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

Craig McAtee, NCATC CEO and Executive Director

June 2023

NCATC Friends and Colleagues,

In this issue we focus on NCATC Strategic Pillar 2Work-Based Learning, Apprenticeships, and Entrepreneurship in Workforce Development / Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.

Advanced technology is constantly evolving, and work-based learning has become increasingly important for individuals seeking to stay ahead of the curve.

Work-based learning (WBL) is a critical aspect of education, especially in advanced technology. WBL programs provide students with the practical experience and skills necessary to operate in the real world. This type of learning allows students to gain hands-on experience and develop industry-specific skills that are highly valued by employers. Moreover, WBL programs can provide students with the opportunity to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which are essential for success in advanced technology fields. These skills are developed through real-world experiences and exposure to complex problems faced by practitioners in industry. WBL programs can also provide students with the opportunity to network with working professionals, which can be beneficial in securing employment.

Incidentally, the urgency of closing the skills gap is so great that many employers are willing to eliminate degree requirements and hire on the basis of skills alone. See here for a discussion of that trend: “Employers Pulling Back From College Degrees and Toward Skills-Based Hiring” (Lightcast).

WBL equips students with essential technical and soft skills but also presents challenges, such as the need for adequate resources, the difficulty of matching students’ skills with the available projects, and the challenge of ensuring that students receive sufficient supervision and mentorship. These challenges require careful planning and collaboration between academic institutions and industry partners to ensure that students receive a high-quality learning experience. Overall, despite the challenges, WBL offers a promising approach to preparing students for the job market and bridging the skills gap between education and industry.

Advanced technology WBL initiatives are a big step toward bridging the gap between education and the workforce, and it is crucial that we continue to embrace these trends to prepare students for the jobs of the future.

NCATC is focused on three (3) main policies in 2023 for education and workforce development improvements in our states and our nation They are:

  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 June 29 NCATC will host the Q2-23 Quarterly Member Drop, which will focus on NCATC Strategic Pillar 2: Work-Based Learning, Apprenticeships, and Entrepreneurship in Workforce Development & Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs - Promising Practices and Needs Discussion with Members. REGISTER HERE

We look forward to seeing all of you at our 35th Anniversary Conference – this coming September 20-23 in Wichita, Kansas, 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 Summer 2023!

President's Message

Craig Lamb, NCATC President

Our work at the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers seemed pretty clear until recently when we asked ourselves, “What, exactly, is an Advanced Technology Center?”

During the planning and building of our center here at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in North Carolina, I visited 19 ATCs nationwide to learn best practices in programming, building design, equipment optimization, and educational innovations. That process informed our conversations with architects, faculty, and funders as we built a beautiful and highly functional building.

Upon reflection, however, I’ve learned that our center is more than a building full of state-of-the-art classrooms and modern equipment. Its success is built on a culture of manufacturing excellence.

We instill the values of precision, safety, quality, authenticity, and pride into every program, every class, every lesson, and every graduate. We believe in the importance of what we do to create opportunities for employers to profit and grow, for students to learn and prosper, and for communities to thrive. We know that the relationships we build and the culture we foster are as important as the technical skills we teach.

Advanced Technology Centers can (and do) happen anywhere—in buildings both old and new. Effective ATCs focus on building deep partnerships with employers to meet challenging skill gaps, to provide equitable access to training and jobs, to promote work-based learning strategies, and to focus on competency-based instruction.

This realization has impacted NCATC’s Board of Directors as well. This has resulted in a re-alignment and simplification of our membership levels to align with the notion that Advanced Technology Centers are not buildings, they are cultures.

Starting this July, we will have one level of institutional membership for all colleges, whether they have an active ATC or they are working towards one. The key element is not bricks and mortar, it’s culture and shared values. This will not only simplify our membership levels, but it will help our members align along what makes us valuable and strong. You’ll see this new, simplified structure in your next membership renewal, but rest assured it won’t result in any fee increases to any of our colleges.

It's my pleasure to serve as NCATC’s president for 2023, and I encourage you to reach out to me with any suggestions, questions, or comments. 

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Annette Parker


South Central College

Jeannine Kunz

Chief Workforce

Development Officer


Michelle Burris


The Century Foundation

Shari Liss

Executive Director

SEMI Foundation

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsors

Choose One From Four Industry Tours

Sponsorships Available

Sponsorship Details

Conference Hotel: Wichita Marriot

Complimentary airport transportation; Monday-Sunday, 7:00 a.m. (first hotel departure) through 10:00 p.m. (last airport departure).

Check-In: 4 p.m.

NCATC has a room block for the conference at a special rate.

2-Room Suites - 2 Queens or 1 King

Complimentary parking

Complimentary WiFi in rooms

Room rate is $139 (plus 16.25% tax)

Early-Bird Registration Is Open!


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 Q2-23 Member Drop-In will focus on NCATC Strategic Pillar 2Work-Based Learning, Apprenticeships, and Entrepreneurship in Workforce Development.    


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, June 29, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET!


