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SMART Center PI, US Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Team Leader Collaborating at National Conference

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Laura Ginsburg, Team Leader at the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship, invited SMART Center PI and Executive Director Barbara Murray to be a panel presenter at the National Conference for Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. The conference brought together over 1,900 influential policy-makers, investors, thought-leaders, and practitioners from around the world who are dedicated to addressing one of our nation’s most urgent challenges: helping more community college students succeed.  

Ginsburg and Murray were joined Dr. Rebecca Lake, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development at Harper College, and Jennifer Seger, Associate Dean of Applied Technology, Automotive, and Technical Education at Macomb Community College. Their presentation was “No Longer Just a Dream…': How Community College Students can Achieve Educational Credentials or Degrees and High-Paying Careers through Registered Apprenticeship."

The SMART Center has been recognized by USDOL for its innovation in developing effective employer partnerships and scaling effective workforce pathways that feature stackable credentials. "The SMART Maritime Technologies pathway is built on the Registered Apprenticeship model which combines paid on-the-job training and classroom instruction, providing individuals with a career pathway and the workforce with a pipeline of highly-skilled workers," said Barbara. "Prior to the SMART Maritime Technologies pathway Hampton Roads-area apprentices were not able to earn college credit for their required apprentice-related classroom instruction. Our pathway puts apprentices on a pathway not just to earn a valuable industry credential (the DOL Journeyman card) but also college credit that applies to an academic certificate. In turn those certificates can be 'stacked' toward an A.A.S. Maritime Technologies degree."

Brad Mason, Director of Maintenance, Modernization and Technical Services for AMSEC, LLC (a division of global maritime industry leader Huntington Ingalls Industries) has spoken at numerous national conferences about the importance of the SMART Center's Maritime Technologies pathway for his firm's workforce development and its potential across the industry.

“The SMART Maritime Technologies pathway is a valuable corporate workforce development program for AMSEC. Our partnership with the SMART Center has enabled us to hire a greater number of well-educated, knowledgeable and trained technicians. These graduates have academic credentials and industry certifications which provide our company with a competitive advantage when competing for contract awards," noted Brad. "SMART pathway graduates are more likely to be promoted quickly within our firm and are likely to represent our company’s next generation of leaders. Scaling this pathway to new educational partners in the U.S. should be a national priority for the maritime and transportation industry.”

Following the meeting Laura and Barbara worked on upcoming plans for a strategic national standards meeting for American ports."Ports play an absolutely essential role in our nation's maritime and transportation industry," notes Barbara. "I am happy that the SMART Center is playing a key role in connecting USDOL with our port partners in Virginia, Texas and Maryland to explore potential innovative pathways to increase the number of registered apprenticeship programs aimed at port operations."