Montgomery County Community College was awarded a $2.5 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The grant will enable the College to build on the recent launch of JobTrakPA, a joint initiative of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges to train and place underemployed and unemployed residents of the Commonwealth in high demand jobs. JobTrakPA is funded by a $20 million Department of Labor TAACCCT grant awarded to the colleges in 2011.
Montgomery County Community College will use the funds from the latest grant to develop a robust Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) model and stackable credentials that will be added to the JobTrakPA framework shared by the 14 Pennsylvania community colleges. The project will focus on awarding PLA credits in the high-demand programs outlined in that framework, including advanced manufacturing, regional energy, health information technology, health care patient services, transportation and infrastructure, and science and technology industries.
PLA is the process used by many institutions to determine if an individual’s prior educational, workforce and life experiences can be translated to college credits. Assessments can include evaluation of military or corporate training, review of portfolios, customized tests, and evaluation of completed non-credit courses, among others.
According to a 2010 report issued by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), more than half of the nation’s colleges and universities accept some form of prior learning for credit. Furthermore, CAEL finds that students who were granted PLA credits have better academic outcomes, better degree completion, better persistence, and shorter time to completion than non-PLA students.
“It makes sense for Pennsylvania’s community colleges to build on the momentum of the JobTrakPA framework by developing a process that will shorten the time it takes individuals to get retrained and back to work,” said President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “Through this project, we intend to create a uniform standard for the practice and promotion of PLA in our state, with academic rigor and process transparency among the hallmarks of the program’s implementation.”
“This grant awarded to MCCC will be a great addition to the important work being done by the state’s 14 community colleges through JobTrakPA,” said Diane Bosak, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “The PLA will enable the colleges to rapidly train students and get them back to work in high-demand, family-sustaining jobs.
To learn more about JobTrakPA visit www.JobTrakPA.com.