A TAACCCT Consortium Evaluator’s Perspective on Scale-up

by Paul Bucci / Dec 18, 2013

The mission of the Transformative Change Initiative (TCI) that OCCRL and The Collaboratory have launched under Gates, Lumina, and Joyce Foundation support is timely and nationally important. The professional learning community of third-party evaluators included in this group could help effect and scale up Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) systemic reforms.

Here is why I say that.

As third-party evaluator of the Harper College-led TAACCCT consortium in Illinois, I know that under the visionary, strategic leadership of Harper College’s president, Dr. Kenneth Ender, and the research-supported implementation and collaborative management of project director, Dr. Rebecca Lake, the Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing (iNAM) is building institutional and consortial capacities that promise to abide and evolve beyond the grant period.

Driven by these iNAM leaders, this new consortium of 21 Illinois community colleges is rethinking and piloting changes in policies, programs, strategies, systems, and cross-institutional faculty collaboration.  It is developing the infrastructure and tools to demonstrate a model of reformed education and career training that will improve education and employment outcomes. A consortium longitudinal data system now integrates student-level demographic, academic, and participation data. Protocols and templates for batch uploading of data from the colleges’ information systems are being pilot tested.  A web-based repository for project performance reports has been developed.  Successful negotiations with the State of Illinois to integrate individual-level Unemployment Insurance wage data promise tracking participants into the workplace.

These new capacities will make possible quasi-experimental design evaluations to identify innovations that work. The return-on-investment results from rigorous impact evaluations could empower leaders of member colleges to scale up successful innovations into comprehensive, systemic reforms that would advance their completion agendas.

So, yes, my team is interested in supporting TCI’s important work as well.  We thank you for yesterday and for your leadership in reforming U.S. higher education.

Paul Bucci is president of Paul T. Bucci PhD LLC (PTB) consulting based in Bethesda, Maryland.  PTB has written three funded community-college consortium grant proposals and currently serves as third-party evaluator of two community-college consortium projects.