By Nicolette van der Lee, Program Coordinator, Office of Continuing Education & Training, University of Hawai’i Maui College,

In February 2017, three of my fellow TAACCCT grantees and I presented in a WorkforceGPS webinar titledTAACCCT Tales: Using StoryTelling to Share Project Successes. We come from four community colleges spread across the nation, from the East Coast states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Midwestern state of Wisconsin, and the far-flung volcanic islands of Hawai’i. During the webinar, we talked about how we found community in tackling the challenge of turning traditional project reporting into compelling stories about transformative change.

My co-presenters and I identified this shared interest in producing more meaningful reports and methods of communication when we originally met at the 2016 OLC INNOVATE conference in New Orleans. We and other interested TAACCCT grantees have continued to meet virtually through the StoryTelling Network IMPACTcommunity, with support from the SkillsCommons team. Hosted by MERLOT Voices, this IMPACTcommunity offers a platform to share ideas on how to use storytelling to communicate the successes and lessons learned through TAACCCT grant initiatives.

The TAACCCT Tales webinar provided an introduction to the IMPACTcommunity, shared the presenters’ personal perspectives through a Writer’s Room format, and launched the StoryTelling Rubric, an interactive tool developed to provide a useful guide to the principal components of a story. Available through the StoryTelling Network at SkillsCommons, the rubric and its complementary resources offer strategies to tell an effective story, connect with your audience, celebrate successes and challenges, and guide assessment of storytelling products.

“StoryTelling Network IMPACTcommunity members and resources will help TAACCCT grantees to adopt and adapt effective storytelling strategies for their projects to share successes and leverage learning,” said Maria Fieth, SkillsCommons communication and community program manager, who facilitates the community.

We shared what keeps us up at night, and invited participants to share their own concerns and worries through a word cloud. The sustainability of TAACCCT initiatives emerged as the primary worry among grantees, validating one of the primary objectives of the StoryTelling Network, sustaining the impact of TAACCCT.


Helene Mancuso, Project Manager TAACCCT Grant at Luzerne County Community College, commented on the importance of storytelling to sustainability, saying, “We hope others will be inspired to use the StoryTelling Rubric to support the sustainability of their own TAACCCT initiatives. Stories are a powerful way to build connections and communicate deep learning.”

The StoryTelling Network IMPACTcommunity continues to meet virtually every two weeks via Zoom. We invite other TAACCCT grantees nationwide to join our community and share their ideas for effective storytelling. We also welcome story submissions from all TAACCCT grantees for future webinars, podcasts, blog posts, videos, or other creative formats at this Google form.

The TAACCCT Tales: Using StoryTelling to Share Project Successes webinar is available on Workforce GPS.

To learn more, sign up to join the StoryTelling Network IMPACTcommunity. You can view and listen to the stories mentioned on the webinar at the links below:

The presenters in TAACCCT Tales: Using StoryTelling to Share Project Successes included Helene Mancuso, Project Manager TAACCCT Grant at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke, PA; Alexandra Shinert, Communications/Program Assistant at Northeast Resiliency Consortium in Paterson NJ; Kathy Spada, Project Manager, INTERFACE Consortium at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, WI; Nicolette van der Lee, Program Coordinator at University of Hawai’i Maui College in Kahului, HI; and Maria Fieth, Program Manager, Communications & Community at CSU-MERLOT SkillsCommons in Long Beach, CA.