Student Success Stories from Shifting Gears
Shifting Gears is an initiative to promote economic growth in the Midwest by improving the education and skills training of the workforce in five states ― Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. These states are strengthening connections between education and training systems to make sure that low-skilled adults gain the education and skills they need to get a good job with the potential for career advancement. CLASP manages the initiative, which is supported by the Joyce Foundation.
The five states are pursuing diverse innovations to connect low-skilled adults to postsecondary and career success. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are implementing statewide "bridge programs", which connect adult basic education or developmental education with postsecondary-level coursework. Bridge programs also connect basic skills education to particular occupations, provide non-academic supports, and provide career advising services. This combination of support services and instruction creates an environment in which students are more likely to complete postsecondary credentials with value in their regional labor market.
Michigan is pursuing policies to create Regional Partnerships that would include partners from adult education, postsecondary education, and workforce development. These partners will work together to create a statewide system of lifelong learning that enables adults, even those with low basic skills, to earn credentials and build careers.
Ohio is streamlining basic skills services provided by the adult education and workforce systems and using data to improve state policy and local practice. They have developed metrics that will allow administrators and policymakers to understand how students transition in and out of education and training systems in the state.
The map links to testimonials from students and staff about how programs developed under the Shifting Gears initiative have enabled adults to access postsecondary education, upgrade their skills, and obtain better family-sustaining jobs. To learn more about the policies that each state is pursuing under the initiative, visit the Shifting Gears web site.