Work experience = college credit
March 14, 2018
LBWCC is developing a program to transfer work experience into college credit, creating a pathway to achieve a college credential for those already in the workforce.
LBWCC is one of only 25 colleges selected by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to be awarded a $10,000 Lumina Foundation for Education grant. The grant will fund the development of the “LBWCC Prior Learning Initiative” that will identify traditional work-based certifications, licenses, and learning experiences and convert them to college credit.
“With the grant funds, we can now pursue this approach to recognize non-traditional educational experiences and assess specific courses within a technical program to determine if college credit can be awarded,” said LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel.
“This type of program falls within our current strategic plan and aligns with statewide workforce development initiatives. Our goal is to increase degree completion in technical fields by developing non-credit-to-credit academic pathways.”
The program will give existing skilled workers increased access, affordability, and success in attaining college credentials, he added.
“If a person has already mastered the knowledge and skill to receive certification or licensure in their field of work, this program would allow them to obtain credit toward a college credential in one of LBWCC’s technical programs.”
The program is on a fast-paced development timeline, with LBWCC representatives attending a SACSCOC conference in Atlanta in April where they will learn about existing pathway programs and will receive tools and resources to aid in program development.
“We will learn from others who have already gone through the process of identifying specific courses to match work experience. This will allow us to develop the program more quickly, and we hope to have everything in place by the end of this year,” said Riedel.
LBWCC currently collaborates with occupational advisory committees for industry trend insights, regional workforce boards promoting economic growth, and the Alabama Community College System which oversees a common course directory and ensures transferability of coursework between institutions, he said.
“Because College personnel have longstanding relationships with these organizations, the ‘Prior Learning Initiative’ program will be a well-integrated project,” he said.