The Massachusetts Community College system is advancing training and educational opportunities in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) – as well as healthcare and advanced manufacturing – through skillful collaboration and data integration with business and industry partnerships.
The consortium of colleges, which is comprised of 15 schools in 24 different locations statewide, received a $20 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant to advance training and educational needs in these targeted fields.
In addition to the main grant, the consortium received additional funding for an experimental project to integrate the data systems of the public higher education and workforce systems. The primary objective? To produce more than 5,000 certificate and degree completers for middle skill jobs in five STEM disciplines.
Project goals include:
- Creating an online Student Pathways Application (SPA) to help jobseekers and students make informed choices about career options and where to invest in their education
- Developing robust career pathway profiles so that individuals will be able to match interests with potential careers, as well as receive guidance for occupational requirements
- Centralizing, streamlining and promoting a credit for prior learning program/prior learning assessment process through a shared online portal
- Implementing a Research and Reporting Tool (RRT) so that colleges can assess and develop programs based on actual job placement outcomes
- Tracking student progress, retention, and completion data by discipline and area of study
- Mapping credentials, certifications, and degrees to the industry sectors and occupations in high demand in different geographies
- Evaluating the real-world success of program completers in the employment marketplace
As the technology development partner on the above objectives, Five Star is:
- Establishing the project needs, options, and direction
- Documenting the underlying processes, systems, and sub-systems for the project
- Developing and piloting the various applications and integration services
- Preparing and supporting all personnel impacted by the project
- Collecting and reporting on overall effectiveness data for each of the project systems and personnel
By equipping faculty, administrators, career services staff, and job-seekers/students with the tools they need to respond to market forces, the capacity of Massachusetts’ education and workforce system infrastructure will operate in alignment with industry demand.