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NSF Shares Best Practices

The Department of Labor recently asked the National Science Foundation to provide technical assistance services to DOL “TAACCCT” grantees. (If you haven’t heard the term “TAACCCT,” the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program was established with the signature of President Barack Obama in early 2010. It set aside $2 billion, which would be awarded as grants in four annual rounds starting in 2011. The goal was to help community colleges and other institutions expand and improve education programs that could be completed in two years or less and get people employed in high-wage, high-skill occupations.) The DOL recognizes the proven know-how of the NSF’s Advanced Technological Educations (ATE) centers like the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC). The ATE program has been around for over 20 years. That’s a lot of brainpower. Why ask all of those DOL grantees to reinvent the wheel if NSF ATE Centers could share what they knew?

While the hope was for DOL grantees to learn NSF best practices, the good news is that anyone and everyone can take advantage of this program, which is called CCTA (the Centers Collaborative for Technical Assistance).

The CCTA hosts monthly webinars – always at 3 p.m. Eastern time – on a variety of topics. Past presentations (all of which are archived and ready for viewing at have discussed strategies for conducting successful webinars, engaging business leaders in your program, and planning for program sustainability. Future webinar topics will likely include looks at communities of practice and leveraging grants. The next webinar will focus on bridge learning communities. It’s coming up Thursday, November 19.

These webinars are delivered by the best and brightest in the NSF ATE community, each presenter selected to make sure he/she is an expert on the topic at hand.

The CCTA also hosts an annual in-person, one-day, free convening. These convenings are held in conjunction with the summer HI TEC education conference ( In 2016, the conference will be held in Pittsburgh from July 25-28. This past summer, at the first CCTA convening, the schedule offered a variety of concurrent topics and formats. Attendees could choose between panels, round-table discussions, and presentations. There was something for everyone. It was a big success.

These CCTA resources and meetings and webinars are all free and paid for by your tax dollars. Why not take advantage of this collective wisdom to strengthen your program?

If you’d like to be added to the mailing list so you can participate in upcoming events, just contact Christina Titus at the CCTA:

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