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Workforce Trainees at Jefferson Community and Technical College

By Wendy Erisman
Strix Research, LLC
 

Jobs for the Future (JFF) has designed its multi-state Adult Completion Policy Project (ACPP) to use policy change at the state or system level to help community colleges increase credential attainment for low-skill adults. In each state that is a part of the project, JFF conducted a policy audit focused on areas of particular importance in supporting adult college completion, and the state or system then developed a workplan designed to improve selected policy areas. JFF staff also provided technical assistance in each state and hosted cross-state convenings throughout the four-year project.

In Kentucky, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) chose to integrate their ACPP work with a broader statewide effort to improve educational outcomes for low-skill adults. The focus of the ACPP portion of this work was on identifying students who had earned college credit through customized training programs set up for their local employers by the community and technical colleges and then working to transition these individuals into programs leading to a postsecondary credential. Workforce Transition Coordinators located at each college and funded by KCTCS were tasked with re-enrolling these students, and as of 2013, had re-enrolled nearly 2,000 students. At many colleges, moreover, the Workforce Transitions Coordinator became the go-to person for career-seeking adults interested in enrolling at the college.

One such college was Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC), in Louisville, Kentucky. At JCTC, the Workforce Transitions Coordinator attends customized trainings at local employers to reach out to the trainees about furthering their education and to provide them with information on the college’s career and technical programs. This work complements JCTC’s involvement in Metropolitan College, an education-workforce-economic development initiative supported by JCTC, the University of Louisville, local and state government, and United Parcel Service (UPS), which has its headquarters in Louisville. UPS employees can attend either JCTC or the University of Louisville and be reimbursed by UPS for tuition and books. Metropolitan College has also offered opportunities for postsecondary education to employees of other major employers in the Louisville area.

Students who enroll in JCTC through these various employer-based programs are eligible to use the college’s new Adult Student Center. The center houses an office for Metropolitan College advisors and offers any adult student services such as information on academic programs of interest to career seekers, assistance in navigating college procedures, information about financial aid resources, career and job search assistance, and computer skills training. JCTC has also recently joined AACC’s Plus 50 Completion program, and the Adult Student Center will serve as a key point of contact for the older adult students this program will attract. While extending well beyond workforce trainees, JCTC’s employer and adult student focused programs have opened doors to postsecondary education for many adult career-seekers in the Louisville area.

Learn more about Metropolitan College:
metro-college.com/aboutus/default.aspx

Learn more about JCTC’s Adult Student Center:
http://jefferson.kctcs.edu/Workforce_Solutions/ASC.aspx

Note: Strix Research works with Higher Ed Insight, serving as the independent evaluator for Lumina Foundation's adult college completion strategy.

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