How 6 community colleges will get growth engine power

New fund will award $100,000 to schools to help close a regional career skills gap
By: | August 11, 2020
The Community College Growth Engine Fund will invest in six college models that guide students onto career paths that will provide salaries above median-income levels.(GettyImages/Monty Rakusen)The Community College Growth Engine Fund will invest in six college models that guide students onto career paths that will provide salaries above median-income levels.(GettyImages/Monty Rakusen)

Community colleges that have developed innovative, market-driven credential pathways are in line for a financial boost from a new program designed to lift students’ economic mobility.

The Community College Growth Engine Fund, launched by the Education Design Lab, will provide urgently needed support to community college leaders working close regional skills gaps.

These administrators are now grappling with “the COVID-19 crisis, the massive unemployment and displacement that has resulted, and historic inequities in our labor market,” the design lab says.

The growth engine will invest in six colleges to serve as models for shortening the time it takes students to earn a degree or credential and embark on career paths that provide salaries above median-income levels.


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These schools’ leaders will have bolstered career programs with business and community partnerships and have used data to create the micro-credentials most sought by employers.

Participating colleges will receive a startup award of $100,000 to launch the micro-pathways while the design lab will provide additional hands-on support.

The League for Innovation in the Community College will help create a community of practice of college presidents and employer partners. The Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Cleveland will contribute research into the labor market demand for specific skills and credentials.