Volume 25, No. 1, First Quarter, 2024

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From the Director

Craig McAtee, NCATC Executive Director & CEO

March 2024

Automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and emotional intelligence (EI) – all have distinctive impacts on the future of work.


Imagine a future where artificial intelligence (AI) shapes not only the way we work, but also the way we build diverse and inclusive workplaces. From recruitment to training, AI is revolutionizing workforce development and challenging traditional notions of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Are you ready to explore the impact of AI on our evolving workforce?


We use AI every day invisibly when we search on Google or let Apple pick music for us, but few of us trust it to do much more than that. According to a recent study of attitudes toward AI, most don’t think AI is quite ready to take over.


  • 67% don’t want AI to make life-or-death decisions in war,
  • 64% don’t want AI as a jury in a trial,
  • 57% don’t want AI to fly airplanes, etc.


When presented with scenarios that directly or indirectly affect them, Americans still trust humans over AI by a wide margin,” says a report by AI company Krista Software based on a survey of 1,000 American adults. “Americans aren’t yet willing to allow AI to make decisions or work tasks where the outcome will potentially affect them.”


One of the reasons for both the concern and—paradoxically—the lack of concern is a potential misunderstanding of the difference between automation and AI.


AI tries to imitate human (emotional) intelligence and reasoning, while automation simply uses a very direct rules-based approach to make decisions and act. The first is—somewhat like organic intelligence—subject to whims and errors and occasional outright delusion. The second does exactly the specific tasks it is programmed to do, every single time. The result is that while AI can make undesigned mistakes, automation makes mistakes only when its designers fail to consider all the possible circumstances their systems will encounter.


So trusting AI to do difficult, complex, and nuanced things without human oversight is likely to produce some good results—and increasingly good results over time as the AI improves. It’s likely that the impressive capabilities of automated production machines make some people overconfident in the capabilities of AI, as well.


In today's rapidly advancing world of technology, the intersection of emotional intelligence (EI) and artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly important, especially in the realm of workforce development. While AI has the potential to greatly improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace, it also has the potential to perpetuate existing biases and inequalities. This is where EI comes in. By incorporating EI into the development and implementation of AI systems, we can ensure that they are designed and used in a way that promotes equity and inclusion in the workforce.


EI, or the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one's own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, is crucial in creating a fair and inclusive workplace. When individuals are emotionally intelligent, they are better equipped to communicate effectively, build relationships, and collaborate with others. This can lead to a more positive and inclusive work environment, where all individuals feel valued and respected.


By integrating EI into the development of AI systems, we can hopefully mitigate these biases and promote equity and inclusion in the workforce. This can be done by including diverse perspectives in the development process and continuously monitoring and evaluating the AI system for any potential biases.


Additionally, EI can also play a crucial role in addressing the potential job displacement caused by AI. As AI continues to advance and automate certain tasks, it is important for individuals to develop skills that cannot be easily replicated by machines. EI, with its focus on empathy, communication, and adaptability, is a skill that is uniquely human and cannot be replaced by AI.


There’s no doubt that the advent of AI will transform jobs in every sector.

One example: Deere, the manufacturer of heavy machinery for farmers, has an AI-driven machine that finely targets fertilizers, weed killers and such that will no doubt save money for industrial farmers.


Over the past year, much of the conversation around AI in higher education has centered around generative AI, applications and search engines that can create text, images, or data based on prompts. The arrival of ChatGPT, a free chatbot that provides conversational answers to users’ questions, sent universities and faculty scrambling to understand how this new technology will affect teaching and learning. It also raised concerns that students might be using the new technology as a shortcut to write papers or complete other assignments.


But many higher education leaders are thinking beyond that. As AI becomes a part of everyday life in new, unpredictable ways, universities across Texas and the country are also starting to consider how to ensure faculty are keeping up with the new technology and students are ready to use it when they enter the workforce.


