4 PLCs strengthen education-to-employment pipeline

Communities are working to close gaps in the education pipeline that hold low-income students back
By: | April 15, 2021
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Four communities will band together through a new network of professional learning communities designed to propel students from education to employment.

The PLCs will bring together high school educators, community college faculty, workforce development professionals, community-based organizations, and business owners.

The two-year project is spearheaded by Achieving the Dream, a nonprofit focused on success for community college students.

“Community colleges recognize that to adopt an urgent and bold new access agenda and to build the capacity of our colleges to be hubs for catalyzing equitable, anti-racist, and economically vibrant communities, we must find new ways for our faculty to collaborate with K–12 leaders, local workforce leaders and agencies, and local employers,” said Karen Stout, Achieving the Dream’s president and CEO.

“We will be learning together with these teams, documenting their experiences, and sharing the learning to influence the development of professional learning communities across our ATD network colleges,” Stout says.


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The participating communities are:

  • Genesee County, Michigan and Mott Community College
  • Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and Cuyahoga Community College
  • Tallahassee, Florida, and Tallahassee Community College
  • Tyler, Texas, and Tyler Junior College.

Each of the communities has identified gaps in the education pipeline that prevent low-income students from achieving economic mobility, Achieving the Dream says.

Here a peek at some of the projects underway in these communities:

  • Tyler, Texas: Youth apprenticeships in computer networking and IT.
  • Flint, Michigan: Stronger STEM pathways to remove barriers that prevent high school students from earning college credits.
  • Cleveland: Collaboration with healthcare employers to develop academic and workforce programming to fill unmet demands in the labor force.
  • Tallahassee: A new Business & Industry Leadership Team focused on creating economic opportunity in its lowest-income ZIP code.

“This approach is needed now more than ever, as we seek to foster cross-sector collaborations built on meaningful relationships that leverage the unique expertise each partner brings to the table,” said Jonathan Iuzzini, Achieving the Dream’s director of teaching and learning. “By grounding this work in a spirit of professional learning, our students’ success will be the guiding light for these regional PLCs.”