Program Description

In this section we present the following information:

The ACT-On Retail Management Certificate Program

The ACT-On Retail Management Certificate program was created in 2000 by the Western Association of Food Chains and was originally targeted to employees in the grocery industry. The certificate program consists of 8 to 10 college level courses that address competencies and student outcomes needed to ensure a high quality retail workforce.

In the 2012-13 academic year, the Department of Labor (DOL) funded a consortium of four colleges through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program to strengthen and expand the RMC program. DOL designed the grant program to make education more accessible and simultaneously to attract more highly qualified workers to the industry. The program offered strategies to identify and remove barriers to education, define clear career pathways, and elevate retail as a viable career. The colleges used multiple strategies to meet these goals including hiring career coaches, developing online curricula, creating a system of stackable credentials, and engaging retail employer partners. The full range of strategies are highlighted in the theory of action model below.

Retail is a significant part of the economy; more sophisticated and technologically challenging High quality workforce in retail industry Make education more accessible Attract more people to the industry Identify and remove barriers to education Define clear career pathways Elevate retail as a viable career Build data capacity Hire student support staff Create online modules Support use of online technology Maximize program flexibility Facilitate employer support Revalidate and align retail management curriculum Allow credit for work experience Stack, lattice, and accelerate credentials Create transfer and articulation opportunities Recruit students Use workforce and community organizations Engage employers through partnerships Strengthen partnerships through industry associations Students who traditionally avoid school succeed Students acquire a certificate More students enroll in retail management program For certificate students: Gain employment, Receive promotion, Enjoy wage increase, Continue education; For colleges: Achieve more student completions, Offer more relevant curriculum to students pursuing employment, Tap into additional funding sources; For retail employers: Gain high quality workforce, Promote a culture of learning and growing in employees, More colleges offer RMC programs

The ACT-On Consortium of Colleges

University of Alaska Anchorage logo Cerritos College logo Tyler Junior College logo Clackamas Community College logo
Alaska California Texas Oregon

ACT-On stands for the Alaska, California, Texas—Oregon National Retail Management Careers Consortium.

Tyler Junior College, University of Alaska Anchorage, Cerritos College, and Clackamas Community College make up the consortium of colleges that DOL chose as Round 2 TAACCCT grant recipients to implement the retail management certificate on their respective campuses. Together, they received $12 million to "build the capacity of the colleges to train Trade Adjustment Assistance-eligible and other adult workers for new careers in grocery retail management through an industry-endorsed curriculum and credential that is highly valued in the grocery industry and will bring multiple employment opportunities."

The grant's period of performance was from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2015, with a fourth year for participant follow-up and evaluation.

Program at a Glance

Consortium colleges started the grant at different stages of implementation. Two colleges, Cerritos and Clackamas, already had established programs. They sought to expand the program to reach more employers and serve a wider group of students to include un- and under-employed individuals. TJC and UAA were just at the beginning stages of offering the RMC credential when the grant began. Select a college on the left to learn more about each college's program.

Cerritos College

Year started: 2002

Department administering grant: Business Administration

Number of classes needed for RMC: 8

Number of completers in 2015/2016: 229

Number of employer partners: 10

Distinguishing characteristics:
• Served over 60% of the RMC students in the consortium • Considered pioneers of the RMC • Business Department’s chair was a proactive champion of the RMC

Clackamas Community College

Year started: 2004

Department administering grant: Technology, Health Occupations & Workforce (THOW)

Number of classes needed for RMC: 8

Number of completers in 2015/2016: 48

Number of employer partners: 6

Distinguishing characteristics:
• Recipient of a previous TAACCCT grant • Unique relationship with Goodwill

It's been very positive. I think we've developed some new relationships in the industry that weren't there before. We've done some curriculum modules and reinforced the career coach piece that we had. These kind of successes show that that's an important model for the college.

- Dean

Tyler Junior College

Year started: 2012

Department administering grant: Business Management

Number of classes needed for RMC: 8

Number of completers in 2015/2016: 42

Number of employer partners: 1

Distinguishing characteristics:
• Business Department chair and faculty were strong advocates of the program • Industry partner approached them about implementing the RMC program • Most of the participating students were working with one employer, Brookshire's, and this college/employer relationship deepened over time

University of Alaska Anchorage

Year started: 2012

Department administering grant: Community and Technical College (CTE)

Number of classes needed for RMC: 10

Number of completers in 2015/2016: 4

Number of employer partners: 7

Distinguishing characteristics:
• Because UAA was a university rather than a community college, it experienced some unique challenges • RMC program was started as a result of a grant

Cost Analysis

Costs of the ACT-On Program

The cost study examines program-related costs by comparing budgeted expenditure to actual expenditure. Program-related costs include administrative costs and leveraged resources. Administrative costs can include expenditures on personnel and supplies, and other expenditure items such as communications, insurance, lease, and utilities.

We examine the cost of the ACT-On program per enrolled student in each college. These analyses will shed light on how the various colleges, and the grant as a whole, deviated from planned expenditures. The per student analyses also provide a crude estimate of the cost of educating each student.

Sources of Program-Related Costs

The main data source for the cost study is the ACT-On Budget and Expenditure Report provided by the lead institution, Tyler Junior College (TJC).