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The Resource Library is a compendium of tools and resources selected specifically for the Accelerating Opportunity initiative. You can navigate the Resource Library by topic, or by key word (or tag).

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Certificates have swelled to become the second most common postsecondary award in the U.S.: Over 1 million are awarded each year. In the context of concerns about rising college costs and student loan debt, certificates, which are cheaper and take less time to complete than college degrees, have become of increasing interest to researchers, institutions, and other stakeholders in higher education.

In this report, Anthony P. Carnevale, Stephen J. Rose, and Andrew R. Hanson of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University analyze earnings by field of study, sex, race/ethnicity, and program length. One of the most important factors that affects earnings is whether certificate holders work in the same occupational field they studied in.

The authors also take a close look at the demographic characteristics of certificate holders: sex, race/ethnicity, age, educational attainment, academic preparation/skill, family income, and parents' education.

Last, the authors analyze the institutions that most commonly award certificates—such as community colleges and for-profit institutions—and the states where certificates are most prevalent and provide the highest earnings returns.

2012
Anthony P. Carnevale, Stephen J. Rose, and Andrew R. Hanson
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

Minnesota FastTRAC (Training, Resources, and Credentialing) seeks to make Minnesota more competitive by meeting the common skills needs of businesses and individuals.

FastTRAC’s innovative approach helps educationally underprepared adults succeed in well-paying careers by integrating basic skills education and career-specific training in fields where new skills are in high demand. By focusing on high-demand fields, FastTRAC meets the needs of business while ensuring that students find well-paying jobs with room for advancement.

2012
Minnesota FastTRAC Initiative

Through Courses to Employment AspenWSI investigated the operations and outcomes of six partnerships between nonprofit organizations and community colleges. These types of partnerships represent a nascent field of practice, and nonprofit and community college representatives have noted time and again the value of sharing ideas, strategies and information about the nuts and bolts work of organizing and managing effective partnerships.

AspenWSI has compiled a variety of different types of tools that partnerships have used to support their work on the ground. The tools available today reflect a work-in-progress, and we expect to add additional tools over time. We welcome comments, feedback and suggestions for additions. The tools are organized in three categories:

How do partners organize themselves? Who does what?

What strategies do partners use to provide education and support services?

What kinds of costs are involved in partnership?

2012
Courses to Employment
Workforce Strategies Initiative at the Urban Institute

In "Change and Sustain/Ability: A Program Director's Reflections on Institutional Learning," Asera looks at how community colleges encounter, respond to, and incorporate ideas about teaching and learning, and the various strategies they employ to sustain productive innovations.

 

 
2008
Rose Asera
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

To help Achieving the Dream colleges work through the challenge of moving an intervention from small to large scale, Achieving the Dream asked Public Agenda to gather the best thinking about and promising practices for scaling interventions. To this end, Public Agenda conducted a multimethod study, consisting of a broad literature review, an online discussion and an in-person work group convening of diverse stakeholders, practitioners and experts in institutional transformation and higher education reform.
This guide offers recommendations and insights drawn from these sources and has been reviewed by work group participants and Achieving the Dream for content, accuracy and applicability to higher education broadly and Achieving the Dream community colleges specifically.

2011
Achieving the Dream and Public Agenda

For over a decade Corporate Voices for Working Families (Corporate Voices) has provided leading best-practice employers a forum to improve the lives of working families, while strengthening our nation’s economy. Many employers accomplish this by supporting the educational attainment of current and future employees. In order to ensure that individuals have the skills to succeed in the workplace and are on education and career pathways to earning family sustaining wages, employers often partner with community colleges in Learn and Earn models of talent development. These partnerships integrate important aspects of employment and education for working learners and do so at an attractive price point for working families.

This blueprint, which is intended for business and community college leaders who have limited expertise in forming partnerships and are interested in undertaking such an endeavor, is divided into four sections:
• Overview: Explains how partnerships serve businesses, community colleges and working learners.

• Section I: Targets businesses with strategic ways to leverage community college expertise.

• Section II: Identifies business and community college divisions where partnerships can be integrated.

• Section III: Targets community colleges with the advantages of partnering with business.

The Career Pathways Toolkit: Six Key Elements for Success was developed as part of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration’s Career Pathways Initiative to help guide state and local leaders in building and sustaining career pathway systems. This Toolkit offers a clear and user-friendly road map for administrators, service providers, practitioners, and policy makers seeking to develop career pathway systems at local, regional, and/or state levels. It details the Six Key Elements Framework, highlights promising practices, and provides tools designed to support visioning and strategic planning.

2011
Social Policy Research Associates
Developed on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor by Social Policy Research Associates

The main purpose of this planning tool is to help community colleges facilitate productive conversations and develop systemwide plans to raise student completion rates substantially. The planning tool is initially targeted at colleges participating in the Completion by Design initiative. Based on these colleges’ experiences and feedback, the planning tool will be revised and augmented as a living document, to capture and disseminate information about improving student completion rates.

This planning tool draws from the ideas described in Changing Course: A Guide to Increasing Student Completion in Community Colleges and is designed to serve as a complement to that document. Whereas the guide introduces the key goals and principles of the Completion by Design initiative, this planning tool offers a series of self-reflective questions to assist community colleges in examining their own areas of strength and their emphasis on increasing student success on their campuses. As colleges use these questions and other inquiry-based processes to rethink and redesign their services and programs, this planning tool also provides them with information about the range of practices that community colleges have used to improve student completion rates.

2011
Venezia, A., Bracco, K., and Nodine, T.
WestEd

The goal of this guide is to assist community college faculty, staff, and administrators as they begin rethinking and redesigning their systems, programs, and instruction to increase student completion. The guide identifies the goals of the Completion by Design initiative; summarizes key design principles for improving completion rates; and, in the process, offers a common language for initiating this work. It is understood that the community colleges participating in the initiative bring a wide range of expertise and skills to this process and that their work will refine and advance what we know about improving student completion rates in community colleges.

A companion document, Changing Course: A Planning Tool for Increasing Student Completion in Community Colleges, offers additional information and strategies, including a series of self-reflective questions to assist colleges in planning their own approaches to improving college completion. The companion document will be further developed during the planning year, based on participating colleges’ experiences.

In conjunction with these documents, Completion by Design has developed a Knowledge Center to provide an online space where colleges and individuals can find and share information about innovative practices, research findings, student metrics, self-assessment tools, and other materials related to the initiative.

2011
Nodine, T., Venezia, A., and Bracco, K.
WestEd

This searchable database contains expert-identified and vetted research and planning documents to support Completion by Design colleges through the planning, decision making, and implementation stages.

2012
Completion by Design