Noncredit Research Collaborative

Noncredit Workforce Training at Community Colleges: Participant Composition and Academic Success

Abstract

This report presents initial findings from a comprehensive study being undertaken to examine noncredit CTE programs offered within the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). In 2016, the Virginia legislature, through HB66, passed legislation to expand participation in community college noncredit CTE programs. These programs are commonly known in Virginia as “FastForward” programs. A key component of this initiative is an innovative funding mechanism, the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant (WCG), which is a cost-sharing pay for-performance model (described in more detail below). The programs covered under this initiative are those that lead to an industry-recognized credential in a high-demand field; our analyses focus on this subset of eligible “FastForward programs.” We capitalize on this data to generate additional robust evidence about the academic and labor market outcomes of students enrolled in FastForward programs. In this report, we focus on our analyses related to participant composition, program success, and the relationship between noncredit and credit enrollment.