Clearing the Jobs Pathway: Removing Non-Academic Barriers to Adult Student Completion

Clearing the Jobs Pathway: Removing Non-Academic Barriers to Adult Student Completion

Despite the progress made in tailoring academic and training programs to meet emerging workforce demands, many adult students face non-academic barriers to enrolling in such programs — including poverty, food and housing insecurity, lack of child care, and limited computer or Internet access, a report from the Indiana Institute for Working Families, a program of the Indiana Community Action Association, finds. Funded by the Joyce Foundation and the Working Poor Families Project, the report, Clearing the Jobs Pathway: Removing Non-Academic Barriers to Adult Student Completion (22 pages, PDF), found that 40 percent of adults pursuing postsecondary education and training in Indiana cannot afford the costs associated with their education; 47 percent work full time; and 48 percent of community college students (across the Midwest) are housing insecure while 12 percent are homeless. To eliminate such barriers, the report calls on state government to align policies and resources so as to better enable community colleges to provide non-academic supports to students, loosen the eligibility requirements for food stamp and childcare benefits, and expand the Individual Development Account program to include the purchase of cars by adult students.