Rasmussen College recently celebrated its first anniversary as a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). The goal of seeking PBC status —which was adopted in January 2014—was to expand on the college’s commitment to serve the community through career-focused education and volunteer efforts that meet the diverse needs of individuals.
Rasmussen College is the first higher education institution to become a PBC, which has allowed the 24-campus college to pave the way for other colleges and universities.
“Our original goal was simply to choose a status that we think perfectly describes what we’ve been doing for 115 years, prioritizing our investment in career-focused educational programs and supporting the communities where are campuses reside,” said Tamryn Hennessy, vice president of Career Services and Public Benefit Initiatives at Rasmussen College. “In some capacity, higher education institutions should be deeply connected to their local communities.”
Students and employees are now making it a priority to earn a degree at a college and work at a company that is socially responsible. When students and employees have the opportunity to work or affiliate with an organization with that additional component, their experience can be that much more rewarding.
“We are the community,” Hennessy said. “We don’t leave, we live and work here, and we feel like that really benefits our students, our corporate partners and community members in many ways. “It’s what really differentiates us.”
Some of the highlights from the past year
Rasmussen College graduates filled more than 2,000 employment positions in their local communities. The college also connected more than 4,200 students, alumni and community members with local employers at its biannual community career fairs that took place across 23 different locations.
The college also invested in more than 10,000 hours of community service, in addition to 4,400 hours volunteered in one day during the annual Community Service Day hosted by the college.
Additionally, it donated nearly 19,000 hours of free community meeting space across its campus locations to local community, corporate and civic organizations, which translated to an economic value of $606,000. And it connected 450 leaders at the college’s annual Leadership Breakfast series.
Lastly, the college sponsored more than 200 Chicago Public School students in Dual Degree and Patient Care Tech Certification programs.
Corporate social responsibility becoming key across the U.S.
Due to the importance of corporate social responsibility, many states have begun enacting laws to encourage companies to adopt a PBC status. The plan is that the company will create a positive impact on society and the environment to meet higher standards of accountability and transparency.
Public Benefit initiative laws have been passed in 27 states, including California, Colorado, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and much of the East Coast. Fourteen other states are currently working on enacting the law.
Hennessy encourages higher education institutions seeking PBC status to “work from the faculty and staff up to ensure the vision captures the true natural passion of your team.”
Future of the PBC status for the college
This year the college plans to expand its current work with its new Community Partnership Program across its 24 campuses and three central offices. This will allow staff and faculty to adopt specific local groups to work with throughout the year to deepen their opportunity to support, as well as provide a deeper understanding of their needs.
“The Community Partnership Program will result in an additional 8,000 hours of service in our local communities this year, in addition to the annual Community Service Day,” Hennessy said. “We also hope it will give the college greater insights on how we can make a bigger impact as a PBC.”
Besides the college’s biannual community career fairs and annual Community Service Day, the college will also look to add other programs in 2015 that bring to life its commitment to “Building Community Through Education.”
To learn more about what’s going on at your campuses, check out the Rasmussen College News Beat Blog.