This program specifically focuses on innovative strategies that connected a state's adult basic education system with its community and technical college system. It purposely examines the extent to which the six Shifting Gears states gained "traction on the ground" by incorporating these innovative strategies into existing programs. Gaining this traction among adult basic education providers and community and technical colleges signals that states may be on a positive trajectory toward systems change.
By the end of the five-year period, four of the six Shifting Gears states had implemented innovative strategies to serve low-skilled adults. Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin succeeded in enrolling a total of about 4,000 low-skilled adults in their innovative programs -- a modest number that is expected to grow considerably during the next several years as these strategies and program are embraced by more organizations within the states.
Each of the four states Shifting Gears teams pursued a "career pathway framework," creating new programs to help low-skilled adults transition from adult basic education to community and technical colleges and gain credentials with economic value.
The state teams stopped using Joyce resources to finance local projects at the start of Phase Two. Instead, they financed local program development and implementation by leveraging state dollars, encouraging use of traditional funding streams and engaging other stakeholders within state government and in the community (e.g., local philanthropy, community non-profits). These funding strategies have moved the Shifting Gears initiative beyond a "boutique" effort and closer to the desired goal of systems change.