Evaluating Pathways to the American Dream
September 10, 2018
In 2016, the US Labor Department awarded more than $111 million in America’s Promise Grants, $6 million of which was awarded to the New River Mount Rogers Workforce Investment Area Consortium Board, in cooperation with three other workforce development areas in Southwest and Southern Virginia, to expand regional job training partnerships through a project called Pathways to the American Dream.
Designed to accelerate the development and expansion of employment and training services for job seekers, Pathways to the American Dream focuses on training job seekers in the fields of manufacturing, healthcare and information technology industries.
Pathways to the American Dream creates new advantages other workforce programs may not offer through five main goals focused on developing and growing higher-wage industries. These goals are to focus growth in Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Information Technology industries; increase opportunities for un- and underemployed adults to develop their skills and earn credentials in high-demand occupations; guide education and training programs to close the skills gap; award academic credit for on the job training; and develop best practices about policies for creating, sustaining, and scaling sector partnerships that close the skills gap.
Beginning its second year, Pathways to the American Dream wants to measure the effectiveness of their programming to use this information to formulate best practices moving forward. In partnership with the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development, a two and a half-year evaluation of the program and its possible impacts on the four workforce development areas (1, 2, 3 and 7) will be conducted. Led by evaluator Elli Travis with assistance from Albert Alwang and Khushboo Gupta with the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development, Tom Archibald in Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, and in conjunction with Bob Bailey from Outcomes Consulting Services, the team will work to develop an effective program evaluation and educate the Pathways to the American Dream team on evaluation methods for future use.
Through a series of training and planning sessions over six months the team will learn evaluation fundamentals with the goal to create a comprehensive evaluation plan and provide the Pathways to the American Dream team the skills to continue to design and manage future evaluation of this program.
The Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development helps Virginia communities find their paths to prosperity by providing leadership in many areas of economic development, including technology, workforce, entrepreneurship and community development. We do this through a variety of different projects and grants. For more information about our office click here: https://econdev.vt.edu/index.html. For more information about the New River Mount Rogers Workforce Investment Area Consortium or the Pathways to the American Dream click here: http://nrmrwib.org/category/news/. To find out more information about the America’s Promise program click here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20161117.
Written By: Jennifer Morgan, Communications Coordinator