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Jobs for the Future works with districts, states, national youth-serving networks, intermediaries, and community colleges to reengage youth who are off track to graduation or out of school and put them on a path to postsecondary success. 

In serving this population, Back on Track was developed to reengage off-track and out-of-school youth by creating clear pathways into and through postsecondary credentials. We develop and scale these designs with districts, states, national youth-serving networks, intermediaries and community colleges.

To assist its partners in this work, JFF offers a comprehensive range of services, tools, and resources.

 
2012
Jobs for the Future
Jobs for the Future

This first-look report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) focuses on student success, addressing efforts from students’ first interaction with a college, to helping them through the first year. It describes promising educational practices for which there is emerging evidence of success: research from the field and from multiple colleges with multiple semesters of data showing improvement on an array of metrics, such as course completion, retention, and graduation. The report also identifies a set of design principles which are critical for student success:

  • A strong start. Making sure students’ earliest contact and first weeks in college include experiences that build personal connections and improve their chances of success, the guide says.
  • Clear, coherent pathways. Students face many choices as they weave through college systems, which can be confusing and serve as barriers to students’ success.
  • Integrated support. Building support such as skills development and extra instruction into coursework rather than referring students to services that not part of the learning experience improves success.
  • High expectations and high support. Set a high standard for students and give them the supports to reach them through services such as academic planning and financial aid.
  • Intensive student engagement. Promoting student engagement is the overarching feature of successful program design, the guide says.
  • Design for scale. Successful endeavors require time, money, political and financial support, as well as the involvement of faculty, staff and students.
  • Professional development. Instructors, staff, faculty, administrators and governing boards must all re-evaluate their roles and work differently to foster student success.

 

2012
Center for Community College Student Engagement
Center for Community College Student Engagement

Less than 5 percent of GED holders ever earn a postsecondary degree. In response, innovative GED programs have begun creating clear, effective pathways to postsecondary education, preparing their students for college and careers.

This white paper by John Garvey and JFF’s Terry Grobe shares lessons from “best in class” GED to College programs that show early, positive results in preparing youth for college and helping them persist once there. It also explores key issues connected to the growth of this programming within the field and lays out a framework for leaders and program staff looking to transform short-term GED programs into more intensive, college-connected designs.

2011
John Garvey, with Terry Grobe
Jobs for the Future

Available financial aid covers only a fraction of what community college students pay for their education.  To finance their studies, many of them enroll in school only part time and/or work more than 20 hours per week, strategies that increase their likelihood of dropping out. To help address this problem, this report highlights strategies adopted by higher education institutions to increase the financial resources of their students. The practices outlined either help students access existing financial aid or provide students with new types of aid. 

PROPOSALS OUTLINED:

  • Helping students access available financial aid by providing one-on-one assistance with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid; mandating that students meet with academic and financial aid counselors; and, implementing student-centered financial aid administration practices.
  • Allocating institutional grants on the basis of need so that students can meet their financial obligations, work less, and focus more on their studies.
  • Developing emergency aid programs that have flexible eligibility criteria, simple application and approval processes, are advertised widely and link students to other financial services.
  • Easing the cost of transportation for students by negotiating discounts with public transportation systems and offering transportation subsidies.
  • Centralizing access to other forms of financial support. Given the income and demographic characteristics of community college students, a substantive number of them may be eligible for federal and state benefit programs (such as food stamps, tax credits, etc) that could help them obtain the financial resources they need to stay in school. Some community colleges help students access this aid by creating a “one-stop shop” on campus for all benefits.
  • Helping students access health insurance by creating consortiums among colleges to purchase affordable and comprehensive health insurance for students; incorporating the cost of health insurance in total expenses for uninsured students; and creating student health centers on campus.
2011
Viany Orozco & Lucy Mayo
Demos

Despite their best efforts, community colleges continue to see low rates of student persistence and degree attainment, particularly among academically vulnerable students. While it is likely that academic interventions need to be reformed to increase their efficacy, another partial explanation for these low success rates is that students have other needs that are not being met. This Brief, based on a longer paper, examines programs and practices that appear to address these needs by providing non-academic support in order to encourage student success.

A review of the literature on non-academic support yields evidence of four mechanisms by which such supports can improve student outcomes: (1) creating social relationships, (2) clarifying aspirations and enhancing commitment, (3) developing college know-how, and (4) addressing conflicting demands of work, family and college. Identifying these mechanisms allows for a deeper understanding of both the functioning of promising interventions and the conditions that may lead students to become integrated into college life. Notably, each of these mechanisms can occur within a variety of programs, structures, or even informal interactions. The Brief concludes by discussing avenues for further research and immediate implications for community colleges.

2011
Melinda Mechur Karp
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University

This article examines the role counseling plays in adult learner transitions from adult education programs to postsecondary education. In recent years, there has been a growth in the research on adult learner transitions to postsecondary education. In this brief, the research findings and recommendations are shared on the role of counselors in successfully transitioning adult learners to postsecondary education and ensuring they are successful in meeting their educational goals of entering postsecondary education.

2011
Cherise G. Moore, Ph.D.
California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project

Designed to be used by teachers and counselors in ASE, ABE, ESOL, and College Transition programs, this curriculum aims to encourage all students, at all levels, to begin thinking about and articulating short- and long-term career, educational, and life goals. It provides classroom-ready, flexible lessons, handouts, and online resources to prepare instructors and counselors to guide students through a supportive career awareness and planning process.

2009
Martha Oesch and Carol Bower
System for Adult Basic Education Support and the National College Transition Network

This report covers the wide variety of programs that help community college students succeed and gain credentials. It contains an overview of how colleges supported low-income students when the report was released in 2004. It examines high-leverage methods of providing support, highlights promising programs that employ these methods, and identifies the need and opportunities for additional services.

2004

Rogéair Purnell, Susan Blank, with Susan Scrivener, and Reishma Seupersad
MDRC