Learning at workWant to boost your knowledge by taking...

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS

May 04, 1992

Learning at work

Want to boost your knowledge by taking some university-level courses? You may not have to leave work.

Many universities are bringing the campus to the workplace, as a natural outgrowth of the nation's need for skilled workers.

"Classes on company premises are more attractive and more easily available for employees to attend," said Curtis Plott, executive vice president of the American Society for Training and Development in Alexandria, Va.

"Offering college degrees is a win-win opportunity in which workers get a degree that has status and value to themselves and their current employer, too."

Mr. Plott said the Internal Revenue Code allows employers to pay tuition without employees having to pay tax on it. And, on-site courses minimize the interruption to an employee's work.

"In the past, many corporations have wanted colleges to come in and offer degree programs, but the colleges weren't interested," said Philip J. Harkins, president of Linkage Inc., a Lexington, Mass., company that specializes in helping colleges and corporations set up educational programs.

"Today, because of demographics, applications are down and colleges are seeking new markets."

Mr. Harkins also is president of a new organization, the Corporate Education Forum, made up of colleges and universities that want to work in the corporate arena.

"There's enormous worldwide competition that is spawning the need to raise the work force to another level," he said. "To be able to offer college degrees in the workplace is a global competitive advantage for U.S. companies."

Shortchanged

Twenty-five years after the advent of the women's movement, women still trail men in pay, and their chances for advancement into the upper echelons of management remain slim.

The numbers speak for themselves: Women are making an average of 74 cents to every dollar men make, up from 63 cents to the dollar in 1979.

Studies by the Labor Department show that women with a college degree earn about the same as men with a high-school diploma. And regardless of the education level, women make less than men who have the same amount of schooling.

Once on the job, women have little help in bridging the gap, Labor Department figures show. A year of job experience adds about 7 cents an hour to women's pay, compared with 24 cents an hour for men.

A female physician still makes only about 54 cents for every dollar her male counterpart makes. At the opposite end of the pay scale, however, women food preparers make more than men, $1.13 to every dollar.

Even in supposed pink-collar professions, men make more than their female counterparts. For example, male nurses are only 7 percent of all registered nurses, but for every dollar a female nurse brings home, her male co-worker is likely to bring home $1.11.

And despite years of toil, few women have attained the highest-paying positions.

Only 19 women were found in a survey of the 4,012 highest-paid officers and directors of 799 of the largest U.S. companies.

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