Achieving the Dream to Create Pathways for Careers in Advanced Manufacturing with Alcoa Foundation Grant

Community Colleges in OH, PA and MI Will Engage Employers to Develop Curriculum

Silver Spring, MD (August 22, 2016) - Achieving the Dream (ATD), a national non-profit dedicated to increasing community college student success, today announced it will begin a sixteen month initiative designed to build a manufacturing talent pipeline in three communities by brokering stronger ties between community colleges in the ATD network and local manufacturing employers.

With almost half a million dollars in funding from Alcoa Foundation, ATD will bring together teams from Cuyahoga Community College (OH); Westmoreland County Community College (PA); and Muskegon Community College (MI) and local manufacturing employers to discuss current skills gaps and seek to align the colleges’ advanced manufacturing programs more closely with employers’ needs.

The initiative allows ATD to deepen its understanding of the skills colleges need to engage key community stakeholders such as employers in efforts that help more students achieve their academic and employment goals. ATD’s new approach to institutional change identifies engagement and communication as one of seven capacities that colleges must develop to succeed in creating a student-focused culture that leads to greater student success.

“This is a great opportunity for ATD to work with Network colleges to build pathways of economic mobility to credentials that employers value and lead to well-paid careers,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “I am pleased that ATD will be bringing together the people, resources and know-how to help build a manufacturing talent pipeline for employers.  We are grateful for our partnership with Alcoa Foundation on this important initiative. ”

“We are confident that Achieving the Dream’s proven model and deep relationships with community colleges will shine a light on the bright future that an advanced manufacturing career can provide,” said Ryan Kish, Program Manager, Alcoa Foundation. “Achieving the Dream is the right partner to strengthen these Alcoa communities, guide the community colleges and help close the skills gap.”

The initiative will also focus on recruiting individuals for training programs who might not consider manufacturing as an employment opportunity.  The colleges will conduct outreach to local workforce boards, community-based organizations and faith-based organizations to attract the potential pool of students and workers and match them with training programs.

During the project, each college will host an assembly of employers and other key stakeholders in their communities to address the current context and needs of advanced manufacturing.  ATD will be developing a variety of tools to help other colleges in the ATD network to create or strengthen their own advanced manufacturing programs. 

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About Alcoa Foundation

Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $480 million. Founded 64 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $635 million in communities worldwide. In 2015, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow's leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa's thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company's signature Month of Service program, in 2015, 47 percent of Alcoa employees took part in 1,000 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 300,000 people and 400 nonprofit organizations.

For more information, visit and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.


Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by: 1) guiding evidence-based institutional improvement, 2) leading policy change, 3) generating knowledge, and 4) engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. With over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams - working throughout 35 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps more than 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

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