NORFOLK, Neb. – Northeast Community College has been recognized for its work in providing industry recognized certifications to its students in several of its programs.
The National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) presented Northeast with its School on the Rise award during the organization’s Virtual Leadership Summit recently. NC3 is a network of education providers and corporations that supports, advances, and validates new and emerging technology skills in the transportation, aviation, and energy industry sectors. The organization develops, implements and sustains industry-recognized portable certifications built on national skill standards. Northeast Community College has been an NC3 Leadership School since 2014.
The School on the Rise award identifies schools that have shown consistent growth in issued certifications since joining the NC3 network and have demonstrated innovative career and technical education (CTE) initiatives and programs to support their students and their service area.
Erika Staackmann, NC3's customer success coordinator and creator of the award, said Northeast has established a leading role within their community and has empowered their students with the knowledge and skills they need to enter thriving careers in the trades.
The College offers construction, electrical construction and control, diesel, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, machining and manufacturing, welding, and wind energy. mikeroweWORKS) Foundation’s Work Ethic Certification.
Shanelle Grudzinski, dean of applied technology at Northeast,
ince the start of it, industry credentialing for us was really a discussion about opportunities for our students. We were looking to find fits with companies that met our mission and goal as a school as well as fit our programming,’ Grudzinski said. “What we didn’t want were non-value-added or credentials that would take away from our current programs, which were very good. Through NC3 and their industry partnerships, we were able to find a good alignment that would enhance our curriculum and really add value for our students.”
For Grudzinski, industry credentials and the partnership with NC3 provide a two-fold benefit. She said the certifications are not only assisting graduates in their employment search, colleges, such as Northeast, also build quality curriculums for each of the programs.
“When we first started this process of learning, the industry credentials really allowed the students to experience real-world demands and real-world skill sets in a practical way that suited our hands-on learners,” she said. “The credentials were able to cater to that learning style and it helped many of these programs really establish their foundations. Not only does this increase the student’s ability to use critical thinking and problem-solving but it also helps build that professional credibility and competitiveness.”
Grudzinski said the goal is to take what has already been developed in Northeast’s Applied Technology programs and expand that across the College because of anticipated growth. She said they are routinely evaluating programs, evaluating curriculum, and finding the best model for students that also works for its industry partners.
“One thing we try to push to add more value for our students is stackable credentials,” said John Liewer, wind energy technology instructor. “With such a wide variety of certifications to offer through NC3, there’s plenty of opportunities for students to add quite a few of them on their resumes to help set them apart from other candidates. When industry-recognized certifications show up on their resumes, it’s proof that they’ve been successful in mastering certain skills. It’s a way for employers to find the candidate that is best suited for their needs.”
With its industry partnerships, Northeast Community College has been able to broaden its reach to students and raise awareness about the opportunities that careers in technical education bring.
Brad Ranslem, associate dean of applied technology, said quality faculty and modern state-of-the-art facilities has allowed Northeast to become a premier institution offering its graduates the education and training necessary to become productive members of the workforce.
“Our faculty do an amazing job and they get to know their students extremely well. I know the students would say they feel very close to their faculty,” Ranslem said. “Our facilities are also amazing and I think that our investment into different technology is a huge thing that sets us apart.”
Ranslem said another value is industry partners and advisory committee members for each of the programs. They come in to share what’s current in industry and what the College can improve upon.
"School on the Rise was established as a way to honor and recognize schools within NC3's Network that are leading the nation towards the future of Career and Technical Education,” Staackmann said. “Northeast Community College is an incredible example of what education and industry can truly accomplish by working in harmony to empower students pursuing technical careers."
Brad Ranslem, associate dean of applied technology at Northeast Community College (left), and Shanelle Grudzinski, dean of applied technology, hold the School on the Rise award that was presented to the institution by the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) recently. NC3 is a network of education providers and corporations that supports, advances, and validates new and emerging technology skills in the transportation, aviation, and energy industry sectors.