InStride named a 2023 Most Innovative Company by Fast Company
January 13, 2022


3 min read

Looking back at 2021: Transforming businesses and enriching employee lives

In this post:

Emerging skills gaps. The Great Resignation. Diversity, equity and inclusion. These were just some of the talent challenges faced by organizations in 2021. 

To help enterprises address the obstacles brought on by today’s rapidly changing workforce landscape, InStride reinforced its commitment to enabling employers and their people to continually advance through education.

The result – another year of tremendous growth for InStride, our network of academic and corporate partners and the 48,000+ employee learners impacted by life-changing Strategic Enterprise Education programs. 

Let’s take a look back at the highlights of 2021 and celebrate the accomplishments that delivered both business and social impact through the power of workforce education. 


2021 by the numbers

Approaching workforce education in a whole new way, InStride and our partners unlock the full potential of continuous learning and education. This strategic approach uniquely combines key elements to drive positive impact for both individuals and companies, as reflected in our growing numbers:



Better together: Joining forces to make an impact

Academic and corporate leaders have joined forces to bring workforce education to thousands of employees as they prepare for the future. These synergies offer extraordinary impact across key areas including talent acquisition, retention, employee engagement and workplace diversity, equity and inclusion.


Corporate partners

InStride’s network has expanded to 40+ corporate partners, including Fortune 500 companies. In 2021, we formed new partnerships including:



Additionally, InStride’s existing corporate partners continued to grow their impact this year by expanding their current programs. For example, Banfield Pet Hospital, which launched the Banfield Educational Pathways Program in 2020, expanded its offering to include a greater variety of learning options for its employees, including high school diplomas.


Academic partners

As of 2021, InStride’s global academic network has grown to include more than 1,700 online learning options including undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificates, skill-building courses and high school diplomas. 

We partner with leading academic institutions that specifically excel in online learning innovation and are proven to deliver strong outcomes for working adults. Arizona State University is our founding academic partner, and our network has grown to also include City University of New York, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Virginia, University of Memphis, Universidad Tecmilenio and more. 

In 2021, this network continued to expand with new additions such as:

  • University of Virginia partnered with InStride to offer online bachelor’s degree completion and professional certificate programs to employees part of our network of corporate partners.


  • The University of Memphis joined InStride’s academic network to reach more corporations interested in sponsoring strategic workforce education for their employees.


  • Kingsborough Community College, a campus of the City University of New York (CUNY), will provide employees with no previous college experience with the opportunity to earn a debt-free associate degree, with the ability to automatically transfer into a CUNY bachelor’s degree program.


Many of InStride’s existing academic partners expanded their offerings to include even more career-accelerating programs for employees. Universidad Tecmilenio launched 12 new stackable certificate programs that build into a bachelor’s degree — all of which are offered fully in Spanish. Similarly, UW-Madison expanded its online catalogue to include additional degree and certificate programs that focus on future workforce needs.


At a glance: Notable news and accolades

  • InStride joins OneTen coalition: Recognizing that the current system is not inclusive enough, OneTen has set out to change the way companies provide more equitable environments to drive better business outcomes and benefit all employees. As an endorsed talent developer, InStride will work in partnership with OneTen to broadly develop, retain and advance diverse and underrepresented talent with an explicit commitment to hire or promote Black individuals without four-year degrees.



  • Noteworthy additions to InStride’s Advisory Board, including:
    • Lynne Doughtie, Former Chair & CEO, KPMG
    • Clarence Otis, Former CEO, Darden Restaurants
    • Meg Whitman, Former eBay, Hewlett-Packard and HPE CEO


InStride’s Strategic Enterprise Education programs have already provided tens of thousands of employees with access to career-boosting credentials from top academic institutions while helping them avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in student debt. 

And this is just the beginning.

As we look to the future, InStride and our growing network of partners will continue to champion the movement to advance social and business impact through workforce education.