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I-BEST Program Three-Year Impact Report

Karin Martinson, Sung-Woo Cho, Karen Loya, and Samuel Dastrup, Abt Global Asaph Glosser, MEF Associates


July 14, 2021

This report documents the three-year impacts of Washington State’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program. I-BEST was designed to increase low-skilled adults’ access to and completion of college-level occupational training in a range of in-demand occupational areas, from automotive to nursing. The program’s signature feature is a team-teaching approach through which students receive instruction from two instructors in the same course: one provides job training and the other teaches basic skills. The programs included guidance on academic issues and career planning and financial assistance.

I-BEST did not have a detectable impact on receipt of credentials requiring a year or more of college study, but did have an impact on receipt of short-term credentials.  I-BEST did not have an impact on average quarterly earnings at the end of the follow-up period based on administrative data, although positive effects on some other measures of earnings were detected.

I-BEST is part of the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) project. Funded by the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, PACE is a multi-site experimental evaluation of nine programs for low-income adults that incorporate features of a career pathways framework.