Transforming Adult Education Systems
More than 26 million adults lack a high school diploma. While just over 2.5 million of these individuals are enrolled in adult basic education programs, many of them leave after only a semester or two, without earning any form of postsecondary credential. Accelerating Opportunity, a Joyce-supported program, seeks to change the way adult basic education is delivered by putting students on track to earn a postsecondary credential and providing them with the support needed to succeed.
Managed by Joyce grantee Jobs for the Future (JFF), Accelerating Opportunity: A Breaking Through Initiative. Accelerating Opportunity seeks to replicate and evaluate new teaching strategies built upon two successful initiatives — Breaking Through and Washington State Board of Community and Technical College’s Integrated Basic Skills and Training (I-BEST).
Breaking Through is an initiative of JFF and the National Council on Workforce Education that promotes the efforts of community colleges to help low-skilled adults prepare for and succeed in occupational and technical degree programs. The program’s lesson plans help students develop basic reading and math skills while they also learn technical skills. It also provides comprehensive support services, connects course content directly to employer needs, and provides students a clear job pathway. The I-BEST model pairs adult literacy and technical development, so adult students without a high school degree can earn college credit while working toward a vocational certificate and learning basic skills needed for employment.
Watch: Accelerating Opportunity Testimonials
Five states – Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina – currently receive funding to participate in the 3-year Accelerating Opportunity implementation phase. These states will develop and scale up integrated curriculum based on I-BEST and Breaking Through, and promote the implementation of the successful curriculum across the state. By identifying successful strategies at the state level, community colleges across the state can work together so even more students can learn the skills they need to get a family-supporting job.
Download: Press release annoucing final five states
The goals of Accelerating Opportunity, which will run through 2014, are:
At least forty colleges across five states will be implementing Accelerating Opportunity pathways in multiple professional/technical areas.
At least 40,000 students will be progressing through pathways to marketable, stackable, credit-bearing credentials.
At least 18,000 students will have in hand at least one marketable, stackable credit-bearing credential and at least one term’s worth of credit; they will also be ready to enter additional college-level programs without enrolling in developmental education.
States policies and financing models will sustain effective Accelerating Opportunity programs and expand them to assist many more adult learners in obtaining postsecondary credentials.
States will have engaged community colleges in a learning network to facilitate the adoption and scale-up of Accelerating Opportunity pathways.
The Joyce Foundation is particularly interested in the independent evaluation of Accelerating Opportunity initiatives in each state. The Foundation’s Employment Program works to ensure transform adult education systems so underprepared adults can learn the skills they need to get a job in their community. The work focuses on identifying new and promising solutions in the Great Lakes states and determining how the results can be replicated across the country. Accelerating Opportunity findings will be shared with leaders in philanthropy, labor, employers, adult education planners and others to ensure the successful strategies from the five participating states will be shared with education systems nationwide.
Accelerating Opportunity Testimonials