College Unbound Receives Grant from Walmart to Expand Pathways to Education and Employment

College Unbound, together with Peer to Peer University (P2PU), embedded these credentials within free, peer-led learning circles during a 2021 pilot in Rhode Island in partnership with Providence Public Library and Providence Community Libraries. Based on the Big 10 Leadership and Change Skills, these employer-validated credentials are mapped to the needs of the workplace.

Walmart’s funding will enable national expansion in three key areas:

  • P2PU will implement credited and credentialed learning circles in urban and rural libraries across the country, creating a path toward BA completion in any participating library in the nation.
  • College Unbound will articulate learner-driven, industry-validated pathways based on the building blocks of micro-credentials. An initial focus on public health credentials such as the Nursing Assistant License (CNA), the Certified Community Health Worker, and the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist will accelerate BA completion and career advancement for our front-line public health workers.
  • CU will partner with The American Council on Education (ACE) to broaden credit transferability outside Rhode Island and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to share learnings from this work across the postsecondary landscape. By enabling postsecondary adoption of a credential and academic credit currency exchange, we can bridge the gap between workforce development and BA completion.

About College Unbound

College Unbound (CU) is an accredited, non-profit institution of higher education that focuses on adult learners who have faced significant barriers to attending college. CU coordinates courses, field studies, and in-depth project work to help students develop field-specific knowledge and skills that encourage deep learning. CU fills a unique niche in postsecondary education for returning adult learners with a bachelor’s degree program designed around an innovative, personalized, interest/project-based curriculum model. Learn more at

About P2PU

Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating peer learning communities in public spaces around the world. P2PU was born out of the 2007 Cape Town Open Education Declaration and has been active in the field of open education ever since, establishing the first open badging standard with Mozilla, developing the tools that supported some of the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) experiments, and nurturing online learning communities with a variety of audiences around the globe. Since 2015, P2PU has helped dozens of public library systems to run learning circles: free, lightly-facilitated peer learning groups that meet regularly to work through open educational resources. To date, more than 10,000 participants have gained skills driven by professional or learning goals: getting a new job, writing a book, building a website for a small business, or gaining entry into higher education.