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Northeast to pilot program to provide scholarships to upgrade international credentials

Northeast to pilot program to provide scholarships to upgrade international credentials

NORFOLK, Neb. – Northeast Community College is piloting a small-scale program targeted toward individuals who have gained workforce knowledge skillsets elsewhere but have been unable to transition them into local economies across the region.

Dr. Cyndi Hanson, dean of workforce development at Northeast, said for many of them, one or two classes may be the only thing standing in the way of returning to a skilled profession they may have performed in their home country before relocating to Nebraska.

“We have a number of individuals with internationally earned credentials who are working manual or entry-level jobs because they don’t know how to convert those credentials to equivalents here in the U.S. A new program we are putting together will empower these individuals to achieve their academic and workforce development goals which falls in line with Northeast’s mission to empower every person in the region to achieve their academic and workforce goals.”

The International Credential Conversion program will provide scholarships to 25 individuals who have post-secondary credentials from an international college or university. The scholarships include the cost of transcript conversion via World Education Services (WES). The WES process of transcript review and conversion is used by numerous colleges and universities in the United States to recognize prior learning. 

“Once converted,” Hanson said, “the transcript is reviewed by Northeast Community College and applicable credits can be applied to the degree program desired reducing the time to completion.”

“We are excited to have the opportunity to support internationally trained professionals in this way,” said Tracy Sporleder, adult education coordinator at Northeast. “We have nurses, teachers, veterinarians and other professionals who are working in unskilled positions because they haven’t been able to convert these credentials. Partnering the transcript conversion with English Language Learning services and college classes can help these individuals reenter their areas of professional passion.”  

The pilot program opened July 1. Applicants will be reviewed on a first-come basis until funds are expended. Evaluation of the pilot will include calculating credit hours converted, tracking participant employment outcomes to identify the impact of transcript conversion.  

“We believe elevating the workforce engagement of skilled professionals will have a ripple effect in our workplaces and communities,” Hanson said. “If the pilot program proves that, we hope to attract additional private funders and non-profit organizations interested in this type of workforce development.”

To apply for the program or for more information, contact Sporleder at (402) 844-7254, or stop by the Adult Education Services Offices at a Northeast Community College location in Norfolk, O’Neill, South Sioux City or West Point.