This report is aimed at informing community college and workforce leaders of best practices for launching and expanding partnerships to serve students more effectively. Co-published by AspenWSI and Achieving the Dream in November 2015, the report reveals the stages of forming a new partnership, using a case study of the partnership between Virginia Western Community College and Goodwill Industries of the Valleys.
This publication summarizes research from AspenWSI’s Courses to Employment project, which studied how six community college-nonprofit partnerships work together to help low-income adults succeed in the classroom and the labor market. The report provides an overview of the approach and strategies these partnerships use, how these partnerships are structured in terms of institutional roles and responsibilities, and what factors influence how these partnerships are structured. It also describes the education and employment outcomes participating students achieved during the Courses to Employment project.
This publication discusses findings from a 2013 national survey AspenWSI conducted of nonprofit- community college partnerships that are working to help students complete their educational goals and obtain employment. The report provides an overview of the various strategies and activities of these collaborations; including the the student populations they serve, the industry sectors they target and how they engage employers, and the funding streams and resources they leverage. The report also summarizes survey respondents’ views on the benefits of implementing partnerships as well as the challenges encountered in implementation.
Using the experiences of organizations in the WSI-managed Courses to Employment demonstration, this publication explores why and how some of these partnerships work to maintain relationships with adult participants after they have finished their training. It also presents a number of the challenges to developing and sustaining effective approaches, and provides various points to consider in designing a long-term engagement strategy. One partnership in the demonstration project – Capital IDEA in Austin, Texas – has made a particularly strong commitment to long-term engagement of participants both during and after training; its story is highlighted in the paper.
Based on findings from the Courses to Employment (C2E) Demonstration Project, this publication highlights how workforce programs and partnerships blend multiple funding streams to meet students’ individual needs and address their unique barriers in order to allow them to complete their educations and obtain a better job. The publication draws on data from C2E partnerships’ financial records, and interviews with program leaders about their funding and service strategies as well as focus groups with participants about the supports they received. The diversified funding strategy is illuminated through the stories of three students that persisted in school and completed training with the help of the supportive services they received from a C2E partnership. Using these three stories, the report tracks the source of each of these supports, discusses how the partnerships managed these resources, and discusses the different funding and policy environments that C2E partnerships experienced while leveraging these different funding streams. The publication also discusses the challenges and opportunities in developing such a diversified funding strategy and highlights the organizational capacities needed to manage and implement this funding structure.
This publication describes how Northern Virginia Family Service, a nonprofit organization, and Northern Virginia Community College partner together to provide Training Futures, a six-month training program designed to help low-income adults in Northern Virginia start new careers in office administration and advance towards degrees and certificates in college. We share information about participants and the education and employment outcomes they achieve, program design, recruitment strategies, curriculum, training approach, services provided, employer involvement and funding. We also discuss the history of the program and partnership, partners’ roles and responsibilities, key staff members, planning processes, data management, and key innovations and lessons learned from the partnership.
This publication explores the challenges adult learners face as they attempt to enter community college, persist to completing a certificate or degree, and successfully transition to employment. The report shares detailed examples of these challenges including how some adult learners struggle with financial aid and registration processes, inadequate career counseling, insufficient support services, and a lack of professional networks they need to get a job after college among others. The report also offers numerous examples of strategies nonprofit-community college partnerships use to help adult learners overcome hurdles such as these.
During te Courses to Employment demonstration project, AspenWSI conducted participant outcomes assessments on students served by nonprofit-community college partnerships. These assessments looked at students’ demographics and their education and employment experiences prior to and after their participation in a training or education program. For some programs, students’ employment and education data were also captured while students were in training in order to observe interim milestones and progress. The outcomes reports include detailed statistics, tables, and charts on students’ outcomes.
A growing body of practice and data suggests that college/career navigation assistance programs are drivers of student retention, completion of training programs, and employment advancement for nontraditional students. To aggregate resources and tools that are available on this topic, AspenWSI developed an annotated bibliography that contains links to 28 different resources and guides for college/career navigators.
How do community college-nonprofit partners plan their work together? What roles and responsibilities do each play? Who are key staff involved in these partnerships? What types of student data do partners need to know if their work is effective? Tools in this area answer some of these questions and include planning and scheduling tools, job descriptions, data-sharing waivers, and Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs).
Job Descriptions and Staff Responsibilities
Memoranda of Understanding and Partnership Agreements
Partnership Planning Tools
Student Agreements and Waiver Forms
Partnerships often implement curricula that integrate learning objectives that are usually delivered separately or not at all in traditional college programming. Such learning objectives may be related to technical skills, academic developmental skills, job search, professional networking skills, and communication skills, among others. They may also include objectives such as helping students improve their self-esteem and motivation. Tools in this area include descriptions of curricula, descriptions of innovative pedagogical approaches, lesson plans and other teaching resources.
Curricula, Lesson Plans and Instructional Resources
Innovative Pedagogical Approaches
Community college-nonprofit partnerships incur expenses in their work together, and they often blend multiple funding streams to cover these expenses and support their students. Tools in this area include documents that show partnerships’ budgets, revenue sources and detailed accounts of expenses.