Racial Equity for Adult Credentials in Higher ed: The REACH Collaborative

The REACH Collaborative is focused on transforming credential pathways to associate degrees at community colleges to improve credential attainment and economic mobility for adult learners of color in six states.  Coordination of the REACH Collaborative is led by Education Strategy Group (ESG) in partnership with the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) at the University of Illinois with generous support from the Lumina Foundation.  In collaboration with our learning partner,  DVP-Praxis, the REACH Collaborative helps to build the capacity and tools for equitable system change and improved adult student outcomes.

The Collaborative will bring intense focus on the systems, structures, and supports needed to value prior learning and align quality non-degree credentials to degrees with the goal of closing equity gaps and increasing high-quality credential attainment.

The REACH Collaborative brings together a network of teams from six states – California, Colorado, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia – along with coaches, equity champions, and a host of intermediary partners to strengthen credential pathways with the supports and curricular alignment that post-traditional adult learners need to reskill and recover from the pandemic.     

Through our work, ESG is providing leadership and support for the Student Success Centers, community college system offices, and nearly 200 community colleges prioritizing racial equity in adult credential attainment in the REACH Collaborative.  

Specifically, the REACH Collaborative is designed to achieve at least a two percent increase in credential attainment among adult learners of color age 25-64 in the six states through the following:

  • Aligning high value, quality non-degree and credit credentials in 4-8 pathways that lead to family-sustaining jobs;
  • Bundling and sequencing student supports within pathways including holistic advising, comprehensive financial, and academic supports;
  • Integrating culturally sustaining pedagogy and supports; and
  • Dismantling barriers that contribute to disparate outcomes for adult learners of color.

The REACH Collaborative leverages the collective experience of partners and state teams to smooth transitions for adult learners of color as they enter and navigate credential pathways seeking economic stability and career growth. ESG recognizes the impact this work will have on institutional, state, and national equity attainment outcomes toward creating a well-prepared, diverse workforce.

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