The New World of Work (NWoW), a program that promoted teaching soft skills—the capabilities and habits that affect communication, social interactions, and problem-solving—operated briefly in over 75 community colleges in California. This brief describes statistical analyses of assessments NWoW used to grant credentials in those soft skills.
Lessons from the New World of Work
Increasingly, companies are favoring skill-based requirements—such as communication and writing—in job postings. In response, postsecondary educators are looking for ways to teach these “soft skills” explicitly. This brief outlines practical considerations and recommendations for developing and implementing soft-skills instruction in a postsecondary setting.
A Model for Postsecondary Career and Technical Education
This brief highlights lessons from the City Colleges of Chicago Centers of Excellence model, which has redesigned each of the system’s seven campuses as a “college-to-career center” and consolidated academic programs in high-demand industries at particular campuses.
Career and Technical Education Connects the Dots
The economic recession triggered by the global pandemic has magnified the need for high-quality programs that can help students acquire the skills, training, and postsecondary credentials they need to thrive in the workplace. Here are some programs that studies show improved academic outcomes and increased earnings.
How Community Colleges Are Advancing Equity in Career and Technical Education
Community college career and technical education (CTE) can fill shortages in the labor market while providing a pathway to economic mobility. But can it do so equitably? In 2019, MDRC’s Center for Effective CTE conducted a scan of notable programs across the country to find out more.
Evidence Underlying Programs and Policies That Work
This brief, a collaboration with Results for America, identifies the major categories of career and technical education within the nation’s secondary and postsecondary education systems and describes the existing research on whether these programs are achieving desired outcomes for students.
Boot Camp at Tarrant County College
This study examined a “Boot Camp” program designed to reinforce basic mathematics functions for college students with limited math, reading, and writing skills, to prepare them for developmental-level courses. Three features made the program unique: computer-assisted, self-paced learning; a focus on individual learner progress; and in-class help from College-Readiness Advisors.
Data can help career and technical education programs refine their models, pinpoint successes, and communicate lessons with funders and stakeholders. Drawing in part on conversations with leaders in the field, this brief outlines four steps programs can take to strengthen their data-collection and measurement activities and develop robust data strategies.
In the spring of 2019, MDRC invited practitioners from innovative career and technical education (CTE) programs to discuss questions of equity. This policy brief summarizes the most common equity challenges that were raised in the discussion, along with ideas that emerged for how to address them.
A growing number of education and workforce programs are implementing “career pathways” strategies to help youth and adults prepare for postsecondary education and quality jobs. This Issue Brief describes the career pathways approach and profiles MDRC projects that shed light on its effectiveness and potential to improve education and career outcomes.