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Workforce Readiness

Education Design Lab Fund to Help Community Colleges Develop Workforce-Relevant Credentials

Nonprofit Education Design Lab has launched a $2.5 million Community College Growth Engine Fund, devoted to helping community colleges across the United States create short-term credentials that connect workers with in-demand jobs and industries.

"The pandemic has given rise to both a heightened sense of urgency, and an openness to innovation among institutions of higher education on the frontlines of our unemployment crisis," said Kathleen deLaski, founder and CEO of Education Design Lab, in a statement. "This fund will help supercharge the work of these forward-leaning community colleges — and their employer partners — as they design new 'micro-pathways' that are more agile and responsive to the needs of the labor market."

In partnership with the League for Innovation in the Community College, Education Design Lab will bring together a national cohort of community colleges and systems and provide each with a startup award of $100,000 as well as hands-on support. The cohort will "draw upon real-time labor market data to identify the most in-demand careers in their regions and create 'micro-pathways' that lead to earnings at or above the median wage," a news announcement explained.

"Community colleges need to reinvent themselves as we move to a skills-based hiring ecosystem," commented Rufus Glasper, CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College. "They have always demonstrated agility in responding to the needs of their region's employers. This effort will test new models — and help to codify new best practices — for creating micro-pathways that best serve learners and employers."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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