City Career College (C3)
The City Career College (C3) project forms a partnership between Ranken Technical College, the St. Louis Public Schools, and industry to create clearly defined, accelerated career pathways to employment in advanced manufacturing and information technology. Over the next decade, over half of nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs are expected to remain unfilled due to retirements, changing technology, global competition and the relatively low number of students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. The talent shortage impacts two fields in particular: Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology (IT). In a study recently conducted by the Manufacturing Institute, 82% of manufacturers reported a moderate or serious skills gap, and 74% of manufacturers reported that the skills gap had a negative impact their ability to expand. A similar gap exists in the IT industry. To bridge this gap, apprenticeships offer a promising method for ensuring that students have the skills required needed to transition into high-demand professions. They offer a viable alternative to a four-year college degree. Traditionally associated with the construction trades, apprenticeships are evolving to include high-growth industries such as IT, advanced manufacturing and healthcare, enabling students/employees to "learn while they earn" and study first-hand under the guidance of more experienced practitioners.
C3 serves the national interest by creating a pipeline to these high-demand professions. Students will enter the pipeline through informal summer STEM learning activities at secondary schools to engage them in the targeted career paths. C3 will assess and prepare students to participate in the City Career College, where they will attend classes at Ranken Technical College and earn degree credit throughout their senior year of high school. Career counselors, mentors and tutors will guide the students and connect them directly with employers though paid internships, job shadowing and on-campus microenterprises. By the end of the first year of college, participants will have earned an associate degree and be ready for employment. C3 will evaluate the impact of cultivation and acceleration on student recruitment and retention practices and efforts, examine techniques to attract minority and under-represented students, and assess the impact of frequent interaction of students with faculty and industry advisors/mentors. C3 will create a model that has the potential to transform workforce preparation on a broad scale.