Examines the level of innovation within community colleges through an assessment of a Michigan initiative aimed at assiting low-skilled adults gain marketable postsecondary credentials.

Michigan's No Worker Left Behind (NWLB) Initiative began in 2007 to retrain tens of thousands of Michiganders to qualify for jobs in emerging and expanding sectors of the economy, and "had a dramatic effect" on three of five community colleges in the study (p.28). "Dislocated workers already were present in each community, and some had enrolled on their own initiative. But the initiative significantly increased the enrollment of dislocated workers at these colleges by providing funding, a local point of access, and a persuasive message from state officials at every level" (p.28). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

"The state of Michigan took on a vital and difficult task in 2007: weaving federal workforce funding streams into a coherent system that would enable adults to retrain for new careers. While any overall judgment of the success of No Worker Left Behind will take longer to determine, we found that the effort led to important breakthroughs at community colleges around the state. The institutions we visited made significant changes to support adult students and boost their chances of success. Administrators at these colleges, ranging from field staff to presidents, directly credited No Worker Left Behind as a spur to their efforts. While the program faces an uncertain future, as do many workforce programs in the current fiscal climate, policymakers and institutional leaders in Michigan have learned a great deal in the No Worker Left Behind era. Those lessons deserve to be shared, scaled up and sustained." (p.32) (Abstractor: Author)