Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas

The number of adults who lack skills beyond a high school diploma is a significant national concern. In Kansas alone, there are over 700,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) with no meaningful postsecondary credential.  There is significant concern of this trend continuing, while we know more and more Kansas jobs are requiring workers with some form of postsecondary credentials. Magnified by the difficulty faced by employers across the state, struggling to find qualified workers who can fill skilled positions, Kansas community and technical colleges will continue to play a vital role in promoting economic prosperity for all through this program.

The Kansas Board of Regents, in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce, is implementing the Accelerating Opportunity initiative in Kansas (AO-K) to transform the delivery system for adult education in Kansas by delivering career and technical education at the same time as adult basic skills instruction within a career pathways framework. Students complete short term certificate programs aligned with labor market needs, leading to industry-recognized credentials and immediate jobs.

Kansas is part of a national initiative managed by Jobs for the Future and funded by six philanthropies: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Open Society Foundations and the University of Phoenix Foundation. Kansas received $1.8 million for both design and implementation phases. In addition to Kansas, Accelerating Opportunity is also implemented in seven other states: Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.

IMAGE-LINK AOK-2016  HANDOUT: Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas (AO-K) (January 2016) (pdf)

Community and technical colleges across Kansas are implementing Accelerating Opportunity:

  • Barton Community College
  • Dodge City Community College
  • Fort Scott Community College
  • Garden City Community College
  • Highland Community College
  • Hutchinson Community College
  • Independence Community College
  • Johnson County Community College
  • Kansas City Kansas Community College
  • Labette Community College
  • Manhattan Area Technical College
  • Neosho Community College
  • Salina Area Technical College
  • Seward County Community College/Area Technical School
  • Washburn Institute of Technology
  • Wichita Area Technical College

Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas (AO-K) - Snapshot of Success

Accelerating Opportunity changes the way adult basic education is delivered by putting adult students on track to earn a postsecondary credential, seize the opportunity to earn family-sustaining wages, and break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

  Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Enrollments 1,069 994 1,173 910 438 4,253
College Credentials 184 456 710 321 116 1,785
Industry-Recognized Credentials Awarded 1,191 1,086 1,514 695 262 4,741
Individuals Completing a 12-Credit Hour Pathway 341 450 325 98 68 1,282
Number Employed 366 247 229 138 61 1,031

 Updated: January 2016; * Enrollment headcount is unduplicated; ** Reporting period not complete until 9/31/2016 

Since January 2012, Kansas community and technical colleges have enrolled over 4,200 students in over 30 career pathway programs.  To date, these students have earned over 4,700 industry-recognized credentials in areas such as healthcare, welding, manufacturing and aero-structures.  Over 1,200 students have completed a 12-credit hour pathway and over 1,000 are employed

In July 2013, the Kansas Department for Children and Families partnered with the Kansas Board of Regents to begin offering a tuition scholarship program to support Kansans enrolled in AO-K career pathway programs who qualify to receive TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) benefits.

For more information about this initiative, contact us.