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Friendship Employees Receive Unprecedented Higher Education Options Through New Partnerships

Friendship Employees Receive Unprecedented Higher Education Options Through New Partnerships

Degree programs also open to employee families; provides opportunity for a continuum of education, training for staff.  

Roanoke, Va. (July 13, 2016) – Friendship, one of the region’s longest operating health care and senior living organizations in Virginia, has announced a new series of programs for staff with a focus on continuing education, training and advancement.

As one of the region’s major employers with more than 700 employees, Friendship’s vision is a three-branched approach that includes building upon existing relationships with area education partners, internal continuing education and training programs, and the development of community education. These offerings of educational opportunities are now affordable and will be available to Friendship’s staff that serves thousands in the region for health care solutions, senior accommodations, and award-winning rehabilitation services. Imagine obtaining a Baccalaureate or Master’s Degree without any debt.

Today marked the first step in growing this vision with the creation of the Friendship Foundation-Averett University Corporate Partnership Program, specifically designed to assist organizations in our local communities with affordable, quality higher education. Through the combined efforts of Friendship and Averett University, this partnership will allow qualified candidates for undergraduate and graduate degrees an opportunity to start or complete their higher educational goals in a way that benefits Friendship, Averett University, and the Roanoke Valley community in general. The program will offer degrees for a Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Master in Business Administration in a manner of funding that will be debt free nor require the employee to sign a long term agreement with the employer.

Both Friendship and Averett are committed to a model of scholarship that puts an emphasis on community engagement and mutually beneficial relationships. Each believes it is critical to educate future leaders in our communities in the areas of business, education, and health sciences with a combined responsibility to take action in response to increasing higher education student loan debt.

Averett University corporate program partners recognize the value and impact that an Averett education can have for their employees’ and stakeholders’ professional and personal growth. Friendship endeavors to make learning and development a top business priority for its staff. The goal is to be a thought leader in Long Term Care throughout Southwest Virginia and beyond.

Friendship has long believed in the merits of continuous education and training. Currently, Friendship is working with community partners such as Virginia Western Community College, Radford University, TAP This Valley Works, and Goodwill Industries of the Valley to enhance their Certified Nursing Assistant programs, providing on-site educational experience.

In addition, Friendship has been conducting their own Student Nursing Assistant (SNA) classes. The 5-week program provides nursing students the opportunity to experience nursing rotations as part of their education.

Excellence in Partnership Support

The partnership between Friendship and Averett University is turn-key for potential students. Support will be available through the Enrollment process, online and onsite student support and tutoring, aid in educational planning to include course scheduling to accommodate life events.

Support also includes education and development in the form of onsite workshops on various trending topics and assistance with course material.

Effective and Efficient Education

Averett University will work with Friendship to deliver coursework and support via on site and/or online modalities. This will provide employees of Friendship access to education while still allowing for focus on work and family. These offerings will be available through both single course delivery and degree programs.

Breaking the Trend in Increasing Student Debt

At a major tuition discount, the program is shaped to be affordable and economically favorable for Friendship employees, spouses and immediate family. There will also be a tuition freeze for 3 years and a waived registration fee for those degree-seeking students. In addition, Friendship will continue their tuition reimbursement program for employees that may be eligible.

Single Course Program Details

Friendship and Averett University are also developing a selection of for-credit offerings to replace Friendship’s current non-credit professional development courses to be used with Friendship’s career development program for employees only.

Single course registration students will need to apply and be accepted through Averett University and be accepted with official transcripts will be available upon course completion.

What’s Next

Friendship’s partnership with Averett University is the first among several partnerships to be forged in the coming months. With each new educational partner, Friendship employees will have the opportunity to seek advanced degrees in additional fields such as a Master in Social Work, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Physical Therapy, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, Registered Dietician certification, and more.

About Friendship:
Friendship opened its first building in 1966 and has steadily grown since. Over the course of 50 years, Friendship’s evolution has included the addition of new and innovative services, ultimately creating a world-class community where the needs of active adults and rehabilitation patients of all ages are met within a caring community that inspires a belief in living better. Visit for more information.


Media Contact:
Chris Dodd, Friendship Director of Marketing and Communications
Phone: (540) 777-2399

Media Coverage:
McKnight’s Long Term Care News

[Editor’s Note: Below are photos from the contract signing with Averett University. On left: Dr. Tiffany M. Franks, President, Averett University; On right: Russell Barksdale, Jr., President & CEO, Friendship]