While sectoral training programs and community colleges serve some historically underserved populations, many others continue to be isolated from these opportunities, which perpetuates existing inequities. Recognizing this challenge, PROMISE seeks to better understand the barriers that specific underserved populations face and identify promising programs and practices that better support their strengths and needs.

Currently, PROMISE focuses on four underserved populations: opportunity youth; youth involved with the justice system; adults with foundational skills needs; and displaced workers.

With each population, PROMISE seeks to:

  1. Undertake landscape reviews of current research to identify the barriers these underserved populations face;
  2. Identify promising practices and programs that connect these underserved populations with economic and educational opportunities;
  3. Partner with promising programs to better understand their approach, identify areas for knowledge building, and grow the evidence on the effectiveness of the program; 
  4. Research the effectiveness of new interventions and strategies; and
  5. Scale evidence-based practices within programs and identify potential on-ramps for individuals in community colleges and workforce training programs.

PROMISE is committed to sharing this knowledge with the field and supporting the reintegration of these populations into a diverse and vibrant workforce.

Relevant PROMISE Center Projects

Apprentices working on computers

Connecting Opportunity Youth to Strong Pathways to Adulthood and Career Success

We are committed to finding ways to more effectively meet the needs of all opportunity youth, including the most vulnerable who are often screened out of the best known programs.



Apprentice working with mechanic

Strengthening Workforce Training and Reintegration Supports for Justice-Involved Individuals

We seek to identify approaches with the potential to help large numbers of justice-involved young adults connect to supports needed to gain access to living-wage jobs and successfully reintegrate into society.



Adult students on laptops

Helping Adults with Foundational Skill Needs Access Pathways to Economic Mobility

We are working to identify promising programs that integrate academic and workforce skills training to help millions of adults with foundational skill needs access high-wage, high-demand occupations.



Older students in classroom

Helping Displaced Workers Find New Pathways in the Future of Work

PROMISE Center researchers are undertaking the development of a proactive knowledge- and field-building agenda to discover and significantly expand the availability of effective supports for displaced workers.