Improving Economic Mobility for Adult Learners Initiative - Achieving the Dream & Jobs for the Future

Last Updated: 03/10/2024

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Overview

Achieving the Dream (ATD) and Jobs for the Future (JFF) are leading the Improving Economic Mobility for Adult Learners Initiative which launched in June 2023 and runs through December 2024. ATD and JFF co-developed this initiative to improve postsecondary success for adult learners in community and technical colleges, through expanding and enhancing policies and practices of states and institutions.

Adult learners are defined as individuals who are 21+ years old and have not yet completed a postsecondary certification or degree.

The initiative supports teams in three states (Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan) that are comprised of state higher education leaders and institutional leaders from three community and technical colleges within each state. This combination of stakeholders will ensure supportive alignment through policy and practice changes being made at both the state level and within each institution on the state team.

The state teams each receive:

  • $200,000 in funding
  • Regular coaching by experts in both policy and student success
  • Peer learning opportunities
  • Technical assistance.

The state teams are implementing and scaling strategies to increase learner application to enrollment yields, improve retention, accelerate credit completion, and lower out-of-pocket costs.  Strategies include:

  • Streamlining and standardizing Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) policies and practices.
  • Embedding industry-recognized credentials in academic programs.
  • Improving non-credit to credit program articulation.
  • Expediting the approval of new credentials aligned with labor market demand.
  • Providing customized academic and career advising to support the intersectional needs of adult students (including a focus on Black women in healthcare fields).
  • Expanding the use of technology to track and evaluate student progress.
  • Developing a statewide CPL directory.
  • Improving professional development for success coaches and advisors to include cultural competency and trauma-informed practices.

The teams are participating in a dissemination phase to share findings with the field.

Funders

Ascendium, ECMC Foundation, Frederick A. deLuca Foundation

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