Volume 23, No. 2, 2nd Quarter, 2022
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From the Director

Craig McAtee, NCATC CEO and Executive Director

March 2023

NCATC Friends and Colleagues,

In this issue we focus on NCATC Strategic Pillar 4Adult Education Grounded in Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belongingness (ADEIB) for Workforce Development / Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs.

All five elements of ADEIB—Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belongingness—are essential to creating a safe and equitable environment for everyone:

  • Access is the ability to access resources, services, and opportunities.
  • Diversity is the representation of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
  • Equity is the fair and just treatment of all individuals regardless of their background or identity.
  • Inclusion is the active engagement of all individuals and the recognition of their unique contributions.
  • Belongingness is the sense of being accepted and valued.

The elements of ADEIB are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Diversity is the foundation. Without diversity, it is impossible to create an equitable environment, as not everyone is represented. Equity is necessary to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and has access to the same opportunities. Inclusion is necessary to ensure that everyone is actively engaged and that their unique contributions are recognized. Belongingness is necessary to ensure that everyone feels accepted and valued in the space.

Creating an ADEIB-aligned environment is essential for any organization or community. Until we recognize that people have different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, we cannot create an environment that is welcoming and respectful of all individuals. This is done by creating policies and practices that promote ADEIB. These include creating a safe and welcoming space for all individuals, providing equal access to resources and opportunities, and actively engaging all individuals in the space.

ADEIB-aligned environments are not only beneficial for individuals, but also for organizations and communities. They can lead to increased creativity, innovation, and productivity, as well as improved morale and engagement. They can also lead to increased trust and collaboration, as well as improved customer service and satisfaction. Ultimately, creating an ADEIB-aligned environment is essential for any organization or community to thrive.

NCATC is focused on three main policies in 2023 for education and workforce development improvements in our states and our nation:

  1. Prioritizing the CTE / Workforce Development Educators Shortages: Creation and Improvement of Teacher / Faculty Recruitment, Retention, Accreditation, and Wage Scales;
  2. Digital Literacy and Skills for All Levels – from Foundational to Industry 4.0/x.0 – see The Digital Equity Act; and
  3. Pell Grant eligibility (Workforce Pell) to workers in Short-Term postsecondary education (AACC).

On March 30 NCATC is holding the Q1-23 Quarterly Member Drop-In, which will focus on NCATC Pillar 4: Adult Education Grounded in Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belongingness (ADEIB) for Workforce Development / Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs. REGISTER HERE.

We look forward to seeing all of you at our 35th Anniversary Conference – this coming September 20-23 in Wichita, KS, hosted by WSU Tech. Find all the most current information and registration links HERE and register now.

As always, we encourage you to stay regularly connected and up to date on all ATC, WFD, and CTE-related activities and guidance, via the weekly updated NCATC website, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), and quarterly e-newsletters like this one.

Wishing you all a Happy Spring 2023!

PRESS RELEASE: Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Vice President Craig Lamb Named National Organization President

Lamb will lead the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers

Craig Lamb, vice president of corporate and continuing education at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, has been named president of the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC), an Affiliated Council of the American Association of Community Colleges, which brings together a network of higher education and industry-led strategic partners.


President's Message

Craig Lamb, NCATC President

How are our 170 partner institutions benefitting from their membership with the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers? That’s the question that is framing our work within NCATC’s Board of Directors for 2023. We want every member to have a clear and compelling answer to this question.

If you are reading this article, we already know that you enjoy our quarterly newsletters, updating you on innovative programs and approaches to close critical skill gaps in Industry 4.0 and Cybersecurity; to implement credential and competency-based education; to facilitate meaningful Work-Based Learning, and to address gaps in diversity, equity, access, and inclusion for students.

Do you regularly leverage our many networking opportunities—like the quarterly online member drop-ins, our annual conference each September, the links to our strategic partners, or connecting with other institutions for best practices in supporting advanced manufacturing? Have you connected with NCATC’s member services to plan, fund, or evaluate your programs and services, like the Member Assistance Program or Grant Evaluation Services?

