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.
Findings from a Study of the Career Readiness Internship Program
Work-based learning opportunities vary widely across colleges and are rarely evaluated. Through the Career Readiness Internship (CRI) program, 33 colleges provided large numbers of low-income students with valuable career-focused internship experiences, and employers generally viewed the program positively. Nevertheless, CRI was difficult to maintain after its grant period ended.
Current Policy, Prominent Programs, and Evidence
This paper reviews the available evidence supporting various types of career and technical education programs, touching on both the amount of evidence available in each area and its level of rigor.
This grant program funds semester-long paid internships for college juniors and seniors with financial needs. These part-time opportunities, typically with hourly wages of $10-$14, are intended to provide meaningful experiences connected to students’ career interests. Despite some difficulties, many students had highly positive impressions of the program overall.
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.
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.
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.
Evidence from Promising Programs
A review of high-quality studies, this paper highlights interventions — in education, employment and training, and second-chance programs — that have demonstrated positive results for young men of color. It comes as policymakers and philanthropies focus new attention on investing more to build opportunities for these young men.
Lessons from Research on Welfare Training Programs and Two Promising Community College Strategies
This working paper, prepared for a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, reviews what is known about education acquisition by low-wage workers and highlights promising strategies being tested at several community colleges.