The fifth in a series of articles focusing on detailed updates on the priorities of the WCC 2012-15 Strategic Plan, Shaping Our Future
The college’s expanded emphasis on the area of workforce development in the community over the last several years was supported by the research and gap analysis completed as part of the strategic planning process. Data and feedback examined through this process revealed a need for the college to establish clearer relationships with business and industry at the institutional level. These relationships would promote rapid response, customized offerings, greater collaboration and transition between non-credit and credit, and more opportunities for students and employers to connect through internships, co-ops, and training possibilities.
As with the other priorities, in 2012-13 a team of faculty and staff co-chaired by Michelle Mueller and Kim Hurns began coordinating its implementation. Specific goals and action steps related to the areas cited above were developed for 2013-15. Below are highlights of steps and outcomes to date.
Offer students clearly defined pathways that incorporate objective assessment, stackable credentials, and smooth articulation from non-credit training to credit programs, and seek corporate investment in career pathways programs.
Action step for 2013-15: Continue implementation activities related to the Department of Labor grant leading to blended IT curriculum and articulated non-credit to credit.
Update: Deliverables for the DOL grant have been achieved on time through the second year of the three-year grant, including hiring of grant-funded staff, curriculum development, and evaluation processes. A midpoint audit of grant activities by the DOL in early 2014 was highly successful.
Action step for 2013-14: Facilitate departments in identifying vocational certificates and degrees so that credentials can be aligned with job and industry certifications where appropriate.
Update: Draft career pathways have been developed and shared with occupational areas for faculty input.
Develop a comprehensive model for engaging employers and supporting students’ career success.
Action step for 2013-14: Implement a centralized internship/co-op program to engage employers and match with potential students seeking internships.
Update: A centralized internship process was established in 2013-14, along with a faculty/staff advisory committee to oversee best practices.
Connect students and position them for business success through an Entrepreneurship Center.
Action step for 2013-14: Build capacity to complete the Center and work internally on the development of the entrepreneurial mindset.
Update: Lemonade Day was hosted by the college in 2014 to brand WCC as a hub for entrepreneurship. In addition, execution plan and budgets were prepared for the center, facilities and part-time staffing needs were identified, and 2014-15 events planned.
While many individuals across campus participated in this effort, thanks go to team co-chairs Kim Hurns and Michelle Mueller and members Glenn Kay, Sally Schmall, and Gary Schultz, as well as past team members Lisa Veasey and Cheryl Byrne for their contributions on this priority.