Adult Basic Education - Career Prep/I-BEST
"One Step Forward Initiative: “Guide to Adult Education for Work: Transforming Adult Education to Grow a Skilled Workforce” National Center on Education and the Economy, 2009.
Description: This guide outlines specific steps policymakers, program administrators, and providers can taket to transform current Adult Basic Education programs to Adult Education for Work programs. Adult Education for Work is defined as the education and training low-skilled adults need to become prepared for post-secondary education or training, and for family-sustaining employment and career advancement.
“How I-BEST Works: Findings from a Field Study of Washington State’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Program” Wachen, John, Davis Jenkins and Michelle Von Noy; CCRC, 2010.
Description: This report examines how I-BEST operates in Washington state, and include results of telephone interviews with I-BEST faculty, staff, and administrators, as well as observations of classes. Includes overviews of I-BEST program characteristics and student characteristics.
Business and Information Technology Sector: Employment Trends & the SCCD Stackable Certificate Program
The business information technology (BIT) program is one of the longest and most established programs in the Seattle Community College District. Since 2009, SkillUp Washington has invested and engaged in the BIT program as part of its College for Working Adults initiative (CWA). Through CWA, SkillUp tested the use of system reform strategies with a potential for scale, such as compressed, stackable certificates (delivered to cohorts of students), college and career navigation, access to emergency supports, cross-college curricula alignment, and employer engagement. Furthermore, business technology (now known as BIT) was identified as a priority sector by the City of Seattle’s Pathways to Careers, a partnership comprised of businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and labor to build pathways to middle-wage jobs. Additionally, Seattle Jobs Initiative(SJI) provides wraparound supports, career navigation, and pathways to careers through training and education programs, including the BIT programs the Seattle Community College District. Because of SJI’s relationship with the Seattle Community College District and involvement in training for office occupations, SkillUp commissioned SJI to undertake the following research as part of its Social Innovations Fund and College for Working Adults investments in the BIT sector.
Download the report: Business and Information Technology Sector: Employment Trends & the SCCD Stackable Certificate Program
College Access, Persistence and Completion
“Effective College Access, Persistence, and Completion Programs, and Strategies for Underrepresented Populations: Opportunities for Scaling Up”; Spradlin, Terry E., et al.; Center for Evaluation & Education Policy, 2010.
Description: This study by the Center for Evaluation & Education Policy includes a literature review of thre major non-academic areas that are tied to student persistence, including financial, psychological, and institutional. It also has information about transition programs, mentoring and learning communities.
“Paving the Way to Postsecondary Education: k-12 Intervention Programs for Underrepresented Youth”; Gandara, Patricia; National Center for Education Statistics.
Description: This study showed that when there is close student, mentor, teacher relationships participants had lower rates of college remediation. It also showed that when students have a culturally sensitive counselor or mentor that leads to a 9% increase in college enrollment.
“How Do Pre-Collegiate Academic Outreach Programs Impact College-Going Among Underrepresented Students?”; Gullatt, Yvette and Wendy Ja; Pathways to College Network Clearinghouse, 2003.
Description: This study showed that students who received counseling services were more likely to enroll in college and complete freshman year. It also showed that providing a formal, long-term mentoring program that stresses academic goals and has contact at least once a week causes participants to have higher GPAs and higher rates of college attendance.
“College Knowledge: Addressing Information barriers to College”; Vargas, Joel H.,Ed.D; The Education Resources Institute (TERI), 2004.
Description: This study showed that students are more likely to attain a college education when they and their families are informed about how to prepare and plan for it. It also showed that even high achieving students from low-income backgrounds who aspire to attend college often encounter informational barriers which may prevent their enrollment.
College Completion Fund Report
The rising cost of college and the complexity and inadequacy of financial aid programs put college out of reach for a majority of lower-income working adults. The price of tuition, books and fees is soaring, and financial aid is not keeping up with these rising costs. One solution is to provide low interest loans through Community Development Financial Institutions, and to pair these new loans with financial coaching. With support through grants from Northwest Area Foundation and the Turnstone Family Fund, this paper seeks to explore this new idea to help students enroll, persist and succeed in post-secondary education and training.
