Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas
The Kansas Board of Regents, in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce, has implemented Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas (AO-K) to transform the delivery system for adult education in the state. The goal is to deliver career and technical education at the same time as adult basic skills instruction within a career pathways framework. Students complete short-term certificate programs aligned with labor market needs, leading to industry-recognized credentials and immediate jobs.
The Board of Regents is working toward publishing its AO-K credential approval list. With this list of AO-K-approved credentials, Kansas adults will more easily find short-term certificate programs aligned to labor market needs that will lead to family-sustaining wages.
The Board also is developing a proof of concept for publishing military transfer information to the Credential Registry. Enhanced transparency of credit for prior learning opportunities would help active military and veterans make choices that can accelerate achievement of their postsecondary education goals, while also reducing costs.
Kansas lists more than 2,400 credentials at Credential Engine’s Credential Funder.
This work builds on prior efforts:
- From 2012 to 2015, Kansas community and technical colleges enrolled over 3,000 students in 30 career pathway programs, awarding over 3,000 industry-recognized credentials in areas such as health care, welding, manufacturing, and aero-structures. More than 800 students self-reported employment after completing their programs.
- In July 2013, the Kansas Department for Children and Families partnered with the Kansas Board of Regents to offer a tuition scholarship program to support Kansans enrolled in AO-K career pathway programs who qualify to receive TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) benefits.
- Kansas was a founding participant in this national initiative managed by Jobs for the Future and funded by six philanthropies: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Open Society Foundations and the University of Phoenix Foundation. Kansas received $1.8 million for both design and implementation phases. In addition to Kansas, Accelerating Opportunity has been implemented in seven other states: Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas.
Partners: Kansas Board of Regents; Kansas Department of Commerce; 17 community and technical colleges across Kansas that are implementing Accelerating Opportunity; Credential Engine for Registry efforts
Link to Resources: https://www.kansasregents.org/workforce_development/accelerating-opportunity-kansas
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