Gateway Pilots Breaking Through Project to Fast-Track Credentials for Some Students

Gateway Community and Technical College and its Workforce Solutions Division have been selected to participate in Breaking Through, a demonstration project designed to help low-literacy adults prepare for and succeed in occupational and technical degree programs.

Breaking Through is about preparing low-income adults for the job market more quickly by developing seamless and innovative pathways to postsecondary professional and technical credentials, said Angie Taylor, vice president of Workforce Solutions. At Gateway, were calling it Breaking Through to a Better Life, because it is about helping these students create a better life for themselves and their families.
GCTC is one of only three community colleges in Kentucky to be selected for the project, which is funded by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Jobs for the Future, a national non-profit organization that works with a broad network of partners to develop solutions to help students and workers advance their careers, is consulting on the project.

Taylor said Gateway will design program components designed to increase student success and retention, two keys to accelerating the credential completion process. For example, we are developing paired courses such as introduction to college and beginning math to help beginning students understand how to succeed.

The pilot targets two groups: people aged 16-24 and incumbent manufacturing workers who would benefit from the completion of a college credential.

Were working with incumbent workers to help them complete credentials, such as a manufacturing certificate. Weve identified quite a few students who are just one or two classes away from a certificate, and were working with them to help them understand the advantages of finishing that credential, she added.


Mary Pat Behler, a communications, community building and project management specialist, is the project coordinator. She recently joined Gateway after serving seven years with NorthKey Community Care, most recently as director of the Youth Substance Abuse Treatment Collaborative and KEYS lead training coordinator.

The Breaking Through project is aligned with larger workforce readiness initiatives, including the Governors Workforce Emphasis and the Kentucky Workforce Competitiveness Initiative, designed to integrate workforce training delivery systems with expressed training needs.

Breaking Through to a Better Life brings everyone to the table to brainstorm how best to meet the workforce development needs of employers and students, Taylor added.

Project partners include representatives of the college, Adult Education of Kenton County, the Northern Kentucky Area Development District/Workforce Investment Board, area technology centers, the P-16 Council, Brighton Center, the Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children, the Chamber of Commerce and other local business and education participants. The project will continue through Dec. 30, 2010.

The Breaking Through initiative blends workforce development with college and workforce readiness two of the three primary responsibilities identified by KCTCS, said G. Edward Hughes, Gateway president/CEO. The initiative is designed to strengthen the efforts of innovative community colleges across the country, and we are pleased to be part of the process.

For more information about Breaking Through and whether you may be eligible to participate, contact Behler at 859-442-4179 or marypat.behler@kctcs.edu.