This paper was commissioned by SkillUp Washington and Express Credit Union/ Express Advantage and prepared by Rich Nafziger, an economist and faculty member at Seattle University’s Institute for Public Service.
Click here to download the report: College Completion Fund Report.pdf
Click here to download the powerpoint: College Completion Fund Powerpoint
Economic Opportunity Center Feasibility Study
The City of Seattle in cooperation with SkillUp Washington, Impact Capital and SouthEast Effective Development (SEED) examined the feasibility of integrating multicultural service delivery at a single location accessible along the light rail line. This project stemmed from the legislature’s interest in replicating the Opportunity Center for Employment and Education model located on the campus of North Seattle Community College. Examined here is the possibility of creating a similar Center in Southeast Seattle that could help people get an education, get a job, or grow a business, and the findings suggest that such an Economic Opportunity Center is needed in and desired by the community.
Download the Executive Summary: EOC: Executive Summary
Download the Full Report:EOC: Final Report
To request a hardcopy of the Executive Summary or the full report, please email Ashley Plaga at
Employer Engagement-Workforce Development
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"Employer-Paid Tuition Advacement for Low-Income Workers" National Fund for Workforce Solutions, 2008.
Description:This brief reviews Children's Hospital Boston's tuition-advancement policy and how it addresses a major barrier in the advancement of low-income workers while meeting the employer's workforce needs.
Hospital Frontline Worker Green Training Project
Great things happen when frontline workers become a more integrated part of hospital care teams and work hand in hand with labor-management to design “green” projects and take a lead in the their implementation.
The Seattle-based Frontline Workers Green Training Projects is a SkillUp funded case study surrounding labor/management partners engaging frontline workers to lead hospital environmental sustainability efforts, supporting: people (patients, workers, the community)the planet (the environment); and profits (costs).
Download the report: Frontline Workers Green Training Project.pdf
Incentives and Student Achievement
“Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial” Angrist, Joshua, Daniel Lang and Phillip Oreopoulos; IZA, 2007.
Description: This is a report on a randomized field experiment designed to improve academic performance among entering full-time undergraduates. Two strategies were used. Results suggested a combination of the two strategies can have lasting affects on study skills.
“Effective College Access, Persistence, and Completion Programs, and Strategies for Underrepresented Populations: Opportunities for Scaling Up” Spradlin, Terry E., et al.; Center for Evaluation & Education Policy, 2010.
Description: This research includes a literature review of three major non-academic areas that are tied to student persistence, including financial, psychological, and institutional. It also evaluates Indiana’s Community College system and that state's experience participating in programs like Complete College America and Achieving the Dream. The literature review includes information about transition programs, mentoring, and learning communities.
“Paying for College Success: An Introduction to Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration” MDRC Policy Brief, October 2009.
Description: This policy brief outlines MDRC’s evaluation of four different states implementing performance-based scholarship programs (Ohio, New York, New Mexico, California) with brief descriptions of each program’s design and intended results.
“Rewarding Progress, Reducing Debt: Early Results from Ohio’s Performance-Based Scholarships for Low-Income Parents” Cha, Paulette and Reshma Patel; MDRC, 2010.
Description: This is an analysis of the early results of Ohio’s Performance-Based Scholarships program one year after implementation. The analysis shows that the program had a positive impact on enrollment, credits attempted and earned, and reducing educational debt; however, the study did not find a strong impact on persistence.
Industrial Manufacturing Academy (IMA) Case Study
This case study features the Industrial Manufacturing Academy (IMA), which is located on South Seattle College’s Georgetown campus, an institution that builds strong collaborations among employers, labor, union, community-based organizations and governmental institutions. The IMA program is a testament to the combined efforts of the Seattle College District and the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development. Both organizations have worked diligently, in partnership with many others, to ensure that the King County region has access to a skilled manufacturing labor force. The economic health of this region depends on it.
Download the entire IMA case study: IMA Case Study
To request a hardcopy of the case study, please email Ashley Plaga @
Latest Employment Trends
"Talent Pipeline Study" Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, 2011.
Description: The study looks at employment trends in key sectors of the economy: Health Care, Manufacturing and Transportation and Logistics. It calculates the supply of workers by industry sector and occupation and compares it to demand projections to determine the gaps that may persist without changes in workforce preparation efforts.