Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Congratulations to Assistant Vice President of Professional and Continuing Education Carolyn McMorran, whose innovation, Valencia College’s Accelerated Skills Training (AST) programs, was named Valencia’s Innovation of the Year Award winner.
These short-term training programs are designed to get students into high-demand, high-wage careers and are designed for students who do not desire a degree but want the ability to earn a sustainable wage. AST programs specifically target students from diverse populations —such as the unemployed and underemployed — and allow the College to serve students that traditionally would have not considered Valencia as an option.
For students who need to get their career started, this model allows them to jump-start the process and be able to compete in the employee market because of the intensive hands-on training provided by the programs. By lifting up students with high-demand credentials, students are able to earn a family sustainable wage and start a great career.
These programs are intensively taught with a hands-on approach and include recruitment and job placement services to help students with the process. Additionally, many AST programs articulate back to the College, so if students want to pursue a degree, they can use what they have accomplished in the AST program toward a degree path.
The AST programs partner closely with employers to learn what skills are needed in the industry, and regular feedback from those employers helps to ensure that what is being taught is needed in the field. Also, all AST programs have embedded industry certifications that are recognized by employers. These certifications not only allow the students to demonstrate what they know, but also provide assurance to the employer about what the student can do.
The case-management process wrapped into Valencia’s AST programs is a large contributor to the successful graduation rate. This concept has improved year over year and the number of programs and students has continued to grow. According to recent statistics, 95% of students complete an AST program and 81% of students are placed in employment within the industry they trained for upon completing their program.
The Innovation of the Year Award by the League for Innovation in the Community College highlights outstanding innovations in community college education through its Innovation of the Year competition. The program is designed to recognize faculty, staff and administrators at member colleges who have created and implemented innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies and activities that improve the institution’s ability to serve students and the community.
Winners, chosen internally by each college, will receive an honorary “Innovation of the Year” certificate from the League and have the opportunity to present their winning innovations at the 2021 Innovations Conference. One winner or winning team will be accepted for each college or district.
Please congratulate Carolyn in the comments below.