Who is the NSC?
• Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland
• College of Lake County in Illinois
• Clover Park Technical College in Washington State
• Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio
• Florida State College at Jacksonville
• Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana
• Macomb Community College in Michigan
• Northwest Arkansas Community College
• Roane State Community College in Tennessee
• South Seattle Community College in Washington State
What is the Role of the NSC?
Design and deliver
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
(STEM) programs that are:
• Nationally portable
• High-quality certificate-level
• Responsive to labor market needs
• Build a national model for multi-college cooperation
• Composite Materials
• Cyber Technology
• Electric Vehicle Development and Repair
• Environmental Technology
What makes NSC Unique?
• One-year certificate
• Embedded, contextualized
remediation – “STEM
Role of Industry
• Identify industry needs
• Provide input on curriculum
• Assist in development of
• Hire our completers!
What is the STEM Bridge?
• Grant deliverable
• Programmatically consistent across all pathways
• Integration of basic, workforce, computer skills and
job readiness training
• Contextualized within the five pathways
• Delivered along with technical curriculum
STEM Readiness Course
• Designed to quickly refresh “rusty” skills
• Taken in conjunction with technical curriculum
• Learning outcomes developed based on key
skills common to the pathways (15 hours
• Critical Thinking and Workplace Communication
• Professional Skills
• Workplace-contextualized scenarios built with
• Available in Platform+
STEM Readiness Co-Development Partners
• National STEM Consortium – STEM Bridge Team
• Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI)
• CAST – integrates UDL framework into curriculum
• Industry partners
• May offer assistance in developing realistic scenarios
and provide company name and images – ARINC
• Industry expert may offer experience in developing
realistic scenarios but company names are fictitious.
STEM Bridge Strategy
• STEM Readiness Course is flexible:
• Hybrid format with face to face instruction
• Online only
• Delivered up front in first term or spread across multiple
• Credit or non-credit courses, labs or modules
OLI Platform+ System
• Platform+ system is engaging to the learner:
• Learning outcomes based instruction
• Interactive activities
• Embedded audio, video and presentation media
• Writing labs/activities
• Learner Analytics at class and individual student level
STEM Bridge: FAST TRACKS
Support for lower level learners:
• An intensive math, English and life skills program designed
to ready students for a NSC – STEM certification.
• Core student learning outcomes are explicitly identified at
a lesson, bundle and program level so that a program
(institution) can crosswalk to developmental class
outcomes and various placement metrics and tests.
• All curriculum material will be available to all colleges to
fit into their local educational systems
Role of STEM Readiness and FAST TRACKS
Technical Curriculum and
STEM Readiness – OLI/CAST
Student Entry Point
Low Level Learner
Student Entry Point
Certificate Ready Learner
Technical Curriculum – Platform+
• The five technical certificate programs and
FAST TRACKS will select two key curriculum
lessons to be implemented into Platform+
• Key lessons may be student “sticking
points”, or difficult concepts that many
students have trouble grasping
Advice – Get Moving!
• Be ready to start immediately
• Outcomes Assessment
Advice – Student Recruitment
• Scope of Work
• Recruiting is NOT easy
• Takes time
• Word of mouth spreads slowly
• Brochures, websites, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
• Free – email blasts, local media
Advice – Be Proactive
• Guidance Memos – reactive
• Determine the policies that you need, and set them
• Eligibility, Registration, Documentation
• Intellectual Property
• Curriculum Development
Advice – Industry Partners
• Employer Advisory Board
• Resource and validation
• Shape and design curriculum
• Want to use curriculum as business training
Advice – Student Population
• Grant student
• Computer skills
• Not new population to the college
• New population to credit faculty
• Developmental students are remediated prior to reaching
• Professional Development for working with developmental
• Open-enrollment vs. Grant course sections
Access STEM Readiness Course
• Click “Sign Up” to register for a student account
• Log in to OLI and enter Course Key: NSC-STEM, click
• The STEM Readiness course will display, click
• Click “Enter Course”
• Kim Law; firstname.lastname@example.org; 410-777-2387
• Janet Paulovich; email@example.com; 410-777-1192
For More Information
Kim Law Kelly Koermer
National STEM Consortium Dean, School of Business,
STEM Bridge Coordinator Computing and Technical Studies
410-777-2387 Principle Investigator, NSC
firstname.lastname@example.org Anne Arundel Community College
This workforce solution was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S.
Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The solution
was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official
position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no
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respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and
including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its
completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or
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Internal use by an organization and/or personal use by an individual for non-
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authorization of the copyright owner.
