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Ford Foundation Project: “Bridges to Opportunity - Postsecondary Access and Success for Low-Income Students.” Presented to House Higher Education Committee.

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Presentation on theme: "Ford Foundation Project: “Bridges to Opportunity - Postsecondary Access and Success for Low-Income Students.” Presented to House Higher Education Committee."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ford Foundation Project: “Bridges to Opportunity - Postsecondary Access and Success for Low-Income Students.” Presented to House Higher Education Committee Sept 16, 2005 Tina Bloomer, Student Achievement Project Director, SBCTC David Prince, Senior Research Manager, SBCTC Don Bressler, President, Renton Technical College

2 Overview The Bridges project provides ways to identify policy goals to increase education attainment and workforce success for CTC students. The Bridges project is helping us learn how best to serve low income students, in particular working age adults. The results are applicable to all students.

3 The importance of Bridges to our colleges and state: Community colleges are an important entry point to higher education for adults with no previous college experience. Age makes an enormous difference in access and success. (Moving Into Town – and Moving On, The community college in the lives of traditional-age students, Adelman 2005). Adults between 25 and 64 represent 35 percent of full-time equivalent enrollments at two-year public colleges compared to 15 percent of FTE undergraduate enrollments at four-year public institutions (IPEDS Fall National Enrollment Survey, Fall 2002). Research demonstrates that education makes a difference in income and has a positive impact on the economy.

4 Today’s Discussion: Following the Vision- An Integrated Strategy The importance of working age adults to the health of our economy (research findings) A ground level view of the issues from a college’s perspective Advancing the Bridges framework  combining literacy and workforce training  applied baccalaureates  WorkFirst  financial aid

5 Research Findings: Education and Workforce Outcomes for Low-Skill Adults

6 Research Goals Create a better understanding of working age adults with high school education or less, or non-English speaking--the importance to the economy of having a qualified workforce and needs for post-secondary education Identify the state-level policy implications and identify ways to help colleges enhance results for students and employers

7 Educational attainment and economic attainment are closely linked.

8 If society’s economic health is directly related to the economic attainment of its members. How are we doing with the least skilled? 1 out of every 4 persons has no high school diploma. More than 1/3 of the working age population in WA (25-49 years old) has a high school education or less. Non-English speakers 25 or older doubled in the last census. Nearly half of all Latino/Hispanics 25 or older have less than high school education.

9 Society’s economic health... working age adults- and relationship to the economy Total working age adults with high school education or less and younger people (18-24) with less than high school diploma (Census 2000) All high school graduating classes added together between = Working age adults with less than high school education or non-English speaking = 1 in every 5 labor force participants through 2030

10 Economic attainment: 1 year of college level credits plus a credential is the tipping point for students needing to find career pathways. Study tracked 35,000 working age adult students who came to CTC’s with high school education or less, or non-English-speaking. 6 years after college start, the highest value-added for work success 1 year + credential gives future earnings bump:  = $7,000 more per year for ESL students  = $8,500 more per year for an ABE student  = $2,700 and $1,700 more per year (respectively) for workforce students entering with a GED or HSD only Jobs that need 1 year college level credit +credential are among those in greatest demand.

11 To get more to the tipping point requires fixes.. Adults with low skills need pathways to greater educational attainment and higher skill jobs. Financial aid designed for traditional students going straight from high school to a college or university doesn’t suit working-age adults needing to stop in and out as they follow a path. Educational steps today aren’t always additive and for non-English speakers or those with less than high school education, the first steps to “become ready” take too long- with little immediate benefits.

12 Jump start training cuts short before real gains are made. Short 1 st step training focused exclusively on getting a job, with less attention to educational attainment, results in lower future earnings when students don’t return … and they often don’t.  Students who complete short custom training to get a job (but attain less than 1 year of college credit) earn $3,800 less per year than those who have credential + 1 year of college credit … $6,800 less per year if they started from basic skills.

13 Overarching Vision Unskilled Labor Semi-skilled Labor Entry Level – Skilled Labor Entry level - Technician Skilled Technician Technical Professional ABE/ESL Literacy with workforce Less than one year 1 Yr Credit + Credential Associate Applied Science Applied Baccalaureate

14 Findings and Implications for Policy Educational attainment for the least educated adults in society is an important (but often neglected) health indicator for our economy and for having a qualified workforce. Working age adults with high school education or less and ESL is a pipeline into the workforce as big as 10 high school graduating classes. Entails building and extending educational pathways leading to high skill/high wage jobs, thinking of financial aid in new ways, combining steps to remove hurdles. Will we have a system to meet the structural and dynamic demands of this workforce for at least 1yr college+ credential?

15 Combined Literacy and Workforce Training Programs Relatively few ESL students transition to workforce training. If they do transition, it is typically to training for jobs on the lowest rung on the ladder with few advancing beyond to higher wage and higher skill jobs. The model being used to combine literacy and workforce training pairs ESL and professional technical instructors to accelerate transition to skills training by providing instruction together in the classroom. The pilots studied student results and program costs to bring this model to scale in phase two.

16 Applied Baccalaureates Colleges will be selected based on analysis of gaps in service delivery, capacity, and student and employer demand for programs. The baccalaureate pilots and university centers bring education to people where they need it. People are able to come and to finish what they started.

17 WorkFirst 75%-80% of TANF adults have a high school diploma or less when they come on the case load and no better when they exit. WorkFirst doesn't currently emphasize longer-term education and skill development necessary for getting and keeping jobs.

18 WorkFirst Redesign Goals Create a shared assessment process of work and educational backgrounds as well as personal circumstances Provide earlier access to colleges Provide longer training where it fits

19 House Bill 1345:Part-time student Aid- A significant new initiative for non- traditional working adults Lack of financial aid targeted specifically to non-traditional working adults is a major barrier. This aid needs to attract students who may not even see themselves as aid eligible. The students include part time workforce students, students in basic skills, and workers who are not currently engaged in education.

20 Financial Aid Policy We are working with the HECB to identify and track two-year colleges and students utilizing the financial aid pilots. We will measure access and success for non-traditional students.

21 Summary: Today we provided a lens to view non-traditional populations Working Age Adult Research Project Combined Literacy and Workforce Training Programs Applied Baccalaureates WorkFirst Financial Aid

22 Questions


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