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How to use the NACE Competency Framework for your University

Post by
AJ McCaw
How to use the NACE Competency Framework for your University

Are you looking to adopt a career readiness framework for your University? If so, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) framework is a good one to consider. The NACE competency-based framework helps students identify their abilities and develop skills for specific careers. This guide will show you how to implement the NACE competency framework for your University in order to create an aligned curriculum and increase student success!

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has developed an innovative Competency Framework for Career Readiness that identifies the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by today’s job seekers. This framework applies to all jobs regardless of industry or profession. You can use this information during the job search process to specify requirements for desired positions as well as after completing internships or jobs in order to evaluate strengths and weaknesses. It is also helpful while exploring academic programs or required courses offered at community colleges and universities.

The NACE framework is a competency-based framework that can be used with any career. For example, students could use the NACE Competency Framework in order to identify areas of need and determine the units offered in courses required for a particular program of study.

So what are the NACE competencies?
The NACE Competency Framework for Career Readiness is made up of 8 domains:

1) Career and Self-Development – Proactively develop oneself and one’s career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships within and without one’s organization.

2) Communication – Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.

3) Critical Thinking – Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.

4) Equity & Inclusion - Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures. Engage in anti-racist practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism.

5) Leadership - Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.

6) Professionalism - Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.

7) Teamwork - Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.

8) Technology - Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

As an educator, you could leverage the NACE framework to evaluate your effectiveness on a course-by-course basis. If you are planning to teach job-related courses, it would be beneficial to conduct an initial analysis of what skills and knowledge will be needed by students entering your program.

In order to use this framework with your institution, you will need to:

1) Develop the NACE Competency Framework and associated rubrics --This describes how you would like students to self-assess during their coursework. Include the ability levels needed for a successful course of study as well as the minimum number of units that must be completed in order for students to be successful.

2) Explore example courses – Using specific examples from your institution, identify a specific set of classes that could be used as a model for future offerings on campus. These courses would align with the NACE framework.

3) Identify current course curriculum – Once you have a good model for your new NACE-aligned courses, you can review what courses are currently being offered at your institution and determine how they align with the NACE Competency Framework.

4) Use the NACE Competency Framework to align current curriculum with the new courses – By identifying each unit that is part of a course, review what learning outcomes and assessment methods are used to determine whether or not it aligns with the NACE Competency Framework. If it does not, then try to find replacement units that align with the framework.

5) Evaluate the effectiveness of current curriculum on your current students – If many of your students are not achieving their learning outcomes in a way that aligns with the NACE Competency Framework, you will need to reevaluate what they are learning and what assessment methods are being used. This will help to determine whether or not you have the right course curriculum.

6) Determine how much time and resources will be needed to make changes – This analysis should take into account both content knowledge as well as pedagogical approaches that will need to be used. This should also include how many new courses could be added or even replaced with content based on the NACE framework.

What this process will help you do is identify the amount of effort and training that will be needed in order to make changes to your courses in order to meet the competencies required by the NACE Framework. With a better understanding of what skills and knowledge are being taught, staff may then be able to select the best resources--academics, industry experts, or community partners--for conducting career readiness activities on campus.

A simpler way to set up the framework with your institution, Potential.ly can help!

The Potential.ly Hybrid Learning Platform comes pre-built with the NACE Competency Framework for Career Readiness including a core assessment for the framework to measure a students' attributes in each domain and distance travelled. You can assign each resource within your institution to a competency and allow the platform to automate each student's progress over time so they can become strong, future-ready students!

This is a very exciting time for students as well as faculty and staff who want to prepare students for successful careers. To learn more about the NACE Competency Framework for Career Readiness and how to implement it at your institution speak to our team.

Tags: alignment, competency framework for career readiness, competency framework for career readiness center, competency frameworks, college success, customization of the NACE Competencies Framework, edu tech trends, NACE Competency Framework for Career Readiness, potential.

Image credit: “image: Freepik.com”. This cover has been designed using resources from Freepik.com

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