By Daily Item Staff | August 4, 2020

It didn’t take North Shore Community College (NSCC) Interim President Dr. Nate Bryant long to embrace an innovative idea directly aimed at providing relief during the economic upheaval caused by coronavirus.

NSCC under Dr. Bryant’s leadership is a partner in the Northeast Regional Prior Learning Assessment Consortium (NERPLAC), a broad coalition of educational institutions, businesses and organizations dedicated to coupling work skills with education to help improve lives.

NERPLAC helps students and people considering enrolling in community college earn college credit for life experience. Dr. Bryant is an experienced educator who understands how community colleges give people new opportunities and, in his words, “…build on their education foundation.” The work-for-credit assessment is simple: If individuals demonstrate through that assessment that they already know the information that would otherwise be taught in a college course, they are awarded the credit without having to take the entire course.

Dr. Cristy Sugarman, executive director of NSCC’s Center for Alternative Studies, said credit for life experience makes it easier for people to realize the dream of bettering their employment options by going to college.

Getting college credit for work experience gives them a boost on the way to making a dream reality.

“You’re not starting at the very beginning and you’re not duplicating things you already know,” said Dr. Sugarman.

Dr. Bryant’s predecessor, Dr. Patricia A. Gentile, clearly defined NSCC as a contributor to the community around the college. Dr. Bryant is showing how community colleges can turn the upheaval coronavirus has had on people’s lives into opportunities defined by personal growth, economic success, and, above all, hope.

Dr. Sugarman said work experience studies concluded that students who earn credit through a prior learning initiative are 2.5 times more likely to complete their college degree.

Work assessment credit is a relatively new and expanding program. But leave it to Dr. Bryant and NSCC to match the program with employers and organizations dedicated to providing employment opportunities and growth.

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