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.
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.
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.
- 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.