“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…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 participants. In particular, [the authors] sought to explore how these models could support low-income adults…to enhance their readiness and their access to sustainable employment opportunities and longer-term career pathways.
In Part 1 of Path to Employment, [the authors] defined ‘Alternative Pathways Programs’ and reviewed their potential to augment the education-to-employment pathways for low-income adults. In addition, [the authors] identified and described six Program Pillars that represent critical design considerations for providers seeking to achieve outcomes with low-income adult learners.
Those Program Pillars—and their development and application among a cohort of notable Alternative Pathways Programs—form the framework of this publication” (p.3). Using “qualitative analysis of hundreds of companies and organizations…(p.26) and interviews with stakeholders, “Part 2 of Path to Employment highlights how a dynamic cohort of the Alternative Pathways Program…are driving success for participants through well designed models…draw[ing] on the principles included in [the] six Program Pillars.
The six pillars are described below:
- “Enrollment Policies: Processes and guidelines for evaluating and admitting participants”; Optimal model: Holistic Evaluation (p.4).
- “Participant Support: Resources and methods that support participants in overcoming life challenges”; Optimal model: On-site support and strategic partnerships (p.4).
- “Labor Market Alignment: Level of program fit with the needs of employers and the local/regional economy”; Optimal model: Regional training flexibility (p.4).
- “Connections: Extent to which program connects participants with employers and other job search resources”; Optimal model: Opportunity connector (p.4).
- “Training Mix: Balance of curriculum emphasis on soft skills vs. academic and technical skills”; Optimal model: Balanced approach to hard and soft skills (p.4).
- “Financial Model: Ability to generate revenue and achieve organizational sustainability”; Optimal model: employer as payer (p.4).