The vast majority of young people need a postsecondary credential to thrive in today's knowledge-based economy. By 2020, 68% of U.S. jobs will require one. But millions of Americans graduate high school unprepared for college or career success. Only 21% of entering U.S. high school students graduate on time, enter college immediately, and earn an Associate's degree within three years or a Bachelor's degree within six years.

Our best chance of preparing millions more Americans for the jobs of the future is by enabling higher education's most underrepresented populations (i.e., dropouts, minorities, low-income students) to succeed in college and other career training programs. JFF works with public and private partners across the country to design and expand models that: build basic skills, improve high school instruction, increase graduation rates, increase college entry, and provide crucial supports to help college students and job trainees advance toward credentials with high labor market value.

All the pathways we codevelop and adapt with our partners share similar features:

  1. Acceleration

    Students or trainees learn more material in less time, which engages their interest and increases their chance of obtaining a credential.

  2. Contextualization

    Instructors teach skills in the context that students will use them in their daily lives or in jobs that they're pursuing.

  3. Scalability

    Evidence-based and promising practices should have the ability to be replicated in other institutions and communities.

  4. Industry-Responsive Design

    Strong collaboration with employers inform the skills, competencies, and credentials employers need from education and training programs.

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About Our Areas of Work
We organize our work into three areas to help low-income youth & adults: