CLC joins Education Design Lab’s National micro-pathways initiative

CLC is creating micro-pathways for its Machine Tool Technologies program and Entrepreneurship program.

CLC sign
The Central Lakes College parking lot is quiet at the Brainerd campus as it is closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. CLC announced Wednesday, April 22, it will host virtual commencement events as students and staff may not be at the campuses. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Central Lakes College announced it will design micro-pathways in its Machine Tool Technologies and Entrepreneurship programs, in partnership with the Education Design Lab, a national nonprofit that designs, implements, and scales new learning models for higher education and the future of work.

CLC is part of the Lab’s third cohort in the nationally recognized Community College Growth Engine Fund initiative that creates micro-pathways, a new class of credentials designed to accelerate economic mobility for new majority learner-earners.The third cohort — the largest to date — started with 18 colleges in February and is likely to grow to over 30 institutions by late spring.

What are micro-pathways? Co-designed with learners and employers, micro-pathways are two or more stackable credentials, including a 21st century skill micro-credential, that are flexibly delivered to be achieved within less than a year and result in a job at or above the local median wage, and start learners on the path to an associate degree.“With these stills, a student can decide to start an entry-level job or continue to a higher credential for greater upward mobility in their career,” said Mark Jonhson, CLC interim vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, in a news release. “This enables learners to engage in education and training in a way that allows them to balance work and life responsibilities. What’s exciting about this is that our industry partners play a critical role, as they provide guidance to us and to the student so that students achieve the career goals they want.”

CLC is creating micro-pathways for its Machine Tool Technologies program and Entrepreneurship program, which will lead to career opportunities that provide a family-sustaining wage and educational benefits.Minnesota community colleges joining CLC in the Community College Growth Engine Fund include Alexandria Technical and Community College, Hennepin Technical College and Saint Paul College.

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