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Dear partners and innovators, 

The six colleges and systems in the first cohort of the Lab’s Community College Growth Engine Fund — CCGEF or the Fund, for short — are piloting their 30+ micro-pathways.

Micro-pathways are two or more stackable credentials (21st century skills included) validated by employers that lead unemployed, displaced, and low-wage workers to median-wage occupations and on a path to a degree.

Cohort 1 colleges have focused on adult learners as their primary target audience, as the data shows these are the majority of learners that enroll in noncredit courses. With that in mind, Cohort 1 intentionally designed their micro-pathways to begin with noncredit programs. This provides adult learners an entry point into postsecondary education and a bridge to higher credentials and degree programs on the credit side. However, this has meant bridging the noncredit-credit divide typical at community colleges. Here's what the colleges have learned so far ...

5 ways to align noncredit + credit programs with micro-pathways
Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona — also known as the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) — are part of the Fund's second cohort. Four MCCCD colleges are currently designing eight micro-pathways in IT and advanced manufacturing in order to keep up with booming employer needs in the East Valley region.
The Lab’s micro-pathways initiative has won an honorable mention in the Learning category of Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards for 2022. "We are honored that the Fund's micro-pathways design work with community colleges is an honorable mention," said Lisa Larson, Head of the Community College Growth Engine Fund. "The Fund's community college partners are experiencing extraordinary impact in designing education for the future of work while meeting new majority learner needs in obtaining critical credentials leading to great jobs."
Congrats to all of our partners for your hard work and dedication to learners!
Read more about the award
Free webinar for community colleges
Designing Student-Centered Websites for Community Colleges
Wednesday, Sept. 21
Noon to 1:30 p.m. EDT
Speakers: Meg Liffick (pictured left) and Eugene Ernsberger of SmallBox, a creative agency that uses human-centered design to create strategy, web, and brand experiences for mission-driven organizations.
Presented by Lumina Foundation as part of their Million Dollar Community College Challenge.
Register for the webinar
BTW, the College of Eastern Idaho, a BRIDGES Rural partner, was named one of nine runners-up in the Lumina Foundation's Million Dollar Community College Challenge. Madera Community College was named the winner. CEI will receive a $100,000 grant and technical assistance to support the college’s brand and marketing goals.  In the award announcement, CEI President Rick Aman said, “College of Eastern Idaho is truly honored to be selected as a finalist in the Million Dollar Community College Challenge, especially as a new and smaller community college. We will use the funding to both brand the college as accessible and affordable, but also remind our region we are engineered so that working adults with real-life responsibilities achieve their chosen degrees and/or high-quality credentials.” Congrats to CEI!
Join the Lab’s #InnovatorNetwork ...
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