Skip to main content

final report: Career Pathways Programming for Adult Learners in Chicago, Houston, and Miami

I'm pleased to announce that we have completed the final report for our U.S. Department of Education study on career pathways! Please share with others. I'm happy to answer any questions.



In 2015-16, 94% of adult education providers in Chicago, Houston, and Miami were offering or developing career pathways (CP) services for adult learners.

Learn more about how adult education agencies in these cities design and implement CP in the final report from our U.S. Department of Education-funded researcher-practitioner partnership (2015-18). The project was the first to map the landscape of career pathways in these cities. The report offers detailed information about CP in a variety of organizations (e.g., community colleges, a large school district, CBOs, libraries), particularly those serving immigrants and adults with barriers to education and employment.

The partnership included the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy at Penn State and three community partners serving as liaisons for each city: Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition, Houston Center for Literacy, and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

The findings are drawn from a survey of adult education providers (n=106, 72% response rate), focus groups with adult education providers in each city, and case studies of six agencies (two per city).* The report describes:

  • the key features of adult education career pathways in each city (e.g., student characteristics, program design and delivery, data collection systems);
  • student outcome measures (which measures are used most extensively within and across cities; which, if any, are used by all adult education providers within and across cities; what interim and long-term outcomes providers are helping adults to achieve);
  • how case study agencies design and implement CP programming;
  • which policies and practices shape CP programming and coordination across systems in each city; and
  • which programmatic features, policies, and other factors contribute to student success.

For more information about this project, please visit our website: or contact the Principal Investigator, Dr. Esther Prins (

*The case study organizations included Jane Addams Resource Corporation (Chicago), Malcolm X College (City Colleges of Chicago), Alliance for Multicultural Community Services (Houston), Houston Community College’s Community-Based Job Training Program (focusing on CP classes offered at AVANCE and the Chinese Community Center), Lindsey Hopkins Technical College (Miami), and Miami Dade College. These organizations served hard-to-reach populations such as immigrants, refugees, adults without a high school diploma, ex-offenders, etc.