The National STEM consortium is a collection of ten community colleges from across the country:Anne Arundel Community College in MarylandCollege of Lake County in IllinoisClover Park Technical College in Washington StateCuyahoga Community College in OhioFlorida State College at JacksonvilleIvy Tech Community College in IndianaMacomb Community College in MichiganNorthwest Arkansas Community CollegeRoane State Community College in TennesseeSouth Seattle Community College in Washington State
The NSC creates career-focused academic programs that will be available to colleges across the country. The programs are one-year, certificate level, 30-credit programs in growing and emerging scientific fields.The NSC will change the culture of higher education by fostering multi-college cooperation in program development that meets current labor market needs.
In response to employer input and workforce data, the NSC is focused on five STEM industries:Composite MaterialsCyber TechnologyElectric Vehicle Development and RepairEnvironmental TechnologyMechatronics; a hybrid of electronics and mechanical engineering
The NSC has creatededucational strategies to improve the completion and success rates of students. The NSC programs are compressed to enable students to finish and become reemployed sooner than if they were taking traditional college programs. Remediation content is embedded into the curriculum so students may continue to move forward with course work as they catch up on basic skills.
The NSC is a partnership of community colleges, public workforce agencies, and employers. These three entities, working together, ensure that the NSC certificate programs are designed to be relevant to regional economies, relevant to employers, and responsive to students’ learning styles and abilities.
Employers are central to this project. The ultimate goal is to get displaced workers back to work. The project design was based on research that identified employers’ needs and workers’ skills gaps, including both occupational and “soft” skills. Continued employer involvement will ensure that graduates are well prepared to be productive members of the workforce.
Anne Arundel Community College National STEM Consortium Technical Proposal (Page 13) “Each of the STEM pathways will include a STEM Bridge. The STEM Bridge will be programmatically consistent across the five fields and transferable to other colleges, and will integrate basic skills, workforce skills, computer skills, and job readiness training, contextualized within the pathway. The STEM programs will be nested within degree pathways to permit seamless progress toward an associate’s degree for students who see this as an appropriate objective.”The STEM Bridge is a grant deliverable to be programmatically consistent across the five technical pathways. It’s a combination of basic, workforce and computer skills, and finishes with job readiness training to fully prepare students for future employment. The curriculum is fully contextualized within the five NSC pathways, and is delivered along side the technical curriculum.
How did STEM Bridge get started? All five technical teams were surveyed to identify the key skills students needed to have to be successful both in the technical curriculum as well as to be employable in their field. The key skills were pooled, and from those that were common to most of the technical pathways, learning objectives were developed. The complete STEM Bridge course, called “STEM Readiness” is a 45 hour course, broken into three 15-hr units, focusing in Math, Critical Thinking and Workplace Communication, and Professional Skills.
The NSC STEM Bridge team is comprised of math, English, and technical professional skills faculty from consortium colleges. Along with the NSC STEM Bridge team, the course was co-developed with OLI and CAST, and all of the course scenarios were written in workplace scenarios. These workplace scenarios were created with the help of our industry partners, ensuring the content was accurate and relevant to what these students will do upon program completion.CAST helps integrate the Universal Design for Learning framework into the curriculum. Accessibility is foundational to UDL, but UDL is more focused for all learners
Flexibility is the key to this design…colleges can utilize the curriculum wherever is most appropriate.
Platform + allows for intense flexibility and supports many different student learning types.
There was a recognition that there may be a group of students who are interested in a program but significantly lack the math and writing skills to enter the certificate programs directly. Enter FAST TRACKS, a program designed to be an intensive ‘deep dive’ into basic math, writing and communications. The curricula is learning outcomes based, and was written so that it could be crosswalked to traditional developmental class outcomes and placement tests. It’s clear that the implementation of FAST TRACKS at each NSC institution will vary greatly. All of the curriculum material will be made available to all NSC colleges to allow for an appropriate fit at each institution/program.
AACC is implementing FAST TRACKS as an intensive, 9-week course, for a total of 180 instructional hours. The FAST TRACKS course will meet in the nine weeks preceding the start of the fall cohort, and students will be pre- and post placement tested to ensure that they are eligible for the certificate program.
The five technical teams, along with the FAST TRACKS program, will have a select number of course lessons implemented/programmed as interactive lessons in Platform+. These lessons will be open to any institution.
So on to the advice and lessons learned…Three years isn’t very long to create, implement, refine and measure outcomes. Get going RIGHT away. Make appropriate executive decisions that don’t require collaboration and get focused on what’s important right away.Do not wait to hire personnel – posting a position, interviewing, reference checking, HR on-boarding – it all takes precious time. Get your key personnel hired and on board quickly.All equipment purchases must be approved by DOL, even if they’re already budgeted in the grant itself. The approval process may take time, and for us, all equipment must be in place and in use by the start of year 3, it’s imperative that the requests get put in as soon as possible to meet this requirement. In the most perfect of situations, the entire process may take a significant amount of time.
