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New program can save adults time and money

NCC will offer "Fast Track"

Opportunities for adults to earn college credit for work experience and other training are expanding at Northampton Community College with the launch of a program called College Credit Fast Track.   According to an announcement made in Harrisburg on February 2, Northampton will join 13 other community colleges in Pennsylvania in offering the program to reduce the time it takes for some unemployed and underemployed adults to earn a degree.  Nearly one a half million workers in Pennsylvania have some college credit, but no degree.

The Fast Track program has been made possible by a $2.5 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

"Some adults come to college with work experience and/or other training that duplicates what is being taught in the classroom," says Barbara Canfield, assistant dean of business and technology at Northampton.  "There is no reason they should have to spend time and money taking classes if they have already mastered the material."

The College Credit Fast Track Program will enable adults to complete a portfolio online for review by a faculty member.  If the portfolio shows that the student has met the learning objectives for the course, credit will be awarded.  There are also several other ways in which prior learning can be evaluated for credit.

Earning an associate degree can make a big difference for people of all ages.  According to an analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 57% of jobs in Pennsylvania will require more than a high school education by 2018.  And the U.S. Department of Commerce reports that nationally adults with associate degrees earn $38,000-$78,000 per year compared to between $22,000 and $35,000 for those without post-secondary credentials.

To learn more about the Fast Track program, visit http://www.ccfasttrack.org/ or call Brandon Kwiatek at 610-861-4174.

Fast Track is one of several options Northampton offers for students seeking credit for prior learning. Others include the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement courses, military and non-traditional courses approved by the American Council on Education (ACE), and industry-recognized credentials.