VCCS awarded two federal grants to study FastForward VA and G3 programs - VCCS

VCCS awarded two federal grants to study FastForward VA and G3 programs

Home|Blog|VCCS awarded two federal grants to study FastForward VA and G3 programs

FastForward and G3 have proven immensely popular since their respective debuts. Given that noncredit students are typically not included in state and national postsecondary data sets, however, research on both initiatives is limited at best, especially as it relates to completer earnings.

But that dearth of data could soon give way to a wellspring of information, thanks to a pair of grants from the Institute of Education Sciences (DOE). Researchers will be using the grant monies to better understand the success behind both initiatives and to determine if either or both programs can be improved. To that end, the research teams will be collecting data and lots of it.


The study team, consisting of MDRC (formerly known as the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation), the University of California, Irvine and VCCS, will analyze student data for all FastForward students, and survey program administrators and instructors of the ten most highly enrolled noncredit CTE programs across all twenty-three colleges in the system (see table below).

Table that refers to most popular programs

Researchers are also planning to conduct a “deep dive” data collection at roughly a half-dozen colleges that offer some of these top ten programs, using both interviews and focus groups (select administrators, students, and employer partners will be encouraged to participate). Administrative academic records for VCCS enrollees linked to unemployment insurance earnings and National Student Clearinghouse data will also be evaluated.



Led by the Community College Research Center (CCRC), the Virginia Workforce Recovery Project will conduct research to identify institutional and systemwide approaches to enhancing G3 program design and implementation and to track student outcomes. The three-year study includes virtual and in-person fieldwork at up to eight colleges to learn about how they are implementing G3 and how the program could be contributing to the system’s goal of improving access and outcomes of historically marginalized adults. The research team will also be tracking student outcomes like enrollment, persistence, and completion while highlighting factors that lead to student success in G3 programs.

Findings from the study will be shared with VCCS practitioners and policymakers over the course of the study.



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