December 09, 2009
Springboard Report Release: Case Studies
Related Studies & Resources
Washington State’s New Performance Funding System
The State of Washington recently launched a new performance funding system for community and technical colleges called the Student Achievement Initiative. Its goal is to “raise the knowledge and skills of the state’s residents” by increasing education attainment across the state. Its four primary metrics that determine financial rewards for institutions are:
- Building toward college-level skills (basic skills gains, passing precollege writing or math)
- First year retention (earning 15 then 30 college-level credits)
- Completing college-level math (passing math courses required for either technical or academic associate degrees)
- Completions (degrees, certificates, apprenticeship training)
Washington’s program is too new to have evaluation results; it should be studied going forward as institutions begin to shift gears to earn performance funding.
The Florida Model: Linking Funding to Market Outcomes
As a leading example of an emerging trend, Florida has developed a simplified system that allows for the measurement of market outcomes. Through the use of a common numbering system among classes at all two- and four-year institutions and the creation of a data warehouse, Florida has a robust capability in place that ties education data to employment data.
They do this by requiring all institutions, receiving student financial aid under Title IV of the federal Higher Education Act, to send their transcript information to a central location, where it is linked and compared to data collected by the unemployment insurance office. The process, drawing on a centralized K-20 education data warehouse and employment data back to 1995, enables analysts to put together a complete and detailed picture of the return on the state’s education dollars.
Security is key and complex. The educational progress and employment of each K-20 student is tracked by a unique, encrypted identifier. Meanwhile, unemployment information is protected by its own set of confidentiality standards, and can be accessed by only a few programmers who have special authority that are allowed to access it, and only on a need-to-know basis.
“Opening Doors” in Louisiana
In 2004 and 2005, the nonprofit education research organization MDRC tested the effects of incentives — in the form of supplemental financial aid — on academic persistence and success among low-income students in Louisiana. Called “Opening Doors,” the program awarded students $2,000 over two semesters on the condition they were enrolled at least half-time and maintained better than a C average. Students received $250 when they enrolled, $250 if they were in good standing at midterm and $500 if they successfully passed their classes at the completion of the semester.
Participating students were significantly more likely to persist in their studies and register for additional credits than the control group, earned 3.5 more credits overall, and were 11 percent more likely to earn a 2.0 GPA or higher. Even as Hurricane Katrina hit and campuses closed down, the students pursued classes online or at other campuses that opened the following spring. Variations of this model are now being tried at colleges in four states, with more than 4,500 students participating. Springboard Report Release | Case Studies 2
Convergys — Bringing Jobs and Education to Employees
Convergys created a model that brings both jobs and education to entry-level workers. By combining its home agent program, in which customer service representatives work from home, with its new online accredited college degree program, employees can work and complete a college education in a virtual environment.
Qualified applicants who previously were ineligible for on-site jobs as a result of geographic, scheduling or transportation constraints, now meet hiring criteria. And, once hired, employees can advance their education through the online degree and certificate program developed in close partnership with Bellevue University. The Bellevue program is targeted to full-time and part-time employees with a high school education or equivalency. Convergys provides tuition reimbursement and works with Bellevue to identify additional financial assistance to minimize out-of-pocket expenses for employees.
United Technologies Corporation (UTC) Employee Scholar Program
To improve the talent of its workforce, UTC created a program that provides open and free access to education for all its employees. Last year, 15,197 UTC employees in 54 countries took advantage of the Employee Scholar Program (ESP), which covers the costs of accredited degree programs and provides paid time off for study. It also offers a program for laid-off employees providing from one to four years of coverage, following separation from the company. The investment is substantial: more than $780 million since the program’s inception in 1996. UTC believes the investment in worker education is a net plus to its bottom line.
The Alliance for Employee Growth and Development, Inc.
The Alliance is a primary education resource for union represented employees at AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, OFS and the IBEW. Since its inception in 1986, it has provided services to more than 173,000 individuals through 14.5 plus million training hours. In the most recent fiscal year, 50 percent of the eligible individuals participated in more than 348,000 hours of Alliance training.
The Alliance operates at the national, regional and local level to develop, deliver and evaluate its training programs. Training ranges from basic language and math skills training to high-level technical certifications and degree programs through an array of training delivery options including on-site classrooms, virtual classrooms, hands-on technical training and online self-paced courses.
Using Popular Culture and New Technologies To Communicate
Viacom is partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to sponsor “Get Schooled,” an initiative that will use public service announcements; marketing campaigns; and innovative film, television and mobile content to raise national and community awareness about why success in our 21st-Century economy requires young people to graduate from high school and pursue a postsecondary degree.