HBCU Central State University Joins InStride’s Academic Network


Central State University has announced a new partnership with InStride, a public benefit company leading the movement to advance business and social impact through workforce education.

Central State University – an award-winning historically black college and university (HBCU) and 1890 Land-Grant Institution – is the first HBCU to join InStride’s curated academic network which boasts strong outcomes in online learning and support for diverse adult learners. Central State Global, the university’s online division, proudly carries on the school’s 135-year-old tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research, and service.

“We are excited to join InStride’s unparalleled academic network as its first HBCU,” said Dr. Jack Thomas, president of Central State University. “Since I joined Central State University, we have made tremendous efforts to increase our degree offerings, especially graduate programs, provide flexibility in course delivery, and strengthen student support and counseling for working adult learners. This partnership will enable us to leverage these investments to benefit innovative organizations such as Intermountain Healthcare by offering life-changing education to their employees.”

Intermountain Healthcare, widely recognized as a leader in delivering high-quality health outcomes at sustainable costs, will add Central State’s MBA programs to the clinical and non-clinical learning options already available to its caregivers (employees). Intermountain Healthcare is also a founding member of OneTen, a coalition of companies working together to upskill, hire and promote one million Black individuals without four-year degrees into family-sustaining jobs over the next ten years. InStride is also an endorsed talent developer of OneTen.

“Education opens doors and removes barriers to careers and re-energizes people with purpose and possibilities,” said Heather Brace, Chief People Officer at Intermountain Healthcare. “InStride and schools like Central State University are helping us invest in the next generation of caregivers in ways never before possible. Each school added to the InStride group means more opportunity and choice for our caregivers and in return a wider geographic student footprint for schools.”

“While comprising only 3 percent of colleges and universities nationally, HBCUs produce almost 20 percent of Black college graduates and 25 percent of Black graduates in STEM fields in America,” said Vivek Sharma, CEO of InStride. “It is clear that HBCUs play an outsized role in advancing economic mobility and building the workforce of the future, and I am incredibly proud to welcome Central State University to the InStride network.”

Given the breadth of its programs, more of InStride’s 40+ corporate partners are expected to begin offering Central State University’s programs in the near future, including online certificates, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees taught by the same professors who teach the courses on campus. Areas of study encompass today's most in-demand fields such as business, criminal justice, cybersecurity, interdisciplinary studies and education. These programs are designed to support the 37 million working adults in the United States who have not been able to complete their degrees.

“We are extremely proud to partner with InStride to support adult learners to achieve a lifelong dream that wasn’t readily available,” shared Arletha McSwain, Ph.D., Chief Online Learning Officer for Central State Global at Central State University. “For example, our unique business programs will offer learners from diverse backgrounds multiple ways to achieve their dreams of earning a bachelor's degree or MBA. We look forward to collaborating with InStride and its forward-thinking corporate partners to scale the impact we are already seeing with our 4,000 online students.”

InStride is reimagining workforce education by helping innovative employers provide career-boosting, debt-free credentials to their employees through partnerships with leading academic institutions. By working with InStride, organizations can offer employees high school diplomas, English-language courses, associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees along with a wide range of skill offerings in high-demand fields across industries. InStride’s curated network includes Arizona State University, City University of New York, The University of Virginia, The University of Wisconsin-Madison and The University of Memphis. To date, InStride’s network has helped more than 48,000 working adult learners access higher education, preventing $480 million in student debt.

About Central State University
Central State University is a public HBCU and 1890 Land-Grant Institution, with a 135-year tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research, and service. Central State ranks among U.S. News & World Report best colleges in five categories, including Best Undergraduate Engineering Program and Top Public Schools. The University fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a solid liberal arts foundation and STEM-Ag curriculum leading to professional careers and advanced studies globally.

About InStride
InStride drives business and social impact through strategic workforce education. As the global leader in these programs, InStride works with corporate partners like Aramark, adidas, Carvana, Magna and more, providing their employees with access to top-tier academic institutions, strategic learning paths, and an innovative technology platform. Guided by its mission to change lives for working adults and cultivate the workforce of the future, InStride has been recognized with Fortune’s Impact 20 and Inc.’s Best in Business awards. Visit instride.com or follow InStride on Twitter and LinkedIn for more information and up-to-date news.

Central State University
Sabrina Pritchett
Associate Director of PR and Marketing
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John James Nicoletti
SVP, Corporate Communications
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