The Working Learner Project

The Center proudly announces The Working Learner Project. The project, funded by the Trellis Foundation, will allow the Center to build on knowledge about working students in community colleges by investigating who these learners are and how connected their working lives and their educational lives are.

The Working Learner Project will feature the administration of a 12-item special-focus module with the 2019 Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE). By incorporating this new additional item set in its large-scale entering student survey, the Center will produce unique and actionable data regarding working students. The data collected will help colleges begin to think about how they can help students not only be students who work or workers who go to college, but instead students who are “working learners.”

The project will also include the administration of two additional special-focus item sets on the impact of COVID-19. A 12-item special-focus module will be administered with the 2020 Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE) and five special-focus items will be administered with the 2021 Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). These additional items will focus specifically on how COVID-19 has impacted the student experience, including how it has impacted students’ working lives. This will be a national first look of what students experienced during this pandemic, and how their decision-making about college may have been impacted.

The Center will release a national report on the working learner in fall 2020. The Center will also release two executive summary publications on the impact of COVID-19, one in spring 2021 and one in fall 2021.