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Dear partners and innovators, 

As community colleges scramble to reinvent themselves in the face of continued enrollment declines — which one president describes as a "code-red moment" — we bring your attention to the latest op-ed by Lab Founder + CEO Kathleen deLaski: Micro-pathways: An urgent gateway for community college transformation.

As deLaski notes, 22 of the leading community colleges and systems, supported by 13 national and regional funders, have embraced the Community College Growth Engine Fund, a cohort-style funding and design collaborative to co-design a new class of credentials with regional employers alongside faculty and (l)earners. The first cohort of nine colleges, which began work in 2020, already has produced 30 micro-pathways … and 3,000+ (l)earners have completed.

The work has not been easy, but it has been focused via a facilitated, fast-paced, human-centered design process. Along the way, we realized micro-pathway design was becoming a gateway to institutional transformation. 

Here’s just one example from Seattle Colleges, which have used the Fund to deeply engage a dozen new local employers and leverage $300,000 in scholarships and job guarantees. 

Chancellor Shouan Pan: “We see the micro-pathway as a highly visible example of innovative, equity-driven practices for our institution. … The impact has been so tremendous, not only for students, but for us to be a solution to the worker shortage, and also really helping people to see there is hope.”

Read the full essay
Fingers crossed for Kingsborough!
CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College — among our first cohort in the Community College Growth Engine Fund —  is one of 10 finalists for the $1 million 2023 Aspen Prize. Kingsborough co-designed a UX Designer Certificate (pictured above) as part of the Lab's micro-pathways project.
#LabOnTheGo: JFFHorizons, NACE22 + more
The Lab traveled to New Orleans this month for #JFFHorizons, a national summit to "reimagine and rebuild the future of work and learning." The team — including Leslie Daugherty and Miriam Swords Kalk — enjoyed beignets between their conference presentations, which included:
  • Big Idea to Sustainable Models: Designing for Action with Your Community (see the slide deck)
  • Centering Racial Equity in the Skills-based Ecosystem of the Future, featuring Lab President Bill Hughes (pictured second from right). This quote from Bill was a popular tweet: "When changing systems we must put the human at the center of the solutions."
Lab Chief Program Officer Don Fraser, Jr. (pictured second from right) joined a "View from the C-Suite" panel discussion during #NACE22, a gathering for college career services and corporate recruiting professionals in Portland, Ore. He talked about the importance of skills visibility: “Right now, just development [of skills] without awareness and visibility is not going to get it done … We need to connect the dots and stitch it all together.”
Naomi Boyer, the Lab's Executive Director for Digital Transformation, traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to accept a Gold Learning Impact Award at the annual 1EdTech Learning Impact conference this month. The Lab was recognized along with partner Muzzy Lane for our ongoing XCredit project.  📺 This video is a good explainer.
Mark your calendars
June 23 (webinar): “The Power and Potential of Alternative Credentials,” from 1 to 2:15 p.m. EST. (Register) This is the second webinar in the Presidents Forum's Advancing Adult Learner Success series. Lab Founder + CEO Kathleen deLaski was a featured speaker in the the first webinar on May 19: “Regaining Learners Trust: Strategies for Adult Student Enrollment.” 📺  Watch the recording.

July 11 (deadline): The U.S. Department of Education has announced new awards for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Program, which supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education by providing campus-based child care services. 

Oct. 14  (deadline): The U.S. Department of Labor is now accepting applications for the third round of its Strengthening Community Colleges Training grants
Lab in the media
Higher Ed Dive: The pandemic taught colleges how to better support students who are single mothers
A must-read by Dr. Larissa Littleton-Steib, Chancellor of Delgado Community College, who grew up with a single mother. She shares how Delgado supported students through their SMART Program, which is a product of the Lab's Single Moms Success Design Challenge.
Talespin blog: What experts are saying about learning in the Metaverse
A super helpful resource from our friends at Talespin ... see if you can spot the quote from Lab expert + XCredit project lead Tara Laughlin
We're hiring!
The Lab is currently seeking an Executive Assistant who will be the go-to team member for our senior leadership team, including the CEO, to support calendar management, meetings, and travel coordination. This full-time position will be based in Washington, D.C., with some flexibility/hybrid work options. Typical salary range: $65,000 to $75,000.
How to apply
Join the Lab’s #InnovatorNetwork ...
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