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CAEL CONFERENCE

Philadelphia November 2008


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Breaking Through

A partnership of the National Council for Workforce Education and Jobs for the Future supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, and the Office for Vocational and Adult Education.


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Breaking Through/Background

Our target population:

Low-skill adults: scoring <8th grade in Reading/Math

Rationale:

8th grade TABE scores are the cut-off for most non-credit workforce training programs in the U.S.—i.e., the threshold for skill advancement.


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Millions of Americans have low reading/math levels

88 million

lack literacy skills needed to enroll in college-level occ/tech degree programs

36 million

lack HS credential

52 million

ended their education

with a high school

diploma

50 million

have skills too low even to qualify for non-credit training(TABE/ 8th grade)


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Breaking Through/Background

Our goal:

Connect low-skill adults to community college professional/technical certificates/degrees

Rationale:

Community college certificates/degrees are the threshold to family-supporting wages.


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THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES

Community college degree programs are the threshold to family supporting wages

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female


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IMPACT ON EARNINGS--WASHINGTON STATE

“The Tipping Point”:

One year’s college credits plus a certificate

Compared with students who earned <10 credits, those who reached the tipping point had an average annual earnings advantage of:

  • Entered as ESL students $7,000

  • Entered as ABE/GED$8,500

  • Entering w/ a H.S. credential$2,700-$1,700

    *David Prince and Davis Jenkins, Community College Research Center


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Increasing Recognition of Impact on State Economies

North Carolina

“We’re not training enough people to fill the jobs of the 21st century….And if we don’t adjust quickly ….we’re going to have a shortage of skilled workers for decades to come….It’s going to be hard for our children and grandchildren to find the kind of jobs that will be generated in the world’s economy.”

--Scott Ralls, new President of the North Carolina Community College System, in Facing Brutal Facts: North Carolina Community Colleges in the New Economic Landscape


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Breaking Through/Background

Breaking Through program:

Connect low-skill adults to community college professional/technical certificates and degrees

Rationale:

Despite the great need for such programs, our 2004 research very low success rates for low-skill adults entering and completing college


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DATA FROM WASHINGTON STATE

Cohort entering community colleges in mid 90s.

Associate’s Degree After 5 Years

Prince and Jenkins, 2005


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WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE LOW SUCCESS RATES?

Our 2004 research suggested four problematic areas at the institutional level:

  • Programs for adults are profoundly disconnected

  • Support services generally unavailable, but extremely important

  • The pace of learning is too slow

  • Lack of labor market payoffs


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WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE LOW RECORD OF SUCCESS (cont)?

Little interest in the low-skill adult issue in think tanks and academic.

Some practitioners in community colleges were working on these problems, but (a) none had an entire pipeline in operation, and (b) they were isolated— no forums in which to share innovations and challenges.


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2005 PROGRAM DESIGN FOR BREAKING THROUGH

  • Framework of four “high leverage” strategies:

    • Create clear pathways into college professional/technical programs

      • First “chunk” aimed at <8th grade adults

      • Industry/occupational focus

      • Seamless transitions from each “chunk”

      • Accommodate part-time/working students

    • Provide comprehensive support services


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2005 PROGRAM DESIGN FOR BREAKING THROUGH

  • Accelerate the pace of learning

    • Most programs contextualize remedial curriculum around their selected industry(ies)

  • Create labor market payoffs for success in remedial pathway

  • Fund demonstrations sites at selected colleges

  • Hold regular peer learning meetings for practitioners to learn from each other


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    PROGRESS TO DATE

    • Over 30 community colleges in the Breaking Through network, 7 of them funded demonstration sites

    • Over 1200 adults enrolled in the demonstration programs

      • Very high retention rates

      • High levels of certificate/degree attainment


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    COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF DENVER

    FOCUS: Test accelerated learning strategies for developmental education students

    SIGIFICANT LEARNING: is very intense, and requires careful screening of students for readiness

    EVALUATORS: More than 40% of Breaking Through participants completed gatekeeper English and Math courses relative to 10% of the comparison group. Breaking Through students have completed midlevel English developmental classes at a much higher rate than a comparison group (e.g., 90% compared to 63%).


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    SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS COMMUNITY COLLEGE

    FOCUS:Establish career pathway to prepare low-skill adults as LPNs

    SIGNIFICANT LEARNING: It was essential to get approval from the state licensing board

    EVALUATORS: first two cohorts of LPN students retained at much higher levels through the developmental education sequence than traditional students (96% vs. 50-60%) in half the time of the traditional delivery mode.


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    OWENSBORO COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE

    FOCUS: Create pathways to certificates and degrees for incumbent workers benefitting from customized training

    SIGNIFICANT LEARNING: Piloted new methods in “ABE” to attract attention of developmental education and college-level faculty


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    OWENSBORO COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE

    EVALUATORS: 180 students in three pathways (industrial maintenance, nursing, and management/supervision). Of them, 46 enrolled in the manufacturing program, and 61% are still taking courses toward a higher certification level, with 3 students having completed the AAS degree and another 12 having completed certificate(s). 78 students started the business program. 69% have completed and the rest are continuing.


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    Breaking Through

    Background

    Information

    &

    Resources


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    BREAKING THROUGH DEMONSTRATION COLLEGES

    Central New Mexico CC, Albuquerque NM

    CC of Denver, Denver CO

    Cuyahoga CC, Cleveland OH

    Durham Technical CC, Durham NC

    Owensboro CTC, Owensboro KY

    Portland CC, Portland OR

    Southeast Arkansas CC, Pine Bluff AR


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    BREAKING THROUGH LEARNING COLLEGES

    Cerritos College, Norwalk, CA

    CC of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

    CC of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

    Houston CC, Houston TX

    LaGuardia CC, NYC, NY

    North Shore CC, Danvers, MA

    Northampton CC, Bethlehem, PA

    Piedmont Virginia CC, Charlottesville, VA

    South Seattle CC, Seattle, WA

    St. Philips’ College, San Antonio, TX

    Tacoma CC, Tacoma, WA

    Tallahassee CC, Tallahassee CC

    York County CC, Wells, ME


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    BREAKING THROUGH COLLEGES

    North Carolina

    • Davidson CCC, Lexington

    • Durham Technical CC, Durham

    • Forsyth Technical CC, Winston-Salem

    • Pamlico CC, Grantsboro

    • Pitt CC, Winterville

    • South Piedmont CC, Polkton

      Michigan

    • Grand Rapids CC, Grand Rapids

    • Henry Ford CC, Dearborn

    • Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor

    • Mott CC, Flint

    • Macomb CC, Warren

    • St. Clair CC, Port Huron


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    Resources

    Breaking Through: Helping Low-Skilled Adults Enter and Succeed in College and Careers Jobs for the Future (2004) breakingthroughcc.org

    Reach Higher, America: Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce. Jun 26, 2008. www.nationalcommissiononadultliteracy.org/report.html

    North Carolina Insight. Facing Brutal Facts: North Carolina Community Colleges in the New Economic Landscape. by Scott Ralls …www.ncccs.cc.nc.us/External_Affairs/President/brutal%20facts%20article.pdf

    Adult Learning in Focus: National and State-by-State Data. CAEL and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems www.cael.org/adultlearninginfocus.htm


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