Best Bet Profiles

Best Bet Services

Helping Students Find Their Best Bet

Providing tools and training to help students identify Best Bet programs that align with their interests and the needs of local employers.

Clare Bertrand
Associate Director
617.728.4446 x131
cbertrand@jff.org
@cbertrand88

Best Bet Profiles

Sample Best Bet Profile

Research shows that the best path to a career with a family-supporting wage is through a postsecondary program that leads to a credential with value in the labor market. However, while postsecondary education is critical, not all postsecondary education and training programs are equally good fits, particularly for young people with limited time and means to invest. Certain college, job training or apprenticeship programs have higher returns on investment than others, and programs vary considerably in the levels of academic and social supports provided to help students persist once they enroll. To help young people make informed decisions about which postsecondary programs to choose, Jobs for the Future defined a set of criteria that would lead students to a “Best Bet” postsecondary program. These programs:

  • Are accessible to students
  • Meet students' interests
  • Pay off quickly in a credential with value in the labor market
  • Have evidence of retention and placement in well-paying jobs with advancement potential

Using a process based on uncovering programs that meet these criteria, Jobs for the Future develops tools known as “Best Bet Profiles.” Each profile typically includes: 

  • A summary of the selected best bet college or job training program
  • Important occupational information including job duties, regional pay, employer names, and skills employers seek
  • A sample career ladder/roadmap
Jobs for the Future has created Best Bet Profiles with, and for, our partners in the field. Below, you will find examples of this work. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn more. 

Best Bets in Boston

In 2016, through the Ford Corridors of College Success Initiative, we partnered with the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston to develop Best Bet Profiles for opportunity youth in the Dudley Village Campus:

Best Bets in New York City

JFF previously developed Best Bet Profiles for a set of transfer high schools and high school equivalency programs in New York City with generous funding from the Pinkerton Foundation:

View how we develop Best Bet Profiles.

Counselors/advisors and teachers in schools (e.g., high schools, community colleges) and high school equivalency programs can download and use these Best Bet Profiles to:

  • Begin conversations about what kinds of information students need to know as they explore their postsecondary and career options (labor market, postsecondary program, and employer information)
  • Help students understand why networking is essential to gathering this information, and practice this skill to get “inside” information on careers and programs of interest to them— information not typically found on websites or brochures for college or job training programs
  • Show students a sample “map” of a postsecondary and career path (students can use or adapt this format/design to create their own)
  • Incorporate labor market data more proactively into instruction and guidance around postsecondary and career exploration
  • Ground or supplement activities on postsecondary and career exploration, including connecting them to academic lessons (e.g., What does a surgical technologist do that relates to what we learn in biology?)
  • Improve students’ literacy, numeracy, research, and analytical skills
  • Help students become more informed consumers of their education by asking the right questions