Mapping Upward Project - OCTAE


The Mapping Upward Project was a two-year project (2015-2017) of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). The project's aim was to recognize that stackable credentials can focus career and technical education programs on building the critical skills needed for students to advance in various sectors of the economy. By awarding academic credit for a range of education, training, and workplace learning and skill-building experiences that "stack" toward associate degrees, stackable credential programs can help working students develop the skills they need to advance on the job and earn credentials that enable further study – at the same time. This can accelerate credit attainment and may increase the likelihood of degree completion.

The project provided technical assistance to 13 community colleges that were working to embed stackable credentials within technical associate degree programs:

  • Bakersfield College, Bakersfield, California
  • Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory, North Carolina
  • Forsyth Technical Community College, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Isothermal Community College, Spindale, North Carolina
  • Lehigh Carbon Community College, Schnecksville, Pennsylvania
  • Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke, Pennsylvania
  • Mitchell Community College, Statesville, North Carolina
  • Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
  • Piedmont Community College, Roxboro, North Carolina
  • Reedley College, Reedley, California
  • Robeson Community College, Lumberton, North Carolina
  • Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Salisbury, North Carolina
  • Shasta College, Redding, California

Prior to the selection of the Mapping Upward colleges, OCTAE interviewed faculty and staff from nine community and technical colleges that had been offering stackable credentials for several years:

  • Collin College, McKinney, Texas
  • Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood, Washington
  • Gateway Technical College, Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Harper College, Palatine, Illinois
  • Hillsborough Community College, Plant City, Florida
  • Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, Illinois
  • Owensboro Community and Technical College, Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Louis Community College, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood Pennsylvania

The study colleges helped inform the project’s development and provided examples from a range of colleges offering stackable credentials.

Case studies from several colleges along with the Mapping Upward colleges informed the development of the Stackable Credentials Tool Kit which provides an overview of the stackable credentials approach and strategies for tracking success, course correcting, and measuring impact.


Download: Tool Kit(PDF 3.2 MB) | Word Version (DOCX, 2.9MB)

Other Resources include podcast interviews with leaders from community colleges in the Mapping Upward Network.





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