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League Initiates Project SAIL
Specialty Asynchronous Industry Learning (SAIL) through Community Colleges

Promoting access, exchange, and dissemination of specialized industry-driven programs anywhere and anytime for community college students is goal of Project SAIL

PHOENIX, AZ – June 11, 2003 – As 1,100 institutions serving more than 10 million students annually, America’s community and technical colleges serve a strategic function in meeting local learning needs in communities across the country. This local-level focus often leads to specialized industry-driven programs that are particular to a college’s service area. With limited funding resources and burgeoning educational needs, colleges are often forced to narrow program offerings and neglect smaller, specialized, or high-cost industry demands. This dynamic has traditionally left some local businesses, industry specialists, or interested individuals without access to some of our nation’s best learning opportunities simply because of where they are located.

According to Stella Perez, Project SAIL Director and Senior Consultant for Online Initiatives, “The growth and maturity of online learning options now makes it possible to extend access to specialty courses, degrees, and training beyond traditional college service area boundaries to fulfill workforce needs in even the most remote communities.” To support such outreach, the League for Innovation, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, launched Project SAIL (Specialty Asynchronous Industry Learning) on June 1, 2003.

In addition to building a national clearinghouse for the exchange of asynchronous specialty industry curricula and training options, Project SAIL partners will develop a catalog of learning exchange resources, such as (a) model articulation agreements, (b) sample transaction models, and (c) customized exchange agreements. These resources will provide the foundation for a full-scale national implementation model for development, exchange, and customization of online specialty courses. Project SAIL is distinguished by three strategic objectives:

Targeting Specialty Asynchronous Industry Learning content. Project SAIL focuses on specially designed courses and programs that provide skill training for the fundamentals of a specific trade or profession rather than widely available postsecondary general education offerings.

Providing access to existing programs and degrees. Project SAIL connects participants to content and curriculum developed within community colleges or industry training centers, as well as to existing degree, certificate, and transfer agreements and college support systems.

Development of a model curriculum/content-exchange system. Through Project SAIL, successful specialty courses that have been developed by one institution — often at significant cost and investment — can be swapped, purchased, or brokered for use by another college to build a program that meets new workforce development needs without duplication of development dollars.

The curriculum/content exchange system — an array of customized purchase, trade, and lease options – is the “win-win-win” foundation of Project SAIL. This exchange system serves the institution providing the specialty content that recaptures some of its investment funding; the recipient institution that enriches its program options, maintains FTE counts, and serves local industry needs; and the students who access successful, high-quality online or hybrid learning options while remaining at their home institution with sustained services such as advising, financial aid, tutoring, computer lab access, library access, career guidance services, and local industry placement services.

About The League for Innovation in the Community College
Celebrating 35 years of service in 2003, the League for Innovation in the Community College is an international organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. The League hosts conferences and institutes, develops web resources, conducts research, produces publications, provides services, and leads projects and initiatives with more than 750 member colleges, 100 corporate partners, and a host of other government and nonprofit agencies in a continuing effort to make a positive difference for students and communities. Information about the League and its activities is available online.

For more information contact:
Greg Luce
(480) 705-8200 x237