Evaluates Wisconsin’s Regional Industry Skills Education Partnership Career Pathway Bridges, a partnership between the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development that simultaneously provides adults with basic skills instruction and postsecondary occupational credit in order to increase the number of credits received and decrease the time to complete the credits and move along a career pathway.

The Regional Industry Skills Education (RISE) Partnership has the goal of “strengthening the development and implementation of adult career pathways and career pathway bridges in Wisconsin…. [T]he RISE partnership is working to enhance the learning opportunities and experiences of adult learners by establishing and implementing RISE Career Pathway Bridges (CPBs). A RISE CPB is an instructional strategy that aligns adult basic education with postsecondary occupational courses” (p.2).

This report presents results from a study that “examines the impact of RISE CPB participation on select academic and employment outcomes among WTCS’s adult basic education population….

The first section provides a description of RISE CPB implementation in Wisconsin as well as characteristics of the RISE CPBs offered during the 2012, 2013, and 2014 academic years.  The purpose of this section is to provide a profile of RISE CPB programs in Wisconsin during the study period.

The second section presents basic descriptive results for subgroups within the overall RISE CPB participant sample.  Although this section is primarily an exploration of demographic profiles, the results provide information that may be useful for future CPB development and implementation. 

The third section presents results from an evaluation of RISE CPB participation’s impact on academic and employment outcomes.  Propensity score matching was used to identify an appropriate comparison group, and the participant and comparison group outcomes were compared on a range of variables” (p.2).

The study was guided by the following research questions:

·         “Do CPB participants enroll in postsecondary occupational credits at a higher rate than non-CPB students?

·         Do CPB participants enroll in [and complete] more postsecondary occupational credits than non-CPB students?...

·         Do CPB participants enroll in, and complete, 12 [and 24] postsecondary occupational credits at a higher rate than non-CPB students?...

·         Do CPB participants enroll in, and complete, 12 [and 24] postsecondary occupational credits at a faster rate than non….

·         Do more CPB participants graduate than non-CPB students?

·         Do CPB participants have greater earning increases before and after the bridge term than non-CPB participants?” (p.14).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“The overall results, from the review of the CPB programming in Wisconsin between 2012 and 2014, suggest that the RISE Partnership has successfully facilitated system-wide development and implementation of CPB programs. The exploration of CPB participant outcomes suggests that, within the CPB participant group, select outcomes differ across select demographic and CPB subgroups. Finally, the CPB evaluation indicates that participation in a CPB is linked to improved outcomes on a series of variables. In particular, CPB participation may be particularly beneficial to students in [English language learner] ELL CPBs” (p.25). Additional findings presented in the report include: “An exploration of CPB offerings across colleges and by bridge subgroup suggests that some colleges have been more successful at implementing CPB programming while other colleges have been more successful at recruitment and enrolling students in their CPB offerings. Many colleges have developed and implemented at least 3 CPB programs, but at most colleges the enrollment in these programs is relatively low when compared with the entire basic education population” (p.25). “Within-participant descriptive analyses show differential outcomes among several demographic subgroups. In particular, economic status and ethnicity are related to postsecondary credit enrollment, with higher numbers of economically disadvantaged students enrolling in postsecondary credits than non-economically disadvantaged students, and fewer Hispanic CPB participants enrolling in postsecondary credits than non-Hispanic students” (p.25). The propensity score matching component of the evaluation found that “[p]articipants enrolled in postsecondary credits at a higher rate than controls. They also enrolled in, and completed, a greater number of postsecondary credits. Additionally, CPB participants are significantly more likely to have earned a credential. However, participants appear to take slightly longer to enroll in and complete 12 and 24 postsecondary credits after the first [Adult Based Education] class” (p.26). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)