Accelerating Workforce Education, Skill Development and Structured Pathways
Many community colleges around the country have developed innovative approaches to helping students move through training and transfer programs faster while ensuring that their students are successful while doing so. Innovations include integrating adult basic education with technical curriculum, helping students move more quickly through developmental education, scheduling coursework to accelerate completion of program requirements, or guiding students through structured pathways to attain a degree or credential. Colleges have also created strategies for “cross-walking” non-credit workforce education into credit programs based on earning certifications or otherwise providing evidence of mastery. Proposals should focus on strategies that accelerate skill development or time to credential.
Funding Student Success and Skill Attainment
The national discussion regarding “free” community college, future jobs, required skills and degree completion continues, but the bigger questions facing students and colleges are: “What resources will be available to fund workforce training?” and “How will colleges ensure access to affordable education, degree completion and student success?” Workshops in this strand should focus on how colleges are leveraging current funding sources, such as Pell Grants, Perkins and other resources, and the sustainability of those sources, as well as the identification of alternative funding sources and success in decreasing the financial burden on students for their education.
TAACCCT: More Lessons Learned, and What Happens After TAACCCT?
On March 30, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which included $2 billion over four years to fund the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program. The goal of the TAACCCT grant program was to expand job-driven training partnerships between community colleges and employers. The burning questions are: “How do colleges sustain the innovations and partnerships established with TAACCCT?” “How do community colleges (continue to demonstrate their value) stay in the national spotlight for job training?” and “How do we continue to develop innovative and collaborative community college training consortiums without federal funding?”
Equity and Diversity in Workforce Development
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, ninety percent of the fastest growing jobs in the United States require some level of education or training beyond high school. Closing education, employment, wage, and skill gaps for low-income populations who have been historically underrepresented and under-engaged in an increasingly diverse workforce is critical to fostering robust economic growth and preparing for the skilled jobs employers need to fill. How can we assure that workforce development initiatives address these equally vital and inseparable goals? Proposals in this strand should focus on strategies and partnerships that engage such traditionally underrepresented groups as minorities, including men of color; women; those in STEM careers; first-generation college youth; long-term unemployed; immigrants and refugees; Native Americans, veterans, over 50 adults, incarcerated populations, and people with disabilities.
Transfer and Applied Baccalaureate and Upskilling Workforce
There was a time when community colleges were the resource for developmental, transfer and workforce education. As higher education expectations continue to evolve government, business and industry now look to community colleges to provide additional educational attainment, including skillsets in management, leadership and other workforce upskilling opportunities. Community colleges work to meet these needs by offering opportunities in Applied Baccalaureates and workforce upskill training. Proposals in the strand should provide insight and development strategies for implementing Applied Baccalaureate awards and workforce upskill training.