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Mission

2U Celebrates Teachers and Healthcare Workers by Marking Over 100,000 Placements for Our Partners’ Students in Online Programs

Written by 2U on May 16, 2024

Related content: Higher Education, Graduate Programs, Strategic Partnerships, Impact and Outcomes

Watch Jessica Wang, our SVP of Student Experience, as she explains how 2U has reached over 100,000 placements.

May is a month filled with special observances, including celebrations of the vital contributions that teachers, nurses, and mental health professionals offer to society every day. This month, to honor all of these hard-working professionals, 2U is marking an exciting milestone for one of our most robust and long-standing services: We’ve now facilitated over 100,000 placements for students in our university partners’ healthcare and education degree programs. These online programs enable people from around the world to access high-quality education, demonstrating 2U's commitment to addressing the growing need for skilled professionals in these essential sectors.

2U’s placement network plays a critical role in scaling online higher education programs in high-demand fields including nursing, midwifery, social work, physical therapy, speech therapy, counseling, and education. In-person training, otherwise known as placement, is a critical component of these programs and required for graduation and licensure. Through 2U’s placement network, which spans all 50 states, students gain the hands-on experience they need to complete hundreds of in-person training hours while staying in their communities.

Jessica Wang, 2U’s Senior Vice President of Student Experience, reflects on how each placement is a step toward solving societal challenges. “Our journey in building 2U’s placement network started with a simple belief—that education transforms lives and communities,” she says. “We’re committed to finding the right opportunity for each student to grow, learn, and ultimately thrive in their chosen field. And along with our partners, 2U is powering workforce development and bridging the skills gap for a world in dire need of qualified professionals who can teach us, guide us, and keep us healthy into the future.”

A Far-Reaching Network Focused on Community Outcomes

The global shortfalls in healthcare and education professionals highlight the significance of our placement milestone. The World Health Organization predicts a global shortage of 10 million healthcare workers by 2030, and the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 86% of U.S. public school districts faced teacher hiring challenges for the 2023-2024 school year. 2U is addressing these challenges head on by helping universities deliver programs that increase access to training and education on a global scale, but with significant local impact.

“Creating an enormous network across the country—in large cities, in rural areas, and everywhere in between—takes investment in technology, innovations like machine learning and AI, and people who are dedicated to building relationships,” Wang says. “2U has developed a solution where students don’t have to quit their jobs, pick up their lives, and move to a different city to access high-quality education and hands-on practice.”

The numbers underline the impact:

  • Students have completed over 32 million hours of hands-on training, akin to over 3,650 years of experience.
  • In the Georgetown midwifery program alone, students at clinical placement sites have helped deliver over 17,500 babies.
  • According to optional Net Promoter Score surveys that 2U conducted between Q2 2022 and Q1 2023 with students in these programs, 28% of respondents were offered a job at their placement site, 81% who were offered a job have accepted or would consider accepting the job they were offered at their placement site, and 67% plan to work in their community after graduation.

From Students to Faculty, Placement Has an Impact

For Colleen Runge, 2U’s placement milestone is a testament to her journey toward a fulfilling career. After losing her job during the pandemic, she pursued her passion for helping others by enrolling in Fordham University's online Master of Social Work. “We’re in such a virtual world now, but human interaction is incredibly important,” Colleen says. “Social work seemed to be where I could use the power of creativity to support others.”

Real-world connections made during her clinical experience at Partnership for Children of Essex (PCE) near her home, arranged by 2U's placement team, were pivotal. Colleen's role as a care manager intern involved connecting children and families to various services, shadowing full-time care managers, and applying her classroom knowledge to real-life challenges. Her holistic approach and rapport with families at PCE led to a full-time job offer upon graduation.

Carrie Schaefer, a Nurse Practitioner at Central Virginia Health Services, earned her online Master of Nursing degree from Georgetown University’s School of Nursing. Because of her positive experience in the program, she decided to “give back” by becoming a preceptor. As experienced practitioners who mentor students at clinical placement sites and facilitate their application of theory into practice, preceptors are indispensable to student learning—which is why 2U continues to build meaningful relationships with them all across the country.

“As a preceptor, I want to give other students a safe place to explore and grow, just like what I had,” Schaefer says. “I bring students into all of my interactions. They start by shadowing me, but pretty quickly they’re getting comfortable doing things like physical exams. I observe them, ask them to communicate their diagnoses, and we build from there. It’s important they start establishing rapport with patients and figuring out how to talk to them. They jump in and get going.”

From an institutional perspective, several academic leaders emphasize the importance of their university’s partnership with 2U in extending their reach and impact.

“Our partnership with 2U to deliver Howard’s online Master of Social Work is pivotal,” says Dr. Sandra Edmonds Crewe, Dean of the School of Social Work and Professor at Howard University. “It extends our reach and invigorates our curriculum.”

“The hybrid education model at Arcadia University provides opportunities to students who may not have otherwise been able to pursue a career in physical therapy,” explains Margaret L. Longacre, PhD, MSHE, Dean of the College of Health Sciences, and Associate Professor of Public Health at Arcadia University.

Adds Dr. Heather Shlosser, Dean of the School of Nursing at Simmons University: “There’s a lot of respect between 2U’s clinical placement team and our administration and faculty—we work very collaboratively together. And that’s really what it requires to be successful. It’s made a world of difference.”

Learn more about us.

At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help partners thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.