“This is a technology that’s clearly here to stay and advancing rapidly,” said Harrison Keller, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the state agency that oversees colleges and universities in Texas. “Having institutions collaborate, share content [and] work with [the] industry so that the content really reflects the state of the art is really critical. It’s moving much faster than anyone anticipated.”


REMINDER: On March 28th NCATC is holding our Q1-24Quarterly Drop-In which focuses on one of the four Strategic Pillars of Success: Adult Education and Learning Opportunities / Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (ADEIB) – Promising Practices and Needs Discussion. REGISTER HERE

As always, we encourage you to stay regularly connected and up to date on all ATC, WFD, and CTE-related activities and guidance, via the weekly updated NCATC website, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), and quarterly e-newsletters like this one.

President's Corner

Scott Lucas, President, NCATC

Welcome to the first issue of the NCATC Newsletter for 2024. It is my pleasure to provide a brief message as part of my role as this year’s president of the NCATC Board of Directors. The Board is constantly discussing strategies on how we can create more opportunities and return on your investment as we serve you, our member institutions. If you know of any colleagues at your institution, faculty and staff at other institutions, or strategic partners that could benefit from finding out more about NCATC, the Board and I are always available to discuss new ideas, answer questions, and provide an overview of the organization. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

NCATC Pillar Four

Each newsletter and subsequent drop-in session focuses on one of the four NCATC Pillars. The pillar being covered in this edition is Pillar 4: Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (ADEIB). I’m certain some of you are in states that have recently enacted legislation taking a stance on utilizing public funds for Pillar 4-related activities. However, aligning Pillar 4 with the workforce demands of industry is paramount to the success of American business and commerce. As our definition of Pillar 4 explains, “NCATC supports the expansion and enhancement of innovative and accelerated advanced technology educational pathways for adults that integrate career technical and adult education.” With a focus on advanced technology, we are amongst industry’s closest allies in assisting with talent and training. We are also the conduit that many community organizations recognize as change agents for pathways to education and training for the underserved and underrepresented. The member organizations of NCATC must continue to be champions to have conversations with our community organizations and manufacturers on alternative pathways and offerings. We must provide opportunities for underrepresented students to understand career and education tracks in advanced technology and manufacturing fields. Whether your state has adopted ADEIB or not, this is not easy work, and it is usually a big lift. But together we can explore, learn, and implement some great options and programs.

Did you know? Our data show that many of our institutions have registered only one person to receive communication and updates from NCATC. There’s no cost to add others, so expanding your institution’s value received from NCATC is easy and free.

2023–2024 Board of Directors Transitions:

NCATC Directors Leaving the Board on Dec 31, 2023

Becky Epps

St. Louis Community College (MO)

Jonathan Beck

Northland Community & Technical College (MN)

Craig Lamb

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (NC)

Greg Jones

AMT <> Tooling U-SME (OH)


2024–2027 Board Directors

Dr. Robin Cole Jr.

Monroe Community College (NY)

Zack T. Hubbard

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (NC)

Dr. Claire Korschinowski

Clover Park Technical College (WA)

Kelcey Woods-Nord

South Central College (MN)

2024 Board Officers

Scott Lucas


Amanda Sizemore

Immediate Past President

Alicia Udhe

President Elect

Harriet Happel


Matt Janisin


2023/24 Membership – Highlights

NCATC Membership Committee – 2024 Initiatives

Streamlined Membership Levels

  • Coalition Member replaces Full Center & Associate Level
  • Affiliate Level included CTE High Schools

Moving to Digital Badges and Updated Certificates

NEW Enhanced Member Benefits


Sign up for eNewsletter

Sign up to get more involved

NCATC is holding the Q1-24Quarterly Drop-In which focuses on one of the four Strategic Pillars of Success: Adult Education and Learning Opportunities / Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (ADEIB) – Promising Practices and Needs Discussion with Members.


This session will feature three of NCATC Board Directors highlighting recent best practices shared in the Q1-24 NCATC Digital Newsletter Vol. 25, No.1 – released on March 20, 2024. Look for it in your inbox soon.


