This research study from the Urban Institute examines the impact of the Accelerating Opportunity (AO) initiative, which was developed by Jobs for the Future and is based on Washington State’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills (I-BEST) Training model. The program enables learners to complete career technical education (CTE) coursework concurrently with high school equivalency programs to develop basic skills while simultaneously working toward an industry credential.
Using rigorous methodology, the study finds that AO has a positive impact on the number of college-awarded credentials earned by almost all students. The report also finds that AO had a significantly positive impact on earnings for adult education students in Kentucky and CTE students in Kansas, though other sites did not register significant results. The authors recommend that, while AO is an effective strategy for improving credential attainment, policymakers should look closely at how to translate credential attainment increases into long-term earnings gains.