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We organize our work into three areas to help low-income youth & adults:

Forging New Pathways: The Impact of the Breaking Through Initiative in Michigan

Jennifer B. Schanker & Judith C. Taylor

The Michigan Center for Student Success commissioned this study to determine whether strategies employed to improve adult students' success at 41 Breaking Through colleges nationwide have taken root at Michigan's original colleges and spread beyond them. A statewide survey revisited four of the colleges profiled in previous publications, and the research looked more closely at two additional colleges that have experimented with Breaking Through-type programs. 

In this research, some themes emerged to guide future state investments: 

  • The importance of scaling up from “boutique” programs to serve more students; 
  • The need to create clear pathways between noncredit workforce training and credit programs leading to Associate’s degrees in occupational disciplines; 
  • The significance of investment in upfront program features such as skill assessments and career guidance; and 
  • The role of workforce training programs in incubating student success strategies. 

Based on this research, the Center for Student Success has created a new initiative, Michigan Pathways to Credentials, to broaden the impact of Breaking Through strategies and support the development of career pathways across the state. Supported by a grant from the Kresge Foundation, six colleges will scale up their efforts to support adult students in obtaining credentials leading to family-sustaining careers.