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

The Breaking Through Practice Guide

Jobs for the Future

JFF developed the Breaking Through Practice Guide to help practitioners serve adults who have low literacy and math levels and who want to succeed in postsecondary education. The Practice Guide highlights innovations from community colleges that participating in the Breaking Through initiative between 2005 and 2009. Since then, the colleges have continued to collaborate in Breaking Through, exploring, refining, and implementing these innovations.

The Practice Guide has four components, each devoted to a “high leverage strategy” that community colleges and other programs can adopt to increase their success with low-skilled younger and older adults.

  • Accelerated learning
  • Comprehensive support services
  • Labor market payoffs
  • Aligning programs for low-skilled adults

These components can be used individually or as a set to put low-skilled adults on the path to family-supporting incomes. The Practice Guide also includes:

  • The Contextualization Toolkit
  • Supplementary materials, including information about JFF's Advisor Training Toolkit

The goal of Breaking Through is to promote the development of practices and policies that connect low-skilled adults with postsecondary occupational or technical education. Breaking Through is a collaboration between JFF, a research and advocacy organization that develops education and labor market models that enable American families to compete in a global economy, and the National Council for Workforce Education, an organization of community-college-based workforce-development leaders.

Breaking Through originated in research funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in 2004. The demonstration phase, from 2005 to 2008, was supported by the Mott Foundation and several other funders. The documentation and expansion phase, in 2008 and 2009, was supported by the Mott and Gates foundations. JFF created this guide with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Today, Breaking Through is supported by grants from the Mott Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, and the state of Kentucky.