The Accelerating Opportunity Initiative is designed for adults to gain the skills they need for today’s jobs through innovative education that leads to an industry-recognized credential.

“Accelerating Opportunity responds to the nation’s growing need for improved pathways from Adult Basic Education (ABE) to credentials of value in the labor market. It builds on promising practices developed in Breaking Through, an initiative of Jobs for the Future and the National Council for Workforce Education, and Washington State’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST). Accelerating Opportunity will take those proven practices to statewide scale. The size of this initiative—up to a total investment of $19 million over four years—yields a prime opportunity to rethink the role of ABE systems in helping adults develop marketable skills and enter viable career paths" (p. 3).

Accelerating Opportunity is a community college initiative of Jobs for the Future in partnership with the National College Transition Network, the National Council on Workforce Education, and the Washington Board for Community and Technical Colleges. The goal is to create a multi-state program where participating students will earn marketable, stackable, college level credentials. There are currently 11 states participating in the design phase: "and by the end of the implementation phase, each participating college will have fully scaled up its Accelerating Opportunity pathways, enrolling at least 40 percent of the target population in them. At least 25 percent of the target population will have earned a marketable credential and at least one term worth of credit (or on track to do so) by the end of the implementation phase" (p. 16). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff).

Full Publication Title: Building Integrated Pathways to Sustainable Careers: An Introduction to the Accelerating Opportunity Initiative


Major Findings & Recommendations

"Accelerating Opportunity will build on prior [ABE] initiatives [of the last two decades], taking into consideration three primary lessons learned through them: • Scale matters. While innovative programs have improved outcomes for small numbers of students, only a very few have shown the potential to expand their models to reach a critical mass of students. • The classroom experience is central. The classroom is where students connect with faculty and instructors, and the classroom experience ultimately affects students’ desire and ability to advance. • Practice + Policy = Impact. Sustainable change in ABE systems requires not only improving classroom experiences but also simultaneously changing the state and institutional policies and structures that support or impede those improvements. outcomes for small numbers of students, only a very few have shown the potential to expand their models to reach a critical mass of students" (p. 5). (Abstractor: Author)