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RMU Partners with Koppers on Leadership Development

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pittsburgh – Robert Morris University is partnering with Koppers Inc. to provide leadership development to the Pittsburgh-based corporation’s next cohort of current and future leaders.

RMU faculty will teach the Koppers Leadership Forum, which also will feature participation by members of the Koppers senior leadership team, including President and CEO Leroy Ball. The program consists of four two and one-half day training modules, scheduled to commence in October, alternating between Koppers downtown headquarters and RMU’s campus in Moon Township. 

“Koppers is looking forward to our partnership with Robert Morris University to provide further learning and development opportunities for leaders at our company,” said Ball, a member of the RMU Board of Trustees. “We wanted to take our internally developed program to the next level, and Robert Morris stood out as a top choice to help us do that by tailoring a program around our specific needs.  

“It’s my hope that this initial agreement leads to a longer-term relationship with RMU designed around helping us build out our pipeline of talent to carry us successfully into the future,” said Ball, who earned his MBA from Robert Morris.

Each session is customized for Koppers, a global leader in wood preservation and wood protection products. Every participant will be awarded a digital badge upon the completion of each module through the internationally recognized Open Badges system.

Koppers also recently inked a sponsorship agreement with RMU for the new UPMC Events Center, a 140,000-square foot arena and conference center that will be home to RMU’s basketball and volleyball teams. Koppers joins UPMC, Peoples, Eat ‘n’ Park, PNC, P.J. Dick, Pepsi, and PGT Trucking as founding corporate partners in the UPMC Events Center. 

The university’s partnership with Koppers is part of an RMU initiative to help organizations prepare their employees for leadership roles and to address the skills gap in the Pittsburgh-area workforce. RMU offers an organizational leadership skills certificate program to employees at the Port Authority of Allegheny County, and the university recently announced that it has become Pennsylvania’s first Amazon Web Services’ AWS Academy member.

Overseeing this initiative is Derya Jacobs, RMU vice president for corporate relations and senior vice provost. “Our approach with corporations such as Koppers is very consultative, so that we can develop a program suited to their industry and that meets their unique needs,” said Jacobs.

“RMU is a responsive and agile university, and the fact that we can work simultaneously with a large public transit agency and a global manufacturer demonstrates that,” she said.

Guiding RMU’s workforce development initiatives, in part, is the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s seminal study, Inflection Point: Supply, Demand and the Future of Work in the Pittsburgh Region. The 2016 report described a looming a workforce shortage across several industries and outlined steps that educators, employers, government, and civic organizations can take to close the gap. RMU President Chris Howard is a member of the Allegheny Conference Board of Directors.

“RMU aims to be the preferred strategic partner for corporations and other organizations in the Pittsburgh region, and that includes being a leading provider of corporate leadership development,” said Howard. “We also want to ensure that our professional workforce has the skills necessary for continued economic growth in western Pennsylvania.”

Through more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across five academic schools, Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa. enrolls more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 48 states and 39 countries. A nationally ranked, doctoral degree-granting research university, RMU offers fully online courses as well as a traditional residential college experience at its campus on 230 scenic acres 17 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. The Colonials compete in 16 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, volleyball, ice hockey, and lacrosse.