A new partnership focuses on real-world outcomes to help students succeed.

Unique partnership eyes college credit, real-world outcomes


Students can ramp up their employability skills and earn college credit through a new program focusing on real-world outcomes

An innovative new partnership will let Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) students earn college credit and achieve real-world outcomes by completing free training modules through Trailhead, an online learning platform from Salesforce.

The modules and credits earned through the program will be applicable to tech jobs in an ever-increasingly digital economy, which Salesforce predicts will generate more than 3.3 million new jobs and $859 billion in new business revenue by 2022.

Related content: Teaching life skills is the latest trend in higher ed

Part of the impetus behind the partnership comes from the snowballing impact of crushing student loan debt. Giving students practical knowledge and equipping them with experience and employability skills will help them succeed in high-earning, in-demand jobs.

In a blog post, ​Sarah Franklin, EVP and GM of Platform, Trailhead, and Developers at Salesforce, and Paul LeBlanc, SNHU president, share details on the partnership, how students can get involved, and thoughts on the economic trends that will dictate the workforce of the future.

What drew your teams together to form this partnership?    

Franklin: Trailhead and SNHU are a DNA match in our shared passion for putting students at the center of a new kind of learning experience–one focused on real-world outcomes, not just graduation. This partnership is about empowerment at scale. We’re joining forces to pioneer new ways of engaging students with online, experiential learning.

LeBlanc​: SNHU is focused on treating learners how the best companies treat their customers–always connected so we can anticipate, meet and support their needs. While that “customer-centric” approach can be a foreign concept in higher education, SNHU has always worked hard to do that well. Working with Salesforce to talk about new ways to connect learning, college, and career success is a natural extension of that philosophy.

Franklin​: It’s all about meeting learner needs. And for today’s students, there’s no greater need  than learning the skills to fill the most in-demand jobs of a changing economy.

How is recognizing Trailhead learning with academic credit a game changer for learners? 

LeBlanc​: All of us–in society, higher education, and in business–need to do a better job connecting  people throughout their lives with continuous learning experiences, and doing so in a format suited for the time. Getting ready for your career isn’t something you do exclusively between the ages of 18 – 22. (In most cases, it never was.) Industry and higher ed can’t be siloed anymore. We have to work together to offer hands-on application of new knowledge while providing  validation for learners in a way that speaks to employers.

Franklin​: Higher ed began with schools creating degrees that served as pathways to the  professions of the time: lawyers, doctors, accountants. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technology companies are creating new professions that require new pathways; the Salesforce  ecosystem alone is creating millions of jobs for people who are Salesforce admins, developers, architects and more. It’s the joint responsibility of industry and higher ed to create pathways to  these careers and leverage technology–like Trailhead–to bring people forward into this new world.

For more details on how to participate, read the full blog post.

Laura Ascione