This case study from USC’s Center for Urban Education examines strategies for improving the community college experience by examining a career pathways redesign initiative at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC). The initiative, launched in 2014, was designed to expand the number and quality of relevant academic pathways and supports and combat the school’s high attrition rate from students who dropped out to pursue work opportunities. Under the initiative, LATTC offers pathways in six different fields comprising 70 programs of study. The pathways are designed to focus the learning experience and provide students with academic and counseling supports.
The study profiles LATTC’s Pathways to Academic, Career and Transfer Success Initiative (PACTS) and draws out strategies that other community and technical colleges can consider to improve the academic and employment outcomes of their students. The authors suggest that the following characteristics contributed to LATTC’s success:
- Seeing oneself in students
- Tolerance of criticism
- Change labs
- Willingness to take risks and fail