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Lessons from the Cascades College and Career Academy and Other Job Corps Partnerships with Community and Technical Colleges

Jacob Alex Klerman, Abt Global; Jean Grossman and Keith Olejniczak, MDRC


April 26, 2022

In 2016, the Department of Labor launched a Job Corps pilot program, the Cascades College and Career Academy Job Corps (CCCA) pilot demonstration, to provide intensive academic instruction, career pathways technical training, and non-cognitive skills training in healthcare and information technology for at-risk youth, ages 16 to 21. From 2016 to 2020, the Abt Global-MRDC evaluation examined the implementation of the CCCA pilot program and its impacts on students' outcomes.

This report examines partnerships between Job Corps Centers and community colleges and summarizes elements of the pilot demonstration that aimed to provide all participants with the opportunity to take community college courses. The sections in the brief describe four elements of strong Job Corps–College partnerships:

  • Agreement on a set of detailed goals
  • A clear understanding of roles and responsibilities
  • Accommodations to the other organization’s or agency’s requirements
  • Open and regular communication.

The centers with community college partnerships identified promising practices and challenges related to staffing and advising, transportation assistance, and tuition and expenses. These centers recognized that having Job Corps staff located at the college was a critical link to Job Corps services. Transportation assistance was an important support to help students get to class. Navigating financial aid to address tuition and other expenses was challenging for students and centers. Lastly, legacy Job Corps policies, procedures, and infrastructure sometimes conflicted with college program operations.