Tunxis Community College executive director Tracy Ariel facilitated a roundtable discussion at “Reskilling American’s Workforce: Exploring the Nation’s Future STEM Workforce Needs” on September 25 during a two-day, invite-only workshop at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Alexandria, VA, hosted in partnership with Achieving the Dream, American Society for Engineering Education, and the National Association of Manufacturers.
Ariel was invited by the National Association of Manufacturers to speak and facilitate “How Can We Build Talent Pathways through Industry-Recognized Credentials,” part of a larger workshop on how to connect and align state, regional, and national education and employer objectives around high-tech workforce needs.
“Manufacturers want more competency-based educational pathways with opportunities to earn nationally recognized, industry-endorsed certifications in addition to more traditional degrees and certificates,” said Ariel, adding that industry credentials are often more accessible and attainable for learners who are entering a new industry and need to strengthen their skills.
The two-day workshop, included two roundtables and focused on policies, employer needs, workforce investments and partnerships, higher education’s response to the digital workforce of the future, and how to align state, regional and national talent infrastructure to promote U.S. engineering and advanced manufacturing workforce competitiveness. Outcomes of the discussion will guide NSF’s engagement strategy with employers, and will be used to develop a series of additional workshops exploring STEM workforce and career pathways in different sectors.
Ariel helps lead Tunxis@Bristol, the satellite location of Tunxis Community College, which expands training and educational programs with industry partners, manufacturers, and the community. In collaboration with the director of Business & Industry Services, she helps direct the development of programs that assist area employers with workforce training, including advanced manufacturing instruction and credentials. She also oversees the Tunxis College Career Pathways program, a dual enrollment program with area high schools that encourages college connections for students and includes courses in business, health care, and advanced manufacturing.
Tunxis@Bristol, located at 430 North Main Street, Bristol, is the result of collaboration among the college, city of Bristol and businesses which has enabled Tunxis to expand educational and training opportunities and serve the community in new ways. The satellite offers a broad array of programs and courses for professional development and personal enrichment, designed to meet Bristol area and Connecticut manufacturers’ demand for a highly-skilled manufacturing workforce. Over 6,000 students enroll in credit and continuing education programs at Tunxis each semester.
For more information on Tunxis@Bristol and its programs, call 860.314.4700, or visit tunxis.edu.