The TA3 is a membership consortium of more than 30 leading community and technical colleges, and several state system offices, in the U.S. and Europe. The TA3 promotes community colleges’ efforts to support their regional economies, and promotes the value and importance of a global perspective on community college missions. The TA3 is managed by co-secretariats, Director Burke Murphy of Corporation for a Skilled Workforce in the U.S. and Hans Lehmann and Bente Lyck-Damgaard of EUC Syd in Denmark.
Technician-level educational institutions are critically important because they educate the emerging technical workforce, train existing workers, provide technical assistance to small- and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs, and assume leadership positions in local economic development.
The TA3 seeks to be a leading alliance in fostering international exchange and insight among community and technical colleges, particularly among industrialized nations.
The TA3’s mission is to support learning, innovation and exchange among institutions offering prebaccalaureate technical education, to promote policies and research that support their ability to be effective leaders in regional economic development, and to disseminate lessons learned.
Started in 1988 as a Southern U.S. alliance—the Consortium for Manufacturing Competitiveness—the network became international and changed its name to the Trans-Atlantic Technology and Training Alliance in 1995, acknowledging the global nature of the issues community and technical colleges face and the benefits of shared learning among national and international partners.
Among other activities, the TA3 has:
- Hosted 22 international conferences, each with a different theme, to facilitate exchange about policy, programs and practices.
- Created various Learning and Innovation networks of groups of colleges that collaborate on specific topics. Networks have focused on, for example, cluster-specific entrepreneurship, the medical device manufacturing industry, media arts, capacity to support regional creative enterprises, and integrating business management skills into IT programs.
- Conducted policy research such as comparative studies of how U.S. and European colleges interact with and support industry clusters and a comparison of how Denmark and the U.S. train IT workers.
- Enabled faculty exchanges between US and European community colleges in different nations.
- Disseminated best practices, including profiling 43 Benchmark Practices at technical and community colleges in the U.S., Europe and New Zealand that have direct positive economic impacts in non-metropolitan communities.