I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training)

Program basics

  • Community and technical college–based program advancing demand-driven occupational training in fields such as automotive, electrical, office skills, nursing, precision machining, and welding for students needing assistance acquiring basic skills
  • Elements include career pathways, team teaching that blends occupational and basic skills instruction, advising, and financial support

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Promising (Third-highest tier)


Promising (Third-highest tier)

iBEST is not yet in any of the major clearinghouses, but has demonstrated positive results in an independent, high-quality evaluation conducted by MEF Associates

Target population

Students enrolled in post-secondary education

Program cost


Implementation locations

Dates active


Outcomes and impact

  • Higher course enrollment and completion rates
  • Increase in credits and credentials earned

Keys to successful implementation

  • Allow for a substantial runway from program planning to launch – which could range from 3-12 months.
  • Partner with students, local development/workforce councils, and employers to identify high-demand sectors offering competitive wages.
  • To create the professional development curriculum, engage frequently with local adult education administrators, community colleges, employers, and third-party credentialing programs.
  • Pair basic skills instructors with technical/vocational instructions, allowing them to jointly design and teach classes.
  • Provide faculty with training on the I-BEST model and team teaching. Note: Introductory resources to the I-BEST model are included below.
  • Assign a clear departmental owner of the program - someone who is eager to take on the program’s responsibility, and can lead cross-organizational collaboration efforts.
  • Recruit champions of the program outside of its host department – especially senior leaders and staff within professional-technical departments.

Similar programs