Guided Pathways to Success in STEM

As US companies close or relocate to lower wage countries, jobs are lost. In fiscal year 2012 alone, 3,375 Massachusetts workers were impacted by certified Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) events, placing Massachusetts eighth in TAA job losses nationwide (U.S. Department of Labor, 2014). Most of these workers are older, less educated, and have narrow work experience; however, almost two-thirds of new jobs created will demand at least some college education (Carnevale, Strohle, 2010).

The Guided Pathways to Success in STEM (GPSTEM) is a consortium of Massachusetts’ 15community colleges committed to advancing a comprehensive approach to the training and educational needs of workers and employers with a focus on articulated pathways to careers in high-growth STEM sectors. The initiative was managed by Massasoit Community College.

The NCTN facilitated the curriculum review and redesign processes for two STEM sector academic program teams: Health Sciences and Computer Information Systems/Information Technology (CIS/IT).  Both teams were committed to developing curricula that connected students with employers.

Highlights of the CIS/IT academic program team’s work include:

  • Development of at least one career pathway at all participating colleges, and many colleges developed several pathways.  
  • Collaboration with Massachusetts Department of Higher Education consortium grant between UMass Boston and four community college campuses helped to develop a cybersecurity pathway.  
  • Establishment or updating of articulation agreements by five colleges with one or more 4-year colleges.
  • Sponsored an employer forum at the end of the grant period at Dell EMC, “Building a Skilled and Diverse Workforce Pipeline”.
  • Creation of a strong learning community among CIS/IT faculty across the state.

Highlights of the Health Sciences academic program team’s work include:

  • Collaboration with Massachusetts Department of Higher Education initiatives reduced the duplication of efforts and increased faculty’s connection with employers.
  • Redesign and launching of the Community Health Worker (CHW) Certificate and the Associate Degree in Foundations of Health Career programs
  • Innovative redesign of Central Processing and Surgical Technology Certificate Programs
  • Creation of Open Educational Resources to support health curricula
  • Participation in regional workforce development meetings (a new experience for many faculty)

Project Leader:  Ellen Hewett, Director, National College Transition Network

Funder:  U.S. Department of Labor