Seven Community Colleges and Two National Organizations Join Forces to Aid Workforce in Distressed Northeast with $23.5 Million

October 30, 2013

Silver Spring, MD (October 30, 2013) –The Northeast Resiliency Consortium (NRC), composed of seven community colleges in the United States’ Northeastern region (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts) and two national organizations (Achieving the Dream and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching), has been awarded $23.5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career and Training (TAACCCT) program to develop training programs committed to creating a highly skilled and resilient workforce.

In the wake of natural and man-made disasters in the Northeast over the past year, the NRC will become the region’s leader in addressing the employment needs of three industry sectors that are instrumental in helping local communities respond, recover, and adapt in times of crises. The industry sectors include health care, information technology, and environmental technologies.

Through a sustained and coordinated effort, Achieving the Dream, the Carnegie Foundation, and Passaic County Community College (PCCC) will work with the community college partners and employers to build regional capacity for helping trade-impacted, unemployed persons, veterans and other workers in obtaining the skills, competencies, and credentials needed to transition seamlessly into demand occupations and to advance along a career pathway. The resiliency theme will unite the partner colleges in building stronger, safer, and more prosperous communities throughout the Northeast while mitigating the short and long term effects of recent disasters and future threats.

PCCC of Paterson, New Jersey will lead the consortium while working collaboratively with its co-grantees Atlantic Cape Community College (NJ), Bunker Hill Community College (MA),

Capital Community College (CT), Housatonic Community College (CT), Kingsborough Community College (NY), LaGuardia Community College (NY).

“This funding will transform the delivery of our educational programs at PCCC and across the seven community colleges involved in this regional initiative,” said Dr. Steven M. Rose, President, PCCC. “Our goal is to prepare trade-impacted workers, veterans, and other individuals in the Northeast for high-skill, high-wage employment in three key industry-growth sectors of the region’s economy: health care, information technology, and energy and the environment, all of which play a critical role in times of crisis. These federal resources will advance our work in accomplishing that goal.”

As the lead, PCCC will employ a project management team responsible for monitoring the work of the consortium and ensuring that the project goals and objectives are being met in a timely manner. In collaboration with the project partners, PCCC will manage the activities of the Consortium Leadership Council (CLC), through which policies and procedures will be established, technical assistance provided, and federal regulations followed. PCCC will further bring together the partners for regional summits on topics such as resiliency, collaboration, and educational and workforce innovation.

Achieving the Dream will bring its expertise to the consortium through coaching and learning events to help the colleges collaborate with their workforce development offices to extend efforts to advance student success. It will support networking, knowledge development, and best practice dissemination activities as well as provide communications support and assure that the consortium stays focused on equity and excellence.

“Achieving the Dream’s core principles of committed leadership, broad engagement with a focus on core curriculum and student support, data-informed decision-making, and sustainable systemic institutional improvement, all with an unrelenting focus on equity and excellence will serve as the backbone principles for the NRC,” said Carol Lincoln, Senior Vice President, Achieving the Dream.

The role of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the Northeast Resiliency Consortium is primarily that of preparing faculty to implement two mathematical pathways, one in quantitative reasoning (Quantway) and the other in statistics (Statway). Both pathways, which Carnegie developed through a collaborative process with practitioners, developers, researchers, and others, have been tested in classrooms for the past two years and have been found to triple the success rate of college students in half the time.

“Through the math pathways, Carnegie is addressing a problem that affects millions of students—their inability to get through developmental mathematics, thus either stalling or ending their academic careers,” said Carnegie Managing Partner Bernadine Chuck Fong. “We are also supporting them in reclaiming their mathematical lives by both giving them a grasp of mathematics and evidence that it is integral to their lives. Both pathways also increase student options, providing them with a greater chance of success in other courses and programs.”

Working with the NRC, Carnegie will use continuous improvement strategies to test and refine the pathways in ways that align with the goals of the Consortium, to ensure that students are better prepared for the needs of the workforce in the areas of Health Care, Environmental Science, and Information Technologies.

“The NRC embraces the opportunity to ensure students who need remedial courses have a chance to improve their skills quickly so that they can stay on a fast track to jobs with family supporting wages,” said Lincoln. “With our experience and history, we are confident that this collective of thought leaders and dedicated professionals will be successful in having a positive impact on the readiness of the Northeast’s community college students to enter the workforce, and eventually students in other disaster-stricken areas of our country will benefit from the NRC model.”

Northeast Resiliency Consortium (NRC) is a consortium of seven disaster-affected community colleges in the Northeast region of the U.S. in partnership with Achieving the Dream and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The NRC received a three-year $23.5 million award from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career and Training (TAACCCT) program to develop programs fundamentally committed to creating a highly skilled and resilient workforce. The NRC, led by Passaic County Community College, will create career pathways in health care, information technology, and environmental technologies, which are among the Northeast’s largest growth industries.

Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by: 1) guiding evidence-based institutional improvement, 2) leading policy change, 3) generating knowledge, and 4) engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. With over 200 colleges, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams – working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps 3.8 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams. For more information, please visit the Achieving the Dream website.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals and institutions to advance teaching and learning. We join together scholars, practitioners, and designers in new ways to solve problems of educational practice. Toward this end, we work to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field’s capacity to improve. Carnegie is an operating foundation, located in Stanford, California.

Passaic County Community College is among the most diverse colleges in the United States and has become the first choice in higher education for thousands of Passaic County residents, including the region’s large Hispanic and minority student population. For more than 40 years, PCCC has provided students with a quality education at an affordable cost. Today, students enjoy access to more than 60 academic degree and certificate programs from four campus locations. The College currently enrolls more than 13,000 students in both traditional and online programs and maintains articulation agreements with public and private four-year colleges and universities where students continue their studies in upper-level programs. Deeply committed to student success, the College established a Foundation for the sole purpose of providing needy students with scholarship support. In the most recent year, the Foundation distributed more than $500,000 in scholarships. PCCC proudly embraces its status as an Achieving the Dream community college. For more information, please visit the Passaic County Community College website.