Non-Credit and Credit Alignment Lab

The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) and Education Strategy Group (ESG) have partnered to launch the Non-Credit and Credit Alignment Lab (NCAL), a two-year initiative to support 10 community college governance units’ efforts to develop new or improved pathways between non-credit and credit programs. The project is supported by a $1.2 million grant from ECMC Foundation.

Non-credit programming can be a steppingstone to further education and training that leads to higher earnings and greater career sustainability. Unfortunately, our systems are designed to discourage rather than facilitate pathways across non-credit and credit programs, according to ESG research. The result is that many students in non-credit programs are left without pathways to additional learning, and colleges fail to take advantage of a significant population of engaged learners ready to enroll in credit-bearing programs. To achieve greater equity and develop more resilient and responsive systems following a global pandemic, community colleges must bridge the divide between non-credit and credit programs.


The new suite of resources highlight the work of community colleges across the country who are making real progress in building more unified institutions. These six new briefs offer a closer look at how NCAL community colleges are making meaningful progress under each of the key pillars for success in this work, which were first outlined in the framework of ESG's A More Unified Community College.

Framework Spotlight Brief #1 | Treat All Students As Students

Framework Spotlight Brief #2 | Build Pathways Between Non-Credit and Credit

Framework Spotlight Brief #3 | Aligning Non-Credit and Credit Divisions

Framework Spotlight Brief #4 | Make Non-Credit Programs Credit-Worthy and Credit-Based

Framework Spotlight Brief #5 | Remove Barriers for Non-Credit to Credit Transitions

Framework Spotlight Brief #6 | Increasing Data Capacity to Drive Decisions and Advance Alignment


NCAL WebinarA More Unified Community College: Lessons from the Non-Credit and Credit Alignment Lab - July 2023
NCAL WebinarEquitably Serving Learners in Non-Credit: Lessons from the Non-Credit and Credit Alignment Lab - January 2024

Contact Us

For questions about the NCAL initiative or contact:

ACCT: Sean Robins

ESG: Annie Phillips