Has the coronavirus pandemic caused you to consider returning to college to change careers or add new skills? If you are looking to save time and money in doing so, consider if you may be eligible for earning credit for prior learning.
A new initiative, led by North Shore Community College, the Northeast Regional Prior Learning Assessment Consortium (NERPLAC) is a partnership between Essex and Middlesex County community colleges, state colleges and universities, private colleges, workforce boards, employers and community-based organizations. It promotes and increases the use of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) as a strategy to boost college completion, strengthen professional skills for higher paying jobs in regional growth industries, and engender engagement in lifelong learning.
PLA is an assessment given to an individual to determine if they already know the information that would be taught in a college course. If they do in fact have prior knowledge, they are awarded the credit without having to register and take the entire course, making the prospect of receiving a degree much less daunting.
“Given the impacts of the coronavirus, the timing may be good for this initiative given the number of folks who are out of work, who have realized that they need to change jobs to make more money, or find themselves with the time to build on their education foundation,” said NSCC Interim President Dr. Nate Bryant.
The consortium is funded by Essex County Community Foundation and is being led by North Shore Community College in collaboration with participating institutions of higher education including, Endicott College, Gordon College, Middlesex Community College, Northern Essex Community College, Salem State University, and University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
Partners marketing PLA and engaging employers include NSWIB/CC, Merrimack Valley WIB/Valley Works CC and Greater Lowell WDB/CC. Employers and community-based organizations include Advances Learning Center, Wellspring, Inc., LEO, Inc., and Action, Inc.
For more information about this program or NERPLAC, contact Heather Mayer at [email protected]