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CAEL Pathways Blog

Member Matters September 2022

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

Career Pathway Partnerships
Waubonsee Community College, along with Elgin Community College and Kishwaukee College, is partnering with the Kane County Office of Community Reinvestment to provide reskilling credentials to adult learners in a three-county area. The WIOA-backed effort covers tuition and books and features career pathway guidance (Waubonsee Community College).

Elizabethtown College hosted a workforce development event that convened more than 250 thought leaders from businesses, K-12 and postsecondary education, and other community members who collaborated around workforce development issues and opportunities. National experts on workforce development also joined the three-day affair (Elizabethtown College).

A nationwide effort to bolster diversity along career pathways that connect hospitality workers to executive leadership positions is underway thanks to Florida International University. Via its Alliance for Hospitality Equity and Diversity, FIU is shepherding a recruiting strategy that brings together postsecondary institutions, employers, and industry groups to close diversity gaps (FIU).

Northeastern Illinois University is working with the Grow with Google HSI Career Readiness Program, the only four-year institution in Illinois to do so. The program, which is directing $2 million to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), will help 200,000 Latino students become workforce ready through 2035 via career workshops and digital skills training. HACU institutions enroll two-thirds of Latino students in the U.S. (Lawndale News).

An education-benefits arrangement between Siena Heights University and Michigan State Police will discount tuition for qualified employees, who will be further assisted through individualized advising at the university (Siena Heights university).

Several CAEL members helped form the Midwest Regional Network, which is enhancing higher ed solutions for meeting research and recruiting needs within the semiconductor and microelectronics sector. The network includes: 

  • Columbus State Community College. 
  • Lorain County Community College.
  • Sinclair Community College.
  • Case Western Reserve University.
  • Michigan State University.
  • Purdue University.
  • The Ohio State University.
  • University of Cincinnati.
  • University of Dayton.
  • University of Michigan.
  • University of Notre Dame.
  • Wright State University.

(Sinclair Community College).

Hands-on Learning
Waubonsee Community College has launched a cybersecurity apprenticeship program that allows students to earn a salary while working on their cybersecurity associate in applied science (Waubonsee Community College).

DeVry University is also offering a new tech apprenticeship program, which is focused on meeting talent needs in "high-demand IT occupations by expanding training and certification opportunities, particularly from underrepresented communities in the current tech force, which has seen demand for its services soar nearly 50% over the past year' (DeVry University).

Investments in Equity
Benedict College has become the first HBCU to offer esports, a billion-dollar industry, as a major. Although 83% of African American millennials play video games daily, only 2 to 3% work within the video game sector, according to the cofounder of Cxmmunity, a disparity that the organization is working with HBCUs to overcome (AfroTech).

Calvin University will greet its largest incoming class in four years, thanks in no small part to the class being its most diverse ever. The university has broadened its outreach beyond traditional students, and "today serves adult learners seeking certificates, transfer students, online learners, and students at the Handlon Campus through the Calvin Prison Initiative program" (MLive).

Diversity is also contributing to enrollment gains at Fayetteville State University, which is enjoying its most diverse first-year class in almost 15 years and largest enrollment in more than 20. "I believe that FSU is starting to witness tangible results from our very intentional work to remove considerable obstacles to education, most notably cost, so that talented students -- both traditional and adult learners -- can pursue a degree or continue their college journey with fewer hindrances or interruptions due to the lack of resources," said the FSU chancellor. Fall 2022 enrollment also included the university's largest-even number of military-affiliated students, who, along with their families, enjoy a free tuition program (HBCU Connect).

Offering the kind of flexibility adult learners need is credited for an enrollment increase of nearly 10% at Pima Community College, where a second-year student is working on completing a credential 14 years after her last postsecondary enrollment (KVOA).

Virginia Western Community College is also seeing an increase in enrollment (5.9% among FTEs), thanks to strategic engagement that includes more "in-person outreach in the community, particularly focused on adult students and underserved populations" (The Roanoke Star).

Doing Good With Grants
Grants from SUNY System Administration are helping Dutchess Community College bolster its support of workforce development. Initiatives include the creation of a SUNY Future of Work Center at DCC, which will offer "short-term, degree-eligible and non-degree credential programs which quickly address employer skill needs and prepare job seekers ' especially those from underrepresented communities ' for careers in high-growth industries." A second grant will support DCC's  Noncredit-to-Credit Pathways and Microcredential initiatives (Dutchess Community College).

The University of Colorado Denver is part of a $2 million dollar grant program to launch a "smart cities incubator and accelerator program." The university will apply grant funds to create "Smart Cities certificate programs for undergraduate students and mid-career professionals interested in a variety of tech-related careers" (CU Denver).

With a "significant need nationwide for workers" in the early childhood education field, a grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board will help College of Lake County expand access to career pathways within the field and meet the needs of both employers and students (Daily Herald).

