Current Projects

State Noncredit Data Project

Noncredit education and non-degree credentials have grown significantly in community colleges over the past several decades, but very little data exist on their effectiveness. This project will analyze program-level noncredit data to better understand the characteristics of such programs and to develop a taxonomy to guide future data collection efforts.

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Pathways into Careers in Information Technology: Community College Student Decision Making About Academic Programs and Jobs

Community colleges offer many program and career opportunities in the field of information technology (IT). This project examines how students’ experiences and information resources influence their decision-making and how that evolves over time.
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Pathways to Science and Engineering Professions: Persistence and Career Choice

What determines whether students pursue bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the biosciences and engineering to later enter careers in these fields? This project will examine the critical choice points in the pathway students take through college and into occupations in these two professions.
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Identifying High Quality Industry Certifications

The massive loss of jobs during the pandemic has made industry certifications a critically needed pathway to help people quickly develop new skills. This brief offers guidance on identifying high-quality industry certifications to states and other entities that seek to understand and measure these credentials.
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Quality in Community College Noncredit Education

An estimated 5 million students enroll in noncredit courses and programs at community and technical colleges each year. This project examines how community colleges ensure quality in noncredit programs and how students make choices about pursuing these credentials.
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Using Labor Market Information to Improve Program and Credential Quality

Higher educational institutions, from community colleges to universities, are increasingly using labor market information to ensure their programs and credentials align with economic trends. This project seeks to understand the many possible ways these institutions are utilizing labor market information.
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The Hidden Innovation Infrastructure: Understanding the Economic Development Role of Technician Education in the Changing Future of Work

Technicians are essential to the functioning of the innovation economy, but the important role they play is often unrecognized. This study will examine the economic development impact of community college technician education and the Advanced Technological Education program in the context of the changing nature of work.
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Mapping the Non-degree Credential Quality Market

As non-degree credentials (NDC) become increasingly common offerings in the education and training marketplace, the importance of developing systems to ensure their quality is a policy imperative. To create a more systematic approach to NDC quality, this paper addresses two overarching questions: Who are the organizational actors in the NDC marketplace? How do they influence quality? This paper examines potential influences on NDC quality in the credential marketplace and provides a roadmap of the organizations and initiatives currently involved in overseeing NDC quality. It provides a discussion of implications for building on this existing infrastructure to create a more robust and coherent system to promote quality in the NDC marketplace.

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Evaluating an Apprenticeship Program in Advanced Manufacturing

The County College of Morris has received a $4 million grant to develop an advanced manufacturing apprenticeship program that will serve 1,600 participants at eight county colleges in New Jersey. The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center will evaluate the four-year Career Advance project to identify strategies for replicating and expanding the program.

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Assessing Pace University’s Efforts to Retain Black and Hispanic Nursing Students

Blacks and Hispanics have long been underrepresented in the nursing workforce and in many other health occupations. Pace University is attempting to address this problem through a program that seeks to increase retention of Black and Hispanic first-generation nursing students.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center will evaluate Pace University’s STEPS to Success Program and provide feedback to guide the four-year project, recommending improvements as needed.

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Past Projects

Lumina Foundation’s All Learning Counts Initiative Evaluation

In 2019, the Lumina Foundation awarded $3.5 million in grants to nine organizations nationwide in its All Learning Counts initiative, which seeks to ensure that knowledge, skills and abilities gained outside of formal higher education can be applied to credential programs. A four-year evaluation of this program will be conducted by the Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center and Brandon Roberts + Associates, a public policy consulting firm.

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Multiple Measures of Developmental Education in Colorado

The use of a self-assessment tool in the math and English placement of students at three Colorado community colleges was evaluated in this study. The project examined whether an assessment and placement rubric altered math and English placement decisions and how it affected students’ progress and success.

The study was a partnership among the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), Rutgers University, and the University of Michigan.

Gateway Math Requirements for Workforce Programs

Community college students who transfer to workforce programs face a range of requirements for gateway classes in math and English, which creates challenges in measuring student success in these programs.

This study, conducted by the Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC), examined how often workforce study programs have requirements that ensure basic proficiency and completion of introductory courses.

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EU Research Study on Vocational Education: International Perspectives on Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work

The changing nature of work requires that the U.S. education system must prepare skilled technicians who can function in an increasingly complex environment using diverse platforms and systems.

