This week, we highlight resources that describe innovative alternative pathways that develop the skills of opportunity youth and adults. The first resource presents a six-pillar career pathways framework that includes enrollment policies, participant support, labor market alignment, connections to jobs, training mix, and program financial stability. The second resource profiles agencies such as the Stride Center, Year Up, and Hack the Hood; which demonstrate effectiveness within the six pillars.

Path to Employment: Maximizing the Impact of Alternative Pathways Programs Part 1: Establishing Effective Program Pillars. 2017. This resource explores how alternative pathways programs can improve education and employment outcomes for low-income adults and describes six pillars of program design. It draws on a broad-based scan of notable practices and interviews with education providers, employers, and stakeholders across the country. “The goal of this initiative was to better understand the emerging ecosystem of…non-accredited, employment-oriented education and training initiatives that promise a pathway into the workforce for opportunity youth and adults.” Through a “qualitative analysis of hundreds of companies and organizations delivering education, training, and related services to adult learners” and interviews with stakeholders, the authors “explore how an expanding segment of non-traditional programs are both helping low-income adults improve their skills and connecting them to meaningful entry-level jobs and new career pathways.” 

Path to Employment: Maximizing the Impact of Alternative Pathways Programs Part 2: Program Profiles. 2017. This resource describes successful operations strategies and activities to demonstrate the effectiveness within each of the specific program pillars. It profiles nine alternative pathways programs in California, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New York. The program profiles focus on optimal models and further describe how one or more design principles are implemented to reach low-income adults. For example: a regional workforce development program supported its enrollment policies through “the Holistic Evaluation model by…[evaluating] the presence of `addressable’ and `non-addressable’ barriers that exist for candidates while also identifying specific issues and challenges that may impact the ability [of these candidates] to participate in and meet program requirements.” This resource profiles the following agencies: 180 Skills, BankWork$, Code2040, Flatiron School, Hack the Hood, Opportunity Junction, Per Scholas, the Stride Center, and Year Up.