Austin Community College selected for new, national credentialing initiative

Austin Community College District (ACC) partners with Education Design Lab to up- and re-skill displaced workers as Certified Production Technicians (CPT) and Certified Medical Assistants (CMA) to support Central Texas' fast-growing healthcare workforce. The college was selected as part of Education Design Lab’s inaugural cohort of its Community College Growth Engine Fund.

"When COVID-19 hit our region, our communities took a hit. Thousands of people lost their jobs; many others were furloughed. As a community college, we knew we had to find ways to help get Central Texans back to work," says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC chancellor. "With the help of the Fund, we are poised to meet this need through innovative job-skilling programs proven to connect employers to qualified workers. Working together, we can close gaps and rebuild our community."

According to Education Design Lab, more than 29 million Americans are now collecting some type of unemployment benefit. Simultaneously, less than half of the 22 million jobs lost since March have been replaced. As part of the inaugural cohort for the Community College Growth Engine Fund, ACC will receive a $100,000 implementation grant, along with extensive hands-on support from Education Design Lab, to help prepare students for entry-level careers to launch pathways in growing fields.

Education Design Lab is a national nonprofit that designs, tests, and implements unique higher education models and credentials that address the rapidly changing economy and emerging technology. 

"Like the students they serve, community colleges are reinventing themselves in response to the triple crisis of a global pandemic, massive unemployment, and a national reckoning on race," says Chike Aguh, head of economic mobility pathways at Education Design Lab and project lead for the Fund. "This work is about community colleges supercharging local workforce development and our national economy. We will equip colleges and their regional partners with new tools, networks, and capital to help workers up- and re-skill for jobs that the market needs and future demands."

ACC is one of just six community colleges nationwide awarded $3 million in funding and national partnerships to help create workforce-relevant credentials for low-wage and unemployed workers. Other colleges include: 

● The City University of New York
● Ivy Tech Community College
● Pima Community College
● Prince George's Community College
● Seattle Colleges

In September, ACC announced a 50 percent tuition discount for a select series of high-demand, fast-track programs that offer entry-level credentials. Offered through the college's Continuing Education Division (CE), these programs include CPT and CMA. The discount runs through December 15.

View the full press release here. 

For more information about ACC, visit