workstream 06

How should we observe, measure, and compare the learning, occupational and other gains from opportunities for working learners?

While we live in an era of ubiquitous data, the nation is without a shared infrastructure for observing how people move across schools and workplaces and accumulate educational credentials. This workstream will feature a series of case examples for how government agencies, educational organizations, non-profits and business firms are building novel collaborations to leverage evidence to improve understanding of educational and employment trajectories.

Our output will be a framework for how to build cross-sector data collaborations to improve practice and build applied science in this sector.


Richard Arum

Mitchell Stevens


Working Learner College Students: A Diverse Not-So-New Majority

University of Arizona sociologist and higher education researcher Regina Deil-Amen offers an aerial view of how the evolution of the US racial-political economy has substantially grown the ranks of working learners in college, creating new opportunities for individual and institutional transformation, but also new forms of precarity for working learners.


Hiring Working Learners

Northwestern University sociologist Lauren Rivera offers a concise brief on the importance of attending to the the assumptions, beliefs and behaviors of employers as they consider working learners at the point of hire.


Developing Transformative Working-Learner Measurement Infrastructure

UC-Irvine sociologist and education researcher Richard Arum offers a big-picture framework for conceptualizing collaboratively built infrastructure to observe how working learners accumulate skills, credentials, occupational titles and earnings as they move through the life course.


The Challenge of Defining, Measuring, and Improving Outcomes for Working Learners

Urban Institute economist Sandy Baum provides a high-level overview of the task of building a strong evidence base to inform government policy-making around services to working learners.



