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case studies

To highlight the growing importance of business engagement in education, the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) and the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have released a joint publication titled Thriving in Challenging Times: Connecting Education to Economic Development Through Career Pathways.

The publication’s title reflects an increasing awareness among American employers and business leaders of the critical role they must play in supporting successful education models in their local communities, particularly in challenging economic times.

Thriving in Challenging Times profiles 17 local and two statewide career pathways programs from across the U.S. by documenting the challenges, strategies, results, and business engagement each partnership has experienced.  Featured industry sectors range from aerospace to healthcare to nuclear energy with business involvement ranging from small businesses to multinational corporations.  Each program includes three essential elements for ensuring students are prepared for college and careers –secondary, postsecondary, and business/industry engagement components.

Institute for a Competitive Workforce and National Career Pathways Network

States increasingly see performance-based funding in adult education as a way to distribute resources fairly, promote accountability, and strengthen local programs. It is intended to assist state policymakers and adult education administrators in making more informed decisions when designing state allocation formulas using performance funding. To gain a better understanding of how these systems operate, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), U.S. Department of Education, commissioned a study of adult education fiscal policies in selected states using PBF to allocate program resources. This cross-case analysis report summarizes findings from case study site visits conducted in three states—Indiana, Kansas, and Missouri—which are among the most experienced in using performance-based funding to allocate federal, state, or both, types of resources. 

MPR also developed a literature review and theoretical framework on performance-based funding, available here.

In 2008, OVAE introduced its Technical Assistance to States on Performance-Based Funding initiative and contracted with MPR to provide training and TA. MPR worked with 12 states to help them develop or revise funding formulas to incorporate performance-based funding. Each state received customized technical assistance that involved convening a state task force, aligning state goals with funding criteria, modeling funding formulas, and creating a plan to introduce PBF to adult education programs. The final report from this project, available here, profiles the 12 states that received TA.

MPR Associates, Inc.
MPR Associates, Inc., prepared for: U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education Division of Adult Education and Literacy

Community colleges must fundamentally changing the way they deliver Adult Basic Education instruction in order to help all students earn credentials that hold value in today’s economy. Achieving Ambitious Goals highlights what five Breaking Through colleges are doing to not only advance adults’ skills and career prospects but also to scale up successful programs across campuses and state systems.

Barbara Endel and Nate Anderson, with Jeremy Kelley
Jobs for the Future

This report highlights programs in 14 communities that are successfully addressing the challenge of providing disadvantaged young adults with the technical and postsecondary education that may qualify them for skilled positions.

Maureen R. Bozell and Melissa Goldberg
Workforce Strategy Center

The principal question set forth by the Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI) and The Working Poor Families Project was: what role could a state play in instituting career pathways? Also examined were what strategies a state could employ to bring colleges, workforce and economic development agencies, community organizations, and employers to the table to accomplish this.

Rosana Perry Stephens
Seattle Jobs Initiative, Washington

This toolkit, prepared for the Bridges to Opportunity initiative, describes how states can use longitudinal data on community college students for program improvement and evaluation. It includes case studies of states that have used data systematically and strategically to drive institutional change.

Peter Ewell
University of Texas at Austin

This report examines and draws lessons from the case studies of five community colleges around the country that created bridge programs to college and careers for disadvantaged adults.

Christopher Mazzeo, Sara Y. Rab and Julian L. Alssid
Workforce Strategy Center