What is STEM?


The National STEM Consortium has designed a portfolio of innovative occupational certificate programs to bridge the STEM skills gap, respond to regional industry needs, and (re)train workers for high-demand, mid-skill technical careers.


The National STEM Consortium (NSC), an alliance of ten community colleges in nine states, is building a portfolio of one-year STEM certificate programs. The Department of Labor is funding the NSC through a $19.7 million, three-year Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Train­ing (TAACCCT) grant. Targeting regional labor markets, the NSC will develop and deliver curricula in five high-demand fields—Composite Materials, Cybersecurity, Electric Vehicle Technology, Environmen­tal Technology, and Mechatronics—and disseminate them to community colleges nationwide.

Industry is experiencing a shortage of mid-skill workers in the high-growth STEM sector. Meanwhile, in a changing labor market and difficult economy, many workers face displacement, unemployment, or underem­ployment. Certificate programs are an underutilized solution.

Research shows that high-quality, sub-baccalaureate certificates of one year or longer, especially in fields like technology, (1) offer good labor market returns, (2) can "significantly boost the likelihood of student academic and career success," and (3) are "consistently linked to increased earnings."[1] Economic and family circumstances may prevent displaced workers from retraining for a new career, however, or limit recent high-school graduates when training for their first career job.

The NSC aims to bridge the STEM skills gap, connect work­ers to industry, and strengthen the STEM pipeline by offering innovative occupational training that takes students' limiting circumstances into account.


[1] Certificates Count: An Analysis of Sub-baccalaureate Certificates. December 2010. Commissioned by Complete College America and completed by Brian Bosworth of FutureWorks.


For more information on the National STEM Consortium visit the website at http://nationalstem.org/



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