NSC Scope of work focus is curriculum development and implementation to include participant outcomes. If your goal involves participant outcomes, recruitment is important. Recruitment of students is, in a word, HARD. It’s time consuming, and sometimes feels like you’re squeezing water out of a rock. When the grant started, we were very focused on content and curriculum. We knew that recruiting needed to be done, but when it came time to fill cohorts, it was very late in the recruiting cycle AND we started in January, or mid-year. Get moving on student recruitment at the very beginning – this HAS to be someone’s top priority right from the start. The recruitment of participants MUST be done from the beginning, and in full force.Comprehensive brochures and websites have been particularly helpful in marketing and recruitment efforts. At the beginning, it was supremely important that students had a place, or places, where they could obtain the information and not rely on waiting for a return call from one single person. The NSC chose to use one marketing firm/printer for all of our material – in retrospect it may have been faster, and possibly more economical to use the resources we have at each of our colleges.
Our grant leadership transmits Guidance Memos to update Consortium colleges on policy or process changes, but they’re typically in response to a situation, but there is a base of guidance that your grant needs to get done. Set what you can from the start, and react to the policies that need to be reacted to as you go forward. The NSC is willing to share them with other grantees.
Our industry partners have been invaluable to us. In the early days of the grant, we solicited information from an Employer Advisory Board on skills students were lacking in the workforce, and industry trends. Our relationship with our partners has grown immensely. In STEM Bridge, we use our industry partners as THE SOURCE for curriculum focus and ideas. We worked with ARINC, a defense contractor, to write the Critical Thinking and Workplace Communications Unit. We held weekly calls with ARINC to ensure that our focus and interpretation of their processes was sound, and that it met their needs also. ARINC is so pleased with the outcome of the partnership that this course will be used as part of their corporate training. We have permission from ARINC to use their name, logo, photos, forms, and processes within the course material, and it brings a true ‘real world’ scenario to life for our students. We’re currently working with a large, national retailer in the development of the professional skills module. We just held a national employer call to solicit ideas centered around customer service; scenarios, characteristics, ideas and stories – all of which will be implemented into our curriculum. We will continue to interface with these employers to ensure that we’re providing instruction to students in the areas that are most important to them, and that the curriculum is current and relevant in the workplace. Our technical teams have all developed local employer advisory boards to ensure that they’re teaching using the methods and equipment most applicable in their local areas. Again the focus is employability – if the employers are a part of the process and see the value of the curriculum, they are more likely to hire graduates.Sam Johnston comments…
When it comes to collaboration, be sure to stretch your “compromise muscle”, because it’s going to get some great use! In our consortium, collaboration occurs between colleges, with employers, and with external organizations such as CAST and OLI. If you have a project such as STEM Bridge, where collaboration happens on a daily basis between several teams of people, it’s important that there is someone in charge of that collaborative effort. There needs to be a team in place to run the day-to-day issues that arise with collaboration – the meetings, the documents, the personalities. Identify this person or persons, and get them in place quickly to ensure the maximum success of the collaborative efforts.As a group, identify your end goal, your “North Star”. Keep that in mind when the road gets bumpy, and continue to reassess whether you’re heading towards your North Star. Be sure that your collaborative lead keeps you all on that path.
Our STEM Bridge course via Platform + requires a computer savvy that some of our students do not have. Part of being employed in the 21st century is to use technology – email, internet searches, word processing, etc – and it was an issue for some of our students. We have worked with our local workforce agencies, continuing education department, and other college resources to help these students, and hope to capture/recapture them in future cohorts. While our grant student population – underemployed, unemployed, returning veteran, etc – is NOT a new population to the college, they are absolutely a new population to our credit faculty. By the time this student population would reach our credit faculty traditionally, they would have worked through developmental coursework and be in a different academic position than our current grant students. Our credit faculty was not entirely prepared for working with these types of students, and professional development in working with developmental students would have been helpful.Example – Mechatronics faculty and MAT 010, 011, and 012.“Completion” is the name of the game for grant students, and we have faculty who teach a single course with two sections – one that is open enrollment and one that is strictly for grant students. There is a clear culture difference between the two sections. At the end of the day, they are completing the same course in each section, but there has been questions as to how we balance the completion requirement of the grant with the course expectations. In other words, do we hold the grant students to a different standard than that of an open-enrollment section? Our intention is not that our product is inferior to the general population, rather that we apply treatments/services to ensure that the material covered is the same.
If you would like more information about the National STEM Consortium, contact Kim Law, STEM Bridge Coordinator.