In This Issue

  • Registered Apprenticeships Done Right
  • Integrative Learning: Connecting Students to Communities and Careers
  • Partners Recruit and Rebuild Your Workforce
  • Welcome, New Strategic Partners

Registered Apprenticeships Done Right

As North Dakota’s Polytechnic Institution, Bismarck State College (BSC) is no stranger to apprenticeships. BSC has been offering apprenticeship opportunities in the energy industry for more than 25 years. What is new is the college’s efforts to establish apprenticeships to specifically address workforce shortages and equity gaps in the healthcare, manufacturing, and automation sectors. In September 2022, BSC was awarded a $1.6 million Department of Labor Strengthening Community College grant for just this purpose.


“Apprenticeship training is a proven strategy that combines theoretical instruction with on-the-job training to prepare high-quality, skilled workers,” says BSC Polytechnic Program Outreach Director Alicia Uhde. “This grant funding gives us the resources to link talent to opportunity—meeting the needs of our students and the industries in our state.”

At a time when the country is facing unprecedented workforce deficits, BSC sought out an opportunity, secured grant funding, and established the Registered Apprenticeships Done Right (RADaR) project to help industries address their challenges. RADaR serves to recruit diverse, underserved populations for in-demand careers by establishing career pathways in the manufacturing, automation, and healthcare industry sectors and using registered apprenticeships as the proven vehicle to meet both industry and student needs.


While still in the initial stages of the RADaR project, BSC has already established strong partnerships within the healthcare, manufacturing, and automation industries as well as community organizations, to build sustainable change in workforce training. By working closely with employers, the college is customizing apprenticeships to include structured on-the-job training and related instruction that meet the needs of their business.


BSC sees apprenticeships as a unique workforce solution that is mutually beneficial for students and employers. Modern apprenticeships build a highly skilled and customized flow of talent, preparing workers who typically stay around for the long term. For students, it creates a clear pathway to employment through a structured work-based learning program and builds interpersonal and technical skill sets through a sophisticated workplace experience.


“Through an earn-while-you-learn model, apprenticeships allow individuals to grow into their profession while learning the skills needed to succeed in a high-demand, highly skilled career, all while getting paid,” says Uhde. “And employers are able to build and maintain their workforce at the same time."


To best serve industry, each BSC apprentice partnership is unique and customized to meet the employer’s workforce needs. Some companies only send employees to BSC for specific non-credit or non-degree training to develop necessary skillsets. Other employers may send employees to earn a specific degree and prepare them for higher-level positions. Some are registered apprenticeships through the Department of Labor (DOL), while others are a work arrangement between the employer and the employee, and BSC is the conduit to obtaining the necessary skills the employee needs. Some employers will enroll a cohort of employees while others enroll one apprentice at a time.


For over a quarter of a century, BSC has partnered with energy companies—in North Dakota and across the U.S.—to train and fill their workforce through apprenticeships. In addition to theoretical instruction, industries have expanded BSC’s role within their apprenticeship programming to include hands-on training and competency testing, and BSC has integrated credit and non-credit coursework into apprenticeship program offerings.


In-state apprenticeships through BSC range from individual courses to full degrees in Instrumentation and Control Technology, Lineworker, Automation, Process Technology, and other specializations. Approximately 50 percent of this training is done online with the other 50 percent completed in person. Out-of-state apprenticeships include trainings in Electric Power Technology, Instrumentation and Control, and Energy Services and Renewable Technician as well as other fields. Many of these are non-credit, which is 98 percent online. One regional electric cooperative uses their DOL-approved BSC apprenticeship in such a way that an employee can earn their Lineworker Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree through BSC’s Credit for Industry Training Prior Learning option. These apprentices are able to complete minimal coursework to earn their AAS and quickly move into their Energy Management Bachelor of Applied Science degree from BSC.


This spring, BSC’s non-credit apprenticeship programming included 40 companies, 239 students, and 162 different courses and trainings. For-credit apprenticeship programming fluctuates each semester based on industry needs.


The success of apprenticeship programming at BSC is evident when former students who obtained their employment and degree through an apprenticeship are now returning to their alma mater as company managers and leaders to establish apprenticeships for their employees. And this is becoming more and more the norm these days at Bismarck State College. 

Integrative Learning: Connecting Students to Communities and Careers

Integrative Learning at College of the Canyons embraces the blending of work-based learning, community-based learning, civic engagement, project-based learning, and personal and professional interests. In 2017, the College participated in the WBL Planning and Tools Pilot project with the California Community College Foundation in partnership with Jobs for the Future. A key focus of the project was to examine the work-based learning continuum with our internal and external partners including our high school district, the city, and our Economic Development Corporation by asking the question, “What will WBL look like at COC?” What resulted from the project was an emerging map for career readiness that was applicable from cradle to grave.

The New Emerging Map

WBL + CBL + CE + PBL + PPI = Career Readiness

View print version of map

We discovered that for this work to be effective, it must be integrated into the educational journey of our “Canyons Completes” model (our terminology for Guided Pathways) in order to provide the student the opportunity to connect to both community and career.

