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Micro-pathways

A gateway to community college transformation

30+ micro-pathways co-created with colleges, learners, and employers through the Lab’s Community College Growth Engine Fund from October 2020 to December 2021.

What is a micro-pathway?

Co-designed with learners and employers, micro-pathways are two or more stackable credentials, including a 21st century skill micro-credential, that are flexibly delivered to be achieved within less than a year and result in a job at or above the local median wage.

30+ New Models

Shared here, the first Community College Growth Engine Fund cohort has developed 30 micro-pathways from October 2020 to December 2021. Most of the colleges in our cohort primarily focused on meeting the needs of adult learners, as nationally we witnessed the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on displacing many from their jobs and incomes. 

Each micro-pathway provides entry and exit points to a clear career path and to securing a sustainable job with options for growth. Selected occupations are based on regional demand, and depending on state and/or regional economic development conditions, some are more focused on emerging industries and occupations.

 

Explore Micro-pathways By Sector:

Click on the titles within each sector to explore each micro-pathway.
   

Information Technology (IT)

  • User Experience (UX) Designer Certificate

    CUNY Kingsborough Community College’s User Experience (UX) Designer Certificate leads to a career as a User Experience (UX) Designer.

    This micro-pathway is offered in 8 or 18 week formats and provides completers with a technical skill credential and a 21st Century Skill Micro-Credential in Intercultural Fluency. Completers may apply six college credit units towards higher learning.

  • Software Engineering Micro-credential

    CUNY Queensborough Community College’s Software Engineering Micro-credential leads to a career as an Entry-level Software Engineer.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in 4-8 weeks depending on enrollment status and includes two credentials, one for technical skills and the other for 21st century skills. Completers may apply 6 credits towards higher credentials.

  • Routing + Switching Certificate

    Ivy Tech Community College's Routing + Switching Certificate leads to a career as a Broadband Technician.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in four months full-time or part-time. It includes two stackable technical skills credentials and 21st skills embedded. Learners earn 16 credits towards higher credentials.

  • IT/Cybersecurity FastTrack

    Pima Community College's IT/Cybersecurity FastTrack leads to a career as a Computer User Support Specialist.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in eight months part-time,. It includes five stackable credentials, four are technical skills credentials and one 21st century skill, and 12 credits applied towards higher credentials.

  • IT Support Specialist Certificate

    Prince George's Community College's IT Support Specialist Certificate leads to a career as an IT Support Specialist.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in up to 12 months in a Competency-based Education format. It includes either four or six stackable technical skills credentials and a 21st century skill credential. Learners can apply credits towards higher credentials.

  • Extended Reality (XR) Certificate

    Seattle Colleges' Extended Reality (XR) Certificate leads to a career as a XR Junior Developer.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in nine months full-time and is worth 45 credits. It offers four stackable credentials, including three technical skills credentials and one 21st century skill.

  • Data Analytics Certificate

    CUNY LaGuardia Community College’s Data Analytics Certificate leads to a career as an Entry-level Data Analyst.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in 4-20 weeks depending on full or part-time status. Students earn five certifications and may apply three credits toward higher credentials upon successful completion of the program.

  • Cloud Computing Micro-credential

    CUNY Queensborough Community College’s Cloud Computing Micro-credential leads to a career as an Entry-level Cloud Engineer.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in 8-12 weeks depending on enrollment status and offers five technical certifications and a 21st century credential. Completers may apply up to nine units towards higher credential at the college.

  • Cybersecurity Certificate

    CUNY LaGuardia Community College’s Cybersecurity Certificate leads to a career as a Cybersecurity Professional.

    This micro-pathway is a nine-month part-time program. Successful completers earn five certifications and can apply a minimum of 3 units towards higher credentials.

  • Cloud Computing Certificate

    Seattle Colleges' Cloud Computing Certificate leads to a career as a Cloud Practitioner.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in two quarters part-time. It offers four stackable credentials, including three technical skills credentials and one 21st century skill, with up to 10 credits articulated towards higher credentials.

  • Cloud Architect Certificate

    Ivy Tech Community College's Cloud Architect Certificate leads to a career as a Cloud Associate.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in six months full-time. It includes three stackable technical skills credentials with 21st century skills embedded. Learners earn 19 credits towards higher credentials.

Healthcare

  • Healthcare Technician (Administrative) Certificate

    Prince George's Community College's Healthcare Technician (Administrative) Certificate leads to a career as a Healthcare Technician (Administrative).

    This micro-pathway can be completed in up to 12 months in a Competency-based Education format. It offers six stackable credentials, including two industry certifications, two college certificates, and two 21st century skill credentials. Learners can apply credits towards higher credentials.

  • Health IT Certificate

    Seattle Colleges' Health IT Certificate leads to a career as an Epic Associate.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in nine months full-time and is worth 45 credits. It offers three stackable credentials, including two technical skills credentials and one 21st century skill.

  • Emergency Medical Technician Basic Certificate

    CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Emergency Medical Technician Basic Certificate leads to a career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

    This micro-pathway can be completed in nine months part-time in conjunction with the senior year of high school. It includes six stackable credentials, 3 for technical skills and three for 21st century skills and offers 4 credits towards higher credentials.

