Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The new U.S. Naval Community College announced that it will partner with five U.S. universities for a a pilot program to expand educational opportunities for enlisted members of three branches of the military.
USNCC will partner with Northern Virginia Community College, the University of Arizona, the University of Maryland Global Campus, Alexandria Technical and Community College in Minnesota and the State University of New York's Empire State College, Navy officials said Thursday.
All are regarded as leaders in distance learning and independent study, according to the Navy.
The USNCC was established in 2020 to support enlisted sailors, Coast Guard members and Marines in achieving professional certificates and associate's degrees to enhance operational readiness and improve capabilities.
The pilot program, scheduled for January through June of 2021, will enroll nearly 600 military personnel.
Areas of study will include the nuclear field, cyber security, data analytics, English, math, and naval ethics, a Navy statement on Thursday said.
The second phase, scheduled for 2022, will expand those study areas.
The collaboration aims to better prepare enlisted service members, improve operational readiness, and support lifelong learning with naval-relevant education opportunities, Empire State College said in a press release last month announcing it's participation.
"We are very excited to make this announcement," said USNCC President Dr. Randi Cosentino.
"The pilot [program] will allow us to collect important data that will inform the development of the USNCC," Cosentino said. "Working with leading colleges will help us explore outcomes around the design of the program, the processes involved, working relationships and overall impact."