MASON CITY – The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) and Education Strategy Group (ESG) have announced that North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) is one of 14 community colleges selected to participate in the Non-Credit & Credit Alignment Lab (NCAL). NCAL is a two-year initiative to support the selected community college governance units’ efforts to develop new or improved pathways between non-credit and credit programs. The project is supported by a $1.2 million grant from ECMC Foundation.
NCAL will provide meaningful spaces for community college leaders to learn and receive support from their peers and national experts. As part of this initiative, community colleges will collectively diagnose current efforts underway to align programs, set a vision, build the case among college constituencies, and receive accountability from their peers to implement. By the end of the initiative, each participating college will develop new or improve current pathways between non-credit and credit functions that address critical barriers to alignment related to program design, institutional policy, governance structures, administrative functions and student supports.
“Our goal is to develop pathways across non-credit and credit programs to serve all populations of learners in North Iowa and our local business partners who want to serve their employees, while making it possible for them to remain in the workforce,” said Charlene Widener, NIACC Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Learning.
Through this initiative, ACCT and ESG will build the case among more community colleges that non-credit and credit alignment is critical for students—because it provides a pathway to higher-level credentials that lead to higher wages and more sustainable careers—and colleges—because it offers a new on-ramp for enrollments.
“Creating opportunities for students to seamlessly transition from non-credit to credit education and training will provide entry points to career pathways that will increase earnings and career attainment,” said Patti Hanson, Dean of Continuing Education at NIACC.
North Iowa Area Community College, founded in 1918, is a nationally-recognized, two-year college located in central North Iowa. With approximately 3,000 career and transfer students, the College has been recognized by the Aspen Institute as a leading community college in the nation.