Courses to Employment (C2E)

Since 2008, AspenWSI has studied partnerships between community colleges and local workforce nonprofits, or Courses to Employment (C2E) partnerships. C2E partnerships combine each organization's strengths to focus on non-traditional students, typically low-income, working adults. They aim to support these students by:

·         Helping them identify an employment goal and learn about their target industry;

·         Connecting them to a variety of supports that help them manage the life issues that can impede learning;

·         Offering employment-relevant education or training;

·         Providing services that help students find and retain better jobs.

In a three-year project, AspenWSI learned from six partnerships between community colleges and nonprofit organizations. We learned that these C2E partnerships were helping low-income adults succeed in post-secondary education and the workforce.  Visit the Courses to Employment website to learn how community college-nonprofit partnerships are advancing opportunities for low-wage workers. 


The Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative (AspenWSI) recently published The Results from a National Survey of Non-profit Community College Collaborations 

Beginning in the Fall 2013, AspenWSI surveyed 177 Courses to Employment (C2E) partnerships to better understand what these partnerships look like.  The survey asked nonprofit and college partners about the benefits to each institution in their collaboration, the students they serve and the outcomes they achieve, the training and support services partners provide, their engagement with industry and businesses, the funding and resources partners use to support their work, and the challenges and successes they experience in their collaborations. 

This overview of C2E Partnership findings from an initial survey of 177 non-profit organizations shows: 

  • While about one-fifth of the C2E partnerships reported being more than 10 years old, more than half were less than five years old and more than a third of those were launched in the preceding three years.
  • 92 percent of partnerships reported that businesses inform their curriculum design or career pathways development.
  • Nearly 80 percent of all nonprofit respondents reported a focus on preparing students for employment in a particular industry or set of occupations, with health care, manufacturing, construction and information technology the most commonly cited. 
  • Seventy-two percent of nonprofits said a student served by the partnership typically obtains employment in a training-related field. Nearly half of the community colleges (48 percent) reported that the students served by the partnership are more likely to complete their educational goals than students in similar training programs at the college.  


  To read more on the results from this survey, download the full report here.