Webinar: Adult Learners: A Key Piece of the College Completion Puzzle

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Presented by Patrick Lane, WICHE

This webinar focuses on why reengaging adult learners (particularly those with some college credit but no degree) is such an important part of any metropolitan strategy to increase degree attainment. With demographic and workforce projections showing that the traditional education pipeline will not provide sufficient students to meet the future needs of employers, bringing back adults who have started but not finished a postsecondary credential is crucial. In addition to focusing on the need to serve these potential students, the webinar also shares promising strategies to develop collaborative relationships with other stakeholders to increase degree attainment.

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  • Explain that the data are for background, but that the size of the population suggests it is a key strategy for reaching attainment goals. Transition to the broader discussion with the idea that while collaborative arrangements benefit adults with some college credit, they’re beneficial to all adult learners.
  • Some institutions use their ready adults as volunteers to help identify those students…Doesn’t have to be expensiveSouth Dakota has already done a lot of this….
  • Webinar: Adult Learners: A Key Piece of the College Completion Puzzle

    1. 1. Adult Learners: A Key Piece of the Completion Puzzle Patrick Lane Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) November 1, 2013
    2. 2. What is WICHE? Promotes access and excellence in higher education for all citizens of the West
    3. 3. So…what is it, exactly, that you do? The Adult College Completion Network Overarching goal: Share promising policies and practices among all stakeholders to increase degree and certificate completion by adults with prior college credit
    4. 4. The Adult College Completion Network Nationwide collaborative learning network Partnering with: State higher ed agencies Metropolitan-based projects Workforce-focused organizations Economic development organizations Institutions Non-profits “Etc.” Funded by Lumina Foundation www.adultcollegecompletion.org
    5. 5. The ACC Network assumption We can’t reach our ambitious attainment goals through improvements in the traditional education pipeline alone.
    6. 6. Why educational attainment matters Workforce needs Economic competitiveness Individual income gains Civic improvements (crime, civic participation, health care costs) Estimated 2020 degree/certificate shortfall: 5 million (Source: Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 2012)
    7. 7. Why can’t we get there by fixing the traditional pipeline? “Graying” of our workforce Relatively high educational attainment of the generation approaching retirement An increasingly knowledge-based economy No projected growth in high school graduates If states all improved their “traditional pipelines” to the average of the top 3 performing states, we’d still fall short of our 2018 workforce needs by 3 million workers with postsecondary education. (Sources: NCHEMS, Georgetown CEW, WICHE)
    8. 8. ADULTS WITH SIGNIFICANT COLLEGE CREDIT
    9. 9. “Near completers,” “stopouts,” “ready adults,” etc. “Significant college credit” but no degree Specific definition depends on city, state, institution, organization, etc. “Low hanging fruit”
    10. 10. What do we know about near completers? Census data limited to “some college, no degree” category Not “first time, full time” students Institutions and state systems may not track near completers separately from adult students In short, data are limited.
    11. 11. Background Demographics: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Variables HS Diploma Assoc. Deg Bach Deg. Above Bach. Near Comp. Income (2010) $41,324 $48,560 $77,395 $103,416 $49,902 Library card (1979) 68.6% 73.4% 83.3% 86.2% 77.9% Mother’s Educ. 10.6 10.7 12.5 13.1 11.7 Father’s Educ. 10.6 10.9 12.9 13.3 11.8 Source: WICHE Analysis of National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979
    12. 12. Near completers: Background demographics Variables Poverty line (1979) ASVAB Score HS Diploma Assoc. Deg Bach Deg. Above Bach. Near Comp. 23.3% 20.3% 10.9% 11.2% 18.5% 36.1 44.8 63.8 70.5 48.9 Source: WICHE Analysis of National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979
    13. 13. What conclusions can we draw from this? First the caveats: One data source, preliminary analysis, etc. Near completers are as expected on most college access/success predictor variables Depending on the year, near completers (as defined!) are 6%-10% of the sample
    14. 14. WHAT ROLE CAN CITIES PLAY IN ADULT DEGREE AND CERTIFICATE COMPLETION EFFORTS?
    15. 15. Credential completion: That was then… Institutions of Higher Ed State Higher Ed Agencies Improved policies and practices Improved policies and practices Increased degree completion
    16. 16. …this is now Institutions of Higher Ed Local employers National employers Workforce Agencies State Higher Ed Agencies Economic Development Agencies Increased credential completion Business organizations Education providers Community Organizations Local Government Chambers of Commerce National Organizations
