The U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps program provides education and training to disadvantaged young people. It offers high school education services combined with career and technical training in a residential setting. The Cascades College and Career Academy (CCCA) pilot is an ambitious and evidence-based attempt to improve upon the Job Corps model for its younger participants, those 16 to 21 years old.
Similar to all other Job Corps centers, the CCCA, based in Washington State, provides room and board, as well as recreational and health services, to its participants. It differs from standard Job Corps programs in that it further integrates academic and technical training, workforce preparation skills, and support services into clear career pathways. In particular, CCCA offers career pathways in information technology and health care. Each pathway includes high school and college academic services, career and technical training, work-based learning, and life skills training. CCCA also uses a “student-centered design” model that is intended to improve student engagement and ownership in the program. The length of service at CCCA can be up to three years.
An evaluation team, led by researchers from Abt Associates in partnership with MDRC, is conducting a rigorous study to assess the extent to which the CCCA model helps students increase educational attainment and training receipt, obtain industry-recognized credentials, and advance to higher levels of education and employment.