Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is pleased to announce that Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Mesa Community College, Rio Salado College, and Scottsdale Community College will partner to create new micro-pathways in the making of state-of-the-art and information technologies with the education design lab (The Lab), a national nonprofit organization that designs, implements and scales new learning models for higher education and the future of work.
“Maricopa Community Colleges are uniquely positioned to meet growing workforce needs with career training and certificates in the information technology and advanced manufacturing industries of the greater Phoenix area” , said Dr. Steven R. Gonzales, Acting Chancellor of the MCCCD. “This generous support and investment from the Community College Growth Engine Fund will enable our East Valley colleges to strengthen community partnerships to support new pathways to employment in high-demand fields.”
East Valley Maricopa Community Colleges have been selected to participate in the Lab’s second cohort of the nationally recognized Community College Growth Engine Fund (the Fund), which has raised $1.2 million for sponsor Maricopa colleges to develop micro-pathways, a new class of degrees designed to accelerate the economic mobility of historically non-traditional learners who now constitute what the Lab calls majority new learners.
Building on the momentum of the first cohort, the Fund announced four new colleges and systems for Year 2. Maricopa Community Colleges are joined in Cohort 2 by:
Colorado Community College System (energy + health care)
Bunker Hill Community College in Boston (Health + IT)
The Community College of Philadelphia (Healthcare; STEAM life sciences + technology; and transportation + logistics)
Co-designed with learners and employers in high-demand areas, micro-pathways are defined as two or more stackable degrees, including a 21st Century Micro-Certificate of Competence, which are issued flexibly to be earned in less than a year and result in employment at or above the local median wage.
Recent reports nationwide show the emerging demand for microtitles to fill a growing skills gap, including stories featured in EducationDynamic, Forbes and Bloomberg. Nearly 90% of managers and executives who responded to McKinsey Global Survey indicate that they are currently experiencing workforce skills gaps or expect to encounter them in the next few years.
“We are proud to partner with our partner colleges and the Education Design Lab to bring micro-trails to the East Valley,” said Chandler-Gilbert Community College President Greg Peterson. “These micro-pathways will allow us to equip our community members with the skills needed to pursue careers in the cutting-edge manufacturing and information technology industries.”
“Mesa Community College is excited to continue its successful partnerships with our East Valley sister colleges and industry to develop micro-degrees to help students quickly acquire the skills needed to enter or progress in the labor market,” said Lori Berquam, acting president of Mesa Community College. , Ph.D. “The focus on preparing talent for careers in information technology and advanced manufacturing will serve our students and our community in the short and long term.”
“This regional collaboration will help define skills gaps with industry partners and design abbreviated educational pathways to fill identified workforce gaps in our community,” said the President of the Rio Salado College, Kate Smith. “We are honored to partner with the Community College Growth Engine Fund to meet the rapidly changing needs of our community.”
“Learners’ attitudes towards school and work are changing, employers are at the table looking for new solutions, and community colleges are about to change,” said Dr Lisa Larson, Head of from the Community College Growth Engine Fund. “There has never been a more pressing time to understand what the next generation of community colleges are and, most importantly, how to get there. So far, we’ve seen first-hand how the Fund’s micro-pathway design model and process can serve as a gateway to community college transformation.