A Community College’s Guide to Engaging Employers

Education Design Lab’s updated and revised employer engagement guidebook offers practical ideas for building stronger relationships between employers and community colleges.

This is the second iteration of our employer engagement guidebook and is a reflection of our experiences, understanding, and growth through the Education Design Lab’s continued iteration process.

The primary purpose of this guide is to support community colleges working with the Community College Growth Engine (CCGE, or the “Growth Engine”). Launched in the fall of 2020, CCGE is a design accelerator working with community colleges and systems across the country to co-create a new type of credentials: micro-pathways.

This guidebook is in service to the learner experience, as they are centered in the CCGE micro-pathway development process, and their experiences with institutions and employers.


This March 2024 guidebook includes insights from the Lab’s work with over 50 community colleges as well as case studies completed in partnership with Harvard’s Project on Workforce. The guide also features specific tools:

+ Five Phases of Engagement that can help colleges broaden and deepen relationships with regional employers.
+ The Ladder of Engagement, a strategic framework that features specific activities for employers, helping with role clarity.
+ The Lab’s popular T-Profile tool, which can help colleges engage employers in a structured dialogue to better identify the technical and durable skills essential for specific roles.

Download the guidebook

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