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President of Eastern Maine Community College to Lead Growing Initiative to Strengthen Community Colleges Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 4, 2021) — Today, Education Design Lab, a nonprofit leading in the design, implementation, and scaling of innovative learning models for higher education and the future of work, has announced Dr. Lisa Larson will be joining the Lab as Head of the Community College Growth Engine Fund. Having most recently served as President of Eastern Maine Community College, Dr. Larson brings decades of leadership experience with community colleges from across the country to the Lab as it seeks to scale its work to reimagine the role of community colleges in advancing economic opportunity for new majority learners.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Larson join our team and lead the next phase of the Community College Growth Engine Fund,” said Kathleen deLaski, founder, CEO and chair of the board of the Education Design Lab. “It is becoming increasingly apparent that innovative community colleges can — and are — leading the design of employment-connected learning. Dr. Larson has been one of those leaders in Minnesota and in Maine and it is the Lab’s honor for her to champion the learner-driven models that are emerging through partner co-design and gaining momentum around the country.”

The Community College Growth Engine Fund was launched in October 2020 to help position community colleges as a bridge between education and employment. Selected community colleges within the Fund work collaboratively to develop scalable models for micro-pathways, which are two or more stackable credentials that can be achieved within less than a year and result in a job at or above the median wage. Participating institutions in the first cohort include: The City University of New York, Ivy Tech Community College, Prince George’s Community College, Austin Community College District, Pima Community College, and Seattle Colleges. In her new role, Dr. Larson will oversee the strategic direction of the Fund, including advancing the continued work of the first cohort, collaborating with evaluators to determine impact, building the relationships between community colleges and employers, and launching the second cohort, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

“It has been the honor and pleasure of my life to serve Maine’s learners as president of Eastern Maine Community College and I thank the entire Maine Community College System for welcoming me these last five years,” said Dr. Lisa Larson. “I will miss that community greatly, but recognize that by joining Education Design Lab and leading the Fund, I will hopefully be a part of driving positive change for community college students across the country, including at institutions such as EMCC.”

Most recently, Dr. Larson served as the President of Eastern Maine Community College for six years, working alongside the Lab team on the BRIDGES Rural initiative and as a Designer in Residence. Dr. Larson holds an Ed.D. from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, a M.A. from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a B.S. from Northern State University.

“Lisa has been a wonderful leader who relentlessly pursued innovations to strengthen our institutions and expand meaningful learning opportunities for students,” said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System.

Learn more about the Community College Growth Engine Fund, and meet Dr. Lisa Larson

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