In alignment with Illinios’ Career and Technical Education Plan (also known as Perkins V) and the Higher Education Strategic Plan, the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) is supporting competency-based education (CBE) development by community colleges. CBE focuses on determining a student’s achievement by evaluating proficiency within a set of learning outcomes and objectives, moving away from traditional time-based constraints. This program is designed to support competency-based education program development in the community college system for the following high-demand sectors: welding and industrial maintenance. Using an equity-guided community of practice approach, this initiative aims to:
- build capacity in planning and program development,
- build institutional support, engagement, and knowledge, and
- guide and support institutions in transitioning to the implementation of a competency-based education program.
Together with ICCB, we are supporting several community colleges in a design community to develop CBE programs in both welding and industrial maintenance.
In April 2023, we released “Student Insights into Postsecondary CBE.” Student insights were gathered over the course of several weeks from small focus groups of participants in the CBE Welding Program at Lewis and Clark Community College, conducted by EdSystems. Key takeaways include:
- Students value CBE’s scheduling flexibility and the freedom to work at their own pace.
- It is crucial to have someone for students to connect with who understands the program and how financial aid works.
- To be successful, students have to be motivated and responsible.