Career and technical education programs are trying to address challenges faced by disadvantaged students, particularly Black students and other students of color. Access is only part of the path to equity as these programs focus on inclusive workplace environments, meaningful mentorships, and language that emphasizes strengths rather than real or presumed deficits.
When COVID-19 upended normal operations at STRIVE, a workforce development nonprofit founded in New York, the Center for Applied Behavioral Science at MDRC documented the agency’s real-time innovations that allowed it to continue serving clients during the crisis. Greg Wise, STRIVE’s National Vice President, shared a first-hand account of the transition.
Many schools are using technology-based tools to generate career recommendations and supplement the capabilities of their guidance departments. MDRC has partnered with two technology companies to test whether their career-advising software programs are viable tools for equitably supporting students as they identify and pursue future careers.
Amid keen interest in helping students, young adults, and low-wage workers build the skills necessary to succeed in a technologically advanced economy, MDRC is studying a range of programs that feature employer involvement, such as career pathways from high school into college and the workforce, work-based learning, apprenticeships, and sectoral training.
The Experience of a New Program for Young People Involved in the Juvenile Justice System
STRIVE International engaged MDRC to help the organization improve a new program model aimed at increasing educational attainment and employment of young adults involved in the juvenile justice system. This Issue Focus describes the partnership and offers advice to organizations implementing new programs on how to build evidence of effectiveness.
Even in good economic times, workers with limited education may need help getting or regaining a foothold in the job market. Effective career training programs exist. Approaches that target in-demand industries and closely involve employers can get results, benefiting high school students, adults without diplomas, and long-term unemployed workers.
The GED Bridge to College and Career Program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Nearly 30 million adults today lack a high school credential and face significant barriers to higher education and employment. This Issue Focus describes an evaluation of a career-focused GED program that aims to help these adults obtain a high school credential and transition seamlessly into postsecondary education or training.
Easing the Transition to Adulthood for Vulnerable Young People
This infographic describes MDRC’s results from the largest random assignment evaluation of a program serving youth people aging out of the foster care and juvenile justice systems. After one year, YVLifeSet, a program run by Youth Villages, boosts earnings, increases housing stability and economic well-being, and improves outcomes related to health and safety.
This two-page issue focus describes two projects — one completed and the other just started — testing a career-focused GED curriculum model that aims to improve high school credentialing and college entry rates. It offers a contextualized, career-focused GED curriculum, while supporting students in their transition to college or training.
Improving the employment outlook of disadvantaged young people on a large scale will require a stronger focus on engaging private employers on potential solutions. On June 4, 2014, MDRC and The Rockefeller Foundation convened a group of experts to discuss such demand-driven approaches.