Building Better Programs

Arkansas’ Career Pathways Initiative

The Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) administered by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education at 25 two-year colleges across the state, has provided case management support, education, and training to more than 30,000 low-income welfare-eligible Arkansans since 2006, helping them acquire degrees and certificates that prepare them to obtain and hold jobs in selected high-demand and higher-wage industries. Funds for the program come from federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) appropriations administered through the state Department of Workforce Services.

In order to qualify for participation in CPI, participants must be a custodial parent, have qualified as TANF eligible, and be at 250% or less of the poverty level. Many are TEA (Transitional Employment Assistance) clients, who are low-income enough that they qualify for cash assistance.

CollegeCounts conducted an evaluation of the Career Pathways Initiative by matching CPI participants with non-participants of similar education and/or economic backgrounds. They found CPI participants were more likely to graduate with a degree or certificate and earn more than their peers.

Arkansas Career Pathways Site

CollegeCounts Evaluation of Career Pathways