Profiles nine Alternative Pathways Programs in California, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New York, and focuses on the six pillars, optimal models and highlighted programs to describe how one or more design principles are implemented to r reach low-income adults.

“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:

  1. Enrollment Policies: Processes and guidelines for evaluating and admitting participants”; Optimal model: Holistic Evaluation (p.4).
  2. Participant Support: Resources and methods that support participants in overcoming life challenges”; Optimal model: On-site support and strategic partnerships (p.4).
  3. “Labor Market Alignment: Level of program fit with the needs of employers and the local/regional economy”; Optimal model: Regional training flexibility (p.4).
  4. “Connections: Extent to which program connects participants with employers and other job search resources”; Optimal model: Opportunity connector (p.4).
  5. 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).
  6. Financial Model: Ability to generate revenue and achieve organizational sustainability”; Optimal model: employer as payer (p.4).
(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)