Our institutional partners typically renew year-after-year, so whether you use all or only some of these benefits of your NCATC membership, we believe you are getting real value for your investment of time and money. But how can you expand the value of your membership even more?

Share the Love—Our data show that many of our institutions have registered only one person to receive communication and updates from NCATC. Who are the others in your college (deans, directors, faculty, managers, executive leadership, etc.) who would benefit from direct connections with NCATC? In the coming months, representatives of our Membership Committee will be contacting each member institution to explore who that should be, how they could benefit, and how best to contact them. There’s no cost to add others, so expanding your institution’s value received from NCATC is easy and free.

It’s my pleasure to serve as president of the NCATC Board of Directors for 2023, and it is my objective to learn how NCATC can more deeply serve our member institutions. We firmly believe that expanding our reach will provide more value for your institutional membership investment. I’m always interested in learning how we can better serve our members, so feel free to reach out with your ideas, questions, and comments. 

NCATC35 Information HERE

NCATC35 Registration HERE

NCATC wants to engage more deeply with our members via our newly launched Member Drop-Ins. Each of these quarterly events focuses on one of NCATC’s 4 Strategic Pillars. 

The Q1-23 Member Drop-In will focus on NCATC Strategic Pillar 4Adult Education Grounded with Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belongingness (ADEIB) for All – promising practices and additional needs of our members.    


Our time together will be with three NCATC Board Directors getting the conversation started by briefly highlighting each of their recent best practices articles from this newsletter.    


At a minimum, 40 minutes will be peer-to-peer, free-flowing conversation of sharing, listening, learning, asking questions, and building a stronger community around this focus area. 

Bring your “What I Have” and/or “What I Need” mindset to share. The goal will be to sustain these problem-solving ideas, relationships built, and conversations beyond our 60 minutes together during our Member Drop-In.

Please join us on Thursday, March 30, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET!


In This Issue

  • Unlocked Program Improves Lives and Communities
  • Inclusive Workforce: Opportunities for Justice-Involved Individuals
  • Supporting Student Completion with an Equity Lens
  • Welcome, New Members and Strategic Partners

Unlocked Program Improves Lives and Communities

Studies show a significant reduction in recidivism when citizens re-entering the community gain education, skills, and gainful employment.

Three years ago, NexStep Alliance, an educational partnership between Goodwill Industries and WSU Tech (whose focus is adult education) created the Unlocked program. This program helps Kansans exiting the correctional system successfully maintain their freedom by providing the opportunity to study technical careers and earn high school diplomas at the same time.

In partnership with the Kansas Department of Corrections, the Unlocked program recommends individuals who are on parole or community corrections and assists them by providing support services, life coaching, and mentoring, all while offering GED courses. Each participant is enrolled in a technical program at WSU Tech. To kick off the Unlocked technical program, students progressed through fast-track welding as a cohort and had over an 80 percent completion rate.

Once the news of the program got out, industry partners wanted to be a part of it. As a result, students were not just being trained and educated as welders. They were getting jobs. The second cohort finished in spring 2021 with a 100 percent placement rate.

One of the benefits of the program is that Kansas’s Accelerated Opportunities program provides free tuition and fees for any adult who is completing a GED or high school equivalency and attending an approved CTE program. Fast forward to year three: the program expanded beyond welding. Unlocked students are now enrolled in automotive, aerospace manufacturing, CNC operations, and healthcare.

The program kicked off its sixth cohort this January. As the state secretary of corrections, Jeff Zmuda, said, “A program such as NexStep Unlocked may not be graduating large numbers, but each success story represents one more individual who has been reunited with their loved ones, is a contributing member of their community, and is a good neighbor.” 

