I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training)
Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- This strategy can help address educational disparities. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
- Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- 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
Evidence and impacts
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
- Higher course enrollment and completion rates
- Increase in credits and credentials earned
Best practices in 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.