March 6, 2024

Community Colleges from across the country gathered to share best practices and innovations in education 

The Workforce Development team at ϲվ got the opportunity to present as a finalist in the 30th Annual Community College Futures Assembly (CCFA) hosted by the Bellwether College Consortium in San Antonio, Texas.

“It was an incredibly valuable experience because we had the chance to learn from all the other program presentations, and about the other colleges’ cultures and ideas,” said Jon Mason, Director of Workforce Development at ϲվ.

The Community College Futures Assembly issued a call for Bellwether Award and Legacy Award nominations in the summer of 2023, and 38 finalists were competitively chosen from a national applicant pool. Finalists represented 21 states and 34 community colleges at the 2024 event in February. 

Mason presented on NCC’s Microelectronics Boot Camp, a 10-week training that has had a 98 percent hiring rate for program grads since it launched in 2016. The Boot Camp was founded in partnership with BAE Systems, Inc., and Butch Locke, Strategic Operations Director at BAE Systems, Inc., provided the industry partner perspective on the program’s development, growth, and future sustainability.

“The event gave me a great perspective on how special the NCC boot camps are,” said Locke. In particular, he said NCC stood out for its student-centered presentation and strong industry, education, and community partner relationships. “The linkages NCC has with advocacy groups are changing lives.” 

The primary purpose of the event was to share best practices and innovations among community colleges, and Mason said everyone eagerly participated.

“All the discussions were open and welcoming, everyone was very positive. We walked away with a lot of information, and we’ve brought some great ideas back to campus. We’ve already started networking with one of the colleges the day after we got back,” said Mason, noting one of the participants from Hawaii has already been in touch. “They had a lot of information about promoting cultural acceptance – being aware of your environment and having a cultural awareness on campus.”

Overall, Mason said it was a “humbling experience” to hear about all the great work being done by the Bellwether finalists. “We’re a fairly small college compared to some of the other finalists, but we were well received and made great connections.” NCC currently has a student population of about 1,300, and some of the finalists had about 60,000. “We were like ‘The Little Engine that Could’.”

“ϲվ is most proud to be recognized by Bellwether for its excellence in workforce development, moreover, it is the transformation of more than 300 lives through the Microelectronics Boot Camp – of which 75 were housing insecure – that brings the greatest honor to NCC,” said Lucille Jordan, President of NCC.

The NCC team congratulates the Bellwether Award Winners: Reading Area College, St. Louis Technical College, and Lakeshore Technical College.

About Bellwether College Consortium

The Community College Futures Assembly convenes annually as an independent national forum for innovators to work as a think tank. It identifies successful responses to critical issues facing the future of community colleges and hosts a national award competition among innovative colleges in the United States and its U.S. territories. The consortium is supported by Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio, TX.

Assembly co-sponsors include the National Council of Instructional Administrators, the National Council for State Directors of Community Colleges, and the National Council for Continuing Education and Training. Bellwether Finalists and Legacy Finalists presented their programs at the Assembly to an audience that included an independent panel of national experts. Consult the Bellwether College Consortium website for more information, , or email [email protected].