The Implementation Team on Closing the Skills Gap will address Recommendation 3 and all three related implementation strategies from the report of the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges:
- Close the American skills gaps by sharply focusing career and technical education on preparing students with the knowledge and skills required for existing and future jobs in regional and global economies.
- Ensure students opportunities for career advancement and upward mobility through design of coherent career pathways leading to “stackable” credentials—multilevel, industry-recognized credentials reflecting attainment of the knowledge and skills required at different stages of a career.
- Build community college capacity for accurately identifying unfilled labor market needs and for ensuring that career education and training programs are streamlined to address those high-need areas. Develop technology-based tools that will help local colleges access available labor market data to identify and monitor skills gaps in their regions.
- Mobilize powerful local, regional, and national partnerships (involving community colleges, employers, and government agencies) to accomplish a collaborative agenda that: ensures that program planning targets skills gaps; promotes the associate degree as a desired employment credential; establishes alternative models for completing skills-based credentials, including classroom instruction, online learning, credit for prior learning, and on-the-job learning; and develops a national credentialing system.
Primary tasks are:
- Organize support for development of tools for community colleges to 1) ensure they have readily accessible labor market info/forecasts for their communities/regions; and 2) document employment outcomes in terms of
employment and wages (tracking students into the work force).
- Recommend explicit strategies and tools for community colleges to use in determining where to focus development of career pathways for jobs that exist currently and will exist in the future; contribute information resources for a designated section of AACC’s online 21st Century Center.
- Develop specific recommendations for consideration of establishing a national credentialing system; develop and recommend key arguments and components for a major funding proposal to develop the credentialing system.