“Teaming up with the Boston Bruins and TD Garden has further powered Johnson & Wales University’s connection to industry,” said JWU Chancellor Mim L. Runey, LP.D. “The opportunities to develop creative solutions to real-industry challenges provides our undergraduates a professional experience that will help prepare them as future business leaders. Just as importantly, the tuition benefit provided to all Delaware North employees assists those seeking to advance their career goals and development which will have a lasting and transformational impact on the local workforce.”

This multifaceted partnership includes experiential education opportunities for current undergraduate Johnson & Wales students and offers a tuition benefit to the approximately 50,000 employees of Delaware North, TD Garden and the Boston Bruins.

Employees who meet the university’s admissions criteria will receive a corporate partner scholarship towards more than 118 undergraduate, graduate and certificate degrees in areas such as hospitality, food service, business, and human resources, delivered by the Johnson & Wales University College of Professional Studies—allowing participants to earn career-focused degrees on their schedule, from their chosen location. 

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Johnson & Wales University’s academic philosophy is rooted in experiential education. Accordingly, students and faculty in the university’s Sports, Entertainment, Event — Management (SEEM) department, research and develop solutions to real-time industry issues identified by TD Garden, Boston Bruins and Delaware North leadership. Executives collaborate with faculty and students as they investigate the selected challenges. In addition, Johnson & Wales has developed a seminar program held annually at TD Garden on topics and issues relevant to its academic programming in the areas of food service, hospitality, and sports, entertainment and event management.

PARTICIPANTS: From top, Brent Dassatti, Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships at the Boston Bruins/TD Garden; Cindy Parker, Vice President of the College of Professional Studies, Johnson & Wales University; Angelo Pitassi, Business Development & Education Partnerships, College of Professional Studies, Johnson & Wales University.

A partnership between Johnson & Wales University and TD Garden/Boston Bruins is a natural evolution for both organizations. For Johnson & Wales, it showcases the dynamic impact the College of Professional Studies has on workforce development — tapping into its century of excellence in business, entrepreneurship, and innovation and making that accessible to distance and adult learners through an online medium. The university is merging its expertise with new modalities, audiences, and in this case, industry partners. Can you speak a bit more on this effort?

CINDY: The College of Professional Studies (CPS) will continue to expand its online programming to grow online enrollment. In addition, CPS has assumed responsibility for Admissions and Advising for JWU’s ground-based graduate programs, and is working to form a new Professional Training division to offer non-credit training programs to employers and industry partners. Through its business development outreach, CPS has active educational partnerships with 20 individual employers ranging a span of industries including business, health, engineering and hospitality. CPS is also working with Guild Education, the nation’s leading education and upskilling company, to provide debt-free online education to a growing list of corporate partners. To date, over 500 Guild-related employees have enrolled in CPS’s educational programs. 

ANGELO: Building off of Cindy’s comments, it’s a really exciting time for online education and industry partnerships. CPS has quickly added employer partners both directly and within the Guild Education network. One of the most interesting aspects of these partnerships has been our ability to work closely with employers to understand what skills are needed to enhance their workforce. Once we understand those needs, CPS can create short-term programs, such as Micro-Certificates, to deliver the necessary skills. Johnson & Wales University is committed to ensuring organizations and their employees are equipped with the skills and training needed to thrive in the 21st century economy and beyond. 

In that vein, Brent, this partnership showcases TD Garden’s commitment to our future workforce. You folks know that these experiential education opportunities equip students with the skills and networks to succeed. The organization also knows that professional development and intellectual growth through Johnson & Wales’ corporate partner scholarship helps to spur workforce innovation. Can you share how you’ve seen this partnership’s effects on the organization’s employees?

BRENT: Yes, we have worked directly with their Sports, Entertainment, Event Management (SEEM) department for several years now and continue to see growth and engagement across all parties involved. The students are learning real-life scenarios in the sports and entertainment business, while TD Garden and the Boston Bruins have been able gain research and subject matter expertise on particular projects. This has been particularly helpful in the areas of social media, as well as digital and mobile app development for our organization.

CINDY: This partnership is emblematic of the future of education. It brings to the table elements of in-person and online learning, off-site experiential opportunities, and spans across both the undergraduate and working professional populations. Johnson & Wales is tremendously excited to be squarely in the middle of that equation. 

Today more than ever, students, and industry partners participating in workforce education opportunities are looking to ensure the skills and experience that provide lifelong professional success. Can you share how partnerships like this bring that to fruition? 

BRENT: A dynamic component to the partnership is the ability for Johnson & Wales’ students to collaborate with one of our on-site restaurants and create menu items for the fans and guests who use that space while attending Bruins and Celtics games. The students create recipes for our Chefs to sample and the winning candidate gets their item on the menu for a rotational time-period throughout the season with their name listed on the menu next to the item. This is a perfect example of how the students are able to see their hard work come to life in a real-world setting at one of the top sports and entertainment venues in the country, TD Garden.

CINDY: That’s right, and it’s really through establishing formal partnership relationships with world-class organizations that the university can build and maintain the infrastructure to ensure student success in their academic pursuits. 

ANGELO: Johnson & Wales University and TD Garden/Boston Bruins also understand the need to provide employees the necessary skills via a world-class education. This reciprocal partnership allows the university’s undergraduate population the chance for hands-on, high caliber learning opportunities, as well as allowing for TD Garden to broaden its own employee’s horizons and professional development through the College of Professional Studies. 

For those interested in the Delaware North educational partnership or forming a similar partnership, please contact Angelo Pitassi, 401-598-5243 or Angelo.Pitassi@jwu.edu.