Volume 30, No. 3: Learning and Earning with Stackable Credentials
Welcome to Vol. 30, No. 3, of Connections, the newsletter of the National Career Pathways Network. Thanks for all you do to ensure the education and career success of our nation's young people and adults. NCPN 2020 Virtual will be hosted on October 15-16. Check ncpn.info often for the latest information.
A Case Study in Stackable Credentials: Emergency Medical Services Career Pathways at Mitchell Community College
Camille Reese, Vice President, Instruction, Mitchell Community College

Today more and more community and technical colleges are embedding “stackable” certificates within their associate degree programs. This approach provides a practical way to help students progress along the education continuum while earning marketable credentials. As they complete these industry-aligned credentials, learners can secure entry-level employment while continuing education part-time, or they can work full-time and resume their education when they’re ready to pursue the next credential. This article describes how this approach is being implemented in the Emergency Medical Services program at Mitchell Community College, one of 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System.
Foresight 2020: The Evolution of Work and Education
Josh Davies, CEO, Center for Work Ethic Development

2020 has been a year like no other—causing massive impacts across the world. And both the workforce and the education system here in America have taken a direct hit. More than 36 million Americans lost their jobs in the first half of the year, and while many jobs have come back, the reality is that many of those layoffs will be permanent. The University of Chicago estimates that 42 percent of the jobs lost will never come back. Alongside this development, technology is propelling an economic and digital transformation that is placing unprecedented demands on education—amplifying the call from employers for educators to better align their programs with changing industry needs.
Author Josh Davies will deliver a featured session at NCPN 2020 Virtual. Details here.
2020 NCPN Career Pathway Award First-Place Winner: Integrated Work-Based Model, Ranken Technical College
Engaging and preparing a workforce for the 21st century

Ranken Technical College’s integrated work-based learning sequence is an approved Department of Labor apprenticeship model that provides students with opportunities for accelerated career advancement, earning while they learn. All Ranken programs under this model have adopted a four-semester instructional sequence with eight weeks in class and eight weeks in a paid work-based learning experience. One example is the tailored Industrial Engineering Technology (IET) apprenticeship/associate degree program, which is adaptable both to incumbent workers and new hires, depending on a sponsoring company’s needs. Students receive instruction in eight core areas, including mechanical and electrical systems, welding, and hydraulics, while earning National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certification after completion of industry-approved performance and theory tests.
2020 NCPN Career Pathway Award Second-Place Winner: Class Act Federal Credit Union, Louisville, Kentucky
On-campus credit union program teaches financial literacy and more

Class Act FCU (CAFCU) partners with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) in supporting the CU@School program at two academy schools in the district. The curriculum, developed by CAFCU employees, teaches financial literacy, soft skills, how to run a credit union branch, and other skills. Participating students are interviewed by CAFCU executives and complete their preparatory training during the summers. The school branches are full-service, have the same equipment as the regular CAFCU branches, and are connected to the main office to enable real-time transactions. Marilyn Boyd, the CAFCU full-time branch coordinator, provides academic support throughout the year and trains students in the program to teach their peers about financial literacy and the credit union. The graduation rate for participating students is 100 percent. At another school, Ashley Blount is the full-time JCPS employee who takes on the challenges of running her credit union inside the school with the support of CAFCU.
Featured Resource
High-Quality CTE: Planning for a COVID-19-Impacted School Year
Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), June 2020

From the introduction: “As the country continues to grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, CTE stakeholders around the nation are thinking ahead to what education might look like in the future. Whether schools and postsecondary institutions will be able to open fully for the next school year using social distancing methods, utilize a blended approach or continue with remote learning exclusively, there are significant implications for CTE programs, students and educators. This guide is designed to help CTE stakeholders identify the key considerations, questions and emerging best practices that should shape future planning. It is important to note, however, that every educational institution will have different needs and be operating under different state and local guidelines. Accordingly, this document should be seen as a tool for, not an arbitrator of, the difficult decisions that CTE leaders will make in the coming months.
Items of Interest
Community Colleges and the Future of Work: Exploring Skill Demands Amid the Pandemic
Sarah Griffin and Maria Scott Cormier, Community College Research Center, August 20, 2020
“Demand for frontline medical workers has spiked as hospitals and other in-patient medical facilities grapple with testing and treating COVID-19 patients. Many essential healthcare providers have quickly implemented telemedicine to virtually interact with patients. Across industries, the transition to remote operations has driven notable growth in cloud computing and software. Disruption to the global supply chain has driven some manufacturing firms to rapidly repurpose their factories to produce essential supplies such as respirators and face shields. These are just some of the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted employment and accelerated changes in the workplace, putting new demands on workers and, by extension, the community college programs that train them.”
Pedagogy and Course Design Need to Change. Here’s How.
Steven Mintz, Inside Higher Ed, September 3, 2020
“The student body is changing fast. So, too, are students’ needs and goals. If we are to serve our students well, our teaching and assessment strategies need to change, too.”
NCPN 2020 Virtual, October 15-16
NCPN will host its first virtual conference on October 15-16. The NCPN conference is one of the best professional development opportunities in the country, offering informative presentations, keynote speakers, and other timely information for professionals in Career Pathways, CTE, and workforce and economic development.
©2020 CORD. Connections is published by the National Career Pathways Network (ncpn.info), an organization of CORD (cord.org). NCPN assists educators, employers, and other stakeholders in planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving workforce education programs. Questions? Mark Whitney, 254-741-8315, mwhitney@cord.org