The PROMISE Center: Promoting Resilience, Opportunity, and Mobility in Support of Equity

PROMISE is committed to creating solutions that provide equitable pathways to a thriving workforce for all individuals and mitigating the harmful effects of segregation by race, place, and class.

Diverse group of colleagues

Projects | PROMISE Center

PROMISE is focused on a comprehensive agenda aimed at building a more vibrant workforce for all individuals by adapting and testing evidence-based workforce practices in alternative settings for diverse populations. To accomplish these goals, PROMISE is focused on four key areas of work:

Learning from the Evidence

We are investigating the most effective practices and policies for increasing long term employment and earnings for workers and how these practices can be scaled to reach more underserved communities.

Two women analyzing work together

Implementation Evidence Review of Sectoral Programs

The PROMISE Center team is conducting a structured review and synthesis of the implementation evidence on sectoral programs to identify promising practices, challenges, and lessons learned, as well as to develop hypotheses that can be further tested in our meta-analysis. 

African American man leading a meeting

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Rigorous Research Evidence on Sectoral Programs

In partnership with AIR’s Methods of Synthesis and Integration Center (MOSAIC), PROMISE Center researchers are conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence on sectoral and related workforce training approaches. 

Strengthening Community College Workforce

We aim to understand what makes effective programs work, so that those insights can be applied more broadly among community colleges nationwide.

Engineer showing apprentices how to work a machine

Bolstering Workforce Pathways at City Colleges of Chicago

PROMISE Center researchers are seeking to help City Colleges of Chicago strengthen its Centers of Excellence model by adapting and testing strategies from best-in-class sectoral programs to help millions of Americans gain the skills needed to access livable wage jobs. 

College students on campus

Identifying the Best Community Colleges for Workforce Training

PROMISE is working with Harvard University to identify community colleges that are most effective in generating training for high-wage jobs, particularly for traditionally underserved populations.

Expanding the Reach of Effective Sectoral Training

We seek to partner with the best-in-class programs to further bolster their effectiveness and broaden their reach to underserved populations.

Per Scholas logo

Expanding the Scale and Reach of Per Scholas in a Post-COVID Environment

AIR and Per Scholas, a no-cost occupational skills training program that prepares graduates for IT and other tech careers, have established a learning partnership to explore how best to provide online and/or hybrid training of its students.

YearUp logo

Growing and Diversifying the Year Up Model

Year Up is a national nonprofit workforce development organization that has connected over 36,000 young adults ages 18 to 26, 90% of whom identify as a person of color, to livable wage careers at hundreds of top companies. AIR is partnering with Year Up to support, strategize, implement, and study their growth efforts.

Supporting Underserved Populations

We are dedicated to learning what works to help integrate underserved populations into a vital workforce ecosystem.

Apprentices working on computers

Connecting Opportunity Youth to Strong Pathways to Adulthood and Career Success

We are committed to finding ways to more effectively meet the needs of all opportunity youth, including the most vulnerable who are often screened out of the best known programs. 

Related brief: An Opportunity to Do Better: Youth Pathways to Thriving (PDF)

Apprentice working with mechanic

Strengthening Workforce Training and Reintegration Supports for Justice-Involved Individuals

We seek to identify approaches with the potential to help large numbers of justice-involved young adults connect to supports needed to gain access to living-wage jobs and successfully reintegrate into society.

Adult students on laptops

Helping Adults with Foundational Skill Needs Access Pathways to Economic Mobility

We are working to identify promising programs that integrate academic and workforce skills training to help millions of adults with foundational skill needs access high-wage, high-demand occupations.


Older students in classroom

Helping Displaced Workers Find New Pathways in the Future of Work

PROMISE Center researchers are undertaking the development of a proactive knowledge- and field-building agenda to discover and significantly expand the availability of effective supports for displaced workers. Our team conducted a landscape analysis to assess the knowledge base.

Related blog post: What We're Learning About Displaced Workers and Their Needs