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systems change

The Virginia Career Pathways Initiative has taken hold in the Commonwealth. The initiative has shown results with respect to putting the framework in place to meet the changing needs of the Commonwealth's businesses and residents.

The process for developing a career pathways system in Virginia offers a window into an effective set of strategies for pursuing statewide and regional workforce development policies and practices that work. By using a career pathways framework, the Commonwealth has begun a systemic and ambitious process of alignment at the state level, and is rolling out that alignment to regions across the state.

Taking Root: The Virginia Career Pathways System provides a national context for Virginia's efforts, documents the Commonwealth's work, and suggests how Virginia's successes and lessons learned may be applied to other states.

Melissa Goldberg and Julian Alssid
Workforce Strategy Center

This report is a case study of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), and analyzes the key strategies and conditions that have led to the effectiveness of the Board as a coordinating agency over locally governed colleges. The study, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that three sets of factors -- state political and economic context, institutional design, and organization and leadership strategies -- explain the success of the Board. The report includes a self-assessment instrument intended for use by other states that seek to improve the effectiveness of their own postsecondary education coordination to better serve students and meet state needs. Click here for the self-assessment instrument.

Accelerating Opportunity states may find this especially useful in understanding the underlying characteristics that helped SBCTC take I-BEST to scale and identifying strategies to promote systems change.

Mary Kirlin and Nancy Shulock
Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy, California State University, Sacramento

A critical synthesis of research literature on the process of organizational change at the institutional level is needed because higher education is being asked to be responsive to an ever-changing environment.
This work focuses on providing the reader several key insights into the change process by:
(1) presenting a common language for organizational change;
(2) describing the multidisciplinary research base on change;
(3) highlighting the distinct characteristics of higher education institutions and how this might influence the change process;
(4) reviewing models/concepts of organizational change derived within higher education, comparing and contrasting different approaches; and
(5) providing principles for change based on a synthesis of the research within higher education.

Kezar, Adrianna
ERIC Digest

Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations. Collective impact is the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem. Collaboration is nothing new. The social sector is filled with examples of partnerships, networks, and other types of joint efforts. But collective impact initiatives are distinctly different. Unlike most collaborations, collective impact initiatives involve a centralized infrastructure, a dedicated staff, and a structured process that leads to a common agenda, shared measurement, continuous communication, and mutually reinforcing activities among all participants.

John Kania & Mark Kramer
Stanford Social Innovation Review