and build pathways that benefit local economies. 

Today, we appreciate dedicated partners like Lake Trust Credit Union, Duncan Chiropractic Group, St. Joe’s Livingston, Farm Bureau Insurance Ceo Wilson Agency, TEAM Schostak, Grace & Porta Benefits. These are some of our cherished partners who go the extra mile to support Cleary, so we go the extra mile to support them. 

With Lake Trust Credit Union, we developed a corporate program for their aspiring leaders, a Lake Trust MBA. We also put together community impact scholarships in collaboration with them to go toward underserved populations. 

In partnership with Duncan Chiropractic Group, we created a clinic integrated into our athletic and wellness space. Now, they serve not only our athletes, but the surrounding community, from our campus. 

With St. Joe’s Livingston, our partnership focuses on health and wellness as well as athletic and sports performance training. Plus, they have collaborated with us on our campus community running trails. 

With Farm Bureau Insurance (Ceo Wilson Agency), our collaboration has focused on, hiring, recruitment and internships, and so much more. 

We have a unique partnership with TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants, in which we established educational pathways to help them attract and retain workers in the retail restaurant space. 

And with Grace & Porta Benefits, our collaboration develops new opportunities for companies and organizations to provide education as a benefit similar to health, dental and vision. 

For education to truly work, we depend on the investment and guidance of industry. We turn to them for internships for our students, for investment in scholarships and programs. We turn to them to share their expertise as part-time lecturers and mentors for students, on campus and online. We turn to them to sponsor advancement and improvement to enrich the campus community and provide a solid training space for the next generation of business leaders. 

And they turn to us for quality graduates who are ready to take the working world by storm. 

We also help companies by providing continual education and professional development, and by giving them brand visibility that comes with a cherished partnership. 

In tough times, we provide resources to help companies weather storms. In good times, they invest in us to further education and bring opportunities to students in need. 

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

It’s not just one party that wins every time. This is a relationship-focused approach to providing higher education. A rising tide raises all ships. It’s our responsibility as a university to invest in and provide what the region that we serve needs. It goes around and around and around, and we all come out on top together. 

Because we are a smaller university, we can customize industry partnerships. We listen first to their needs and create a relationship that will satisfy theirs and ours, Bennett says. 

Maybe they need interns. Maybe they need new talent. Maybe they want to provide online certificates or a custom training course to their teams. Perhaps connecting with our alumni will help build their customer base. Or perhaps we welcome them onto campus in unique ways to provide services to our community as well as to the community at-large. 

The relationship between industry and education must be synergistic and deep. And it must be meaningful. Again, we have the benefit of size to create truly unique relationships. We collaborate with one hospital system, not six. We collaborate with one car dealership, not six. 

We like to believe that as we build these partnerships, we come at it with an understanding that there must be a return on investment, a win-win scenario. It can’t just be transactional. We have to provide value so much so that they want to keep a deep relationship for many years.  

As a private, not-for-profit institution, with more than 90 percent of our funding coming from tuition and philanthropy, we run like a business, efficient, client-focused, driven by mission and powered by vision.