Supporting Career and Technical Education Moving Online With SkillsCommons :sync:

Gerry Hanley (MERLOT-SkillsCommons)

The COVID pandemic has required hands-on career and technical education programs to move online. The presentation will demonstrate how to use SkillsCommons, an OER repository of workforce development training resources, to design hybrid and online courses that align with hands-on learning in the workplace.

From aviation manufacturing in urban Seattle to health care in rural Montana, many community colleges have used their U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants to develop work-based learning (WBL) opportunities and build the capacity of their institution to prepare their students for 21st century employment. The $1.9 billion investment by the U.S. Department of Labor in over 700 community collections required the grantees to openly license all grant-produced instructional materials and program support materials and required all the grant–produce OER to be uploaded into SkillsCommons (, a program of MERLOT ( and the California State University, Long Beach.

The WBL activities were designed to accelerate the students’ readiness for successful employment is high skilled jobs. With the COVID pandemic, how will Career and Technical Education programs prepare the workforce with the significant restrictions on hands-on, work-based learning? Blending online learning with Open Educational Resources and Practices with work-based experiences will help balance the learning needs and the social distancing restriction during COVID. With the current recession, we still need to support thousands of adults acquiring the skills and knowledge that will enable them to successfully pursue well-paying jobs and ensure industry’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

This presentation will review and demonstrate a variety of WBL programs of study that are freely available SkillsCommons, an OER repository developed for TAACCCT grantees across multiple sectors to store all their instructional and program support materials. Participants can explore these resources on their own devices during the session and select materials that could be applicable to their own institutions. The review/demonstration will cover a wealth of teaching and learning OER that can be used to scale and sustain apprenticeship programs, strategies for designing apprenticeship programs, and detailed tactics for implementing apprenticeship programs.

The presentation will also showcase how SkillsCommons can design, deliver, and sustain a customized portal of OER to provide higher education, industry partners, and third party intermediaries with the following:

• Learning content for apprentices in Work-Based Learning Training Programs including content focused on workplace safety that can be delivered online. Exemplary innovations in apprenticeship and support services for program design, management, and evaluation resources produced by TAACCCT grantees and curated by SkillsCommons. Program evaluations of TAACCCT projects provided evidence of effective apprentice programs improving retention and employment.

• Online teaching content for mentors in Work-Based Learning Training Programs for On-the-Job Training and Related Technical Instruction (classroom delivery), including an online/hybrid training program to help mentors become better teachers (Jumpstart to Successful Instruction) developed by SkillsCommons that can be delivered online.

• A customized repository (modeled after SkillsCommons) to store, curate, distribute, rebrand, and revise the resources, along with reliable and effective support services.

Extended abstract: OE_Global_2021_paper_100.pdf 📄

Webinar Information

This presentation is part of Webinar 04 Building capacity taking place in your local time .

Webinar Access (registered conference participants only):
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UNESCO OER Action Area: Building capacity

Language: English

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Presentation Recording



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