Strengthening Community College Workforce Programs │The PROMISE Center

Community colleges are a pillar of the workforce development system in the United States. Each year, thousands of institutions across the country enroll millions of Americans in academic and workforce training programs intended to help them gain the skills they need to succeed in the labor market and our society.

Despite the promise these programs hold for putting individuals on strong pathways for career success and mobility out of poverty, research shows that many community college programs face ongoing challenges, including socioeconomic and racial gaps in student persistence and success. Moreover, additional research is needed to understand community college workforce training programs, including their effect on individuals’ success in the labor market.

Through our work on strengthening workforce training programs in community colleges, the PROMISE Center aims to build a better understanding of how best to adapt the strategies of effective sectoral programs in community college settings, so these insights can be applied more broadly across postsecondary education institutions. We are launching this work in partnership with a pioneering institution, City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), which has already made important strides in developing robust workforce development pathways through its Centers of Excellence model.

Our Work

Engineer showing apprentices how to work a machine

Bolstering Workforce Pathways at City Colleges of Chicago

City Colleges of Chicago and its Centers of Excellence model provide a unique and promising opportunity to blend the strategies of effective community college workforce training and best-in-class, stand-alone sectoral programs to help millions of Americans gain the skills needed to access livable wage jobs.

PROMISE Center researchers are seeking to help City Colleges of Chicago strengthen this model by adapting and testing strategies from best-in-class sectoral programs.