THE BADGER BUZZ


AC and NLNE: Impacting the Panhandle Together

William Ratliff
Published September 4, 2020

No Limits No Excuses and Amarillo College are working together to impact the future of learners in the Texas Panhandle.

No Limits No Excuses (NLNE) is a cross-sector community partnership of companies in the Texas Panhandle whose leaders believe in the benefits of building a strong, credentialed workforce. Together, and with the help of Amarillo College, these organizations aim to increase the number of skilled workers in the region while staying aligned with industry needs.

The collaboration currently consists of 54 partners in the Amarillo area. AC is considered one of NLNE’s permanent partners. NLNE’s goal is to continue increasing the number of partners, with the aim of eventually expanding beyond just Potter and Randall counties to be able to help residents in all 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.

NLNE’s Vision is to ensure that forty percent of Texas Panhandle residents possess a quality credential by 2030. A quality credential includes military training, a college certificate or degree, trade school certification, or on-the-job training. Currently, only about twenty-seven percent of residents have what NLNE considers a quality credential.

Amarillo College is one of the educational partners of NLNE and provides access to trade programs and college degrees. NLNE has a mind to bring education and industry together. The group has produced 24 videos of the most in-demand jobs in the area, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

One of the main strategies to get the word out about what the NLNE partnership can offer students is via their app, GoPlan 2.0. The app is used to connect its users with people who can encourage them along the path of the credential they’re seeking. This could be in the form of a mentor at their work, a college advisor, a faith leader, or someone that can help them connect with a needed resource in the community. The app offers a “village of support” for those individuals who need some extra encouragement and help along the way.

In addition to connecting the users with different areas of support, it will also allow them to apply for college and the FAFSA; link users to military pathways, community colleges, trade schools, and WTAMU; and connect them with community mentors.

Their biggest challenge? Reaching the people who need help. Many people who have not earned a credential have a number of barriers: transportation issues, food insecurity, homelessness, and many are struggling just to make ends meet. NLNE desires to connect people with resources that will help them gain a skill or earn a degree to get a living wage job. The question is – what is the best way to reach those who need it?

That’s where their strategies and workgroups come into play, staffed by mostly volunteers. There are 3 workgroups consisting of 3 different teams, each having a different project with the aim of increasing users and getting the word out to different communities about the app and the work of NLNE. Each workgroup has a different focus: Community, Education, and Workforce. These workgroups concentrate their efforts to connect with partners in each of those areas to provide connections for students, raise awareness of NLNE, and communicate the opportunities that this partnership provides.

There are numerous opportunities for those who want one, to earn a quality credential. NLNE serves to connect the resources, the people, and the chance to make that happen. Amarillo College is a part of that. It’s one more reason Amarillo College is a great place to be.


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