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The Strengthening MiWorkforce Pathways project seeks to strengthen equitable access to and through workforce programs through network-building with a strategic focus on program design, alignment with local labor market needs, incorporation of industry-recognized credentials, progress into bachelor’s degree programs, and deployment of timely advising interventions to maintain student momentum.  Generously funded by the Ascendium Education Group, this work centers on four core strategies.  Below is a brief video overview of the project and accompanying slides.

The MCSS hosted a series of exploratory workshops in Winter and Spring 2021 featuring all four project strategies with our partners at the Community College Research Center, the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, the Rutgers University Education and Employment Research Center, Jobs for the Future, and Achieving the Dream.  These four workshops provide valuable background from national experts on the important work we hope to achieve in this project.  Review all four videos to learn more.  

     

Strategy #1:  Workforce Program Design

Strategy #1 is open to selected programs at community colleges that are interested in improving their applied certificate and degree programs.  Colleges engaging in this deeper dive will better understand how programs are helping graduates successfully access jobs with family-sustaining wages, ensure that colleges are providing equitable access and success, supporting program exploration, and delivering effective student supports. 

 

Strategy #2:  Industry Recognized Credentials

Strategy #2 focuses on supporting colleges in their efforts to award academic credit for industry credentials by developing equitable policies, establishing equivalencies, designing an equitable process to award credit, and communicating credit equivalencies and policies to students and employers.  In addition to the video below which provides a comprehensive overview of this strategy and features three colleges and their efforts to award academic credit for industry credentials, the MCSS is hosting a series of workshops to support colleges in their efforts to establish equitable credit for prior learning policies and practices.  

 

  

 

Strategy #3:  Transfer Pathways to the Bachelor's Degree

Strategy #3 will focus on building multi-institutional transfer agreements between applied workforce programs at community colleges and bachelor's degree completion programs at Michigan's public and independent institutions of higher education.  In October 2022, MCCA facilitated the development and implementation of four new transfer agreements including:  

25 community colleges and 10 universities joined the four agreements which collectively provide a bachelor's degree completion pathway for graduates of 529 associate degree programs at community colleges in programs such as Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Hospitality Management, Cardiac Sonography, Cybersecurity, and more.  Visit the Michigan Transfer Network to learn more about these agreements.  

 

Strategy #4:  Timely Advising Interventions

Strategy #4 focuses on expanding the capacity of advisors and counselors to provide student supports by creating customizable guidance focused on creating equitable access to workforce programs and a shared understanding of the career opportunities for students.  A workgroup of executive leadership, faculty, advisors, and counselors have worked to identify 8 crucial lessons to support college personnel committed to supporting students.  The Center for Student Success will release these new guides in late Spring 2023 focused on the following topics:  

  1. Expanding Knowledge of the Local Labor Market
  2. Exploring Diverse Careers 
  3. Foundations of Equitable Advising, Onboarding, and Student Supports
  4. Analyzing Disaggregated Program Data
  5. Special Resources for Faculty
  6. Supporting Faculty and Advisor Relationships 
  7. Understanding Personal Bias in Career Exploration
  8. Communicating the Value of the General Education with Students and Employers