National Programs of Study Learning Network
By 2018, the United States will be at least 3 million college degrees short of filling the 62% of American jobs that will require at least a bachelor’s degree. Despite years of high unemployment, 61% of U.S. employers say it’s difficult to find qualified workers to fill vacancies at their companies. To sustain a robust economy, it will be critical to align the skills of American workers with the needs of the workforce.
TAACCT/National Programs of Study Learning Network:
Recognizing the centrality of community colleges toward aligning with the local economies, the Department of Labor has provided over $2 billion in grants for workforce development to community colleges for the fiscal years 2011-2014 through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.
In September 2011, 54 Achieving the Dream Institutions in 22 states were awarded round one TAACCCT grants. These institutions are in the process of implementing the initiatives and programs outlined in their 2011 grant, and will be learning and adjusting as they overcome challenges and barriers. Round two grantees were announced in May 2012, and 45 Achieving the Dream Institutions were awarded this round of TAACCT grants.
In order to affect systemic change across institutions, the rich knowledge these institutions have developed and will continue to gather must be captured and disseminated to other TAACCCT grantees, as well as the greater community college reform world. Achieving the Dream has answered this need by creating a National Programs of Study Learning Network (NPSLN), funded by the Lumina Foundation, which will capture, build upon, and disseminate the knowledge that is being developed as a result of the work of these institutions.
Achieving the Dream has begun to lay the groundwork for the National Programs of Study Learning Network by building out our knowledge center to reflect TAACCCT opportunities and initiating a partnership with the Collaboratory and the Office of Community College Research and Leadership at the University of Illinois (OCCRL). At the center of this collaboration will be the Community College Transformative Change Initiative, which aims to develop and assess a new model of completion and workforce alignment for community colleges. The initiative will conduct its first convening at a 2013 pre-DREAM convening called the Learning Lab. Through the Learning Labs, this partnership will develop a framework utilized in the development of the Transformative Change Model.
Achieving the Dream is facilitating several other opportunities that will help to drive the National Programs of Study Learning Network, including a case example training and peer coaching course for TAACCCT grantees which will result in the creation of teachable case examples; and the formation of a Programs of Study Track at DREAM, Achieving the Dream’s annual meeting on student success.
Furthermore, Achieving the Dream is one of nearly 30 Service Providers for TAACCCT as part of TAConnecT, which is a consortium developed by several national foundations including the CS Mott Foundation, Hitachi Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. Through this partnership, Achieving the Dream is supporting Achieving the Dream Institutions already participating in TAACCCT as Round One and Two Grantees, and will engage the other 100+ Institutions in the Achieving the Dream Network with more information about the grant program and promising practices for workforce development.
- Read about TAConnecT and the technical assistance services available to TAACCCT grantees from the nearly 30 Service Providers
- Read about Achieving the Dream's offerings to TAACCCT grantees
- Connect with Achieving the Dream's point-person on TAACCCT - Vice President Rachel Singer
Corporate Voices for Working Families:
Corporate Voices for Working Families engages the business community in postsecondary education completion and workforce development through its Learn and Earn initiative. This initiative seeks to identify and encourage innovative partnerships between employers, community colleges, as well as other higher education institutions to assist in the college completion of working students. Multiple Achieving the Dream Institutions serve on the Community College Advisory Board, helping to develop scalable programs that contribute to the development of students with skills of market value.
In October 2012, Corporate Voices for Working Families and Achieving the Dream offered both “Leaders and Learners” from community colleges and employers the opportunity to network at STEMtech around the process of partnering between community colleges and employers.
CAEL, a partner organization to Achieving the DREAM, created an online Prior Learning Assessment Service, LearningCounts.org, to help adult learners earn college credit for skills they have developed outside of traditional academic settings. This service helps adult learners to secure college credit for their past professional learning experiences, accelerating their program or degree completion rates, and gets them back into the workforce with critical industry credentials they need. Learn more about this program here.
 Source: The Springboard Project, Business Roundtable. Getting Ahead-Staying Ahead: Helping America’s Workforce Succeed in the 21st Century. December, 2009.
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