Keeping an Eye on Completion
Mention of summer bridge programs typically conjures images of fresh high school grads ramping up for their first year of college. Now, thanks to the Adult Summer Spark program, which serves learners 25 or older who are contemplating community college attendance, adult students too can benefit from such preparatory support. Schoolcraft College participated in the pilot, an initiative of Detroit Regional Chamber's Detroit Reconnect program. Program staff reached out to adult learners who had applied for free community college tuition through Michigan Reconnect but never enrolled. Michigan Reconnect funding meets half of tuition costs, so Schoolcraft College made up the difference and also launched a workshop to provide guidance along students' educational pathways (Detroit Regional Chamber).

The UNC System has embarked on a statewide effort to bring individual coaching to adult learners who completed some college but not a degree. Provided in tandem with CAEL's fellow Strada Collaborative member InsideTrack, the specialized coaching helps students get on track for completion at of the System's eight institutions (EducationNC).

Completion is at the heart of the Ohio College Comeback Compact, which includes several CAEL members and is engaging 15,000 former students with a no-strings-attached proposal: enroll at any of the Compact's eight universities regardless of debt or held transcripts. Under the Compact, students can cancel as much as $5,000 in debt and see formerly stranded credit added to their transcripts. More than 6.5 million adult learners have stranded credit in the U.S., which "prevents students from re-enrolling or applying for work--impacting students of color and from low socioeconomic backgrounds disproportionately."

The Compact includes:

  • Cleveland State University.
  • Kent State University.
  • Lorain County Community College.
  • The University of Akron.
  • Cuyahoga Community College.
  • Lakeland Community College.
  • Stark State College.
  • Youngstown State University.

(Cleveland State University)

The Evergreen State College is also working to support returning adult learners. The first 100 students who re-matriculate will secure a $750 scholarship. The college's adult learners also can benefit from dedicated programs, including internships and individual learning accounts (Bellingham Herald).

Plugging Talent Gaps
To meet the needs of employers and help minimize persistent equity gaps in California's technology workforce, California State University, Fullerton is offering certification courses aimed at adult learners that provide highly sought certification such as Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, and CompTIA (Fierce Education).

Black Hawk College has created a new position of associate vice president of economic and workforce development. The role is responsible for serving the "career and technical education and workforce development needs of BHC students, the college, and the community" (Quad-City Times).

Awards and Other Recognition
White Mountains Community College, by virtue of its inclusion within the Rural Guided Pathways Project, has been recognized as a top community college by the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement. The college's focus during the project will be on improving "persistence, retention, and graduation rates among students while creating postsecondary and career pathways for students beginning in middle school" (White Mountains Community College).

The provost/chief academic officer at Georgia Highlands College is one of 31 community college leaders to be selected to the 2022-23 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship. The Fellowship poises participants to pursue a college presidency within five years of program completion (Georgia Highlands College).

UW-Green Bay has made the Campus Pride list of Best of the Best Colleges and Universities for LGBTQ+ Students. The placement is based on stellar scores in the Campus Pride Index, which appraises "LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs, and practices" (UW-Green Bay).

Career partnerships are among the criteria that helped the University of Oklahoma land best-college-for-aviation recognition from Flying (Flying).

Economic Impact 
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College generated an economic impact of $429,357,879 for south Georgia during the 2020-21 fiscal year, an increase of 10% from the 2020 fiscal year (ABAC).

In Northwest Georgia, the economic impact of Dalton State College was $130.6 million during the year ending June 30, 2021 (Dalton Daily Citizen).

Looking at economic impact from a completion perspective, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, graduating from a University System of Georgia institution imparts a $1 million lifetime earnings advantage compared to workers who don't have a bachelor's degree. The study identified scaling wage benefits at the associate, master's, and doctorate levels as well (The Jones County News).

Finally, a study has concluded that the San Diego region would have to host not one, not two, not three, but four Super Bowls to rival the economic impact the San Diego Community College District's career education programs alone generate. The programs boast more than 300 certificate and degree offerings that, according to the same study, offer their students a better return than the stock market: for every dollar students invest in the program, they can expect to receive $6.25 in enhanced lifetime earnings (San Diego Community College District).

The Art of Articulation
Grand Valley State University and Savannah State University are helping students expedite their passage through master's degree pathways. The fourth such agreement between Grand Valley and an HBCU offers SSU students more seamless access to master's programs at Grand Valley in engineering, cybersecurity, criminal justice, communications, and biomedical sciences (Grand Valley).

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System has added an articulation agreement with Miami University (of Ohio) that creates smoother pathways for qualifying students from anywhere in the state system to build on their associate degree at Miami University (Miami University).

An agreement between University of Maryland Global Campus and Bucks County Community College allows associate degree completers to transfer at least 60 credits and receive guaranteed admission at UMGC. The arrangement includes discounted tuition and waived application fees (UMGC).

Post University has implemented agreements with five area colleges and training providers that offer students an easier transfer process and opportunity to build upon their credentials at Post (Post University).

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