UPS & Metropolitan College


Despite its name, Metropolitan College is not a college. It was established as a partnership among Jefferson Community and Technical College, the University of Louisville and charter business partner UPS. This partnership provides eligible Kentucky residents access to a tuition-free post-secondary education and outstanding employment opportunities. With funding support from the Kentucky and Louisville Metro governments and UPS, the mission of Metropolitan College is to assist students to integrate work, academic and career goals, and personal lives through a unique combination of programs and services.

UPS Metropolitan College (MC) is a joint education-workforce-economic development initiative among the University of Louisville (U of L), Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC), Louisville Metro and State of Kentucky governments, and the region’s largest employer, UPS. MC was a critical element of the incentive package that convinced UPS to remain in Kentucky and to expand its major overnight air hub, Worldport. This uniquely innovative education program offers access to post-secondary education opportunities for eligible employees in the Next Day Air operation at UPS Worldport. Acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Labor for best practices in innovative solutions to workforce development, MC and UPS offer a well-documented solution for the elimination of the financial barriers to higher education for residents of Kentucky. Since its inception in 1998, this innovative partnership has helped thousands of students receive a free education and on-the-job training while stabilizing the workforce.

ups-01dParticipants in the MC program work part-time at UPS in the Next Day Air operation, receiving wages and full benefits. MC participants may attend JCTC or U of L (specific admission criteria must be met) where they are eligible for full undergraduate Kentucky resident tuition for all coursework passed with a “C” or above. In addition, MC participants are eligible for book reimbursement (up to $65 per class) and academic completion bonuses. To fulfill the program’s mission of assisting students to integrate their academic, work and personal lives, MC has a team of Student Development Counselors who assist students in a wide array of support services to ensure their success both in the workplace and in the classroom.

MC Student Spotlight: Heidi Arbuckle

By Renecia Griffie Davis, Student Development Counselor  

Heidi Arbuckle started the Metropolitan College program in fall 2014. At just 19 years of age, and her junior year just beginning at the University of Louisville, Arbuckle’s achievements are already impressive. Arbuckle works third shift at UPS as a frontline supervisor to access tuition free post-secondary education benefits through the Metropolitan College program. She currently majors in English at the University of Louisville where she is a Trustee’s Scholarship recipient and a University Louisville Honors Program participant. Most recently, Arbuckle completed the spring 2015 semester with an overall cumulative GPA of 3.8 while working nights at UPS.

She feels her greatest accomplishment in life so far has been becoming a supervisor at a Fortune 500 company. Arbuckle has maintained A’s and B’s in her college classes while balancing the responsibility and increased work hours that goes along with being a supervisor. Arbuckle commented, “A lot of people try to deny my claim to credibility as a supervisor because of my age. I had to work harder to gain credibility and respect and prove that my age was just a number as far as my job was concerned.”

It is Arbuckle’s strong academic achievement, ability to effectively balance work and life responsibilities, and her commitment to her career field that she received the Spring 2015 Outstanding UofL MC Student Award.

Arbuckle expects to graduate with her Bachelor of Arts in English in May 2017. Her long term career goals are to become a full-time supervisor at UPS and work her way up in management and to become a publisher or head editor for a renowned publication.

Arbuckle has advice to give to current and future Metropolitan College participants. She says, “Don’t overload yourself. If you can’t balance school, work, and a personal life when going to school full-time, then cut back on your credit hours. Yeah you might not graduate in four years but you’ll have your sanity and your school will still be paid for.” Arbuckle stressed the importance of Metropolitan College students taking summer classes, which are covered by MC benefits, to avoid being overloaded with credit hours during the fall and spring semesters. In fact, Arbuckle is currently taking a summer course and makes it a point to schedule her classes, when possible, in the afternoon to ensure she gets proper rest and has ample time to complete homework assignments. “My personal life is pretty much set aside until the weekend,” said Arbuckle.

Arbuckle feels very confident about her future career goals and credits the Metropolitan College program for requiring all students to complete the Career and Academic Planning Program (CAPP), which helps to prepare students for rewarding career opportunities. In addition, she acknowledged UPS’s role in helping her to prepare for her career field and stated, “UPS has taught me how to manage and coach employees, make business connections and maintain relationships, and handle stressful and demanding situations.”

Apply now at or call 502-359-1877 for more information.

Written by: Sandy Hartz


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