case study

Integrating Employer Reqs into Tech Curriculum with Arapahoe Community College (ACC) & The Markle Foundation

SkillsEngine partnered with Arapahoe Community College and The Markle Foundation to support real-time employer validation of curricula competencies for the launch of a new Associates of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity.

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Arapahoe Community College (ACC) has led the way in employer/educator collaboration and learner career readiness for nearly six decades in the fast-growing region of south Denver, Colorado.

In partnership with The Markle Foundation, ACC utilized Calibrate, a software tool by SkillsEngine, to move beyond traditional Advisory Councils and informal industry surveying and deploy a robust platform to obtain real-time, employer validation of curricula competencies.

By leveraging Calibrate in support of launching its Associates of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity under the charge of Dr. Eric Dunker, VicePresident of Workforce and Economic Development, ACC was able to broaden comprehensive program Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) beyond the course level to incorporate a local-to-global view of career skills requirements.

ACC also witnessed the unique opportunity to create one language to define synonymous titles, requirements, and perspectives across industry and government interests - providing a holistic picture of career path readiness.

The result? A more honest and forthcoming review of curricula competencies and transformed employer partnerships - by “night and day” - with a changed perspective. Employers saw a reflection of their own talent and cultural needs in the curricula and felt shared ownership with a learner’s career success.

Calibrate, according to Dunker, has ensured ACC can validate and deploy curriculum for the industry as a whole, not just one specific company or with one time-period snapshot of efficacy.

Launched in fall of 2019, ACC’s cybersecurity program currently has over a 100 enrolled learners, and continuously witnesses students embarking on outcomes-focused pathways, such as apprenticeships and full-time employee(FTE) roles with security clearances, through employer partners such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies, and more - with many in parallel going on to complete their Bachelors of Science at Colorado State University.

"Calibrate has unlocked a comprehensive understanding of industry-wide approaches to inform our curriculum and its ultimate goals. We now have a 360-view of what each company means when using specific terminology and the nuances of regional-to-global requirements, providing us a new level of perspective in support of a fully-integrated employer partnership. This enhanced level of insight has changed our employer partnerships with local to Fortune 500companies by night and day.”

- Dr. Eric Dunker, Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development,Arapahoe Community College

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