Bridging the Gap in Workforce and Education Services: Career Coaching in the Virginia RETHINKS Health Sciences Education TAACCCT Program

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Sep 21, 2015
Authors
Cecilia Speroni and Nan Maxwell

Key Findings:

  • Consistent with the goals of the strategy, coaches appeared to expand exposure to and completion of community college programs.
  • Both the employment rate and earnings (for those employed) increased after participating in coaching activities.
  • Students who participated in coaching activities were more likely than other students to obtain career studies certificates and associate degrees even though the coaching participants were more likely than nonparticipants to have characteristics typically associated with lower educational attainment. 
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded Tidewater Community College a $24 million Round 1 Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant to implement Virginia RETHINKS Health Sciences Education in all 23 community colleges in the state system. This report focuses on career coaches, one of the seven strategies of the RETHINKS program. Career coaches were hired to close gaps in training, capacity, and supportive activities that existed between the workforce development and community college system so that Virginia workers are better prepared for employment. The outcomes study examined the characteristics of coaching participants, estimated associations between participation in specific types of activities and student outcomes, and compared participant outcomes with the outcomes of other students who were not participants. Analysis drew information from administrative data sources including the strategy’s case management data, registrar data, workforce system case management records, and state unemployment insurance records.