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Community College Growth Engine Fund

Leading the nation and their regions in creating micro-pathways with employers.


The Fund, led by Dr. Lisa Larson, is a design accelerator that was set up just before the pandemic to help community colleges lean into a future role as regional talent agents in a skills-based economy.

Six of the nation’s largest community colleges and systems joined the Fund’s first cohort, surpassing their goals by designing 30 micro-pathways in the first year (explore micro-pathways by sector).

Year 1 learnings are available in the first CCGEF Design Insights Brief (January 2022). Watch our Jan. 19, 2022, National Convening on YouTube.

What are micro-pathways? Co-designed with learners and employers, micro-pathways are defined as 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.

Four additional college systems are joining the Fund in 2022.

Each system or college received a startup award through the Fund, which is supported by over 15 foundations and investors.

Cohort 1

The City University of New York

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. With support from the Fund, six CUNY campuses (LaGuardia Community College, Kingsborough Community College, Bronx Community College, Queensborough Community College, Guttman Community College, Borough of Manhattan Community College) will build collaborations between faculty and employers which focus on student growth and skill building at scale.

Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College serves communities across Indiana, providing world-class education and driving economic transformation. It is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering high-value degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its communities, along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana.

Prince George’s Community College

Prince George’s Community College serves nearly 35,000 students from more than 100 nations around the world. The College seeks to refine, expand, and advance the current pathways model with the help of the Fund to provide students an opportunity to earn industry certificates, digital badges, and other credentials that will benefit employers, underemployed staff, and incumbent workers.

Austin Community College District

Austin Community College District is a nationally recognized two-year college that serves more than 70,000 students annually. The college is the primary gateway to higher education and career and technical training in Central Texas and strives to be a catalyst for social equity, economic development, and personal enrichment. ACC’s mission is to ensure every member of our community has access to an affordable college education to earn a degree, learn a marketable skill, and advance their career.

Pima Community College

Founded in 1969, Pima Community College is one of the largest multi-campus community college districts in the U.S. PCC offers degrees and certificates in more than 140 transfer and occupational programs on five campuses and more than 100 teaching sites throughout Pima County. With support from the Fund, Pima Community College seeks to further develop competency based micro-credentials in three key program areas, Automated Industrial Technology, Building and Construction Trades, and Cyber Security.

Seattle Colleges

Seattle Colleges is a multi-college district that serves Seattle and its surrounding communities at three comprehensive college campuses and five specialty training centers. With support from the Fund, Seattle Colleges will build short, skills-based pathways that are available for adoption by colleges and universities in the region. This sets the stage for a regional training ecosystem where students can move seamlessly between educational opportunities and attain true upward mobility.

Cohort 2

Colorado Community College System

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is made up of 13 unique colleges with over 35 locations across the state, educating over 125,000 students every year. With support from the Lab, seven colleges (Arapahoe Community College, Colorado Northwestern Community College, Community College of Aurora, Community College of Denver, Lamar Community College, Northeastern Junior College and Pueblo Community College) will jump-start five micro-pathways in energy and healthcare, two high-growth essential industries in Colorado.

Maricopa County Community College System

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is comprised of 10 colleges and over 30 locations across the state, serving over 86,000 students annually. Four colleges in the East Valley region (Rio Salado Community College, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Mesa Community College and Scottsdale Community College) will create eight micro-pathways in IT and advanced manufacturing.

Community College of Philadelphia

The Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia, serves nearly 20,000 students at its main campus and three centers. Their design team will consider the high-demand sectors of healthcare; STEAM (life sciences + technology); manufacturing; and transportation and logistics as they engage with the Lab to create two micro-pathways.

Bunker Hill Community College

Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), located in Boston, Massachusetts, is the largest community college in Massachusetts, and one of the state’s most diverse institutes of higher education, with more than 19,000 students enrolled annually. BHCC’s design team will collaborate with the Lab to create two micro-pathways in the healthcare and IT sectors.

Our Partners

Research, Data + Evaluation Partners

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.

National Convening Recap

Thanks to all who attended our #Micropathways National Convening on Jan. 19, 2022!

+ Watch the recording on YouTube
+ View the presentation slides (PDF)
+ Join the conversation on Twitter with #Micropathways

Press + Media

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