College System Aligns Curriculum with Industry Needs
The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) recently announced its effort to meet the state’s industry needs by consolidating 80 curriculums down to 32 as part of the college system’s Code Green Super Curriculum Improvement Project (CIP). The State Board of Community Colleges worked with area employers to identify five fields critical to advancing the state’s economic growth: energy, building, environment, transportation, and engineering technology. The Board and college system leadership believe that grouping like majors together will allow students to gain a solid foundation of general skills before they move on to more specific coursework that will prepare them for the workforce.
With support from industry leaders such as the National Association of Manufacturing, NCCSS’s reform has the potential to revamp a state’s revenue intake and ability to meet its labor market demand. It’s smart, efficient, and is expected to prove its effectiveness early on.
If employers believe students hired within their organizations are prepared, they may encourage current employees to go back to that institution for additional training, boosting institutional prestige and increasing revenue. Private-public partnerships between business and education can revolutionize company recruiting practices resulting in good-paying jobs.
Broad changes like those at NCCCS are needed for a myriad of reasons: state higher education funding continues to decrease, college completion rates continue to disappoint for both two- and four-year colleges and universities, and employers struggle to find workers who meet their needs. We need to rethink both our education and workforce training systems to meet the needs of today’s employer and consumer.
These are the kinds of conversations that will take place at the Institute for a Competitive Workforce’s (ICW) Help Wanted forum on September 20 in Washington, D.C. ICW will bring together business and chamber executives, education leaders, and policymakers, who will have conversations ranging from higher education innovation to reworking the Workforce Investment Act. For more information on the agenda and to register for the event, visit the Help Wanted webpage.