About the Transformation Agenda (2011-2014)

Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges were awarded a $20 million, three-year grant (2011 – 2014) from the United States Department of Labor to implement the Massachusetts Community Colleges and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda (MCCWDTA). Coordinated by the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges (MACC) and lead campus Quinsigamond Community College (QCC), the initiative was designed to assist trade impacted and other eligible residents of the Commonwealth to attain degrees, certificates and industry recognized credentials in two years or less. Through MCCWDTA, the community colleges in Massachusetts fundamentally changed how they work with each other and with agencies of the workforce development system, government leaders and private sector employers. Together, they transformed education and training programs to build greater economic opportunities for residents of the commonwealth.

Each community college will offer new or redesigned certificate and degree programs in one or more of the targeted industry sectors below. Each program will employ evidence-based strategies to meet the unique needs of the target population. 4,000 students were served throughout the three-year grant period.

  • Healthcare
  • Biotechnology & Life Sciences
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Clean Energy/Sustainability
  • Information Technology
  • Financial Services

Coordinated Statewide Strategies for College Success

College & Career Navigators were hired at all campuses to assist the target population to enroll in community college programs and access the services of the college and local One-Stop Career Center.

Industry Teams of administrators and faculty across the system engaged employer partners, shared best practices and jointly designed industry-responsive programs.

Contextualized ABE and developmental education curriculum was developed collaboratively by faculty system-wide, to accelerate the progress of students who are building basic math and literacy skills to successfully complete a certificate or degree.

Through these efforts, the community colleges are worked together to ensure more people attain a college education and a sustainable job, and collectively strengthened the community colleges’ contribution to a healthy, productive economy.


The Transformation Agenda was a collaborative effort of Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges, in partnership with the state’s workforce development system and leaders within in six major industry sectors.

Priorities & Strategies

Priority #1: Accelerate progress for low-skilled and other workers.
  • Contextualize learning that combines basic skills with specific career knowledge.
  • Improve student services such as career counseling, tutoring and job placement.
  • Redesign developmental education.
  • Enhance relationships with Community Based Organizations.
Priority #2: Improve retention and achievement rates; reduce time to obtain industry recognized credentials, certificates and degrees.
  • Implement self-paced learning strategies, block scheduling and or modular curriculum.
  • Develop an articulation process that facilitates faster completion.
  • Implement curricular and instructional innovations such as learning communities.
  • Restructure course scheduling, offering convenient times and locations.
Priority #3: Build programs that meet industry needs, including developing career pathways.
  • Implement earn and learn education models (co-op, internships, etc.).
  • Strengthen partnerships with employers.
  • Develop entrepreneurship training.
Priority #4: Strengthen online and technology enabled learning.
  • Create and Implement a delivery mechanism that may be used in any of the above methodologies. Must be open source and universal design.

Transformation Agenda Grant Degree & Certificate Programs

Click on the link below for a list of programs developed through the Transformation Agenda. This list does not fully represent the industry and career offerings provided by the 15 Massachusetts Community Colleges, as they were created in part or in full through a U.S DOL Grant awarded collectively to the colleges. For a full list of course & program offerings, contact the college near you.

Transformation Agenda Grant Degree & Certificate Programs


Industry Teams:
College administrators and faculty across the state were working as part of Industry Teams in each of the six targeted sectors to share information, data, insights and resources. These teams worked to develop competency models, career pathways and common curriculum as well as built partnerships with industry (to validate curriculum, develop internships and work experience opportunities). 

Advanced Manufacturing Team

The Advanced Manufacturing Team developed a competency model based on the framework developed by the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC) in collaboration with employers statewide.  This Competency model forms the basis for advanced manufacturing programs in each region, and was highlighted in a Department of Labor Case Study.

Currently, the team is exploring the use of technological applications to enhance learning for advanced manufacturing programs at MA Community Colleges.

Materials from the Advanced Manufacturing Team
Advanced Manufacturing Competency Model 
Case Study: Advanced Manufacturing Competency Models in Action

Healthcare Team

After analyzing industry research conducted by workforce partners, the Healthcare Team developed an Academic Map for Medical Coding illustrating the common core of courses across colleges as well as the career pathways they lead to. The colleges also worked on a set of stackable credentials, and engaged with WIBs, the Department of Higher Ed and employers as part of a Statewide Allied Health Working Group to further align education with employment needs in the industry. The attached “chartbook” was developed by the working group.

Materials from the Healthcare Team:
Academic Map for Healthcare Programs (with template)
Massachusetts Healthcare Chartbook

Information Technology (IT) Team

This team has met with employers to analyze industry needs, inform curriculum and redesign career pathways. Our partner BATEC provided the attached industry research, identifying key developments in the IT field, including an increase in middle skills job openings/demand.

Materials from the Information Technology Team:
IT Employment: Identifying Skills & Opportunities
Sizing the Middle Skill Employment Gap

Biotech Team

The biotech team actively engaged employers and stakeholders to explore current industry needs. The attached employer survey was conducted by our partner the Massachusetts BioEd Foundation. Colleges participating in the team are updated a set of common core competencies that are part of all Massachusetts Community College biotech programs.

Materials from the Biotech Team:
Mass. Life Sciences Industry: Entry Level Employment Report

Clean Energy Team

Open Educational Resources Team:
Faculty and staff from each college with expertise in online learning serve as point people to share information to license and share initiative curricular products. 

Evaluation Team:
Grant management staff, institutional research staff from each college and the Commonwealth Corporation, ensured that data is collected to measure student outcomes, such as enrollment, completion and job placement, and program implementation. 

College and Career Navigators:
Each community college hired a College and Career Navigator to assist the target population to enroll in community college programs and access the services of the colleges and local One-Stop Career Centers

Readiness Team:
Faculty and staff of developmental education, ABE and technical programs worked with Education Development Center (EDC) to develop a set of 24 curriculum modules that link academic skills to realistic scenarios in the health care, advanced manufacturing, and information technology fields.

This workforce solution is 100% funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, TAACCCT grant agreement # TC-22505-11-60-A-25.The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. Massachusetts Community Colleges are equal opportunity employers. Adaptive equipment available upon request for persons with disabilities.