Many students are overwhelmed with committing to a program of study and choosing a career path. The Integrative Learning journey allows students to make the critical connections to community required for career readiness and global citizenship so they gain the confidence that the career choice they make for now will enable them to succeed as they will inevitably make additional choices for tomorrow. Additionally, Integrative Learning allows the faculty member, regardless of whether they are transfer or career education, to connect academic knowledge to the technical and professional skills that equip the student to enter the workforce with relevant and market-driven career readiness skills. Likewise, Integrative Learning brings the community, including industry, into the classroom as a co-educator.

Since 2019 and through COVID, COC established cross-disciplinary teams to build the capacity of faculty to embrace Integrative Learning. Training and application are focused on context as well as content. As we look forward to the requirements for the Future of Work as it relates to career readiness, we encourage three kinds of “human work” in our PBL activities: solving unstructured problems, working with new information (including complex communication), and carrying out non-routine tasks. In this manner, the essential skills for career readiness can be realized. We call them the five C’s: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Comfort with Uncertainty. These are the human-centered skills required for career readiness today and tomorrow, and our goal is that every student at COC will have at least one Integrative Learning experience.

Partners Recruit and Rebuild Your Workforce

When Lone Star College Chancellor Dr. Stephen Head determined the need for your position, what was his vision? Lone Star College is the largest higher education institution in Texas. We have eight colleges, seven centers and eight Workforce Centers of Excellence that welcome over 80,000 credit students each semester. Many different cultures exist within such a large footprint. As part of our culture values, Dr. Head’s vision was to create an approach where we maintain a standard of excellence for delivering diversity, equity and inclusion. From this vision, One LSC was created to ensure consistent application of that vision throughout our curriculum at each of our campuses.

Tell me about a major project your office spearheaded specifically for students of Lone Star College. We find that some of our students from marginalized racial identities are not performing at the same level as other students. As a means of mitigating that, we developed The Equity Institute, whose goal is to develop ways to be more equity minded and aid in more successful outcomes for students. We decided as a system to take an introspective approach to tackling this issue, starting with those staff members who support students on core courses. Our ultimate goal is to comprehensively train our professors, advisors and tutors in critical equity concepts like racial consciousness, cognitive empathy and developing emotional intelligence within the next five years.

Ms. Carlecia Wright

Lone Star College

LSC Chief Diversity Officer

What is National Oilwell Varco doing to recruit a diverse employee workforce? We put a great deal of effort into identifying and setting up partnerships with historically black colleges and universities and other similarly diverse schools. We take a customized approach, so the partnership is tailored to what the local college believes is necessary. For example, we are able to help students develop both soft skills and technical skills. We also work with faculty to share information regarding what’s changing within our industry, which helps them to build, enhance, and even edit their curriculum in a way that could potentially better equip their students for success. Along the way, we fill in any gaps that come about, leading to a unique and personalized experience for each partner we work with.

As a major employer for the Oil and Gas Industry, what opportunities does National Oilwell Varco bring to Lone Star College? NOV has an interest in making a targeted impact, specifically in underserved communities. We’ve worked with Lone Star to create a co-op program that provides a well-defined pathway from a local high school to Lone Star, then to NOV for a technical skill labor position. We’re not only offering opportunities for practical on-the-job training, but we’re also looking to provide funding support needed to assist the students transitioning from education to job acquisition. Hopefully we create that pipeline for future supervisors and managers along the way. NOV is quite large and we have a number of different segments, so we hope to provide students with an opportunity to gain an array of experience across multiple areas of the business.

Amanda Jean

National Oilwell Varco

Human Resources Director, Completion & Production Solutions

What is Dell doing to recruit a diverse employee workforce? Our commitment isn’t strictly transactional. We truly partner with colleges and work to understand how to best support, invest and align our goals. For example, we have mentorship programs in place that teach necessary career readiness skills like resume building, interviewing practices and building your brand on LinkedIn.

Everything we offer to our community college partners is cultivating inclusion and driving change, contributing directly to our “Changing the Face of Tech” program and our 2030 Moonshot goals. By 2030, our workforce diversity goals include the following: 50% of our workforce will be women; 40% of that will be in leadership globally; 25% will be Black, Hispanic and Latinx; and 15% of that will be in leadership. We will achieve those goals in large part due to partnerships with community colleges like Lone Star.

As a major employer for the IT and business sector, what opportunities does Dell bring to Lone Star College? When people think of Dell Technologies, they envision computer-related roles. However, we have a number of job opportunities that aren’t technology related, like marketing and human resources. We’re working to challenge students to see us as more than just a PC company.

As part of “Changing the Face of Tech,” we just launched our internship program directly for the community college. I’m super excited to announce that we have our marketing interns coming directly from Lone Star College this year. I’m very much looking forward to the opportunities that we’ll be able to bring to these talented minds.

Wayne Epps

DELL Technologies

Talent Acquisition Diversity Campus Manager

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Welcome, New Strategic Partners