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About NSC Programs

Industry is experiencing a shortage of mid-skill workers in the high-growth Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sector. Meanwhile, in a changing labor market and difficult economy, many workers face displacement, unemployment, or underemployment. Certificate programs are an underutilized solution. Research shows that high-quality, sub-baccalaureate certificates of one year or longer, especially in fields like technology, offer good labor market returns, can “significantly boost the likelihood of student academic and career success,” and are “consistently linked to increased earnings.”[1] Economic and family circumstances may prevent displaced workers from retraining for a new career or limit recent high school graduates when training for their first career job. The NSC aims to bridge the STEM skills gap, connect workers to industry, and strengthen the STEM pipeline by offering innovative occupational training that takes students' limiting circumstances into account.

The NSC developed five one-year, 30-credit[2] innovative STEM certificate programs in high-demand fields:

Why is the NSC unique?

One of the most innovative educational strategies that the NSC developed to improve the completion and success rates of students is the creation of a two-part STEM “Bridge” program.

In addition, the NSC programs recommend a number of innovative learning strategies that promote success:

The educational strategies created by the project are designed to achieve high rates of completion, credential attainment, and employment.

  1. From "Certificates Count: An Analysis of Sub-baccalaureate Certificates", December 2010. Commissioned by Complete College America and completed by Brian Bosworth of FutureWorks.
  2. Some programs may be slightly more or less than 30 credits.