About the Study
In 2022, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) to fund Trewon Technologies, LLC to conduct the Strengthening Community Colleges (SCC) Training Grants Study. The implementation study and impact evaluability assessment aim to understand the implementation of SCC grantees—community college-based workforce development and career pathways programs in partnership with local employers—as they address disparities in workforce outcomes and build institutional capacity. Further, the purpose of the impact evaluation assessment is to identify SCC grantee programs that are primed for more rigorous effectiveness research. In addition to the two studies, this work includes evaluation technical assistance (TA) support to the grantees’ third-party evaluators as they plan, conduct, and report on their implementation evaluations.
The Strengthening Community Colleges (SCC) Training Grants Program is awarded to community colleges and other institutions in an effort to develop and provide equitable education and training through workforce development programs and career pathways. Grantees partner with local employers, other workforce entities, and community services to develop curricula and job training opportunities aimed at addressing gaps in workforce outcomes for marginalized and underrepresented populations. In addition, SCC programs work to build community colleges’ capacity to continue supporting and training target populations to meet the needs of the local workforce.
Starting with the first SCC cohort, the current work provides evaluation TA to the third-party evaluators (TPEs) procured as part of the grant. The purpose of the evaluation TA is to provide resources, support, and learning opportunities as TPEs plan, implement and report on their evaluations of the grantees.
This Department of Labor-funded study was a result of the annual process to determine the department’s research priorities for the upcoming year. It contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform community colleges and employment and training programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.
- To what extent do SCC grantees’ programs, approaches, components, services, and/or targeted service populations differ across grants?
- What SCC program components or design elements are intended to reduce disparities in workers’ access and employment outcomes?
- How do participants perceive their experiences with SCC programs?
- What barriers to worker advancement did participants identify?
- What individual-level skills are SCC programs addressing and providing to participants?
- To what extent have changes in workforce climate influenced participants’ employment outcomes and SCC program implementation?
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.