Richard Arum
Dean, Professor, UCI School of Education
Mitchell Stevens
Professor of Education, Stanford University
Byron Auguste
CEO and Co-Founder, Opportunity@Work
Nathan Barrett
Director, Training and Outreach, The Coleridge Initiative
Sandy Baum
Senior Fellow, Urban Institute
Robert Bell
Managing Partner, Robert Bell & Associates
I am leading a design team through NOVAWorks and San Mateo County in developing workforce interventions in the post-pandemic world. This is groundbreaking work that gives us the opportunity to reimagine equity, inclusion and workforce development. I believe we need to develop skill based models and career mobility programs that provide opportunity and access to the workforce. I have served as HR Director for several cities and in the private sector. I have developed regional workforce development programs in San Mateo County. I also served as City Manager of Redwood City, CA and partnered with Stanford in developing a unique small business program for the City. I am very excited and motivated to work with this group and set the foundation of workforce development for the future.
Patrick Bourke
Program Officer, Career Readiness, ECMC Foundation
I am interested in advancing opportunities for adult learners, especially for those pursuing career and technical education pathways. As a program officer at ECMC Foundation I oversee grants related to adult re-engagement and aligning pathways to ensure smoother transitions for returners. I look forward to joining group of individuals seeking to push the envelop on these important issues.
Vanessa Brown
Deputy Chief Data Officer, National Student Clearinghouse
I've been working on the industry credentials/Census Bureau initiative for the National Student Clearinghouse and am interested in the big questions being proposed by this convening and how our initiative can contribute to this work as it relates to the working learner.
Jack Buckley
Head of People Science, Roblox
Per conversation with Mitchell, planning on attending 1-2 ET on the 14th and 21st. I have a broad range of applicable experience including corporate assessment and L&D, board service at the University of Phoenix where I chair the Student Learning Committee, federal statistical and research experience, and extensive contract research experience in postsecondary and workforce education and measurement.
Gardner Carrick
Vice President, National Association of Manufacturers
Rosye Cloud
Executive Vice President, College Promise
Laura Coleman
Statewide Director, Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research
I am particularly interested in strategies to improve connections between colleges and employers - for many reasons but to name a few: improved program relevance to occupations, improved program retention, improved college-to-employment success, etc. I would like to see that balanced with the collection of data about student success in the workforce - earnings, relationship of job to field of study, tenure in job, etc.
Jennifer Engle
Director, US Program Data, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
This relates both to my work leading the Postsecondary Value Commission and the U.S. Program Data team, which focuses on improving the education-to-workforce data ecosystem in the U.S.
Linda Feng
Principal Software Architect, Unicon
Megan Fogarty
Associate Vice President for Community Engagement, Stanford University
I recently launched Stanford University's new Office of Community Engagement ( to build more purposeful engagement between Stanford University and the communities we touch. My interests are to build stronger coordination across a college campus and lean into regional workforce efforts to both support regional efforts and build a diverse talent pipeline into diverse Stanford University jobs. I am also interested in finding ways to support the development of faculty engagement in adult learning in ways that support our School of Education and other units.
Kristina Francis
Executive Director, JFF Labs
Matt Gee
CEO, Brighthive
I’m interested in how we establish high-functioning research, practice, platform partnerships (RPPPs) to unlock the valuable research reuse of data from private online learning platforms, SIS and LMS systems, etc to better understand the unique challenges and dynamics of adult learning
Ramon Goings
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Catharine Hill
Managing Director, Ithaka S+R
How to support those who are working, but want to increase their educational attainment. It needs to be easier, with employers both being supportive in terms of work flexibility, but also financial support. Figuring out the win-win so that incentives are aligned is important. We also need better data on the returns to various types of credentials. Not everyone is going to get a BA or MA. But, there are too many options, and we know little about the returns. Data exist, and need to be evaluated, continuously, so that adult learners and employers can make good decisions.
Destney Johnson
Student, Grambling State University
I am interested in being able to listen, work with others, and learn. I believe participating in this program I can help with planning and perspective!
Phil Kranenburg
Trustee, College of Marin
Building a better learning-teaching & teaching-learning experience with stronger educational outcomes.
Michal Kurlaender
Professor, UC Davis
Seems like a great opportunity to build intersections across work and postsecondary learning. One of my projects is focused on CTE and sub-BA training/apprenticeships both in K12 and community colleges. I am also interested in understanding the ways in which the pandemic has disrupted students' postsecondary trajectories and what can be done about it.
Christos Makridis
Senior Adviser, National AI Institute and Arizona State University
I am deeply passionate about promoting and understanding human capital and how people can live their best lives. Although my core doctorate is in economics, I also hold one in management science & engineering, so I do a lot of work in computational social science more broadly. I also serve as the head of research and strategic partnerships for the National AI Institute in the Department of Veteran Affairs Office of R&D where we are piloting an innovative workforce modernization / talent program for AI knowledge domains. I would contribute from both a practical side and a research side since all this resonates with my academic research as well.
Pamela McCann
Associate Professor of Public Policy, University of Southern California
Jonathan Montoya
Graduate student, University of California Irvine
I am interested in contributing to help define working learners and discuss adult learning. I am also really interested in helping to build stronger connections between working learners, colleges, universities, and workplaces. My research background is in secondary and post-secondary career and technical education, engineering, and computer science education.
Cecilia Orphan
Assistant Professor, Higher Education, University of Denver
I was a working learner in college (40+ hours per week while attending school full-time) and I study regional public universities (RPUs) that enroll a high number of working learners. I can share about how RPUs work to support this group of students.
Jason Owen-Smith
Executive Director/Professor, University of Michigan
Emil Palikot
Postdoctoral Researcher, Golub Capital Social Impact Lab, Stanford University
I am broadly interested in labor market signals. Specifically, in my research I study questions of online credentialing: the value of online credentials and it's heterogeneity and the complementarity with other actions/ services like for example mentoring.
Anne Palmer
Executive Director, Educational Leadership Initiative, Stanford University
I welcome the opportunity to be part of designing an applied science. I can supply insights from California and the nation's education-workforce ecosystem through experience with multiple research partnership collaborations.
Iris Palmer
Senior Advisor for Higher Education and Workforce, New America
Laura Perna
GSE Centennial Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania
Such an important topic. I am most interested in potential synergies between employment and education; institutional supports for working learners generally; and institutional supports for working learners who also have caregiving responsibilities. Thank you for including me!
Ann Person
Senior Researcher, Mathematica
In the past, many of us have thought of "school" and "work" as two distinct things, typically happening at different points in a person's life course. Even as more of us have come to recognize that this idealized model is outdated, we often frame the conversation as a problem to be solved. I'm excited for this conversation to help us rethink how learning and working can be positive, ongoing, simultaneous parts of life - what that means for the people involved in these processes, the institutions and programs that serve them, their employers, families, etc., and how individuals and societies can benefit from a more positive, and thoughtful, and equity-centered framing of the issues at hand. My own work has focused mostly on adult learners in formal postsecondary programs, but I've also worked with and studied many training and income support programs that working learners often engage with. I'm also very happy to see the inclusion of different perspectives in this conversation (researchers, practitioners, workforce advocates, business leaders) because policy, practice, and research are all better when they are informed by each other.
Alexandria Radford
Director, Center for Applied Research in Postsecondary Education, American Institutes for Research
My AIR colleagues and I are interested in and working on how postsecondary education models as well as more effective comprehensive supports can help working learners (particularly part-time, parenting, and underrepresented students) persist and reach their education goals. My colleagues and I are also interested in and working on building stronger connections betwen working learners, colleges, and workplaces.
Maryann Rainey
Program Officer, Ascendium Education Group
Dave Savory
Co-Founder and Director Experiential Learning, Riipen
Mark Schneider
Director, Institute of Education Sciences
Paige Shevlin
Director of Policy, Markle Foundation
I'm interested in learning more about working learners and diversity; bringing knowledge of best practices around education and learning for working learners
Amy Smith
Chief Learning Officer, StraighterLine
The questions centralized around who are working learners, how we should grow the science of adult learning, how can we best support the academic engagement and persistence of working learners are active questions StraighterLine Labs is pursing in our reading, thinking, and research currently. In my role as the Chief Learning Officer, leading the Labs division has us asking, and working to answer, these three questions -- and then apply our research and learnings to the experience of working adult learners within the ecosystem of our student experience.
Nichole Torpey-Saboe
Director of Research, Strada Education Network
David Troutman
Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Data Officer, University of Texas System
Sarah Turner
Souder Family Professor, University of Virginia
Brett Visger
Senior Director, Education Strategy Group
Ruth Watkins
President, Strada Impact, Strada Education Network
Have built a strong reputation for supporting social change and community workforce needs, established innovative student funding models, and built strong partnerships with community stakeholders. Interested in research, education, and operational efficiency, and grand societal challenges such as mental health and interpersonal violence.
Amanda Winters
Program Director, National Governors Association
Holly Zanville
Research Professor and Co-Director of Program on Skills, Credentials & Workforce Policy, George Washington University
Interested in the learn-and-work ecosystem and ways to strengthen the building blocks for connecting our education and work systems. There is a growing science of adult learning that has evolved over decades --that results in the widely held view that education must no longer be siloed from work. I'm interested in/can best contribute to focused discussions that lead to action to foster stronger connections between working learners, colleges, universities, workplaces, and third-party providers. An important area of action is improving research that observes, measures, and compares the learning, occupational, and other gains from educational/training opportunities for working learners. That research must be include all categories of working learners (e.g., by gender, age, SES, race and ethnicity, industry sector, sources of the learning). Am also interested and can contribute to how to influence transformational changes in our systems.
Doug Shapiro
Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse