Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Roundtable: Accelerating Connections to Employment: Improving the Effectiveness of Career Pathway Programs through Evidence-Based Policymaking
(Employment and Training Programs)

Saturday, November 14, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Orchid B (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Christina Heshmatpour, ICF International
Moderators:  Yvette Lamb, ICF International, Inc.
Speakers:  Sharon Klots1, Susan Gehring-Liker1, Christina Heshmatpour2 and Faith Harland-White3, (1)Baltimore County(2)ICF International(3)Anne Arundel Community College

The Accelerating Connections to Employment (ACE) National Evaluation study seeks to determine and improve the effectiveness of workforce training programs targeting low-skilled, low income individuals in the workforce system. ICF International is implementing a mixed method evaluation of the ACE program, including a randomized control trial designed to assess key outcomes including employment, wages, and job retention. Funded by the Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund, the ACE study exemplifies the Federal government’s focus on evidenced-based policy. Building upon Washington State’s I-BEST model, the ACE program has attracted the attention of both state and Federal policymakers interested in assessing its costs and scalability nationwide. ACE, led by the Baltimore County’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development, aims to reduce poverty by linking education, training, and workforce services to create skill-building opportunities and career pathways for low-skilled individuals. The ACE program seeks to foster systems integration and increased coordination by bringing together ten community colleges, nine Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), and employer partners across four states. WIBs lead the partnerships to streamline and better coordinate services and funding. Community colleges deliver ACE programs and collaborate on assessment, coaching, and job placement activities. Employers provide information on labor market demands and skills needs, offer internships and job opportunities. During this roundtable, the ACE evaluation team will provide insight into initial program outcomes for low-income individuals, and suggest best practices and lessons learned for expanding and scaling the ACE model. Leaders and practitioners from Baltimore County will provide their perspectives on ACE’s implications for future Federal, state, and local workforce development programs and policymaking. Discussants will also discuss the ways in which evidence from the ACE study is already influencing business-as-usual for participating WIBs and community colleges. In addition, discussants will consider how this model for WIB and community college collaboration fits within the new workforce development framework established by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.
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