This resource provides an overview of key lessons for replicating and scaling the Accelerating Opportunity initiative, a national initiative that aims to enable adults with low basic skills to acquire postsecondary credentials and subsequent careers.

“Accelerating Opportunity is a national initiative of Jobs for the Future to enable adults with low basic skills to acquire valued postsecondary credentials and rewarding careers. It offers pathways to economic opportunity for those left behind in the nation’s recovering economy, through integrated instruction in basic skills and career and technical education; team teaching; accelerated learning; and structured career pathways, bolstered by comprehensive student support services. Based on four years of designing and managing Accelerating Opportunity, Jobs for the Future and [its] partners have uncovered critical lessons for replicating and scaling this promising initiative for adult learners (p.1)."

Major Findings & Recommendations

  • The Accelerating Opportunity model can be taken to scale with modest investments. 
  • Establishing scale and sustainability requires effort from the start. 
  • State context matters more than state governance of adult education. 
  • Accelerating Opportunity is "all about partnerships."  
  • Support services must be more than optional.
  • Technical assistance is of greatest value directed to ground-level practitioners.
  • Pathways need to be more numerous, longer, and part of a college-wide conversation.
  • Team teaching is highly challenging but powerful— for students, faculty, and the college as a whole.
  • Culture shift is possible and transformative.
  • Setting a high bar brings results.
  • Support is needed for rigorous, independent evaluation, while ensuring that states can track needed data in "real time."
  • Credit is a key motivator for students.