This peer-to-peer conversation is intended to build a stronger community of thought leaders in this NCATC Pillar. Bring your “What I Have” and/or “What I Need” mindset to share. 

Please join us on Thursday, March 28, 2024, at 2:00 PM ET!


In This Issue

  • Board Updates
  • Manufacturing Imperative – Workforce Pipeline Challenge
  • Achieving Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Through Community Partnerships
  • Lane Community College C.A.R.E.s
  • Microsoft Learn for Educators (MSLE)
  • Welcome, New Members and Strategic Partner

Manufacturing Imperative – Workforce Pipeline Challenge

Launched in fall 2023, the Manufacturing Imperative – Workforce Pipeline Challenge (MI-WPC) combines the industry and workforce expertise of SME with the educational programs and innovations of a select group of U.S. community and technical colleges. The initiative builds awareness of careers in manufacturing, optimizes workforce systems, and accelerates the education and skill development needed to place individuals in jobs making family-sustaining wages.

The MI-WPC is a three-year pilot program with a goal of attracting 1,000 individuals at each of the initial participating community and technical colleges annually, resulting in 75,000 or more qualified workers in pursuit of manufacturing careers. The estimated economic impact of growing the industry’s workforce is an estimated $6 billion.

Recently, in their announcement on new commitments to workforce development from the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Sprint, the White House recognized MI-WPC as an example of a partnership between unions, employers, and education providers to deliver high-quality pathways into good, advanced manufacturing jobs and careers.

As part of this initiative, SME regularly convenes college presidents, state manufacturing associations, and representatives ("champions") from participating institutions to discuss strengths and challenges when facing the manufacturing industry’s workforce shortage and skills gap crisis.

Participating community and technical colleges are currently hosting launch events where participants from industry, associations, and higher education discuss the initiative and collaborate to identify potential strategies for addressing our nation's talent needs.

SME selected 25 initial pilot institutions and looks forward to expanding this initiative to other educational institutions throughout the United States. Together we are growing local economies, reducing barriers to employment, and filling vacant manufacturing jobs. Many of these institutions are NCATC members, including Edmonds College, Lorain County Community College, College of Lake County, Patrick & Henry CC, South Central College, WSU Tech, Wake Technical College, Wallace State CC, St Charles Community College, and St Louis Community College.

Achieving Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Through Community Partnerships

Dr. Robin Cole Jr.

Vice President, Economic and Workforce Development and Career Technical Education, Monroe Community College

As the Vice President overseeing Monroe Community College’s Economic and Workforce Development and Career Technical Education division, I am deeply committed to advancing access, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging through our comprehensive educational offerings and community partnerships. As a leader, my goal is to deliver on our mission to empower all students to achieve their career aspirations and to address the workforce needs of our community.

At the heart of our mission is a public-public partnership between MCC and Monroe County called Mpower. Mpower is a training program for county residents that recognizes the critical demand for skilled workers and leverages funding support from the county to create and implement industry-focused job training that is central to our modern economy. Since 2017, 2,546 Monroe County participants have benefited from the Mpower program.

Mpower is helping build a stronger, more diverse workforce in the Finger Lakes region by providing access to education and training for individuals who might have otherwise faced financial barriers to these trainings. This partnership with our local government allows MCC to tailor programs to the real-world needs of employers, ensuring that our graduates are well-prepared to enter the workforce. These partnerships also enhance our ability to offer innovative educational opportunities that are accessible and inclusive, supporting a diverse range of learners in achieving their educational and career goals.

MCC and Monroe County are dedicated to breaking down barriers to education and employment. Our commitment to inclusivity means actively working to ensure that all community members, regardless of their background or circumstances, have access to the opportunities that education provides. Mpower plays a major role in granting MCC the ability to show up as the “community’s college” and support the professional growth of every student.

At MCC we are not just educating students. We are preparing a diverse, skilled workforce ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. The Mpower partnership with Monroe County is designed with the future in mind, ensuring that our community remains vibrant, inclusive, and economically resilient. 

