2014 NCPN Career Pathways Partnership Excellence Award Winners

Sponsored by Kuder

1st Place Winner:
Information Technology Dual-Credit Program

Moraine Area Career System / Moraine Valley Community College
Accepting the Award: John Sands

The goal of the Information Technology Dual-Credit Program is to provide students with the opportunity to take classes at both the high school and community college that will lead to employment in the Information Technology workforce. These jobs vary from computer repair technicians, help desk professionals, cyber security specialist, VOIP specialist, network administrators, wireless and mobile devices support specialist and support professionals for data center and virtual computing centers.

The career pathways program consists of Moraine Valley Community College and its partner high schools: Argo, Reavis, Richards, Shepard, Eisenhower, Stagg, Sandburg, Andrew, and Oak Lawn.

The program is designed on stackable certificates that lead to a two-year degree. Students are able to complete a career orientation class and multiple entry-level certifications while still attending high school. These stackable certificates directly articulate into upper level stackable certificates that lead to one of three two-year degree programs (see figure). The curriculum was designed through a partnership of college and high school faculty, local businesses and industry certification organizations, such as CompTIA, and companies that sponsor industry certifications including Cisco and Microsoft.

One of the more innovative features of this program is the use of classroom simulation and virtualization. High school and college instructors share electronic classroom resources including blackboard, simulation programs, and access to a virtual teaching and learning environment. This environment enables students to start an exercise while in the classroom and complete it later with internet access. This virtual environment enables high school students high level access to virtual machines so they are able to perform system administrator security tasks. High school student classes visit and use the college facilities to complete elements of dual credit college coursework which in turn makes the transition from high school to college easier.

Several aspects of this program have been made possible through partnerships and grants. MVCC’s Center for System Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA) is an NSF ATE National Resource Center. Another important component to the success of this program has been the support and partnership with local employers. These employers have provided internship opportunities, involvement in student competitions, participated in advisory committees and routinely hire graduates.



2nd Place Winner:
Alamo Academies

Alamo Area Academies Inc. and Lockheed Martin
Accepting the Award: Gene Bowman

The Alamo Academies is a national STEM-based instructional model operated by the Alamo Area Academies Inc., a non-profit organization, in partnership with industry, the Alamo Colleges, area high schools, chambers of commerce, multiple cities and community organizations.

The goal of the Academies is to provide America’s at-risk youth with tuition-free career pathways into critical demand technical STEM occupations. The process is triggered by industry engagement when they set target enrollment levels based on projected/quantifiable workforce demand. This is followed by a collaborative process identifying the curriculum pathway, recruitment, matriculation, industry certifications and support systems utilizing a dual credit career academy model that allows students to complete high school and college graduation requirements in one of the demand occupations (Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, IT & Security, Nursing and Heavy Equipment).

San Antonio was one of the first communities in the country to address the “skills-gap” issue through a collaborative partnership founding the Alamo Academies. Each partner brings a unique contribution to the Academies. Alamo Colleges provide facilities, equipment and instruction; Independent School Districts (ISDs) provide textbooks and round trip transportation; employers pay their intern’s salaries; and cities fund operating costs.

Students are bused to the Alamo Colleges campus daily where they engage in 2 ½ hours of instruction needed to complete a one year technical college program of studies, earning a Level I Certificate of Completion as part of the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree pathway. During the 2 year program, students earn 31-34 college credits at no personal cost allowing them to receive both a college degree and high school diploma and in addition are paid almost $3,000 through an 8-week on-site industry internship. The program is universal so the only eligibility criteria is for students to be in good standing, be college ready, and desire to participate in target occupational pathways. To enrich their high school experience and build teamwork skills, students retain University Interscholastic League eligibility and many participate in extra-curricular athletic or academic activities. Upon graduation, students can either attain a high-wage/high-skill career in a demand occupation or continue with their higher education pathway.

The program's innovativeness and uniqueness is highlighted by the City of San Antonio and Alamo Colleges Interlocal Agreement that provides funds annually for Academies operations. The city council ordnance notes that "The Academies represent a cost-effective economic development investment for the City and also reinforces the stated goals of the City's Strategic Plan for Enhanced Economic Development." Academies students are preparing for careers in five of the six industry clusters identified by Workforce Solutions Alamo as high-wage, high-skill growth industries essential to the region’s prosperity.



3rd Place Winner:
Preparing the Emerging Workforce through Successful STEM Partnerships

Heritage High School Governor's STEM Academy & Newport News Shipbuilding Career Pathways
Accepting the Award: Toinette Outland

The Heritage High School Governor’s STEM Academy offers a program of study designed to expand options for students to acquire skills in STEM. The program combines academic coursework and research experience with a challenging and focused school environment to prepare students for 21st century careers. One of the career pathways within the Academy is Engineering and Technology. Students studying this pathway, take courses to include Engineering Explorations, Engineering Studies, Electronics Systems Technology I & II, and Technical Drawing and Design. Curriculum is adopted from the Career & Technical Education (CTE) State Framework and evaluated and monitored by members of the school’s administrative staff and Advisory Council. In addition to courses in STEM, students receive a foundation in English, Social Studies, and Health and Physical Education, and have the opportunity to study Arts and World Languages. Students concentrate and take specialized courses in a full-day, year-long academic program at the high school campus. Students apply their knowledge of STEM, in a real-world work experience by participating in work-based learning experiences such as job shadowing and internships. The role of the business and industry partners is to support the goals of the Academy and provide resources and opportunities for students enrolled in the program. An extensive partnership with Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) Career Pathways program has been established to support the Academy’s goals. Students connect with employees in Engineering and Technology through several work-based experiences such as a unique 20-hour job shadowing. Students meet with members of the shipyard leadership team, experience engineering at work, and see first-hand the importance of career readiness skills in the workplace. Students are paired with mentors who are civil, mechanical, structural, and computer engineers to name a few. The job shadowing program has been extended to over 120 students for the past three years and is exclusive to Heritage High School Governor’s STEM Academy students. Additional job shadowing opportunities with the organization are offered during the Newport News Public Schools “Spring Break Make It Work” program. The job shadowing program has also been expanded to include an Early Career Program whereby students complete their coursework 1st semester of their senior year and are full time employees at NNS during their 2nd semester. Two students have been recently hired as full-time employees with the NNS Apprentice School. A NNS Resource Center has also been established onsite at Heritage. Career Pathways discussions, engineering design challenges and a wide variety of work-based learning activities are coordinated weekly in the resource center to support the school’s current curriculum. Approximately 200 students have benefited from the resource center this year alone. This has truly been a great asset to the school to have the expertise of the NNS mentors readily available.