    17. 17. Connections with cities Institutions of Higher Ed Local employers National employers Workforce Agencies State Higher Ed Agencies Economic Development Agencies Increased credential completion Business organizations Education providers Community Organizations Local Government Chambers of Commerce National Organizations
    18. 18. What do we know about collaborative efforts? Collective Impact: The hot topic The commitment of key stakeholders from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem. Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2011
    19. 19. Why do some collective efforts succeed, and others fail? Factors associated with success: Common agenda & metrics Continuous communication Backbone support organizations Establishing “professional” trust and cooperation Joint planning Interacting with the target population (Sources: Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2011; Turrini, et al., 2010)
    20. 20. Some commonalities, in the form of questions? Who is leading the initiative? What is the goal? Why are we pursuing this? How will we reach this goal? How and when do partners meet and communicate? How will we know if we are successful?
    21. 21. WHAT’S WORKING – MARKETING AND OUTREACH
    22. 22. Outreach approaches Adult students are a diverse bunch…no one size fits all approach. Data mining and direct targeting Publicity-based campaigns Formal advertising campaigns
    23. 23. Outreach approaches: Messages that resonate Intrinsic: Others are in the same situation You can find a school that’s the right fit for you You can finish what you started / You’ve started, it’s time to finish Schools empathize with the sacrifices of returning Schools care about returning students Extrinsic: There are personal financial and economic benefits to returning to complete a postsecondary degree “The more you learn, the more you earn” Your degree may be closer than it appears College might be more affordable than you think (Sources: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, University System of Georgia, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities)
    24. 24. Marketing examples—Georgia Billboard
    25. 25. Marketing examples—Georgia Billboard
    26. 26. Marketing examples—West Virginia
    27. 27. Communicating externally: Market research (cont’d) EXAMPLES: Minnesota, West Virginia, Georgia PSAs, billboards, radio spots, etc. www.adultcollegecompletion.org/mktingCommunications Challenge: Evaluating effectiveness
    28. 28. Building stakeholder support Another form of outreach and marketing Decision-makers aren’t always data-driven Communicate with data and stories about constituents, employees, students, etc.
    29. 29. ENGAGING HIGHER ED
    30. 30. Key policies and practices Prior learning assessment Competency-based learning Lowering the cost of credentials Collaboration between workforce and higher ed Effective and relevant adult advising Etc., etc., etc.
    31. 31. ENGAGING EMPLOYERS
    32. 32. Employer partnerships: Promising strategies What support can businesses provide throughout the path to completion? $ Identify interested potential students Conduct outreach, marketing through HR departments Provide classroom space Allow flexible work schedules Include education goals in employee reviews Reward completers with increased responsibility and promotions Evaluate company training through ACE CREDIT program Provide tuition assistance
    33. 33. Return on investment Tuition assistance Tax-free Lowers recruitment costs Increases retention Verizon: Estimates $25 million savings through LearningLink “Assistance” > “Reimbursement” 14% usage rate vs. 5% Sources: Corporate Voices for Working Families, CAEL, Chief Learning Officer
    34. 34. Examples of employer partnerships Maine Employers Initiative http://www.mdf.org/mei_overview.php WorkforceChicago: http://www.workforcechicago.org/Exemplary-Practices.html Greater Louisville Degrees at Work http://www.greaterlouisville.com/degreesatwork
    35. 35. A final word: Evaluation A better final word: “Knowing what works” Difficult, expensive, and sometimes inconclusive But better than investing in failure
    36. 36. Knowing what works Adult Enrollment Project X in City Y Project starts Yr. 1 Yr. 2 Yr. 3 Yr. 4 Yr. 5
    37. 37. Knowing what works Adult Enrollment Project X in City Y Data from City Z Project starts No project Yr. 1 Yr. 2 Yr. 3 Yr. 4 Yr. 5
    38. 38. Adult Enrollment But in collaborative networks… Project starts Project X in City Y Data from City Z Data from City A Project starts Project starts Yr. 1 Yr. 2 Yr. 3 Yr. 4 Yr. 5
    39. 39. The final final word Comparison is crucial, not for competition, but for knowing what works Sustainability Investing in successful programs Networks with projects starting at different times are naturally set up for comparisons
    40. 40. Resources & contact info Going the Distance in Adult College Completion: Lessons from the Non-traditional No More Project www.wiche.edu WICHE’s Adult College Completion Network www.adultcollegecompletion.org CONTACT INFO: Patrick Lane 303-541-0266 plane@wiche.edu

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