With support from several foundations, Jobs for the Future (JFF) partnered with national technical assistance providers to administer the Accelerating Opportunity (AO) initiative and provide technical assistance to seven participating states.
The Accelerating Opportunity (AO) initiative was developed to address these issues by giving underprepared students and adults without high school credentials an opportunity to enroll in integrated career pathway programs at community and technical colleges. AO was based on Washington State’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) model and lessons from the Breaking Through initiative.2 AO allowed students scoring in the 6th- through 12th-grade National Reporting System (NRS) educational functioning levels to enter career and technical education (CTE) courses concurrently with high school equivalency (HSE) completion programs through adult education or other skill-building courses. The pathways offered efficient course offerings with paths to multiple stackable, industry-recognized credentials within about 12 credit hours. To promote students’ postsecondary success, colleges participating in AO provided team teaching in at least 25 percent of their classes, where a CTE instructor worked alongside an adult education instructor in the classroom, as well as contextualized instruction, accelerated learning, supportive navigation services, and connections with employers and workforce agencies to help students complete their coursework and transition from AO pathways to the workforce.