Designing programs that meet employer needs, from both a technical and employability skills perspective, is critically important to the growth of our nation’s economy. CORD is leading projects that support colleges and employers in their collaborative efforts to develop industry-responsive curriculum culminating in credentials with labor market value.
Mapping Upward is a two-year project supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). It is providing technical assistance (TA) to community college networks as they work to embed stackable, industry-recognized credentials within technical associate degree programs. Sector-focused college networks are receiving customized virtual and face-to-face TA from subject-matter experts and a dedicated coach to help the networks and individual colleges advance their efforts in stackable credential design through priorities and actions based on local needs. Participating college networks include:
The project is led by CORD, in partnership with Social Policy Research Associates and Abt Associates.
CORD, in partnership with CSSIA, FLATE, and SCATE, is leading a curriculum development initiative aimed at improving the employability skills of our nation’s technicians in the manufacturing and cybersecurity sectors. The Necessary Skills Now project, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program, is working with teams of employers and community college faculty to develop curriculum modules that integrate technical content and employability concepts. Rather than developing stand-alone courses on employability topics to be taught in isolation from technical content, the project will provide opportunities to teach employability skills prioritized by industry within existing technical courses by using workplace scenarios as the context for instruction. Twelve self-contained instructional projects are currently under development and will soon be available for field testing by community colleges. To follow the progress of the project, visit: http://necessaryskillsnow.org/
The prevalence of employer reports about the gap in employability skills among applicants and new hires is a recurring theme across workforce development initiatives, yet a challenge that can be tackled on several fronts. In the classroom, we can modify our expectations of students to better reflect the types of skills employers say are critically important for workplace success. We can adapt our existing curriculum to teach specific employability skills, and we can enhance our programs of study by incorporating resources, activities, and experiences that will better prepare our students to be successful in their future careers. Developed by CORD for the North Carolina Community College System, the Employability Skills Resource Toolkit supports instructors as they seek to embed eight key employability competencies into existing courses. The toolkit is comprised of eight modules, each containing instructional materials that include activities, student handouts, assessment rubrics, and annotated slides.