SkillsCommons Field Guide of TAACCCT Innovations: The Gallery Edition

Concurrent Session 7

Brief Abstract


In 2011, The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) invested $2 Billion in the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) initiative to improve the efficacy of post-secondary traditional, online, and hybrid workforce training programs. The foundation of the investment was an understanding that the nation’s community colleges, while providing supposed “access” to largely underserved student populations through open enrollment policies, they were not providing effective and meaningful access. The vast majority of students at these institutions do not complete their programs. They acquire significant debt but ultimately do not meet labor market needs.

Over 700 educational institutions deployed TAACCCT investments making incremental shifts in practices and curricula and sought systemic changes in how access would be provided throughout the life cycle of a student’s experience. These shifts often involved new ways of collaborating across sector and agency lines to engage education, private industry, and the DOL at national and state levels and lead to dramatically improved outcomes for community college students.

California State University’s SkillsCommons, the world’s largest repository of open and free online, hybrid, and traditional educational and workforce development materials, identified several of the most promising systemic innovations and created the SkillsCommons Field Guide of TAACCCT Innovations: The Gallery Edition. The Field Guide is a collection of online training resources designed to enable access-oriented innovations to be adapted, adopted and scaled for a variety of users. This Field Guide nomination is based on: (1) the recognition that these paradigm shifts were approaches that could likely be adapted effectively in other communities, (2) the recognition that these practices were unlikely to be broadcast widely by any other entity, and (3) how the nominee effectively packaged and enhanced these, sometimes complex, best practices in a manner that encouraged adoption and adaption. The intention of the Field Guide is to assist community colleges in providing better access and lowering costs for students seeking education and training in high-demand labor market arenas.


Maria Fieth, M.A.2, RTC Maria currently serves as program manager responsible for partnership development for California State University-MERLOT SkillsCommons. During the last 28 years, Maria has worked with businesses and PK-20 educators providing guidance for refining and sustaining healthy learning and working environments and building partnerships and community among stakeholders. Maria's background in federally funded project management provides a strong backdrop for national level accountability and performance. Her work has received honors for building exemplary educational settings and community partnerships from Kevin Jennings of the U.S. Department of Education and Auburn University among others. Maria holds a dual Master's degree in English and in Education, a Master's degree in Psychodynamics and certifications in Reality Therapy and from the National Institute for School Leadership. She has numerous certifications as national trainer for organizations such as Ruby Payne's Poverty Framework, Olweus Bullying Prevention, Discovery Communication Model, and Crucial Conversations.

Extended Abstract