  • Emergency Medical Services FastTrack

    Pima Community College's Emergency Medical Services FastTrack leads to a career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

    This micro-pathway can be completed in 10 weeks full-time with three stackable credentials, including two technical skills credentials and one 21st century skill, with nine credits applied towards higher credentials.

  • Community Health Worker Certificate

    CUNY LaGuardia Community College’s Community Health Worker Certificate leads to a career as a Community Health Worker.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in four-six months and offers students certifications in technical, applied, and 21st century skill areas. Completers may apply six units towards higher credentials at the college.

Building Trades

  • Residential Construction Certificate

    Seattle Colleges' Residential Construction Certificate micro-pathway leads to a career as a Builder/Remodeler.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in 12 months part-time. It offers three stackable credentials, including two technical skills credentials and one 21st century skill, and applies 30 credits towards higher credentials.

  • Plumbing FastTrack

    Pima Community College's Plumbing FastTrack leads to a career as a Plumber.

    This micro-pathways can be completed in three months full-time. It offers four stackable credentials, including three technical skills credentials and one 21st century skill, with nine credits applied towards higher credentials.

  • Electrical FastTrack

    Pima Community College's Electrical FastTrack leads to a career as an Electrician.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in three months full-time. It offers three stackable credentials, including two technical skills credentials and one 21st century skill, with nine credits applied towards higher credentials.

  • Carpentry FastTrack

    Pima Community College's Carpentry FastTrack leads to a career as a Carpenter.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in three months full-time. It offers three stackable credentials, including two technical skills credentials and one 21st century skill, with nine credits applied towards higher credentials.

  • HVAC FastTrack

    Pima Community College's HVAC FastTrack leads to a career as an HVAC Technician.

    This micro-pathways can be completed in three months full-time. It offers four stackable credentials, including three technical skills credentials and one 21st century skill, with nine credits applied towards higher credentials.

Advanced Manufacturing

  • Automated Industrial Technology FastTrack

    Pima Community College's Automated Industrial Technology FastTrack micro-pathway leads to a career as an Industrial Engineering Mechanic.

    The program is offered in 3 months, part-time, and in noncredit, with up to 7 credits earned going towards higher credentials.

  • Smart Manufacturing Digital Integration

    Ivy Tech Community College's Smart Manufacturing Digital Integration leads to a career as an Electro/Mechanical Manufacturing Technician.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in four months full-time or part-time. It includes three industry certifications, an internship for those new to advanced manufacturing, and six credits towards higher credentials.

  • Production Associate Certificate

    Austin Community College's Production Associate Certificate micro-pathway leads to a career as a Manufacturing Assembler/Specialist.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in four months full-time or eight months part-time. It includes two stackable technical skills credentials with a 21st century skill embedded, an internship, and 14 credits applied towards higher credentials.

Business

  • Project Management Certificate

    Seattle Colleges' Project Management Certificate micro-pathway leads to a career as a First-line Supervisor.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in nine months full-time and is worth 28-31 credits. It offers four industry certifications, a college certificate and one 21st century skills credential.

  • Business Office Technology Certificate

    Austin Community College's Business Office Technology Certificate micro-pathway leads to a career as an Administrative Assistant.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in three months full-time or five months part-time. It includes two stackable technical skills credentials with a 21st century skill embedded and 19 credits applied towards higher credentials.

Automotive

  • Automotive FastTrack

    Pima Community College's Automotive FastTrack leads to a career as an Automotive Service Technician.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in three months full-time. It offers two stackable credentials, including one technical skills credential and one 21st century skill, with nine credits applied towards higher credentials.

  • Helper Mechanic Certificate

    Prince George's Community College's Helper Mechanic Certificate leads to a career as a mechanic.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in up to 16 weeks in a Competency-based Education format. It offers six stackable credentials. Learners can apply credits towards higher credentials.

Hospitality

  • Hospitality Leadership Certificate

    Prince George's Community College's Hospitality Leadership Certificate leads to a career as a Leader in Hospitality Services.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in up to 12 months in a Competency-based Education format. It offers 10 stackable credentials, including four industry certifications, four college certificates, and two 21st century skill credentials. Learners can apply credits towards higher credentials.

Supply Chain + Logistics

  • CDL Plus Certificate

    Ivy Tech Community College's CDL Plus Certificate leads to a career as a Heavy Truck and Trailer Driver.

    This micro-pathway can be completed in three months full-time. It includes a technical skills credential with embedded 21st century skills and either two industry certifications or an internship. Learners earn 18 credits towards higher credentials.

The Lab’s Community College Growth Engine Fund is a design accelerator to work with community colleges and systems across the country to co-create a new class of credentials: micro-pathways.

The Fund is a design accelerator that selected six of the most forward-leaning community colleges and systems in the country to lead a demonstration of how community colleges can leverage innovation capacity, regional partnerships, and dynamic labor market data to identify and build sub-degree micro-pathways with designated credentials that employers validate.

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