I saw a meme this week that said, “So in, retrospect, in 2015, not a single person got the answer right to the question, ‘Where do you see yourself five years from now?’”

There is so much uncertainty in the world right now. The challenges that corporations face today, in 2020, are different than what they faced in 2019 and will face in 2021. Businesses tend to create three-year or five-year strategic plans, which they have, no doubt, had to modify due to the pandemic.

As an organization, you can lean on your local university to be a solution-provider to navigate these uncharted waters together. Here are the top five reasons why you should partner with your local university:

1. Universities Have Access to Faculty

Through customized educational programming, universities have access to their entire faculty body to create a program that is centered around the needs of an organization. Are you looking to develop your high-potential employees for leadership development programming and succession planning? A university can reach across its colleges and select faculty to meet your needs, where you are and when you need it, at a fraction of the cost of a consulting firm. Faculty are also great resources for corporate lunch-and-learns and keynote addresses at annual meetings.

2. Universities Can Help Innovate Your Business

Many universities have a center for innovation to help organizations explore where they are now and where they want to be down the road. Maybe a large company needs to adopt a new supply chain strategy, or a small business needs to reinvent itself to stay competitive in the market. Regardless of the goal, universities have subject matter expertise to help organizations become more agile and innovative to achieve their strategic goals, now and in the future.

3. Universities Can Help Drive Change Within Your Organization

The university setting is rich with intellectual conversation on long-standing educational topics and hot-button topics. For example, since their inception, Jesuit universities have been teaching and researching through the social justice mission established by Ignatius of Loyola. Subject matter experts (SMEs) from Jesuit universities can use a customized theory and practice model and tool kit to transform your organization, helping it create a more inclusive culture for all team members.

4. Universities Have Access to Groundbreaking Research

Higher education institutions are at the forefront of research for their particular subject matter expertise. For a corporation, these research areas are key to understanding the development of new lines of revenue, creating new internal procedures and advancing future initiatives in the marketplace. Faculty welcome the opportunity to use real corporate challenges to create research projects within their fields of interest.

5. Universities Are Staples of Your Local Ecosystem

Universities are the bedrocks of many communities across the country. The work that government affairs and workforce development offices do impacts the economy of the city and the state. When the city thrives, the university thrives. When challenges arise within the city, universities can provide a solution through educational lectures and town hall meetings, partnering to address the citizens’ concerns head-on.

Creating a strong corporate partnership with your local university has many more benefits, including alumni engagement programs for matching gift funds, cohort learning opportunities for degree-seeking staff through tuition assistance programs, career services engagement for internships and hiring events, marketing representation at athletics events, and scholarship funds for students. Let your local university be a key partner as you strive to build a better tomorrow for your company in 2021 and beyond.