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Microchip and DeVryWorks Unite to Offer Low-To-No Debt Upskilling

DeVry Completion Grant


February 15, 2024
7 min read

Operations Manager Curtis Wightman on Why DeVryWorks

Curtis Wightman, an Operations Manager for Microchip, believes that maintaining a competitive edge is integral to an organization’s survival. One effective strategy for relevance is having a team that’s prepared to grow and evolve with their industry. Find out what led Curtis and his Microchip colleagues to partner with DeVryWorks and take advantage of the education and tuition programs DVU offers. Listen in to hear Curtis address:

  • Why promote upskilling?

  • What are some benefits of being a working student?

  • What would you say to another leader about the Completion Grant?

  • Getting the Completion Grant set up.

  • And more...

Video Transcript

Question: What’s been your career journey?

Answer: My name is Curtis Wightman. I'm an operations manager with Microchip Technology. You know, out of high school I really wasn't keen on going to college right away. So, I went in the military. I did that for 10 years. I realized after I had completed my military training, there was a lot of value in it. So, I started taking courses at night and put myself through college part time as I worked. And through escalating degrees and escalating responsibilities, I found myself in an operations management role. Education has been key in that. As a manager now, I really get the opportunity to put that into practice. What I mean by that is giving the ability for others to do the same thing.

Question: What are some benefits of being a working student?

Answer: Being a nontraditional student, it's definitely different. They're gaining the knowledge that they need for the job that they have or for the job that they want. And they're learning about it during the day. Putting what they're learning into action.

Question: Why promote upskilling?

Answer: Having a workforce prepared to do business in today's environment requires us to look at things like upskilling and training. DeVry has offered us that solution. It's necessary for our organization’s survival flat out. The benefits for those that go through this program are number one—upskilling—so learning a new skill and preparing them for a higher-level role. Obviously, that comes with higher level compensation and if they just want to learn more about the job that they have and grow their skill set in a different way.

Question: Getting the Completion Grant set up.

Answer: We had some introductory phone calls between myself, some of our HR folks, talent management personnel. From there it was very conversational. I had some questions about some of the curriculum and they had brought in experts from the programs to help answer those questions. From start to finish, it's been a very good, smooth, easy process.

Question: What’re your goals for the Completion Grant program?

Answer: What we're looking for is upskilling my workforce. I want them to constantly be improving themselves. I want to provide an environment where they can learn and grow, and if I'm lucky enough they stay with us and if not, then I prepare them for any other challenges they may have in their career. We're preparing our workforce to meet the challenges of the working environment today, leveraging data, leveraging the latest learning the latest techniques, best known methods so that we can be prepared to do things faster, smarter and in a more competitive way.

Question: How did you launch the Completion Grant?

Answer: When we introduced this program, we actually filled a conference room that held about 20 people with about 30 people, and people were bringing in chairs from some of the cubicles, and they were really excited about it, because it was this opportunity to improve themselves, to upskill, to learn something new, to have access to something that they may never have had access to before—which is college. The Completion Grant was discussed with myself, DeVry with our HR personnel. And so we understood it. When it came time, and after we had the initial conversation with the team, we could also help support and help answer any questions that they had about the Completion Grant.

Question: Have you expanded the DeVry Completion Grant at Microchip?

Answer: Since we had those initial conversations, we brought in the engineering technology program, and we brought in three other ones as well that I thought were really good things that are organization could benefit from. Every few months, we reinvigorate, we reintroduce it to Microchip. On top of the Engineering Technology program and the Big Data & Analytics program we talked about, there's a supervisor business acumen type program that we're also working with them on. I helped champion that internally, because I believe in it, and I believe in the program. I'd like to be working with other parts of the business to develop theirs as well. To me it's a collaborative approach that has worked very well. And so we're introducing other business units, other factories to this now. It's really moving through Microchip and people are really taking to it.

Question: What would you say to another leader about the Completion Grant?

Answer: I would tell them that it was painless for me and that it's something that puts a lot of the people at ease when it comes to the affordability of college. So obviously college for a number of reasons is out of people's reach. One is financial, and so the Completion Grant makes it possible as long as people go through and complete the grant to get college out of the way for low to no cost.

Question: Why DeVryWorks?

Answer: Making college affordable and accessible to people was very important for me, because I just want everybody to have the opportunity to be better versions of themselves. DeVry has been a huge partner in that, they have really come in and helped me figure out and work through solutions that are going to make my workforce our workforce at Microchip a better, stronger, faster, more agile workforce, which is incredibly important in today's industry. They shared the same vision that I have and they offer all sorts of different solutions between our Engineering Technology program, between the Big Data & Analytics program that they have at all different sorts of levels as well. So some are masters level courses and some are intro level courses and they just have a really good offering. I would say for anybody that's considering it to give them a call.

Connect with us today to learn more about the DeVry Completion Grant. 

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Clark Barber
Vice President, DeVryWorks
We believe affordability is key for providing access to educational opportunities. That's why we are offering qualifying employees of select organizations the DeVry Completion Grant. It was designed to reduce tuition debt for those looking to pursue their educational aspirations, helping to make it more affordable.
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