Single Mothers' Career Readiness and Success

Almost nine million families in the U.S. are headed by single mothers. Most support their families on very low incomes and inadequate supports for child care, affordable housing, and health and dental care (Women Employed, 2011). When pursuing postsecondary education, single mothers are most likely to enroll in two-year colleges and certificate programs. Like many other nontraditional students, parents juggle multiple responsibilities while trying to complete college: 54 percent of community college students who are parents leave before attaining a degree or certificate within six years (Gault, B., Noll, E., and L. Reichlin, 2017)Although the need is great, there is limited information available about the effective practices and program models that address the needs of single mothers enrolled in career pathway bridge programs or postsecondary career and technical education and training.

With funding for an 18-month planning grant from the ECMC Foundation, the NCTN team is investigating viable and scalable programs and policies that prepare single mothers for success in career pathways. Our goal is to identify and document the successful models and practices, create program profiles, and then develop an implementation and dissemination plan around this work.

NCTN completed a literature review to identify evidence-based factors that will serve as the basis for our investigation into program models and practices that prepare single mothers for success in career pathways.  For a summary, read our blog or download the full literature review.

If you know of a postsecondary career pathway or career and technical education program that includes services designed to support single mothers, contact:

Project Director: Sandy Goodman, Director of Career Pathways, National College Transition Network

Funder: ECMC Foundation

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