Vocational education models in Europe offer one way to explore how to prepare students for the future of work. This research project reviewed European practices in technical education that are replicable in associate degree programs in the United States and developed benchmark models that prepare students for the changing workplace.
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A Review of the Literature on Informal Learning

Learning is often viewed as the product of a traditional school setting. Yet learning also takes place every day across a range of settings — much of it in the workplace.

This study examines the numerous ways that informal learning occurs, the benefits and drawbacks of different forms of informal learning, and the implications for achieving equity.
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Adult College Completion Project

More than a fifth of adults in the United States have attended college but don’t have degrees. Workers who have completed their degrees have better employment prospects, job stability, and earning power.

This study evaluates the outcomes of the Adult College Completion program, which promotes college completion for clients in workforce centers and assesses the impact of a degree on their employment goals.

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Co-location of American Job Centers on Community College Campuses in North Carolina​

Community colleges play a critical role in workforce development by offering job training programs and partnerships with the public workforce system.

This study found that locating American Job Centers (AJC) on community college campuses, however, did not improve student outcomes in credential completion, employment, or earnings.

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Colorado Helps Advanced Manufacturing Program (CHAMP)

A $24.9 million federal grant was awarded to the Colorado Helps Advanced Manufacturing Program (CHAMP) to increase the completion of degrees and certifications in manufacturing to best serve employers’ needs.

The Rutgers Education and Employment Research Center (EERC) evaluated the program by assessing how successfully project goals were being met.

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The Colorado Online Energy Training Consortium (COETC)

A consortium of colleges in Colorado received a $17.3 million federal grant to enhance the schools’ energy training programs and to redesign the developmental education pathways in the state.

The Rutgers Education and Employment Research Center (EERC) evaluated this project to determine how successfully project goals were being met.
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Colorado Sector Strategy Evaluation Case Studies

In 2009, Colorado launched a program to create a more skilled workforce by customizing and creating curriculum in its community colleges that would meet the needs of targeted industries in the state.

A team of researchers from the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations evaluated the 10 grants awarded in the initiative to identify the best practices and recommendations from the program.
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CREAR Futuros Evaluation

The CREAR (College Readiness, Achievement and Retention) Futuros 2.0 program was created to address the persistent systemic barriers Latinos face, which often prevent completion of a college degree.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) conducted an evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of the peer mentoring program operating on nine college campuses in four states.

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Assessing the Impact of Student Work During College

A study using data from a large multi-campus university and student earnings shows that traditional-age students who worked for pay during college earned more on average after leaving college than similar students who did not work.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) evaluated the study to consider the implications of these findings for educational policy.
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Consortium for Healthcare Education Online (CHEO)

The Consortium for Healthcare Education Online (CHEO) received a $14.2 million federal grant to help community college students develop the skills needed for working in the allied health fields.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) evaluated this grant by identifying critical measures of program implementation and by assessing how successfully project goals were met.
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Clark State Community College Advanced Manufacturing in a Global Economy

A $2.5 million federal grant was awarded to Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio to revise and expand its advanced manufacturing programs in 2014.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) developed and reformed the curriculum in the project to create stackable credentials, improve opportunities for hands-on learning, improve student recruitment and advising, and expand employer engagement.

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New Jersey Health Professions Pathways to Regional Excellence Project (NJ-PREP)

A consortium of New Jersey community colleges received a $15 million federal grant in 2014 to prepare students to enter and advance in the health professions in the state.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) evaluated the implementation of the grant and partnered with the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, which calculated the project’s employment outcomes.

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Richland College Veterans-Focus Engineering Technology

Richland College in Dallas, Texas, received a $2.75 federal grant in 2014 to revise its manufacturing and electronics technology programs to better meet student and industry needs.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) assessed the project by summarizing its implementation and outcomes.

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Post-Graduate Earnings, Job Security, and Major Choice Survey

To what extent does labor market information influence students’ earnings expectations and choice of college majors? And how does this vary by socioeconomic background?

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) explored the issue of accessibility of labor market information and its impact on students’ expectations of future earnings and their choice of major. Based on a survey of 3,000 undergraduates at Rutgers’s three main campuses, the study analyzed the impact of accessing labor market information on the students’ earnings expectations and on their college major choices.
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Higher Education Labor Market Alignment Framework

With rising costs of college and concerns about students’ ability to access good jobs, aligning higher education with the labor market is critically important, particularly for low- and middle-income students.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) conducted a study on the need for higher education to focus on labor market alignment by reviewing scholarly literature, proposing a working definition for the concept, and identifying guiding principles to inform ongoing research on the issue.
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Pathways for Short Term Credentials

Students seeking short-term, non-degree credentials are more likely to earn certificates if they receive credit for prior learning (CPL). Yet within the Colorado Community College System, just 4 percent of students are using CPL to complete their certificates.

