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Strengthening Middle-Skill Careers

on .

Retail Management Certificate

UCC is participating in an Achieving the Dream grant funded learning initiative.

Umpqua Community College (UCC) is one of four community colleges nationwide selected to receive a $120,000 grant to strengthen the college’s short term (6 months or less) middle skill retail career pathway and corresponding advising systems. The pathway prepares students to pursue middle-skill retail careers in Douglas County. Middle skill jobs require more than secondary school but less than a bachelor's degree.

UCC is part of the Achieving the Dream (ATD) Retail Pathways Initiative, funded by the Walmart Foundation. The initiative also aims to support UCC and other participating colleges in developing strong partnerships with local retail employers so pathways graduates can successfully enter the job market. “Each year, we see hundreds of job openings for middle skill retail employees in Douglas County and the surrounding areas. There is a need for workers with unique skills for the retail industry. We are extremely proud to be a recipient of this grant. Our hope is that this initiative will create opportunities for students and meet the changing needs of regional employers,” says Martha Joyce, UCC Business Department Chair “We are excited to help our students achieve their goals of job security and economic prosperity through pursuing careers at retailers in the Douglas County region.”

By creating a short-term pathway in retail, UCC will provide an opportunity for students to learn the immediate skills needed for local in-demand middle skill retail jobs. Additionally, the retail credential could serve as a stepping-stone to an associate’s degree and other post-secondary credentials if the student chooses to pursue further studies. The ATD initiative was created to address the need for clearly defined and readily accessible pathways to middle skill retail careers throughout the country.

Other recipients of this grant include:

  • Broward College (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
  • Tallahassee Community College (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Durham Technical Community College (Durham, NC)

As part of the grant, UCC will receive technical assistance through the ATD Retail Pathways Support Team. Students interested in entering the retail pathway at UCC can do so by visiting the program website at www.uccrmc.com or contacting the program advisor, Gary Gray. The grant allows UCC to provide enhanced advising and wrap-around services as well as contextualized learning opportunities to students who need extra academic support. Outcomes expected from UCC’s participation in the program include heightened data tracking and increased connections with local and regional retail employers. Students may progress through a 4-course Retail certificate that stacks into an 8-course, industry-recognized Retail certificate. Courses in the retail programs at UCC contain outcomes that have been validated through the Western Association of Food Chains and are applicable across the retail industry.

Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by: guiding evidence-based institutional improvement; leading policy change; generating knowledge; and engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. With over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams - working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps nearly 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.