Press Release: New JFF Initiative, Accelerating CTE, Receives $950,000 Grant to Improve Completion in CTE Pathways

Published apr. 25, 2016

JFF Receives Grant from ECMC Foundation to Help Underprepared Learners in Kansas and Kentucky Complete Career and Technical Education

Jobs for the Future is pleased to announce a $950,000 grant from the ECMC Foundation for Accelerating CTE, a new initiative to improve persistence and completion in career and technical pathways at four community colleges in Kansas and Kentucky. JFF will be partnering with West Kentucky Community and Technical College, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Neosho Community College (KS), and Hutchinson Community College (KS) to develop integrated CTE pathways that incorporate team teaching and comprehensive supports.

Workers with a sub-baccalaureate credential can earn considerably more than their peers who lack a credential, or even than many workers with a Bachelor’s degree. But fewer than 50 percent of those who enroll complete the program and earn the credential, and, of those who do attain an initial credential, relatively few come back to get a higher-level credential that would allow them to advance professionally and earn more. Accelerating CTE will build on JFF’s highly successful Accelerating Opportunity model to address these gaps in completion and persistence. Accelerating Opportunity, which launched in 2012, is now being implemented in 85 colleges across 7 states. Over 10,000 students have enrolled in AO pathways and have earned over 12,000 credentials.  

The Accelerating CTE model will build on the core elements of the Accelerating Opportunity model, including team teaching between an academic skills instructor and a CTE instructor. Participating colleges will also explore additional elements designed to improve student persistence beyond the first credential, such as stronger career advising, earn-and-learn strategies, flexible course schedules, improved access to financial aid, and partnerships with employers to design and implement strategies that support working students as they balance employment with continued education and training. The participating colleges in Kansas and Kentucky have a strong track record of implementing AO and see tremendous potential for using the AO approach to enable more students to complete their CTE pathways and attain self-sustaining careers. 

“JFF is excited about working with these four innovative colleges on expanding the Accelerating Opportunity integrated pathways approach to enable more adult learners to earn CTE credentials with strong labor market value,” says Maria Flynn, JFF Senior Vice President. “We believe this approach has the potential for major impact on CTE completion rates at community colleges.” The three-year grant will allow JFF to collect data on outcomes and return on investment, and JFF will use that data to bring evidence-based best practices to scale at community colleges across the nation.  

Grantees will gather on May 9-10 to kickoff the initiative at grantee college West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah, KY.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future is a national nonprofit that works to ensure educational and economic opportunity for all. We develop innovative career pathways, educational resources, and public policies that increase college readiness and career success, and build a more highly skilled workforce. With over 30 years of experience, JFF is the national leader in bridging education and work to increase mobility and strengthen our economy.

About ECMC Foundation

Funded by ECMC Group, ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation with current assets of $354 million. The mission of ECMC Foundation is to inspire and facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. The foundation has three priority investment areas: teacher development, college readiness and retention, and career readiness. ECMC Foundation prioritizes evaluation and measurement and is committed to sharing its impact.