2017 - 2020 Strategic Focus Areas

1) Industry 4.0: Emerging Trends in Advanced Technology and Smart Manufacturing

NCATC is made up of leaders representing more than 170 community colleges across the nation. NCATC collaborates with more than 30 corporate strategic partners on the forefront of emerging trends and challenges in advanced technology and manufacturing.


NCATC also partners with many of the Manufacturing USA Institutes on workforce development strategies, action plans, initiatives, and programs, including: America Makes, DMDII, LIFT, IACMI, ARM, NextFlex, NIMBL, REMADE, PowerAmerica, and AIM Photonics.

2) Apprenticeships, Work-Based Learning and Entrepreneurship in Workforce Development

NCATC strongly supports the integration of work-based learning into secondary and postsecondary curriculum. NCATC recognizes that work-based experiences such as internships, co-ops, pre-apprenticeships, and apprenticeships enable students to apply concepts learned in the classroom and acquire skills that are essential in the workplace. Students who participate in work-based learning often adopt an entrepreneurial spirit and are more competitive in the workforce. NCATC partners with DOL/OA grant-funded apprentice programs – RCBI (WV) and NIMS (VA).

3) Competency-Based Learning in Workforce Development

This focus area includes working with groups such as MForesight to find, document, and share promising practices and game-changing initiatives that move education away from seat time to competency-based learning for career readiness.


NCATC supports and promotes policies that (a) give institutions flexibility in awarding credit based on demonstration of competency rather than on seat time and (b) seek to alleviate the incompatibility of conventional data systems with competency-based learning.

4) Industry-Recognized Credentials and Certifications

This focus area includes working with national industry-led credentialing and certification bodies such as MSSC, NIMS, AWS, PMMI, Siemens, SME, and ACT to encourage the mapping of workforce development curriculum, courses, and programs to industry standards. 


NCATC creates strategic partnerships between credentialing groups that help keep members on the front lines of evolving technologies related to advanced (digital) manufacturing and the 4th Industrial Revolution. NCATC advocates for nontraditional academic approaches such as “stacking of credentials,” in which industry-supported certifications also earn credit toward associate degrees.

5) Adult Education and Learning Opportunities

NCATC supports equitable opportunities for adults from underserved communities by providing access to education and training for careers with economic mobility in advanced technology. NCATC recognizes that the skills gap in manufacturing and overall new-collar jobs cannot be addressed without the adult learner population.  As such, NCATC promotes innovative, accelerated advanced technology programs that combine adult education and career technical education. NCATC advocates for legislation and policies that support the expansion and enhancement of postsecondary educational pathways for adults.