Describes the Des Moines Area Community College Workforce Training Academy Connect program, including program goals, the population served, and training and support services offered, with a specific focus on how it integrates the core elements of career pathways.

“A substantial gap exists between the skills of the labor force and the needs of employers in many high-growth industries, including healthcare, technology and manufacturing. This gap results in unemployment while well-paying jobs go unfilled. At the same time, many low-skilled adults persist in low-wage work with little opportunity for advancement. Career pathways programs aim to address the economy’s vital need for skilled workers while offering low wage workers the opportunity to obtain education and training and advance into the middle class.

To achieve their goals, career pathways programs offer low-skilled adults well-articulated training and employment steps targeted to locally in-demand jobs combined with promising instructional approaches and supportive services. Policy makers and practitioners show…interest in career pathways programs, in part because such programs provide guidance for developing improved education and training approaches for low-skilled individuals. Along these lines, the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study is using an experimental design to assess the effectiveness of nine career pathways programs across the country….

This profile is an overview of the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Workforce Training Academy Connect (WTA Connect) program. Designed and operated by DMACC in Des Moines, Iowa, WTA Connect targets students who otherwise would not be eligible to enroll in vocational training certificate courses because of their low skill levels.

The program intends to accelerate entry into vocational training by enabling students to pursue basic skills and occupational training simultaneously. Through support services and advising, WTA Connect aims to equip participants for success in their chosen course of study.

This profile first describes the career pathways framework used in the PACE evaluation, which provides a common approach for describing and assessing career pathways programs, and then discusses DMACC’s WTA Connect model and how it fits within this framework” (p.1-2).

The profile is part of a series of resources about PACE, including profiles of the other involved programs, reports on implementation findings, and an impact report.

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: PACE Career Pathways Program Profile: Des Moines Area Community College Workforce Training Academy Connect Program