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CAEL Member Matters - February 2021

A Monthly Lookback at Some of the Good Work in the CAEL Community

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is offering upskilling and reskilling opportunities through low-cost, non-credit classes taught by industry experts. Topics cover high-demand subjects, from technical areas like Microsoft Excel and AutoCAD to “soft skills” like “Transition to Management'' and “Communication and Diversity” (The Ledger Independent). And for students who may underestimate their potential, KCTCS has a message, courtesy of rapper Buffalo B. Stille: “Never underestimate you.” KCTCS enlisted the Grammy-nominated artist to get word out about Kentucky’s Work Ready Scholarship. Stille interrupted his college studies to make music in the early1990s. But he resumed in 2019, completing his degree. Now he’s encouraging other adult learners to do the same (Bowling Green Daily News).

KC Scholars, which has awarded hundreds of adult learner scholarships, recently announced its latest support for working adults. Covering 78 adult learners in the Kansas City area, the assistance includes financial aid and college planning. The average age of the recipients, who are all currently working, is 34.5 years. (The Examiner).

Exemplifying the type of program that many adult learners would be happy to include in their college plans, Monroe College has rolled out a bachelor’s degree in professional studies. With a focus on both “soft skills” and specific concentrations, the program welcomes students’ prior learning, awarding up to 90 credits for previous military, workforce, and other sources of prior learning (including transfer credits) (Real Estate In-Depth).

Since its launch during the pandemic, CUNY’s City Tutors program has connected hundreds of high school and college students, as well as workers seeking career change, with mentors. These professionals represent industries including law, marketing/advertising, tech, nonprofit, healthcare, and finance/business (PRLog).

Propelling Forward
Benedict College has joined the Propel Center, a global campus based in Atlanta that will support HBCUs around the country. Collaboration with the Propel Center will augment Benedict College’s student support in career development and leadership (Carolina Panorama). Benedict College joins fellow CAEL members Delaware State University (WMDT) and Fort Valley State University (Albany Herald) in partnering with the Propel Center.

In more news about Fort Valley State, the university’s Cooperative Development Energy Program (CDEP) is offering students a way to earn two bachelor’s degrees in five years. CDEP partnerships with other universities have resulted in more than 360 STEM degrees, and the program has granted more than $13 million in scholarships to minority and female students since 1992, helping transform the talent pipeline for STEM careers (Atlanta Voice). 

Continuing the inclusive access theme, a new, for-credit course at Florida International University will use direct industry feedback to help more women enter leadership career paths within the hospitality sector. Launching in the spring, the course will be offered through a partnership with the Women’s Hospitality Initiative (Green Lodging News). For its part, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has been recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education for its work to increase access to underrepresented students in engineering. (Telegraph Herald).

Responding to Lake County’s workforce and economic development needs, College of Lake County plans to open an advanced technology center later this fall. Although more than 50,000 people are employed in manufacturing roles in Lake County, it faces a shortage of skilled workers. The college will work with local manufactures and other community partners to develop the technology center, which will support accelerated completion in areas aligned with business demand (the Daily Herald Business Ledger). 

To meet high demand for cybersecurity professionals, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is partnering with the Forge Institute. The university will offer credit toward a bachelor’s degree for students who complete the Forge Institute’s IT/Cybersecurity Fundamentals certificate (Newswise). 

The Art of Articulation
A new agreement between Bismarck State College and the University of North Dakota will allow BSC students to finish a four-year degree in chemical, civil, electrical, petroleum, or mechanical engineering in Bismarck. After earning an associate degree from BSC, students can complete their bachelor’s through a UND distance program (Bismarck Tribune). Meanwhile, an agreement between Albany State University and Oconee Fall Line Technical College is creating new pathways to a four-year degree in fields that include accounting, nursing, criminal justice, business management, and computer science (The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education). And Fayetteville State University is now part of a four-year-degree pathway for Robeson Community College students. They can build on their Robeson associate degree by completing an online bachelor’s degree with FSU at a total “out of pocket” cost of $10,000 that includes both degrees (The Robesonian). Finally, Georgia Southwestern State University has also entered a new agreement aimed at helping associate degree completers seamlessly pursue a four-year program. The arrangement allows Georgia Piedmont Technical College graduates to earn a degree in a high-demand field, long-term care management, at the university (The Citizens). 

Subdegree programs are another way to create onramps for adult learners to access rewarding careers. Northwood University has launched a new graduate certificate that provides professional experience in strategic financial leadership in a format that accommodates learners at all career levels. The nine-month program is entirely online, and its certificates can stack into Northwood’s graduate degrees (Midland Daily News). And DeVry University is offering three new software development certificate programs aimed at helping workers reskill to remain qualified to meet evolving job requirements (DeVry).

The pandemic has derailed many careers, and gaining new skills is often the only path back to a rewarding job. Texas A&M University-Texarkana will be using a reskilling grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to assist adult learners who have stopped out of postsecondary education and been impacted by the pandemic (Texarkana Gazette).

It doesn’t take a pandemic to disrupt jobs. Employees displaced when a Maine paper mill exploded now have access to a $1 million fund the mill’s owner created to help the workers transition into new careers. The fund covers tuition, fees, and material costs for workers pursing associate, certificate, and short-term workforce training at Maine Community College System institutions Kennebec Valley Community College or Central Maine Community College (centralmaine.com).

Finally, in the pandemic-induced rush to online learning, many good and not-so-good practices emerged. Focusing on the latter, instructors from Lorain County Community College are among those enrolled in a 25-week course, “Effective Online Teaching Practices,” offered through a partnership between the Ohio Association of Community Colleges and the Association of College and University Educators (The Morning Journal).

 

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