Connections: The Newsletter of the National Career Pathways Network

Volume 30, No. 3
Learning and Earning with Stackable Credentials

2020 NCPN Career Pathway Award First Place Winner: Integrated Work-Based Model, Ranken Technical College

Engaging and preparing a workforce for the 21st century

Ranken Technical College logo Ranken Technical College’s integrated work-based learning sequence is an approved Department of Labor apprenticeship model that provides students with opportunities for accelerated career advancement, earning while they learn. All Ranken programs under this model have adopted a four-semester instructional sequence with eight weeks in class and eight weeks in a paid work-based learning experience. One example is the tailored Industrial Engineering Technology (IET) apprenticeship/associate degree program, which is adaptable both to incumbent workers and new hires depending on a sponsoring company’s needs. Students receive instruction in eight core areas, including mechanical and electrical systems, welding, and hydraulics, while earning National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certification after completion of industry-approved performance and theory tests.

Stan Shoun and Don Pohl
Stan Shoun (l), CEO, and Don Pohl, President,
Ranken Technical College

For the past decade, Ranken has established numerous on-campus, industry-sponsored microenterprises that replicate actual production lines. This practice recently reached an important milestone with the construction of the state-of-the-art Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center, a dedicated facility specifically for microenterprises. The Center has enhanced work-based learning by creating space for additional industrial-grade work-cells in close cooperation with advanced manufacturing industry partners such as Emerson, Nidec Corporation, Hunter Engineering, and GWR Safety Systems.

The above-named activities are components of Priming the Pipeline, a long-term Ranken initiative that plays a vital role in engaging and preparing a workforce for the 21st century. Thousands of students in grades 6–12 have participated in activities such as career exploration, earning scholarship credits, Early College dual credit/enrollment partnerships with secondary schools, and competitions including SkillsUSA and SuperMileage.

Ranken Technical College is a fully accredited, private, non-profit institution of higher learning in St. Louis, Missouri. Its graduates have achieved a job placement rate of 98 percent.

Ranken students

For more information, contact Stan Shoun, Chief Executive Officer, at