With a new $1 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF), the American Council on Education (ACE) will establish a two-year program that will allow students to take advantage of meaningful apprenticeship programs and earn college credit for the skills they develop.
The Apprenticeship Pathways Project will start by convening schools, employers, and other stakeholders to identify how apprenticeship programs can work better for students. ACE will develop an evaluation process specific to apprenticeships and conduct evaluations for 10 programs. The results of these evaluations will be represented in ACE-endorsed badges and transcripts on Credly’s Acclaim platform, which translates knowledge, skills, and achievements into digital credentials. ACE will publish its learnings in the form of guidance and toolkits on the ACE Engage digital learning platform to encourage member institutions to expand their credit for prior learning programs.
“As job prospects increasingly emerge in fields where there are a lot of demonstrable, measurable skills, the higher-education community is eager to adapt,” said Louis Soares, ACE chief learning and innovation officer. “We hope that providing an industry standard process for apprenticeship programs will allow more people to succeed outside of the more formal college setting.”
ACE also will work with stakeholders to identify how the credential issued to learners can be used to onboard those students into jobs or other educational opportunities. Higher-education partners will receive support through the Apprenticeship Pathways Project to integrate the apprenticeship credits into degree programs in an effort to help more students earn the degree they desire.
“We are excited to enhance our partnership with ACE by supporting the Apprenticeship Pathways Project,” said Charles Koch Foundation Executive Director Ryan Stowers. “Learning today happens alongside work and life, and ACE is constantly looking for new ways to provide learner-centric programs to students. This project will allow individuals to take advantage of accelerated employment options while earning credit that will unlock future opportunities for education.”
CKF has previously supported ACE’s National Task Force on the Transfer of Credit and, this month, ACE announced CKF support for the development of a micro-credential designed to enable higher-education administrators to apply entrepreneurial “startup” thinking to the higher-education sector.
Regarding the Apprenticeship Pathways Project, ACE President Ted Mitchell said, “The importance of this work cannot be overstated, given the current need to strengthen the nation’s workforce and meet current and future labor-market needs.”
Click here to read ACE’s announcement.