A Cross-Case Analysis of Career Pathway Programs that Link Low-Skilled Adults to Family-Sustaining Wage Careers

A Cross-Case Analysis of Career Pathway Programs that Link Low-Skilled Adults to Family-Sustaining Wage Careers

Oct 2007

Authors:

Debra D. Bragg
Christine D. Bremer
Marisa Castellano
Catherine Kirby
Ann Mavis
Donna Schaad
Judith Sunderman

Executive Summary:

In recent years, access to community colleges has stretched beyond its initial conception in the 1960s when most community college students were traditional-age learners who sought to transfer to a four-year college or pursue career preparation to enter the workforce. Today, nearly half of the nation’s college students enroll in community colleges in which the student body is equally or more diverse than the communities in which they reside, where the average age of students is over 25, where students enroll in non-credit coursework and stop in and out routinely, where the preponderance of students are unemployed or working in low -wage jobs, and where an ever-growing proportion of these students are immigrants and English language learners (ELLs). Recognizing these trends, scholars have argued that community colleges should con-tribute to an equity agenda that enhances educational and economic opportunity for low-skilled learners. Career pathways can serve as a primary means of meeting low-skilled learners’ needs by systematically linking disparate education and training systems using the community college as the nexus for partnerships and program delivery.

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Bragg, D. D., Bremer, C.D, Castellano, M., Kirby, C., Mavis, A., Schaad, D., & Sunderman, J. (2007). A cross-case analysis of career pathway programs that link low-skilled adults to family-sustaining wage careers. St. Paul, MN: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education.