Press Release: Jobs for the Future to establish the Policy Leadership Trust for Student Success to advance state policy improvements for community colleges

Published jan. 27, 2015

Trust will develop white papers and action agendas on developmental education, implementation of pathways to completion, transfer, and outcomes-based funding

Boston, MA – To accelerate state progress in scaling up academic and career pathways for millions of students in community colleges, Jobs for the Future announced today at its 2015 Winter State Policy Meeting in Seattle that it will establish a national brain trust charged with solving crucial state policy challenges affecting campuses.

The JFF Policy Leadership Trust for Student Success will identify high-priority policy barriers that block community college students from graduating and earning credentials. Co-chaired by Dr. Reynaldo Garcia, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Community Colleges, and Dr. Scott Ralls, president of the North Carolina Community College System, it will be composed of leaders who participate in JFF’s Postsecondary State Policy Network and other policy influencers involved in broad-scale improvements to serve large numbers of students across campuses in their states.

With generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and staff support from Jobs for the Future, the policy group will comprise more than 40 participants from leading states, among them state community college system heads, legislators, and leaders of campuses, state networks, and support organizations. They will participate in one of four task forces focused on:

  1. Redesign of developmental education
  2. Design and implementation of pathways to graduation and credentials
  3. Credit transfer between community colleges and four-year institutions
  4. Outcomes-based funding

"This group will be part think tank and part policy laboratory," says Michael Collins, JFF's associate vice president for postsecondary state policy. "We're not looking for checklist strategies and easy wins but for systematic ways to design and implement policies to support effective on-the-ground innovations at scale. We are tackling the hardest issues—we expect the Trust to drive significant changes."

The Policy Leadership Trust will meet several times each year for two years and develop white papers and action agendas to meet the need for:

  • Greater knowledge and transparency on effective implementation of evidence-based policy improvements
  • Collective, national thought leadership on the thorniest barriers to helping community colleges increase graduation rates and accelerate achievement for low-income students
  • Effective policy solutions, informed by college experience, that advance large-scale, sustainable improvements on the ground
  • Tools, support, research, and information for a diverse group of system-level policymakers who are implementing these improvements