Services for Community Colleges

Services for Community Colleges

Providing Expert Assistance to Community Colleges to Maximize Success

Offering comprehensive technical assistance to help partners maximize the success of education and job training programs that improve career opportunities for lower-skilled adults.

The need for improvements in college completion is compelling. Rising student debt and a growing insistence that college credentials translate into good jobs with family-supporting incomes compound the challenges facing community colleges today.

Jobs for the Future has helped hundreds of community colleges increase the number of lower-skilled adults completing college and earning relevant credentials. Our goal is for the nation’s 1,200 community colleges to provide the most effective pathways from basic academic skills to postsecondary credentials with high value in regional labor markets, while using outcomes data to further support and innovation for programs, and scale them across their states.

More than one-third of American workers lack the skills needed to access and succeed in family-supporting careers. For 93 million adults, very low academic and occupational skills have created almost insurmountable barriers to family-supporting careers or even entry into technical training programs that could lead to good jobs at decent wages. Yet millions of jobs remain unfilled, despite high unemployment, as employers in health care, construction, finance, manufacturing, and other sectors report difficulty in finding workers with the right skills.

Our nation’s system for educating and training adults has not changed significantly since it emerged during an industrial age when organizational structures, technology, and skills requirements evolved little from year to year or decade to decade. That system is woefully inadequate today. Limited and inflexible funding, weak connections between education and workforce providers, and low employer investment in training of entry-level employees all severely limit the ability of workforce systems to respond to rapid changes in business models, technology, and job requirements.

Jobs for the Future helps community colleges and consortia build education and training pathways that enable workers and jobseekers to earn postsecondary technical and occupational credentials leading to high-quality employment. Our services combine on-the-ground technical assistance in planning, designing, implementing, and scaling up career pathways, with coaching, state and federal policy advocacy, and participation in extensive peer learning networks. Senior teams from JFF guide all services to community colleges. Our staff brings 30 years of experience and expertise working in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, with postsecondary institutions, employers, and state policy stakeholders.

We tailor assistance to the needs of individual clients at the local, state, and national levels. Our services address these critical areas:
  • Career pathway program design
  • Industry-postsecondary partnerships
  • Employer engagement
  • Professional development
  • Peer learning networks for practitioners
  • Data analysis
  • Financing strategies
  • Labor market information analytics
  • Advocacy and policy change
  • Low-skilled adults at 41 community colleges to advance through remediation and postsecondary credential programs within a reasonable time frame, thanks to JFF’s Breaking Through initiative.
  • More Adult Basic Education students at 55 community colleges can enter postsecondary education and earn credentials they need to succeed in family-supporting careers, thanks to Accelerating Opportunity programs in seven states.
  • Well over 40 community colleges have made strides in aligning their programs and curricula to the needs of area employers by utilizing real-time labor market information through JFF initiatives.
  • 2,600+ national leaders in education and workforce reform have shared and learned innovations and data-proven practices to help strengthen our workforce and our economy at 25+ JFF-led peer-learning convenings since 2012.
    • Scaling

      Scaling Innovation in Community Colleges: A Guide to Action

      As community colleges across the country look for ways to promote student success, the need for scaling effective approaches is critical. This guide builds on a framework of four phases of scaling: planning, initiating, expanding, and sustaining. With the aim of translating the framework to promote action on the ground, the guide outlines key concepts, questions, and action steps related to each of the four phases. The guide draws on lessons from multiple JFF initiatives designed to promote student success in postsecondary education, and offers examples of key concepts in action.

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    • Employer Engagement

      A Resource Guide to Engaging Employers

      This resource guide presents working models of successful employer engagement and lessons for securing and sustaining partnerships with employers. It was written to help education and training providers fully realize the value of strategic, long-term, and intensive partnerships with employers. The resource leads readers thorugh a continuum of activities supporting these partnerships, with each level involving deeper engagement and integration of employers into the work

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    • Real Time LMI

      Success in Real-Time: Using Real-Time Labor Market Information to Build Better Middle-Skill STEM Pathways

      Success in Real-Time: Using Real-Time Labor Market Information to Build Better Middle-Skill STEM Pathways encourages states to support their colleges as they use high-quality, real-time labor market information to align the creation of middle-skill STEM pathways with robust career opportunities, and provides recommendations and examples for how states can do so. This brief stems directly from Achieving the Dream and Jobs for the Future's work with STEM Regional Collaboratives, generously supported by the Helmsley Charitable Trust. JFF and ATD have worked with community colleges to build supportive pathways that lead students directly into exciting STEM careers in their local labor markets, a process that relies upon the improved data now available through real-time labor market information.

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