Inclusive Workforce: Opportunities for Justice-Involved Individuals

The labor shortage has few silver linings, but one is the willingness of employers to open their minds to different talent pools such as those with a justice-involved past. Providing an inclusive opportunity for these folks to participate in the workforce benefits all involved; individuals, employers, and the community. Gateway Technical College has had a great working relationship with our state Department of Corrections (DOC) for well over a decade, but with the very low unemployment we saw prior to the pandemic and now the continued shortage of skilled workers, the opportunities to expand the work we do together has only increased. The reality is that folks with criminal records will not readily be hired into some industry sectors, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities after doing some homework and building employer partnerships. The manufacturing sector is a great example and especially in the area of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine Operators.

Our longest-running program is with Racine Correctional Institute, where we go inside the facility to deliver the first semester of our CNC Technical Diploma and students earn a Wisconsin state-recognized CNC Operator Certificate created in tandem with our industry partners. This allows maximum flexibility for the students because upon release they can either immediately get a job, typically making $20+ an hour, choose to come directly to Gateway to complete their technical diplomas, or a combination of the two with the employer commonly helping pay their tuition. In 2018 we expanded this to the Ellsworth Correctional Facility, a minimum-security women's facility that sends a cohort on campus each day for about five hours in the morning and they also complete the CNC Operator Certificate (first semester of the technical diploma). In addition to technical training, they also learn employability skills such as teamwork and interpersonal interactions, resume writing, and interview skills. The “final” for this is a day of mock interviews conducted by local business partners who are actually hiring. They agree to interview every student and provide feedback on how they can improve. While these are officially “mock” interviews, the reality is these are more like “first” interviews because nearly 100 percent of all the completers since 2018 have found employment while finishing their sentences and continuing after full release. This model was then applied to our Kenosha County Corrections facility, where a cohort of men come for five hours each evening to complete the same training. We have also partnered with a local company, Styberg Engineering, to get these men part-time jobs while completing the CNC training with the opportunity of going full-time when the training is completed.

The newest partnership is with the Racine Youthful Offenders Correctional Facility, where the DOC received a grant to build out a training trailer in the area of robotics, automation, and mechatronics. We have a faculty member who goes into the facility on a daily basis and again delivers the equivalent of the first semester of our Electromechanical Maintenance technical diploma so students have both immediate job and continued educational opportunities. One early success story is a young man who started at $20/hr and is on a path to $25/hr after 90 days. His experience with robotics has put him on the shortlist to move into more advanced maintenance with the opportunity to make $35+/hr.

While all of these folks come from very diverse demographic backgrounds, they all share the challenge of having served time in our criminal justice system and Gateway is proud to partner with DOC to help them overcome that barrier and provide an opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives while also providing our local businesses an expanded talent pool to hire from.


Success Stories

Supporting Student Completion with an Equity Lens

Sinclair Community College, located in Dayton, Ohio, is one of the oldest community colleges in the nation. In 1887, Sinclair’s namesake, David Sinclair, coined the phrase, “find the need, and endeavor to meet it.” This phrase, which has now been folded into the college’s mission statement, is the principle that guides the faculty and staff at the college to continuously work to provide students with a high-quality educational experience. However, in 2004, faculty and staff from Sinclair attended an Equity Initiative event hosted by Achieving the Dream. Disaggregated data shared at this event showed disparities in success rates in different student subgroups, which was extremely concerning. Data shared at this event and Sinclair’s subsequent collaboration with coaches and staff from Achieving the Dream, as well as participation in other national reform initiatives, put Sinclair on the path to successfully address inequities in student completion.

