Consortium helps community colleges tackle CBE programs

March 9th, 2016

cbe programs

College for America at Southern New Hampshire University partners with USA Funds to open the door to community colleges who want to learn more about CBE programs and implementation

College for America at Southern New Hampshire University is partnering with USA Funds to create a competency-based education (CBE) consortium for community colleges.

The consortium will provide an opportunity for community colleges to learn from College for America and to engage employers in addressing workforce challenges through competency-based education.
Participating community colleges will learn about best practices from their peers and initiate conversations about CBE with employer partners in their communities.

The partnership will support both identifying workforce competencies needed by industry, and engaging employers in delivering those competencies to working learners. The consortium will work in two phases; the first will be to provide colleges a chance to learn and develop models and spark conversations about CBE within their institutions and employer partners. The second phase will be to scale and provide technical assistance for the colleges and to help them adopt CBE models if they are interested.

Harper College in Illinois, one of the founding partners of the Consortium, says the Consortium and College for America’s CBE model has given them the opportunity to speak with employers in their community who are seeking to build a skilled workforce and retain and promote employees from within.

“We were drawn to the Consortium because we were impressed with College for America’s CBE model. The level of support that students receive through CfA’s coaches, the CfA learning platform, and its student success analytics are unmatched – as are the program’s proven results,” said Dr. Kenneth Ender, President of Harper College in Palatine, Ill. “CfA is really modeling an alternative platform for higher education delivery, one that has enormous potential for reaching thousands of students that, heretofore, have not been able to access the traditional delivery platform. If the Country is to reach the scale necessary to assure social and economic equity for all Americans, this model and other alternatives must shape the future of higher education in America.”

Seventy percent of College for America students are the 1st generation in their family to attend college. The median age is 42 years old; 98 percent are currently employed and 11 percent are employed at more than one job. A recent survey of College for America students found that 96 percent would recommend College for America to others.

“We are proud of the progress we have made at College for America and are excited about the opportunity to work with USA Funds and the Consortium on new models for workforce development. We look forward to continuing to deliver affordable, high-quality and flexible degree programs across the country in partnership with this group of forward-thinking community colleges,” said Julian Alssid, chief workforce strategist for College for America. “This new Consortium gives community colleges a safe space to experiment with CBE models for workforce development, to learn more about how they can reach new students and improve their relationships with business partners in their communities.”

“This initiative will help hundreds of additional adult learners advance their careers through completion of workforce-relevant postsecondary degree programs,” said Carol D’Amico, USA Funds executive vice president, National Engagement and Philanthropy. “USA Funds is pleased to expand the innovative, competency-based College for America model through new partnerships with community colleges and business and industry groups.”

The consortium has filled seven of the ten available spaces for Phase One. Current partners include:
• Harper College, Illinois
• Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana
• Lorain County Community College, Ohio
• Macomb Community College, Michigan
• Monroe Community College, New York
• Montgomery County Community College, Pennsylvania
• Pima Community College, Arizona

Community colleges that are interested in filling one of the three remaining spots in the consortium can contact Melissa Goldberg at

About the Author:

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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