Career Connect Washington (CCW) is a coalition of industry, labor, education, and community leaders who are creating work-based and academic programs for young people to explore, learn, and earn money and college-level credit. Career Connect Washington’s vision is that every young adult in Washington will have multiple pathways toward economic self-sufficiency and fulfillment, strengthened by a comprehensive state-wide system for Career Connected Learning (CCL). For every young adult to succeed, we must intentionally focus on populations furthest from opportunity especially students of color, Indigenous students, low-income students, rural students, and students with disabilities. Systemic racism has held students back, especially Black and Indigenous students, and Career Connect Washington aspires to build an antiracist system for CCL.
This report will discuss findings from the first stage of a three-part research effort focused on “program builders.” Future research will focus on influencers (e.g, parents, teachers, counselors) and students. The purpose of the research is to fill a gap in quantitative data on barriers to participation in and completion of CCL programs for students furthest from opportunity. This research will inform policy recommendations to lower or eliminate these barriers to encourage more equitable participation and completion of programs.
These findings are based on a survey of 94 CCL “program builders” from across Washington state and different organizations including K-12 schooland districts, community and technical colleges, registered apprenticeships, and regional networks. The survey was conducted between July 13th and August 10th, 2020.
Program Builders cited access and enrollment as the most important stage of a student’s experience to prioritize (followed by awareness & perception and completion).
While the challenges and interventions varied across the stages, two broad themes emerged from the responses:
Dedicated program staff to guide
students through the program and
connect them with wraparound support services is essential to student success, particularly for students furthest from opportunity.
Logistics and equipment access pose a significant challenge to students, particularly transportation, access to technology, and scheduling of programs.
These themes resonate with the anecdotal evidence that Career Connect Washington collected previously, but further research is
needed to confirm these findings.