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New program, cross-sector partnership position students for success

MSU Denver and Mi Casa Resource Center join forces to build an education pipeline and close opportunity gaps.

By Lindsey Coulter

October 1, 2019

Students in College of Business course.An evolving community partnership, supported by a $450,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation’s All Learning Counts initiative, is opening new doors for potential Roadrunners.

Metropolitan State University of Denver, in partnership with Community College of Aurora and Mi Casa Resource Center, received the grant to build a first-of-its kind, end-to-end pathway for adult learners in the financial-services industry. One of only nine grant recipients, the project will connect adult learners to employment and industry-recognized credentials as well as up-skilling opportunities.

The MSU Denver piece of the partnership puzzle (and educational continuum) is the new Banking degree program within the College of Business. Rey Julian-Hernandez, Ph.D., professor, Finance, and Chittibabu Govindarajulu, Ph.D., associate dean, College of Business, collaborated with representatives from the banking and credit-union communities to develop the industry-responsive curriculum. At the same time, the two worked with Mi Casa and CCA partners to align the program with Mi Casa’s Banking Essentials and Supervision Fundamentals coursework.

In addition to serving the general student population, a goal of MSU Denver’s Banking program is to help Banking Essentials and Supervision Fundamentals and CCA students to transition seamlessly into the MSU Denver degree program. MSU Denver will also develop an 18-credit prior-learning assessment and 42 credit hours across 14 online core and concentration banking courses.

The community partnership was inspired in part by the full-circle educational journey of an MSU Denver alum who works with Mi Casa’s technology department. The former Roadrunner, also a Banking Essentials and Supervision Fundamentals graduate, worked as a bank teller to support himself through MSU Denver’s Computer Information Systems program. However, the conversation about responding to banking-industry workforce needs first started with former President Stephen Jordan, Ph.D., and Don Childears, president of the Colorado Bankers Association, said Ann Murphy, Ph.D., dean, College of Business. As such, the new program aims to graduate workforce-ready professionals who understand how financial institutions handle funds, manage risk, meet client needs and comply with an ever-evolving set of laws and regulations.

Per funding requirements, the partnership and pathway hopefully will become a replicable educational model to help close Colorado’s equity gap, especially among low-income populations and people of color. According to data provided by Mi Casa, the gap in educational attainment between Colorado’s white and Latinx populations is the second-largest in the nation, with only 23% of Latinx Coloradans ages 25 or higher holding a postsecondary credential.

Topics: Best practices, Community, Student Success

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