ED competition recognizes pre-apprenticeships


A Pennsylvania community college has won the top prize in a U.S. Education Department (ED) competition that highlights high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs that also address equity and access. In addition, the first runner-up is a community college from Guam, and an Oregon and California community college also made the finalist list.

Northampton Community College (NCC) was selected as the winner of the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge, which comes with $250,000. The college was recognized for its pre-apprenticeship that helps participants build academic, digital and workplace skills. NCC said the goal is to develop pathways into industrial maintenance careers while supporting expansion of the region’s second-largest employment sector.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Department of Education and Secretary Cardona through the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge,” NCC President Mark Erickson said in a statement. “We appreciate the importance of apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships to address the workforce needs of manufacturers in our region and work in close partnership with area employers as part of our efforts.”

Guam Community College received second place (and $200,000) for its marine transportation pre-apprenticeship program that helps participants develop shipyard and ship repair skills that will lead to jobs in local commercial shipyards and naval stations.

Mt. Hood Community College in Portland, Oregon, and Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, will each receive $100,000 for making the shortlist. Mt. Hood’s construction pre-apprenticeship helps English language learners build academic, language and workplace skills. It focuses on immigrants, refugees and adults learners. Mt. San Antonio’s healthcare pre-apprenticeship helps participants build math, English and foundational theory skills while developing hands-on clinical experience.

A panel of judges comprising representatives from adult education, workforce development and social services selected the winners. Walter Bumphus, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, served on the panel. ED received 85 submissions for the competition.

The department will host a webinar on September 23 to share information learned from the challenge and to preview ED’s Creating Pre-Apprenticeships course. Register today.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.