This study, conducted by the Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC), found that for both traditional students and adult learners over the age of 25, CPL credit had a positive effect in completing a non-degree credential.
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The Equity Role of Community Colleges in Career Preparation

Students enroll in community college primarily to prepare for a good career. Completing a degree can lead students from historically marginalized groups out of poverty and into the middle class.

This keynote address and issue brief presents career development as a central part of the community college equity mission and examines strategies to promote career development.
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Impact of Mental Health First Aid Training for Fire and EMS

Offering training to firefighters about mental health can significantly increase their confidence in helping people with mental illness. That was the conclusion of a study that explored data gathered before and after a Mental Health First Aid Training for Fire and EMS given at three New Jersey fire departments.

A pre-and post-training survey was administered to participants to gauge the impact of the training on their knowledge and attitudes about mental illness. The survey also assessed social distancing behavior and the participants’ confidence in helping others as well as their help-seeking behavior.
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Non-Degree Credential Quality: A Conceptual Framework to Guide Measurement

More than one quarter of adults in the United States have some type of non-degree credential, according to a survey by the National Center for Educational Statistics. Yet there is little guidance on how to evaluate the quality of these credentials.

This paper outlines a broad framework to guide the development of standards and processes to measure the quality of non-degree credentials. The paper is intentionally broad to allow stakeholders to identify those elements that are most essential for their purposes while keeping a few key guidelines in mind.

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Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics Research

Students who major in math in college are often unaware of the many ways the discipline can be applied in real-world situations and the range of career opportunities in the field.

This study includes qualitative research on selected math programs throughout the country to identify best practices for reforming math education and preparing students for math-related careers. The project was conducted by the Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC), which was contracted by Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics (TPSE Math), an organization dedicated to enhancing math education in two- and four-year colleges.
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New Workforce Professionals Academy Evaluation

As senior leaders in community colleges continue to retire, the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE) has sought ways to support the development of a new generation of leaders for community college workforce education.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) conducted a two-year evaluation of a program created by NCWE’s New Workforce Professionals Academy, which seeks to develop the skills and expand the knowledge of workforce education professionals who are new to the field
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Skillful Evaluation

Skillful, a nonprofit initiative of the Markle Foundation, works with the nearly 70 percent of people in the United States without a college degree to help them get good jobs based on the skills they have or the skills they can learn.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) created an evaluation for Skillful to assess a program launched in Colorado, which would allow the nonprofit to determine how well its initiatives were being implemented and how the project could be improved.
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Interstate Passport Program Evaluation

Community college students who want to transfer to a four-year institution often face obstacles in bringing their college credits with them. To address this problem, the Interstate Passport® Program was created to remove obstacles for students seeking to receive credit for general education attainment.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) conducted a study of Interstate Passport®, which is the only network of regionally accredited, nonprofit, public and private two- and four-year institutions dedicated to the block transfer of lower-division general education credits.
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Alternatives to Mathematics Education: An Unprecedented Program (AMP-Up) Evaluation

Two New Jersey community colleges launched a project to determine whether two alternative remedial math teaching methods would more effectively retain more students than the traditional lecture structure.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) conducted a study of the program, Alternatives to Mathematics Education: An Unprecedented Program, which was offered at Bergen Community College and Union County College.
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Multi-state Longitudinal Data Exchange Evaluation

Students who move across state lines often have difficulty accessing data about what works in education and employment systems because the information does not transfer from one state to another.

The Multi-State Longitudinal Data Exchange (MLDE) was created to address this problem by sharing information on everything from high school preparation to workforce development. EERC conducted an evaluation of the implementation of the MLDE and provided an assessment of the project as it evolves.
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STEM Pathways Analysis 

Community colleges play a key role in educating technicians who comprise the “T” category in STEM fields. What is often overlooked is the dual function of community colleges in providing science and technology education for STEM students enrolled in four-year schools.

This study is the first examination of the ways in which four-year STEM students use community colleges to further their education. The findings offer opportunities to better address the needs of four-year STEM students who “reverse transfer” to community colleges or who take courses concurrently at both types of institutions.

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