Institute of Education Sciences Highlights MDRC Study of Noncredit Career and Technical Education in Virginia

With rapid technological advances, the U.S. labor market exhibits a growing need for more frequent and ongoing skill development. Community college noncredit career and technical education (CTE) programs that allow students to complete workforce training and earn credentials play an essential role in providing workers with the skills they need to compete for jobs in high-demand fields. Yet, there is a dearth of research on these programs because noncredit students are typically not included in state and national postsecondary datasets.

In honor of CTE Month, the Institute of Educations Sciences published a post on its Inside IES Research blog that features researchers Di Xu (University of California, Irvine), Benjamin Castleman (University of Virginia), and Betsy Tessler (MDRC) discussing their IES-funded exploration study in which they build on a long-standing research partnership with the Virginia Community College System and leverage a variety of data sources to investigate the Commonwealth’s FastForward programs. These programs are noncredit CTE programs designed to lead to an industry-recognized credential in one of several high-demand fields identified by the Virginia Workforce Board.