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Case Study/Profile

Improving Economic Mobility for Adult Learners Initiative

Improving Economic Mobility for Adult Learners Initiative

March 22, 2023

At a Glance

The Improving Economic Mobility for Adult Learners Initiative aims to improve postsecondary success for adult learners. Achieving the Dream (ATD) and Jobs for the Future (JFF) developed the initiative to expand and enhance current policies and practices that states and institutions have designed and implemented to improve outcomes for adult learners in community and technical colleges. We define adult learners as individuals who are 21+ years old and have not yet completed a postsecondary certification or degree. This initiative will include regular coaching, peer learning events, technical assistance, and funding to enable states and institutions to implement changes.

Practices & Centers

Initiative Overview

The Improving Economic Mobility for Adult Learners Initiative seeks to build upon the current financial incentives and supports offered in many adult-focused programs to implement more transformative policies and practices to support the paths of adult students to economic advancement. Fundamentally, the student experience and pathways approach must be based on the understanding that adults who return to college do so with the goal of career and economic advancement. Through this initiative, Jobs for the Future (JFF) and Achieving the Dream (ATD) are supporting teams in three states comprised of state higher education leaders and institutional leaders from three community and technical colleges within each state. This intentional combination of stakeholders will ensure supportive alignment through policy and practice changes being made at the state level and within each institution on the state team.

Goals & Outcomes

  • Improve student advising processes, including using labor market data and reviewing prior learning experiences.
  • Progress on implementing at least two policy or practice changes at state and institutional levels.
  • Support for adults most marginalized by existing systems: adults experiencing economic hardship and Black, Latinx, and Indigenous populations.

State Teams

  • Virginia Community College System
    • Germanna Community College
    • Central Virginia Community College
    • Tidewater Community College
  • New Jersey Council of County Colleges
    • Atlantic Cape Community College
    • Hudson County Community College
    • Union College of Union County
  • The MI Office of Sixty by 30
    • Grand Rapids Community College
    • Delta College
    • Macomb Community College
This initiative is supported by the following funders: