Millions of adults lack the postsecondary credentials needed to obtain jobs in the current economy. Challenges to credential attainment include limited information about education and training options and their outcomes; expenses related to enrollment and persistence; and the need to balance school with work responsibilities. Using data from three Administration for Children and Families-funded studies of programs adopting a career pathways framework, this brief summarizes efforts to help students overcome challenges to enrolling and persisting in school and earning credentials.
Examples of challenges and potential facilitators are:
- Work schedules can deter enrollment and persistence in school; shortening the length of programs and providing flexibility in when and where courses are offered can help.
- Participant challenges can affect persistence in school; program advisors can link students to an array of supports.
- Even when students are working, their earnings might not cover costs associated with school, unexpected emergencies, and day-to-day living, with implications for persistence; programs can offer a range of financial supports.
- Some participants might need to begin working after enrolling in school; programs can help connect students to jobs.