Jobs for the Future (JFF) partners with Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC) and the WGBH Educational Foundation to develop and field test a work-based learning (WBL) approach for manufacturing technician education for incumbent production workers lacking an Associate degree. New WBL courses, adapted from existing OCTC courses and National Institute of Manufacturing Standards credential standards, are piloted within the manufacturing technology department at OCTC. In the pilots themselves, cohorts of incumbent workers earn six to twelve academic credits towards an advanced manufacturing Associate degree, and improve their skills and knowledge in advanced manufacturing technology. A suite of professional development tools and multimedia resources are developed for faculty and employers at other colleges and posted to the PBS LearningMedia digital platform to support wider adoption of a WBL design in manufacturing technician education. The Educational Development Center's Center for Children & Technology conducts both the formative and summative evaluation of the project.
The project builds on the success of the Jobs to Career program in nursing implemented by Jobs for the Future at 17 community colleges. WBL is aligned to competencies in OCTC courses; faculty are supported in designing the curriculum for WBL; the capacity of employers to integrate WBL into the workplace is strengthened; outcomes for 45 incumbent workers are improved. The project products and outcomes are disseminated through a professionally produced multi-media toolkit. The evaluation determines the impact of WBL on participants and compares them to students on campus-based courses. It also determines the effectiveness of the toolkit when used by other instructors.
The ATE program has funded the development of various forms of Problem-Based Learning that bring the workplace to the classroom. This project tests the effectiveness of bringing the classroom to the workplace.
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