Noncredit Research Collaborative

Noncredit Career and Technical Education Programs in Virginia: Early Findings from the FastForward Study

Abstract

Across the country, as technology continues to advance rapidly, the labor market exhibits a growing need for workers who receive frequent and ongoing skill development. Employers in many fields struggle to find adequately trained workers to meet their needs. Community college noncredit career and technical education (CTE) programs are an important contributor to skill and workforce development and help to close this “skills gap.”

This brief summarizes early findings from a study of FastForward, which uses a pay-for-performance model to fund noncredit CTE programs at the 23 colleges in the Virginia Community College System. FastForward aims to increase the supply of workers who receive credentials for high-demand occupations in Virginia. The FastForward study is focused on identifying institutional and programmatic factors that may influence learners’ academic and labor market outcomes. This brief presents findings on the different approaches used by colleges and programs to deliver training, student and staff experiences in these CTE programs, and students’ academic and labor market outcomes.