NCTN National College Transition Network
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Accelerating Opportunity: A Breaking Through Initiative

Accelerating Opportunity: A Breaking Through Initiative (AO) worked to transform how states, adult basic education programs, and community and technical colleges educate students with low basic skills by focusing on comprehensive student support services, accelerated learning, aligning basic skills instruction with technical concepts, and team teaching. The initiative started in 2011 in four states in 33 affiliated community colleges, as of 2015 seven states had implemented 194 integrated pathways in 85 colleges.

Jobs for the Future managed AO in partnership with the National College Transition Network, the National Council for Workforce Education and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. A consortium of foundations supported the initiative, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the University of Phoenix Foundation, the Arthur Blank Foundation, the Woodruff Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.

In addition to sharing leadership responsibilities, the NCTN designed and implemented the professional development needed for effective integrated basic skills career pathway programs. The NCTN’s contributions include:

  • Developing and offering online courses to support college and career navigators, and team teachers. These courses remain available to all via World Education's E-Learning PD Portal.
  • Planning and facilitating at AO peer learning institutes, presenting at national convenings, and providing customized coaching.
  • Designing, conducting and disseminating initiative-wide PD assessments.

See Lessons Learned from Accelerating Opportunity by Jobs for the Future and, The Second Year of Accelerating Opportunity: Implementation Findings from the States and Colleges by the Urban Institute and The Aspen Institute for evaluative data.

For more information about NCTN’s role, please contact Ellen Hewett at

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