University of Scranton Awarded Grant to Capture and Transfer Knowledge of Retiring Baby Boomers

Jan 5, 2009

The University of Scranton was awarded a $190,500 Wall Street West Innovation Investment Project Grant to help companies manage the transfer of the knowledge of retiring Baby Boomers to their predecessors.

Through the grant, The University of Scranton’s Kania School of Management will lead the development of the Knowledge Management Institute, which will create and house techniques, tools, training, proprietary models and practitioners to help firms better assess and manage their intellectual property and transition their workforce to the next generation of professionals.

The Knowledge Management Institute is a partnership between The University of Scranton, Lehigh University and Cerebronix, Ltd., a management and technology consulting firm. Kenneth Lord, Ph.D. associate dean of Scranton’s Kania School of Management, Robert Colombo, president and founder of Cerebronix, Ltd., and adjunct professor at Scranton, and H. Robert Gustafson of Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center are the collaborators for the grant.

According to the grant proposal, Baby Boomers represent 45% of today’s workforce and are retiring at a rate of nearly 10,000 per day from senior-level positions, resulting in the significant loss of valuable know-how and knowledge-coaching resources. Employers estimate an approximate loss of $150,000 in uncaptured intellectual property per retiree. Commercial, institutional and government employers do not possess the necessary methods, tools, practitioners and support required to capture effectively the valuable enterprise knowledge from exiting senior workers.

The grant proposal also indicated that northeast Pennsylvania will feel the impact of the onslaught of retirements, with Prudential reporting 28 percent of its senior employees as eligible for retirement and Tobyhanna Army Depot reporting 43 percent of its 5,000 employees reached retirement eligibility on June 1, 2008. Also, 38 percent of state workers are now eligible for retirement.

“Employers need to capture the experiential knowledge of retiring Baby Boomers and successfully engage and retain the emerging Generation X and Y workforce,” said Colombo.

The project will create a self-sustaining, revenue-generating Knowledge Management Institute, housed virtually at both schools, which will provide a knowledge management, certificate-based training and development program. The institute will be a Web accessible repository of information, best practices analysis and assessment tools, visualization tools, and comprehensive training courseware to help industrial, institutional and government clients identify, capture, value, store, and leverage their enterprise knowledge.

This is the fourth Wall Street West Grant awarded to The University of Scranton.

Wall Street West is a not-for-profit partnership of more than two dozen local, regional and statewide economic development agencies, technology investment groups, workforce development organizations, educational and research institutions and experts from the private sector. The group secured a $15 million Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help fund its effort to attract New York City-based financial institutions to establish their back-up and back-room operations in this region. Innovation Investment Grants focus on the future of the region and develop mechanisms to enhance relationship building, education, training, and economic development in industries like financial services and information technology.  The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeast Pennsylvania is the fiscal agent of Wall Street West.

The University of Scranton’s Kania School of Management is accredited by the AACSB-International, the most recognized and respected business school accrediting body. The Kania School of Management has been included among Princeton Review’s Best 296 Business Schools, a listing of elite graduate business schools from across the nation, and among the 425 business schools listed in the 2009 edition of  U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools.”

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