Achieving the Dream to Create Pathways for Careers in Advanced Manufacturing with Alcoa Foundation Grant

Community Colleges in OH, PA and MI Will Engage Employers to Develop Curriculum

Silver Spring, MD (August 22, 2016) - Achieving the Dream (ATD), a national non-profit dedicated to increasing community college student success, today announced it will begin a sixteen month initiative designed to build a manufacturing talent pipeline in three communities by brokering stronger ties between community colleges in the ATD network and local manufacturing employers.

With almost half a million dollars in funding from Alcoa Foundation, ATD will bring together teams from Cuyahoga Community College (OH); Westmoreland County Community College (PA); and Muskegon Community College (MI) and local manufacturing employers to discuss current skills gaps and seek to align the colleges’ advanced manufacturing programs more closely with employers’ needs.

The initiative allows ATD to deepen its understanding of the skills colleges need to engage key community stakeholders such as employers in efforts that help more students achieve their academic and employment goals. ATD’s new approach to institutional change identifies engagement and communication as one of seven capacities that colleges must develop to succeed in creating a student-focused culture that leads to greater student success.

“This is a great opportunity for ATD to work with Network colleges to build pathways of economic mobility to credentials that employers value and lead to well-paid careers,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “I am pleased that ATD will be bringing together the people, resources and know-how to help build a manufacturing talent pipeline for employers.  We are grateful for our partnership with Alcoa Foundation on this important initiative. ”

“We are confident that Achieving the Dream’s proven model and deep relationships with community colleges will shine a light on the bright future that an advanced manufacturing career can provide,” said Ryan Kish, Program Manager, Alcoa Foundation. “Achieving the Dream is the right partner to strengthen these Alcoa communities, guide the community colleges and help close the skills gap.”

The initiative will also focus on recruiting individuals for training programs who might not consider manufacturing as an employment opportunity.  The colleges will conduct outreach to local workforce boards, community-based organizations and faith-based organizations to attract the potential pool of students and workers and match them with training programs.

During the project, each college will host an assembly of employers and other key stakeholders in their communities to address the current context and needs of advanced manufacturing.  ATD will be developing a variety of tools to help other colleges in the ATD network to create or strengthen their own advanced manufacturing programs. 

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About Alcoa Foundation

Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $480 million. Founded 64 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $635 million in communities worldwide. In 2015, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow's leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa's thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company's signature Month of Service program, in 2015, 47 percent of Alcoa employees took part in 1,000 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 300,000 people and 400 nonprofit organizations.

For more information, visit and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.


Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 277 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 44 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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