The Promise of Career Pathways: Breaking Down Silos, Meeting Business and Worker Needs Julie Strawn June 2015
Postsecondary credentials increasingly matter for access to middle class jobs Five Ways that Pay, 2012.
Community colleges: the primary portal to postsecondary education for working adults • Almost half of community college students (46%) are age 25 or older. • More than a third are the first in their families to attend college. • 60% are on their own financially; among those independent students, nearly two-thirds have incomes below $30,000. • More than half of independent community college students have at least one dependent. • More than half of community college students work more than 20 hours per week. Sources: American Association of Community Colleges, Center for Law and Social Policy
Factors associated with community college student success • Clear, tightly structured paths through basic skills, noncredit, and for-credit coursework • Students who enter a program of study in their first year are twice as likely to complete credentials as students who don’t enter a program until later. • Accelerating and contextualizing basic skills to a specific program of study (adult basic education, GED preparation, college remediation) • Financial aid increases both access and success; studies show it to be the single most effective intervention. • Student services are also critical, especially ongoing, individualized help for the most at-risk students.
Sector strategies + career pathways address success factors and connect learning to work Industry-driven postsecondary training
Video: Colorado sector and pathway strategies • https://vimeo.com/107279690
Evidence for sector initiatives • According to studies conducted by states of sector partnerships, employers report increases in productivity, reductions in customer complaints, and declines in staff turnover. (State Sector Strategies Coming of Age, 2013) • A rigorous evaluation of 3 sector partnerships found participants earned significantly more and were more likely to have jobs with benefits. (Job Training That Works, 2009) • However, sector training partnerships tend to be small scale and relatively selective. Can combining sector strategies with adult career pathways in community colleges expand the reach of industry-driven training?
Why Adult Career Pathways—the Challenge of Silos Noncredit training Technical education Business Workforce Basic Skills Needs Workforce and Economic Development
Current research on career pathway approaches • The Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, has two major career pathway studies underway. • Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) • 9,300 participants in 9 programs with 18 locations in 12 states • Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) • 37,000 participants in 49 locations in 23 states • HPOG and PACE will fill critical research gaps by providing the first rigorous analysis of the impact of adult career pathways on educational attainment, employment and earnings. They will also offer insights into how best to implement career pathways.
Interim findings from the HPOG Implementation Study • Most participants received training, case management and tuition aid. Many also got help with transportation and child care. • 84% of HPOG participants started at least one healthcare training course in their first year. • 59% completed training and 28% were still participating at the end of 12 months. Ten percent of enrollees completed a second course within 12 months. • Among those exiting after completing training within the first year, two-thirds were working. Over half were working in healthcare jobs; those participants were earning an average hourly wage of $11.68.
Adult career pathways and accelerated and contextualized basic skills classes are growing • About a third of the states have significant adult career pathway and/or related basic skills efforts • AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, KS, KY, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MN, NC, OH, OR, VA, WA, WI • Adult career pathways and basic skills on-ramps are now a key focus of federal policy and initiatives • Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act • DHHS’ HPOG and PACE projects • DOL’s TAACCCT and Workforce Innovation Fund grants • ED’s Moving Pathways Forward, Advancing CTE in State and Local Career Pathways
Examples of statewide strategies that support career pathways • CO Ready to Work slate of workforce development bills • CO legislature just passed package of 8 bipartisan workforce development bills aimed at growing the state’s middle class. Includes HB 15-1274 which requires creation of integrated career pathways for critical industries and is modeled on the manufacturing career pathway authorized by HB 13-1165. • WA Opportunity Grants • WA legislature’s Opportunity Grants initiative helps adults with incomes below 200% of poverty to train for high-wage, high-demand careers. Covers tuition and fees, and up to $1,000 per year for books/supplies. Students may also get tutoring, career advising, emergency child care and transportation. • AR Career Pathways and KY Ready to Work initiatives • Created administratively and funded through the TANF block grant, AR’s and KY’s longstanding postsecondary education initiatives for low-income parents feature campus-based advisors, career pathways coordinators, academic and logistical supports, and in KY, work-study jobs.
Recent legislation in forum states • Alabama was one of 3 states in 2014 to enact legislation to promote career pathways. • SB 184 provides $200,000 in seed funding to regional councils to identify local skills needs, develop educational pathways and align funding with workforce needs. • IN and TN enacted financial aid legislation to help working adults. • IN Senate Bill 330 directs at least half of the state’s part-time student financial aid funding to adults enrolled in programs of study that lead to high-demand, high-wage jobs. • TN Senate Bill 2471 creates the “Tennessee Promise Scholarship,” which will allow recent high school graduates to attend community or applied technology colleges for free. A related initiative for adults is “Tennessee Reconnect,” which covers tuition and fees at applied technology colleges. • CT enacted sector strategy legislation to promote manufacturing. • SB 29 creates the CT Manufacturing Innovation Fund which can be used education and training programs to meet the sector’s anticipated skills needs.
Recent legislation in forum states • AL, UT, MN and IN enacted legislation to increase cross-system oversight and accountability of education and workforce services. • AL SB 217 creates a state workforce council to promote industry-focused coordination between pre-K-12 system, higher education and businesses. • UT SB 34 creates a Utah Futures career planning web portal and appropriates funding for a statewide data system to track outcomes and progress across K-12 education, higher education and workforce services. • MN HF 3172 requires the Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner to establish uniform outcome measures and a reporting system for adult workforce programs and requires regular net impact and cost-benefit studies. • IN HB 1003 creates a governance committee of state education and workforce officials to oversee the state’s longitudinal education, workforce and business data system, the Indiana Network of Knowledge (INK). 2014 State Legislative Round-Up, National Skills Coalition