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$2.5 million accelerator fund to invest in community colleges

August 20, 2020

A new Community College Growth Engine Fund is being launched by Education Design Lab to help mitigate the growing skills gap and strengthen community colleges as drivers of innovation between education and employment. Education Design Lab is a national nonprofit that designs, implements and scales new learning models for higher education and the future of work.  With funding from national philanthropies and in partnership with the League for Innovation in the Community College, they will engage a national cohort of community colleges and systems to partner with employers and regional stakeholders. Together they plan to create new pathways to economic mobility and help low-wage and entry-level workers advance into roles that pay at least median wage.

Participating systems and institutions will receive a startup award of $100,000 to launch micro-pathways, which will use real-time labor market data to identify in-demand careers and create pathways that should lead to earnings at or above the median wage. A micro-pathway is defined as “two or more stackable credentials that can be packaged as a validated market signal connecting learners to employment in high growth careers.”

The League for Innovation in the Community College will help lead a community of practice of college presidents and employer partners, and the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Cleveland will provide research into the labor market demand for specific skills and credentials, according to a release on the launch. The fund is expected to deliver new models of pathways that will benefit an additional 5,000 learners annually that can further be shared with and scaled to 1,100+ community colleges.

community college, labor force