Innovative Training & Workforce Development Programs

The Center of Women and Work's (CWW) Innovative Training and Workforce Development Research (ITWD) and Programs conducts research and evaluations on innovative workforce development policies, programs, and solutions. Our research is focused on understanding how to prepare underserved populations to compete in today’s high-skill economy with a particular attention paid to women and non-college educated workers.


Our offerings include research, evaluation and technical assistance services.

Areas of Expertise include:

  • State and Federal Workforce Development Systems
  • Online Learning
  • College Completion
  • Community Colleges
  • Workplace Literacy
  • Sector Strategies
  • Reentry and Workforce Development

Projects and Activities

College Completion in the Workforce Development System
With a grant from the Lumina Foundation, CWW along with the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), is working to establish a model for state and federal workforce development systems to incorporate college completion as a training option. The project primarily serves individuals who are 0 to 12 credits away from earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. CWW is conducting a study on this new model in three states: Colorado, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. A fourth state participant is to be determined.

Colorado Online Energy Training Consortium (COETC)
CWW is conducting formative/process and summative/outcome evaluation on the COETC program. This initiative is being put in place in 15 community colleges throughout Colorado. These schools will develop and offer energy-related degree options and certificate programs tailored to industry specifications and job demands. The initiative aims to train workers in online and hybrid energy programs to connect workers with sustaining wages and career advancement. This grant is part of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.

Colorado Sector Strategy Evaluation
CWW is conducting formative/process and summative/outcome evaluation on the Colorado Sector Strategy Initiative. In 2009 the Colorado Department of Labor and the Colorado Workforce Development Council announced the Colorado SECTORS Planning Grants, which were awarded through a competitive process to workforce regions or sub-regions. In total, 10 grants were awarded, targeting the aerospace, health care, manufacturing, renewable energy, and water/wastewater management sectors. CWW is evaluating how this program works and its effectiveness through a summative/outcome evaluation.

Past Projects

Sloan Center on Innovative Training and Workforce Development (ITWD)
ITWD dedicated its focus to assisting state, county, and city government departments and workforce investment boards, institutionalize technology-based flexible education, and training alternatives, especially online learning opportunities, for non-college educated workers through the nation. This center was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Workplace Literacy
Building on the goal of the Sloan Center for Innovative Training and Workforce Development, CWW worked to develop Web applications on the Internet that was able to teach literacy and work-readiness skills. The goal of the project was a beneficial Web application ( to assist work-ready adults with a 7th grade reading level. This program was funded by the Nicholson Foundation.

Workforce Online Learning Industry Portal (WOLIP)
In an effort to tailor and coordinate specific online training needs within and across states, the U. S. Department of Labor (USDOL), Employment and Training Administration awarded grants in 2008 to Colorado, Maine, Mississippi and Pennsylvania to pilot a demonstration project called the Collaborative Online Workforce Education and Training Portal. This demonstration project was evaluated by the CWW. Important findings on online learning, the Great Recession, gender and workforce development, and the value of a portal emerged.

Reentry and Workforce Development
The Computer-Based Learning from Prison to Community project was a unique and innovative type of correctional education aimed at increasing incarcerated women’s skill level and chances of employment on release. The hallmark of the program was a computer-based learning process that began in the prison environment and followed inmates into the community. This pilot project was designed as a large multi-partner collaboration in New Jersey in 2007. Partners included: The Nicholson Foundation, New Jersey State Parole Board, the New Jersey Department of Corrections, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, Bo Robinson Assessment Center, the Kintock Group, Essex County Community College, WRITE-NJ, Business Access, and the Center for Women and Work, which served as an advisor and evaluator.

Recent Reports

For more information

Contact Heather McKay at or 848-932-4614