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This two-year grant from the Strada Education Network Employer Community College Partnership Challenge will expand a proven partnership that connects learners to education and in-demand employment opportunities and strengthens economies. 

Sallisaw, OK – Today, Strada Education Network selected Carl Albert State College to receive a grant through Strada’s Employer and Community College Partnership Challenge. Strada awarded this $400,000 grant as part of an effort to support innovative collaborations across the country between community colleges and employers in their region.  CASC also will participate with Strada in a community of practice to learn from other select community college-employer partnerships around the country. 

This partnership will build on current and establish new working relationships with both local educational and employer partners to increase the number of qualified applicants in rural eastern Oklahoma for positions in health care and child care. The program will integrate with CASC academic programs, as well as the Indian Capital Technology Center and Oklahoma Schools Advisory Council to provide the educational components needed to help fill open positions in both health care and child care for in the area.  The program will also collaborate with the Cherokee Nation, City of Sallisaw, Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs and Adventure Head Start, evaluating educational needs to prepare and help fill local work force openings. And finally, the program will strengthen pipelines of students from the public schools, CASC, the City of Sallisaw, Indian Capital Technology Center, Cherokee Nation and other, working to support local educational and healthcare needs. 

In addition to CASC, 10 other colleges received grants:

Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Carl Albert State College, Sallisaw, Oklahoma

Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick, Rhode Island 

Green River College, Auburn, Washington

Honolulu Community College, Honolulu, Hawaii

Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis, Indiana

MiraCosta College, North San Diego County, California

Pima County Community College, Tucson, Arizona

Salt Lake Community College, Salt Lake City, Utah

Surry Community College, Dobson, North Carolina

West Georgia Technical College, La Grange, Georgia

“At Strada, we believe in investing in innovative solutions that deliver results beyond completion,” Strada Education Network President and CEO Stephen Moret said. “Community colleges have long played a critical role by serving the dynamic needs of both learners and employers in their communities. We are thrilled to have the chance to support college leaders and employers who are coming together to provide timely opportunities for learners.”

Strada Education Network created this grant-making initiative as the first step in a strategy to partner with community colleges to support stronger local economies and communities. This represents Strada’s first major investment in the transformative work of the community college sector and a recognition that community colleges have a unique capacity to address changing local workforce needs. The initiative aims to improve employment and socioeconomic outcomes after degree or credential completion for students who historically have faced significant barriers to economic mobility.

“Community colleges are engines of opportunity with unique insight into local dynamics and needs,” Strada Impact President Ruth V. Watkins said. “We’re honored to both support and learn from these programs as we work to align measures of success beyond completion with the things that matter most to learners: career mobility and earning potential, meaningful work and the chance to contribute to their communities.”

Strada Education Network is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people take advantage of education and training after high school that helps them secure a good job, do meaningful work, contribute to their communities, and lead a fulfilling life. Strada helps students succeed beyond completion of a certificate or degree through its research, charitable grants, and social impact investments, as well as through the work of Strada-supported nonprofit organizations, CAEL, Education at Work, InsideTrack, and Roadtrip Nation, which directly serve learners and workers. Learn more at

Employer and Community College Partnership Challenge

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