Lane Community College C.A.R.E.s

Located in Oregon's beautiful Willamette Valley, Lane Community College (LCC) is surrounded by agriculture, forests, and thriving industries. However, as in many communities, the wealth of the region is not always accessible to all residents. A Hope Center study found that more than 60% of LCC students experience basic needs insecurity, including food insecurity, housing insecurity, and homelessness. These challenges often impact our BIPOC communities at much higher rates and make progress toward training, certificates, and degrees significantly more difficult.

This is where LCC steps up. The Community Advocacy and Resource Education (C.A.R.E.) center at LCC is the front door to Career Pathways programming and addresses student basic needs insecurities. Current, prospective, and returning students in our community can get help from a Basic Needs Navigator to help access resources for food, housing, transportation, health, childcare, and more. Since more than 40% of the C.A.R.E. students are BIPOC, the navigators partner closely with local community organizations and non-profits such as Plaza de la Communidad to ensure resources, services, and support come from people and groups the students can trust.

Addressing student basic needs in C.A.R.E also allows navigators to introduce students to additional education and training support through LCC’s Career Pathways and PASS Lane integrated education and training programs. These career technical education-focused academic programs serve dislocated workers, GED graduated, second language learners, immigrant students, and individuals who have historically faced high barriers to accessing training and resources. Alongside the Basic Need Navigators, Career Coaches braid resources and funding to meet the intersectional needs of students and help develop career, academic, and financial plans to ensure students are on a pathway to success. LCC’s Career Coaches help find short-term, certificate, and degree educational options in our advanced technology and other career technical fields that meet the students’ immediate and long-term employment goals. Marcia Koenig, Career Coach and Open Doors Coordinator, observed that, “Having a dedicated, relationship-based coach can make all the difference. Our coaches know who the student’s support team is, what fills their week, and deciphers funding gaps individually with each student. We are there to navigate change and facilitate growth together with each student.”

With the combined support from C.A.R.E. and the range of Career Pathways services, the degree and certificate completion of LCC’s most marginalized communities on campus have risen to more than 65%. With the opening later this year of LCC’s new 54,000 sqft advanced technology center, the Industry and Trades Education Center, LCC students will be greeted with a state-of-the-art facility that is supported by state-of-the-heart services from Basic Needs Navigators and Career Coaches.

Microsoft Learn for Educators (MSLE)

In today's skills-first job market, and with the rapid changes to all industries brought about by advances in AI, faculty and educational institutions need effective resources to help them prepare students for future success. In 2020, in a previous moment of rapid change, we launched Microsoft Learn for Educators (MSLE) to provide faculty members and educational institutions access to the same training materials and resources that Microsoft makes available to our customers and partners. Since General Availability in 2021, over 10,000 educators have leveraged MSLE to bring in-demand tech skills and industry-recognized certifications to their students across 149 countries.

Microsoft Learn for Educators is committed to empowering every faculty member with the resources needed to equip students with cutting-edge technical skills. These in-demand skills, from cloud computing to AI and beyond, are aligned to industry-recognized Microsoft Credentials and will set graduates up for real-world success. Further, we’ll help you cultivate a reputation as a forward-thinking and innovative institution by adding an emphasis on real-world tech skills and learning experiences that can augment a student’s existing path and validate the skills needed to be successful across a variety of careers. It’s an increasingly vital part of meeting your mission to graduate students capable of succeeding in a rapidly changing economy.

Microsoft Learn for Educators’ flexible model enables instructors and institutions to engage with materials, resources, and support at as deep a level as they choose. This means instant access to one-click assignments that lead to verifiable credentials. It’s access to Microsoft Official Curriculum, labs, onboarding events, AI Bootcamps for Educators, and co-marketing materials. We can even connect you with our expert Training Service Partners for personalized support. Whatever your needs, Microsoft Learn for Educators is here to help you spark possibility and shape the workforce of tomorrow.

Welcome, New Coalition Members

Welcome, New Strategic Partner

NCATC Strategic Partners, Spring 2024