Goodwill® and Lumina Foundation Give Millions of Americans a ‘Second Chance’ at Earning a Degree

ROCKVILLE, MD — Lumina Foundation for Education announced today a grant of $250,000 to Goodwill Industries International for the purpose of supporting The Community College/Career Collaboration, better known as the C4 project. The collaboration was launched in 2009, and includes Goodwill Industries International, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the Aspen Institute, Jobs for the Future, and three pilot local community college/Goodwill partnerships with successful, replicable models in northern Virginia, San Antonio, TX, and Winston-Salem, NC. With 37 million adults ages 25–64—more than 20 percent of the working age population—having attended a college but never earned a degree or credential, these efforts to provide a second chance for these adults could be a big boost to the nation’s goal to dramatically increase college degree attainment and advance the nation’s workforce productivity.
The goal of the C4 project is to increase college and career success for thousands of vulnerable individuals who lack a college or career credential by providing them with easy access to education, job-specific training and supportive services. The project will engage up to 30 new partnerships, with a goal of fostering 20 new community college/Goodwill® partnerships to commit to implementing elements of the three models.
“Goodwill agencies have robust partnerships with workforce investment institutions, corporations and businesses — placing people in jobs and providing other supports for people with challenges to finding employment within their local communities,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “By tapping into the educational expertise of community colleges, Goodwill will be able to effectively serve the needs of workers with financial challenges by providing them access to financial aid to fund college studies and progress to receive award degrees and training certificates.”
The C4 project combines the strengths of the nation’s two largest delivery systems for people with low-incomes by building a foundation to allow family breadwinners a convenient way to access job placement guidance, career training and education programs. For more than 30 years, America’s 1,100 community colleges have struggled to attract and respond to an increasing number of America’s 61 million adults over the age of 25 who lack a college credential. Once new Community College/Goodwill partnerships are launched, thousands of adults will have the opportunity to participate in college and career programs.
“There is growing evidence that adults who have gone to college but not received a degree are looking for a second chance but need the right kind of information and motivation to help them succeed,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation for Education. “This vital work aligns directly with our goal to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Given demographic trends and attainment rates among young adults, it is highly unlikely that the nation can meet its growing need for college-educated workers only by focusing on recent high school graduates.”
Throughout the first year of the  C4 project, the two organizations will focus on those individuals most in need, including single parents, veterans, people with criminal backgrounds, returning adult workers and those with only a high school graduation.
To view abstracts of the grants, visit the Lumina Foundation.