Applied Baccalaureate Provides Potential Pathway for Workforce Development

Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) recently completed a three-phase project to examine applied baccalaureate programs and their potential to provide pathways for the United States to train the workforce needed to compete in the global economy.

The Adult Learner and the Applied Baccalaureate (AB), a project sponsored by Lumina Foundation for Education, provides insight into the nation’s inventory of programs and a more in-depth examination of six selected states. The final report for this project, The Adult Learner and the Applied Baccalaureate: Lessons from Six States, highlights the trend of the programs as well as the potential the programs have to contribute to developing a robust workforce.

Some of the findings of the study lead to the following conclusions about past developments in and potential of the AB:

  • Ambitious goals to increase college completion in the United States, especially baccalaureate completion, could facilitate growth in AB policy and program implementation.
  • Although controversial, the AB degree aligns well with policy agendas that link higher education to workforce development.
  • The AB degree provides a transfer pathway to the baccalaureate degree for students who have taken “terminal” applied associate courses or degrees.

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