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Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program

The Department of Labor (DOL), in conjunction with the Department of Education (ED), administers the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program to support the development and improvement of postsecondary programs of two years or less that use evidence-based or innovative strategies to prepare students for successful careers in growing and emerging industries.  Through the TAACCCT, DOL funds individual or a consortium of community colleges and other eligible higher education institutions to expand and improve their ability to provide education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less.  The goal of the program is to promote skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers, and prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations.

Educational institutions, awarded multi-year grants between $2.5 million and $20 million in the first two rounds of TAACCCT, use these funds to create affordable training programs that meet industry needs, invest in staff and educational resources, and provide access to free, digital-learning materials.

Evidence Standards and Evaluation:

TAACCCT projects are expected to replicate strategies with strong to moderate evidence (PDF, 53 pages); or implement innovative or new strategies.  The descriptions below reflect the evidence standards used in the first two rounds of TAACCCT grants.

Replication projects must be supported by strong or moderate evidence from prior research that supports the proposed program design.  The strong or moderate evidence should demonstrate the strategy has had positive impacts on education and/or employment outcomes.  For TAACCCT programs, “strong evidence” includes a study or multiple studies whose designs can support strong causal conclusions and studies which demonstrate the strategy to be effective with multiple populations and/or in multiple sites (i.e., high internal and external validity).  The model should be supported by: 1) more than one experimental study or quasi-experimental study; or 2) one large randomized controlled (or random assignment), multisite trial.

“Moderate evidence” is evidence from a study or studies that include multiple sites and/or populations that support weaker causal conclusions or that support strong causal conclusions that are not yet generalizable (i.e., high internal validity and moderate external validity, or vice versa).  Programs replicating strategies with moderate evidence should have:

  • at least one experimental or quasi-experimental study, with small sample sizes or other conditions of implementation or analysis that limit generalizability;
  • at least one well-designed and well-implemented experimental or quasi-experimental study that does not demonstrate equivalence between the intervention and comparison groups at program entry but that has no other major flaws related to internal validity; or
  • correlational research with strong statistical controls for selection bias and for discerning the influence of internal factors.

The TAACCCT also supports innovation projects for new or innovative strategies with preliminary evidence.  These projects should be supported by related research findings or reasonable hypotheses that the program or strategy would lead to improved education and employment outcomes, citing related research, theories, or logic models from education, training or other sectors.  Preliminary evidence may include evidence that the proposed strategy, or one similar to it, has been attempted previously, albeit on a limited scale or in a limited setting, and yielded promising results that suggest that more formal and systematic study is warranted.

For all funded projects, the TAACCCT program will support institutions that are committed to using data to continuously assess the effectiveness of their strategies in order to improve their programming, and structuring programs to facilitate evaluation that can build evidence about effective practices.  One outcome of the Initiative will be to build knowledge about effective practices so that, in the future, institutions can replicate practices that are effective and identify and strengthen practices in need of improvement.  All grantees are required to include a strong third-party evaluation plan, which must include treatment and control groups.  Additionally, DOL may select some grantees for rigorous evaluation using random assignment designs.