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CAEL Pathways Blog

Member Matters May 2022

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

Meeting Adult Learners Where They Are

Colorado State University Pueblo's extended studies program is designed to help adult learners balance their coursework with the many other demands of their time. It features credit and non-credit courses, in-person classes at flexible times, online options, and multiple CPL options (Pueblo Chieftain).

Online options are also a feature of three new health care certificates Charter Oak State College is offering. Structured to help associate degree holders further their careers, they include physician practice management, clinical documentation, and cancer registry management (Charter Oak State College).

UW-Green Bay has added accelerated degree options to help adult learners get the most out of their time. The programs also incorporate online options and can be completed in seven weeks rather than the usual fourteen, allowing adult learners to earn up to 12 credits per semester (Seehafer News).

STEM skills rightfully receive much attention, but a lack of so-called "soft skills," such as written communication and critical thinking, can hinder workforce potential--even within technical occupations. Western Illinois University is offering a master of liberal arts and sciences program that centers critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills within a flexible curriculum. It offers a master's degree pathway independent of a core specialty, allowing working adults to focus on advancement within a number of industries (Western Illinois University). 

Hands-on Learning 

Anderson University has recently added several centers dedicated to creating hands-on learning experiences for students. The latest is an electrical engineering lab, which will also support career pathways into STEM fields for high school students whom the university will host through partnerships with local school districts (Herald Bulletin).

Colorado Mountain College is using hands-on learning opportunities to forge stronger ties among the college, its graduates, and local businesses. Programs focused on training--and retaining--local talent include nursing, avalanche science, ecosystem science and stewardship, and fire science (Times News Express).

Rockhurst University is combining prior learning--specifically, adult learners' previous bachelor's degrees in any field--with "simulated and real-world clinical environments" in a hybrid accelerated B.S.N. program that prepares them for the workforce in 16 months (Rockhurst University).

Lorain County Community College (LCCC) shared a success story about an adult learner who had thought his preference for working with his hands would preclude classroom learning. Thanks to an apprenticeship program that the college helped design for his employer, he began taking courses at the college in 2016 that not only fit within his work schedule but make him more effective at his job. He plans to follow the completion of his journeyman card with an associate degree at LCCC (Morning Journal).

Proactive Partnerships

Austin Community College is a member of the Make It Movement, a partnership that seeks to help "school counselors, teachers, and parents by visually and emotionally connecting all students while in high school--with hope and clarity about their purpose, passion, and career pathways that play to their strengths." One way the college supports the effort is through career academies, where students can earn certificates for entry-level positions in targeted fields. The certificates are free to students who attend partnership school districts (KVUE).

CareerSource Tampa Bay is partnering with Hillsborough County's Board of County Commissioner's Apprenticeship-to-Career Empowerment 2.0 Program (ACE 2.0). ACE 2.0 collaborates with focus industries to create short-term learning opportunities that impart work-relevant skills that power learners along viable career paths (Tampa Bay Newswire).

Florida International University is working with Kaseya to support the company's workforce needs amid the regional threat of "brain drain." The university will consult with Kaseya on curricula via advisory boards. The company will support students via mentoring and job placement (FIU).

Lorain County Community College recently hosted the secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, who participated in a roundtable on workforce development featuring NextFlex, which is a Manufacturing USA consortium, and Boeing.  LCCC is a NextFlex partner of seven years and the first to install its FlexFactor career pathways model afield of San Jose, California (LCCC).

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that growth in demand for fitness trainers and instructors will work out to nearly 40% between now and 2030. To help connect students with the resulting workforce opportunities, Metropolitan Community College has become a National Academy of Sports Medicine-authorized training partner. It will begin a personal trainer certification program in the summer (Fremont Tribune).

Middle Tennessee State was one of Delta Air Line's first Propel Program university partners, and now its first graduate has been cleared to depart the program so his career can take flight at the airline. The program lays out an efficiently structured pathway to pro pilothood prospects that lands them at Delta in 42 months or less (Daily News Journal).

Endicott College and Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals are teaming up to forge education-employment pathways for new nurses. Under the arrangement, Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals serve as the preferred clinical site for the college's nursing students, who will have the opportunity to become Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospital Scholars (Endicott College).

