For many of California's working adults, the path to a good job — a job with room for growth, stability, and a family-sustaining wage — seems out of reach. Meanwhile, employers are having a hard time filling open positions that require specific skills.
Fortunately, there's a growing number of innovative programs linking and aligning employer’s specialized needs with workers' desire for the skills to secure a good job. These alternative pathways programs align training with in-demand skills and competencies to connect workers to open positions.
Such programs are of interest to Irvine, as we explore grantmaking initiatives to ensure that low-income Californians are ready for, connected to, and able to succeed in jobs that can sustain them and their families. That’s why we commissioned Tyton Partners to conduct national research about the programs in this evolving field.
Path to Employment: Maximizing the Impact of Alternative Pathways Programs, describes the wide variety of programs in the U.S. and constructs the ecosystem in which they operate. The report also explores key questions, such as:
The publication finds exciting potential for alternative pathways programs to increase economic mobility for low-income adults.
Tyton identified six program pillars that make for successful alternative pathways programs, along with optimal models within those pillars.
The research also identified several challenges:
Such challenges are instructive, as are the successes these programs have had with completion and job placement rates. So while alternative pathways programs are just part of the larger field working to improve economic outcomes for low-income people, we see the potential to strengthen and grow this emerging movement. In California, where approximately 7 million adults are working yet struggling with poverty, huge gains could be made by giving more people access to the skills and competencies that put them on the path to economic security.
Read more about Tyton’s research here, and stay tuned for more news about research and grantmaking from Irvine.