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Workforce Strategy Research & Insights

We launched College for America to be much more than a degree program—we believe it is a critical and innovative ingredient in solving the massive skills gap facing American employers. So when we look at holding ourselves accountable, it’s not enough to achieve more rigor than an existing traditional school—we also need to ensure we are meeting employers needs and expectations.

A key part of CfA’s work is ensuring our degree programs have relevance in the workplace. We focus on workers whose lack of postsecondary credentialing is preventing them from advancing their own careers and their companies’ productivity. We do this by conducting labor market research to learn about industry and occupational trends and needs, which we then test with key employers. This process informs both current program improvement and new program design to ensure our students are prepared both academically and for changing industry skill requirements.

As part of our commitment to labor market research, we regularly releases reports, studies, briefings, and other resources to help analysts, employers, and policymakers gain deeper insight into the skills implications of the changing America workforce.

Browse additional reports below and sign up for future releases in the form to the left. Reports published prior to 2013 were written by Julian L. Alssid and Melissa Goldberg of the Workforce Strategy Center, which merged with College for America in the spring of 2013.


Six Insurance Jobs Affected by Growing Customer Centricity and New Technology

Julian L. Alssid & Melissa Goldberg

Amid promising growth, companies in the insurance industry are being pressured to evolve their business models due to rising consumer expectations, new technologies, and a widening workforce skills gap. In turn, six key job roles in the insurance industry are changing. This new report discusses the growing need for insurance workers, the industry changes impacting key jobs, and the resulting shifts in hiring and promotion.

Our findings reflect labor market data, real-time job listings, and feedback from insurers nationwide.

Jun 2014
2014 Workforce Strategies Survey

College for America, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research

A survey of employers showed that 71 percent of employers prefer developing existing employees into management roles rather than hiring new employees—but the lack of promotable skills is a major hurdle. It revealed workforce challenges, insights, and preferences of 400 senior business leaders responsible for HR or administration at midsize and large companies.

Mar 2014
Rise of the Medical Assistant

Melissa Goldberg & Julian L. Alssid

Frontline and nonclinical health care jobs like medical assistants and patient navigators are growing dramatically in number and complexity in the wake of the baby boom retirement, Affordable Care Act, and information technology advances, according to the workforce strategy report.

Dec 2013
The Manufacturing Industry: Producing Rhode Island’s Future

Julian L. Alssid & Melissa Goldberg

This is a report on the RI manufacturing industry, sponsored by the RI Governor’s Workforce Board in partnership with Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Service and Workforce Strategy Center. It covers employment trends; focus group findings; policy, education, and industry challenges; and recommendations for overcoming those challenges.

Nov 2013
Policy Brief: Minnesota Workforce Funding

Melissa Goldberg & Julian L. Alssid

This report, prepared for Greater Twin Cities United Way on behalf of Skills@Work, a campaign to close Minnesota’s skills gap, focuses on using existing state funding streams differently to address the evolving skill demands of Minnesota’s 21st Century Economy.

Oct 2012
Mayors and Workforce Development: A Briefing Paper

Julian L. Alssid & Melissa Goldberg

This report, funded by the Ford Foundation, highlights the specific levers that mayors can press or adapt to pursue promising or proven practices to advance effective workforce development in cities.

Aug 2012
TAKING ROOT: The Virginia Career Pathways System

Melissa Goldberg & Julian L. Alssid

May 2012
The Case for Community Colleges: Aligning Higher Education and Workforce Needs in Massachusetts

Julian L. Alssid, Melissa Goldberg and John Schneider

This report, prepared for The Boston Foundation, offers a comprehensive set of recommendations for strategically revamping the Massachusetts community college system to better align it with the needs of a 21st-century workforce.

Nov 2011
What Works: BridgeConnect Stories from the Field

Julian L. Alssid, Melissa Goldberg and Sarah M. Klerk

This multimedia report features effective bridge programs from four sites across the country.

Oct 2011
Supporting the Education Pipeline: A Business Engagement Toolkit for Community-Based Organizations

Ready by 21, Corporate Voices for Working Families, Workforce Strategy Center, and United Way Worldwide and Education

This toolkit assists community leaders in creating beneficial and sustainable partnerships with business.

Nov 2010
Community College of Rhode Island: Building a 21st Century Workforce

Prepared by Workforce Strategy Center

Containing the recommendations of the CCRI 21st Century Workforce Commission to the Rhode Island Governor and General Assembly, this report provides a blueprint for creating a workforce for today’s knowledge-based economy.

Apr 2010
Employers, Low-Income Young Adults, and Postsecondary Credentials

Maureen R. Bozell and Melissa Goldberg

This report highlights programs in 14 communities that are successfully addressing the challenge of providing disadvantaged young adults with the technical and postsecondary education that may qualify them for skilled positions.

Oct 2009
Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative: Progress Report of Activities and Outcomes

Workforce Strategy Center

This report summarizes the activities and descriptive statistics from the third year of the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative (CPI).

Mar 2009
Virginia’s Career Pathways Strategic Plan

Prepared by Workforce Strategy Center

This strategic plan details the Commonwealth of Virginia's blueprint for developing, implementing and sustaining its statewide career pathways system.

Dec 2008
The Career Pathways How-To Guide

Davis Jenkins and Christopher Spence

The second report in the 2006 Pathways to Competitiveness series, this report provides step-by-step instructions for building career pathways on the regional level and discusses how state-level officials can support regional efforts.

Oct 2006
Strength In Partnership: Building a New Approach to Workforce Development in New York City

Workforce Strategy Center

This report discusses the innovative collaboration of the New York Information Technology Career Ladders Consortium in New York City, and describes the key lessons learned.

Jun 2006
Building Community College/CBO Partnerships

David Gruber

This report describes a key feature of career pathways – partnerships among community colleges and community-based organizations – and illustrates some of the most promising examples of those partnerships through five case studies from throughout the country.

Mar 2005
Building Bridges to College and Careers: Contextualized Basic Skills Programs at Community College

Christopher Mazzeo, Sara Y. Rab and Julian L. Alssid

This report examines and draws lessons from the case studies of five community colleges around the country that created bridge programs to college and careers for disadvantaged adults.

Jan 2003
Building a Career Pathways System: Promising Practices in Community College-Centered Workforce Dev

Julian L. Alssid, David Gruber, Davis Jenkins, Christopher Mazzeo, Brandon Roberts and Regina Stanback-Stroud

This report describes how community colleges can implement career pathways, the process of building partnerships with local and regional institutions, and how states can initiate and support the career pathways model.

Aug 2002
Promising Practices: School to Career and Postsecondary Education for Foster Care Youth

Workforce Strategy Center

This report identifies promising practices and programs in preparing foster care youth for career opportunities and economic self-sufficiency.

Mar 2000