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Conclusion of NSC Marks End of TAACCCT Round 1 Grant

The first round of US Department of Labor (USDOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) projects recently came to an end. Hezel Associates served as the Round 1 external evaluator for the National STEM Consortium (NSC). This 10-community college, nine-state partnership developed five 1-year certificate programs in STEM fields: (a) Composites, (b) Cyber Technology, (c) Electric Vehicle Technology, (d) Environmental Technology, and (e) Mechatronics. Based on evaluation findings, this project was overwhelmingly successful, with over 1,300 participants (some still enrolled) and over 600 completers. Student program retention (approximately 82%) was typically much greater than the average for each institution. Student employment after completing a program has also been high; some program coordinators cited 70-100% placement!

Hezel Associates’ evaluation activities helped to inform program coordinators of progress and perceptions of grant stakeholders, such as students and employer partners. Our frequent feedback provided NSC with the knowledge to make adjustments as necessary and to recognize what was working well. Our work culminated in three useful products, available on Skills Commons, the USDOL repository for all TAACCCT curricula and supporting materials:

1. A comprehensive evaluation report. This discusses NSC’s entire project and the evaluation findings from all four project years.
2. A report on the NSC educational model. This is a summary of further research, conducted by Hezel Associates, into specific components of programs, including (a) block scheduling, (b) cohort enrollment, (c) compressed program schedule, (d) employer linkages, (e) hybrid delivery, (f) navigator services (one-on-one program-specific advising), and (g) contextualized online remediation coursework.
3. Retention-Revenue Calculator. A cost analysis tool that can show the relation between student retention and tuition revenue for an institution. This has allowed program coordinators to make the case that the programs could be sustained or scaled up when talking to administrators at their institutions. This tool is an Excel spreadsheet, with instructions and color-coding to help anyone use it.

The NSC has made considerable contributions to STEM training in community colleges, and Hezel Associates is grateful to have had the opportunity to help tell their story.

Read Hezel Associates' comprehensive evaluation report here: pdfHezelAssoc_NSCFinalEvaluationReport.pdf