Accelerating Opportunity: A Breaking Through Initiative
The National College Transition Network (NCTN) is a partner in the Accelerating Opportunity Initiative – a multi-state effort to reform adult basic education and postsecondary systems by integrating basic skills with occupational training and adequate institutional support for adult learners. The project is managed by Jobs for the Future and is supported by a strategic partnership of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations. Joining the NCTN in sharing program and implementation expertise and serving on the Leadership Team are the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, and the National Council for Workforce Education.
This four-year initiative aims to drive economic recovery for individuals and communities by substantially increasing the number of adults who earn the credentials and skills they need to get and succeed in family-sustaining jobs. The initiative will engage nearly 40 community colleges across the country and impact over 18,000 adult learners. During the first year (2010-11) eleven states - Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Wisconsin - were each awarded $200,000 to redesign adult basic education and postsecondary programs.
In late 2011, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina received implementation grants of $1.6 million. In June 2012, Louisiana joined the initiative. During the three-year implementation phase, these states will:
In each state, the higher education agency governs adult education. Those agencies lead design teams of key stakeholders, including representatives of the governor’s office, state workforce development agencies, state data agencies, leading community colleges, and employers or employer associations in industry sectors with strong labor demand and career advancement potential.
In addition to serving on the Leadership Team, NCTN staff provides technical assistance and guides the development and implementation of the initiative’s professional development plan. An important part of the initiative’s learning opportunities are aimed at strengthening the skills needed to build an integrated basic skills career pathways model are online self-paced tutorials and courses facilitated by experienced specialists. NCTN created these courses in collaboration with Jobs for the Future, Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, and Minnesota FastTRAC.