One area that Sinclair has focused on for several years is student placement in and completion of gateway mathematics courses. In fact, a thorough review of Sinclair’s data suggested that traditional approaches to educating students in mathematics actually widened equity gaps. To reverse this trend, as part of the Developmental Education Initiative in 2011, Sinclair implemented an emporium model so that students could complete multiple developmental mathematics courses in a single term. Approximately 37 percent of emporium students today either move up a level or completely out of developmental math courses within the first week. In addition, Sinclair utilizes multiple measures, such as students’ high school grade point average (GPA), to place students into higher-level math courses, math courses with embedded support, or applied mathematics courses that are aligned to programs of study. Moreover, Sinclair was one of the first community colleges in Ohio to implement corequisite remediation at scale. By replacing traditional prerequisite remediation with co-requisite remediation (a strategy in which students take a college-level math course and a course with embedded support), 32 percent more students completed a gateway mathematics course such as college algebra or introductory statistics, in 2017 compared to 2016.

In 2018, Sinclair’s Board of Trustees selected Alignment, Growth, and Equity as the three pillars of the college’s strategic planning process. Work teams from the Divisions of Instruction and Student Development regularly meet to review progress on strategic priorities such as increasing the retention rate of returning students, increasing the number of students accessing and completing courses through multiple modalities, and providing students with high-quality academic experiences and career development that lead to in-demand jobs in the region. Moreover, the college’s annual Equity Summit and other diversity-focused training build strong relationships among faculty, students, and staff, and enable us to be culturally responsive and inclusive. Programs such as Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (WiSTEM), the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), and the African American Male Initiative (AAMI) are additional ways Sinclair intentionally focuses on and supports minority students from pre-college connections to and through completion.

Sinclair also invests significant time and resources to improve and enhance the understanding of faculty and staff in diversity, equity, and inclusion through ongoing professional development. The Diversity Office and the Center for Teaching and Learning offer annually approximately 250-300 workshops, book reads, moderated discussions, and targeted professional development opportunities to help faculty and staff address the complex and varied nature of poverty, race, and inequality. Moreover, Sinclair recently implemented the Supplier Diversity program. This program seeks to grow and develop opportunities with certified small and diverse-owned businesses from the Dayton region and throughout Ohio that can supply the college with needed goods and services. As a result of this initiative, Sinclair has connected with over 120 certified diverse-owned businesses, spurring new opportunities for some. Finally, an Equity in Teaching and Learning team, made up of faculty, student support staff, instructional designers, and data analysts, works together to examine data and teach other faculty how to examine data to determine equity gaps and then work to develop strategies to improve outcomes for all students.

Sinclair has focused heavily on student success and completion over the course of its 136-year history. But in the last three to five years, that work has truly started to pay dividends. To illustrate, Sinclair increased four-year completion rates from 22 percent to 30 percent over a four-year period. For Black students, four-year completion rates increased from 15 percent to 22 percent. For adult students aged 24 and older, a quarter of whom are Black, four-year completion nearly doubled, from 26 percent to 47 percent. In recognition of Sinclair’s efforts to equitably support student completion, Achieving the Dream (ATD) selected Sinclair Community College as the recipient of the 2023 Leah Meyer Austin Award. The Leah Meyer Austin Award is given annually to a college in the ATD network that demonstrates significant gains in student success and institutional equity. According to Sinclair President Dr. Steve Johnson, “this honor reflects years of effort to maximize equity and student success.” President Johnson went on to add that “from comprehensive high-level policy reviews to individual student-advisor conversations, Sinclair has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that all students achieve their goals.”

Although Sinclair is proud of its accomplishments, the faculty, staff, and administration recognize that there is still much work left to do. So, without hesitation, Sinclair applied for and was selected to participate in the Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, along with ten other community colleges across the nation. This national initiative, led by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and the Community College Research Center, seeks to dramatically increase the number of students, including students of color and those from lower-income backgrounds, who complete programs that lead directly to jobs paying a family-sustaining wage or the completion of a bachelor’s degree.

In closing, Sinclair has made significant progress toward achieving equitable outcomes for all students. However, there is much more work to do before graduates of Sinclair’s certificate and degree programs are fully representative of the local community.  

Welcome, New Members and Strategic Partners

New Education Members

New Strategic Partners