Another nursing partnership, this one between Florida International University and HCA Florida Healthcare, is addressing the discipline's dearth of faculty, something that obliged U.S. nursing schools to deny more than 80,000 qualified applicants for undergraduate and graduate programs in 2019. HCA Healthcare is donating $1.5 million to support the university's Nurse Educator programs and increase the number of R.N.s who can serve as nursing faculty (FIU).

Elgin Community College has heard concerns from healthcare providers about the supply of qualified medical assistants and ophthalmic technicians. Already difficult to staff today, the roles should see double-digit demand growth by 2030, according to the Department of Labor. To help the region stay ahead of the curve, the college is adding programs for the two occupations to its health and sciences division in the fall (Kane County Chronicle).

Doing Good With Grants

With various different funding programs aimed at ameliorating the workforce and educational disruptions of the pandemic, Dallas College is helping match prospective recipients with ideal opportunities. The college, itself the recipient of a Texas Reskilling and Upskilling through Education grant of $2.5 million, offers students a single application so it can serve as a centralized point of access to federal, state, county, and private grant money (Dallas College).

With funding via the New Jersey Department of Education, Rowan University is working to boost diversity among K-12 teachers. The Men of Color Hope Achievers (MOCHA) initiative complements Rowan's ASPIRE to Teach Program, which establishes teaching career paths independent of traditional certification routes (Rowan University). 

West Virginia Northern Community College has received a $1 million grant under the Governor's Nursing Workforce Expansion Program. The college will use the grant to bolster its capacity in several ways, including the addition of nursing simulation labs (WTRF).

Awards and Other Achievements 

Elgin Community College is a semifinalist for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Only 24 other community colleges in the nation can lay claim to the same distinction. The prize recognizes community colleges that excel in teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor's attainment, workforce success, and equity. Ten semifinalists will be revealed in June and the winner crowned in spring of 2023 (Kane County Connects).

Cal State Fullerton has been recognized as a "First-gen Forward Institution." The annual acclaim is observed by the Center for First-generation Student Success. Nearly one third of the university's enrollment is comprised of first-generation students (Cal State Fullerton). 

In Their Own Words

In an op ed, the president of Grand Valley State University outlines the need and opportunity for the hinterland to capitalize on the ramifications of the remote work trend, which has occasioned a renewed scrutiny of thorny workplace issues such as commuting and cost of living. Companies appear to be open to locating major employment centers beyond coastal enclaves, if only regions have invested properly in the postsecondary resources needed to sustain them (Crain's Detroit Business).

The chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and the president of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College teamed up to highlight how flexible and alternative credential pathways that accommodate adult learners are meeting workforce demands for viable links between education and employment (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

The Art of Articulation

Community College of Baltimore County has partnered with fellow CAEL member University of Maryland Global Campus on a dual admissions program. "Degrees to Succeed" allows students to seamlessly transfer to the university following their completion of an associate degree (Dundalk Eagle).

In another "all-CAEL" pairing, University of Maryland Global Campus and the College of Lake County are partnering to offer students who earn an associate degree guaranteed admission at the university and the transfer of at least 60 credits to a bachelor's program in an aligned academic pathway (University of Maryland Global Campus).

Students who complete a liberal arts transfer associate degree at Fox Valley Technical College can now enter the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh as juniors under an arrangement that supports the university's determination to create "additional pathways to a bachelor's degree, especially to nontraditional and returning adult students" (Oshkosh Northwestern).

An agreement between Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) and UW-Green Bay is allowing students who complete an associate degree at NWTC to transfer to UW-Green Bay as juniors within a bachelor's program. The arrangement promises to save students 40%, or $20,000 for a full-time student, in tuition (Green Bay Press Gazette).

Bloomsburg University and Johnson College have implemented a dual admission transfer agreement that guarantees admission to the university for graduates of Johnson College's electronic engineering technology program (News-Item).

Reading Area Community College and Kutztown University of Pennsylvania have also implemented a dual admissions program, allowing students to seamlessly commence the university's bachelor of science in physics: engineering technology program as juniors (Reading Area Community College).

Graduates of Keuka College have a smoother pathway to enroll in Clarkson University's healthcare master of business administration program. A new partnership creates an accelerated admissions opportunity and a career pathway into medical and health services occupations, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will grow more than 30% over the next eight years (Clarkson University).

Thomas Edison State University (TESU) and Alexandria Technical & Community College (ATCC) have agreed to allow students who earn an associate degree at ATCC to transfer 100% of their credits to TESU's nuclear energy engineering technology program (TESU).

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