Resources & Publications

Community Colleges and Nonprofits Working Together Can Help Improve Outcomes for Low-Income Students

Dec 17, 2010

In 2008, the Aspen Institute’s Workforce Strategies Initiative (WSI) began Courses to Employment, a three-year demonstration project designed to showcase the importance of community college-nonprofit partnerships in ‘addressing the special supports low-income adults need while they work and learn, and subsequently make employment advances.’  Putting Adult Learners on the Road to Success, a new video from WSI, features participants from two of the Courses to Employment partnerships, Training Futures/Northern Virginia Community College and Capital Idea/Austin Community College.

Maureen Conway of the Aspen Institute articulates the vision of Courses to Employment: “Low-income Americans want to work but they really need the opportunity to get the skills, credentials, and degrees that employers are looking for in today’s labor market. Community colleges and nonprofits working together can really make that opportunity a reality.

For these students, many of whom are first-generation college students, a key component of the program is the impact it has on building their confidence and helping them realize their dream of attending college. Says one student, “I was the first person in my family to go to college and just the idea that there was something better out there…I had heard stories, but didn’t think that it was something that was possible for me or for my family.”  

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