Feb 16 -- The Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Department of Education (ED), invites comments by April 18, 2022 on Connecting Adults to Success: Career Navigator Training Study (CATS Study).
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the U.S. Department of Education (ED) requests clearance for data collection activities to support a congressionally mandated National Assessment of Adult Education. Specifically, this request covers collection of data to conduct an impact study of training for career navigators—local adult education provider staff who provide services to address the challenges that adult learners face navigating the transition to the workforce and to further education and training.
This randomized controlled trial (RCT) study (referred to as Connecting Adults to Success: Evaluation of Career Navigator Training) will compare the education and employment outcomes of learners enrolled in adult education sites whose career navigators receive the study’s training (the treatment group) with the education and employment outcomes of learners enrolled in the business-as-usual sites who are offered the study’s training after the study period (the comparison group).
This demonstration study will examine the impact of training for career navigators—local adult education provider staff who provide services to address the challenges that learners face navigating the transition to the workforce and to further education and training. The study will compare the education and employment outcomes of learners enrolled in adult education sites whose career navigators are assigned by lottery to receive the study's training (the treatment group) with the outcomes of learners enrolled in the business-as-usual sites who are assigned by lottery to receive the study's training after the study period (the comparison group). Approximately 64 adult education sites from across five to seven states are expected to participate in the study. Impacts on learners' education and employment outcomes will be examined after 18 and 30 months.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, which authorizes funding for adult education programs to help low-skilled adults succeed in the workforce and become more productive and engaged citizens, mandates that ED carry out rigorous research and evaluation to identify effective adult education services. A recent evidence review revealed that existing research provides little guidance on effective approaches for improving outcomes for adult learners (Borradaile et al., 2020). This study will help expand the evidence base.
A key goal of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act—Title II of WIOA—is to help adult learners connect with and move along career pathways. The legislation aims to contribute to a more competitive workforce by providing learners with skills and support to succeed in the labor market and to fulfill the labor demands of employers. To fulfill this goal, adult education programs guide and support learners as they transition to further education, training, or employment.
One strategy to support learners is to employ designated staff whose explicit and primary role is to advise them in career and college planning. These staff—often referred to as career navigators—assist learners with selecting and applying for appropriate course work to progress on a career path, developing work and education plans, and transitioning to next steps. Career navigators provide counseling to learners and develop partnerships with the workforce development system to help facilitate learner transitions.
Although career navigation services have promise for improving outcomes for adult learners, evidence is sparse on how to ensure that career navigators offer high quality, consistent support. One strategy—the focus of this study—is offering training to career navigators. The study will test two trainings, both of which include online instruction paired with additional activities. They are:
1. The National College Transition Network at World Education, Inc.’s Navigating Pathways to Opportunity: Comprehensive Student Supports
2. The National Career Development Association’s Facilitating Career Development Training Course
Draft data collection instrument and technical documentation: https://www.regulations.gov/docket/ED-2022-SCC-0019/document
FR notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-03284