Explores how Alternative Pathways Programs can improve education and employment outcomes for low-income adults in California and describes six pillars of program design, drawing on broad-based scan of notable practices and interviews with education providers, employers, and stakeholders across the country.

“In the latter half of 2016, [the authors] conducted national research…regarding innovative education-to-employment opportunities for low-income adults. The goal of this initiative was to better understand the emerging ecosystem of Alternative Pathways Programs, which are generally non-accredited, employment-oriented education and training initiatives that promise a pathway into the workforce for opportunity youth and adults. In particular, [the authors] sought to explore how these models could support low-income adults and other underserved populations to enhance their readiness and access to sustainable employment opportunities and longer-term career pathways.

For the purposes of this initiative, ‘low-income adults’ are defined as those earning less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Line, may be unemployed or if employed face limited opportunities for career advancement, and have no or limited exposure to postsecondary education activities” (p.3).

Using “qualitative analysis of hundreds of companies and organizations delivering education, training, and related services to adult learners” (p.39) and interviews with stakeholders, the authors “explore how an expanding segment of non-traditional programs are both helping low-income adults improve their skills and connecting them to meaningful entry-level jobs and new career pathways” (p.3).

This resource, “[t]he first publication in this series[,] introduces and defines Alternative Pathways Programs and their appeal as a catalyst for augmenting California’s existing infrastructure of institutions and programs serving low-income adults with education-to-employment pathways. [The authors] identify six Program Pillars that represent critical design considerations for providers seeking to achieve outcomes with low-income adult participants.

The second publication [(a separate resource) takes] a closer look at how a dynamic cohort of Alternative Pathway program organizations, located in California and beyond, are driving success for participants through well-designed enrollment, support, and workforce alignment models, among other Program Pillars” (p.3).

Full publication title: Path to Employment: Maximizing the Impact of Alternative Pathways Programs Part 1: Establishing Effective Program Pillars

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)