CCCS Goes Big on Micro-pathways

The Colorado Community College System has partnered with Education Design Lab (EDL) to build five “micro-pathways” in energy and healthcare—two fast growing and critical industries in Colorado. We chatted with Mike Macklin, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and workforce development, to learn about this new approach and what it can offer both learners and industry leaders.

What are micropathways?

Micro-pathways are learning or training programs that stack two or more credentials in a certain field. These pathways combine non-credit and credit-bearing courses, as well as industry-recognized credentials, to demonstrate skills, knowledge and abilities. The idea is to provide clear routes to jobs that are high-skill, high-wage and in-demand.

Why did CCCS decide to partner with EDL, and what do you hope to accomplish?

EDL is a leader is designing these types of programs, so they will work with the colleges to review our existing programs, identify new ones, map out five micro-pathways across the sectors and advise on best practices. We are grateful to have their support for the next two years.

What are the benefits to learners and industry leaders? To Colorado?

Because micro-pathways are shorter than traditional programs, learners can save a lot of valuable time and money toward earning a credential in a high-growth sector. The pathways have clear next steps that make it easy to accomplish educational and professional goals.

As we design the micro-pathways, we’ll ask industry leaders to identify the exact skills and competencies needed to succeed in their sector. Business owners can trust that micro-pathway graduates are equipped with the right tools to make an impact on day one. That’s a huge advantage for industry.

The state also stands to gain from this partnership, too. We need talented workers to power our energy and healthcare sectors and keep our economy humming. By building seamless transitions from training to jobs, we can ensure more Coloradans enter these critical fields and while earning a living wage.

What’s the timeline for the project?

We hope to launch the five pilot programs over the next few years. If successful, we would like to build more micro-pathways in additional high-wage, high-growth fields.

For more information on the EDL partnership, read this press release.

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