Getting Non-Degree Community College Programs Right: Centering Quality in Workforce Education


There is a growing interest in non-degree workforce programs at community colleges, but despite the hype, outcomes for these programs have been mixed.

At their best, non-degree programs serve as faster, more affordable pathways to quality jobs, but at their worst non-degree programs can lead to unemployment, underemployment, or employment in jobs that don’t offer financial stability.

To address how to design high-quality non-degree programs, the Center on Education and Labor at New America (CELNA), with support from Lumina Foundation, launched a research and storytelling project called New Models for Career Preparation. We conducted research to understand how these programs at community colleges could be designed in a high-quality manner and to unpack how community colleges themselves can transform to excel at non-degree workforce education.

After three years of investigation with hundreds of college, workforce, and employer leaders, CELNA is proud to produce three practical briefs from New Models to help community college leaders elevate quality at the heart of their non-degree programs and a policy brief to help federal and state policymakers maximize the impact of non-degree education at community colleges.

Join us in person at New America or online for this half-day summit on December 8 from 9-1:30 PM EST. This will be a widely attended event open to the public with breakfast and lunch provided.

Click here to read the briefs.

Follow the conversation online with #QualityCredentials and by following @NewAmericaEd.


9-9:45 AM (45 mins) Networking breakfast

9:45-10:05 (10 mins) Welcome remarks:
Chauncy Lennon, VP Lumina Foundation @ChauncyLennon

10:05-10:10 (10 mins) Project overview: Mary Alice McCarthy, Senior Director of the Center on Education and Labor at New America @McCarthyEdWork

10:10-10:25 (15 mins) Presentation 1 - New Models brief series reveal: Shalin Jyotishi, Senior Analyst on Education and Labor, New America and Fellow at World Economic Forum @ShalinJyotishi

10:25-11:10 (45 mins) Panel 1: What makes a community college prepared to excel at micro-credential-centered workforce development?

  • Moderator: Paul Fain, Journalist & Analyst, The Job @paulfain
  • Panelist: Mildred Coyne, Senior VP for Workforce Innovation and Education, Broward College @MildredGCoyne1
  • Panelist: Antonio Delgado, VP for Technology Partnerships, Miami Dade College @AntonioDelgad9

11:10-11:25 (15 mins) Presentation 2 - policy brief reveal: Iris Palmer, Deputy Director for Community Colleges, New America @IrisonHigherEd

11:25-12:15 (45 mins) Panel 2: State & Federal Policy interventions to maximize workforce excellence at community colleges

  • Moderator: Goldie Blumenstyk, Senior Writer, Chronicle of Higher Education @GoldieStandard
  • Panelist: Amanda Winters, Program Director for Postsecondary Education, National Governors Association @awintersdc
  • Panelist: Jee Hang Lee, President & CEO, Association of Community College Trustees @jhwl
  • Panelist: Alex Camardelle, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies @AKCamardelle
  • Panelist: Iris Palmer, Deputy Director for Community Colleges, New America @IrisonHigherEd

12:15-1:30 (75 mins) Networking lunch

Share on Twitter: Join @NewAmericaEd @LuminaFound on 12/8 to launch 4 briefs focused on quality non-degree college programs Ft journalists & experts: @GoldieStandard @paulfain @Irisonhighered @ShalinJyotishi @awintersdc @AntonioDelgad9 @MildredGCoyne1 @AKCamardelle @jhwl