Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Design-It, Build-It, Ship-It (DBS) consortium, which was administered in the San Francisco Bay Area in community colleges and partnerships with Workforce Investments Boards and industry partners.
- The authors conducted an implementation evaluation that included data from site visits to include observations, staff/faculty and student focus groups, and telephone interviews with partners (industry and workforce partners), program documentation and college records, as well as a social network analysis.
- The study found that the program achieved its objectives, was able to serve a broad range of individuals, and fostered collaboration in the region.
- The implementation study was comprehensive in its design, data collection, and analyses. The findings aligned with the research questions and were supported by the data.
- The embedded impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in May 2020.
The Design it–Build it–Ship it (DBS) Program
Features of the Intervention
- Type of organization: Community Colleges
- Location/setting: Multi-Site in California
- Population served and scale: Adults; Unemployed; Dislocated or displaced workers; 2,516 participants
- Industry focus: Transportation and Warehousing; Manufacturing
- Intervention activities: Career Pathways; Developmental education; Student support services; Technology
- Organizational partnerships: Community colleges; Industry cluster and regional workforce partners; Sector navigators; WIBs and AJCs; Employers
- Cost: Not included
- Fidelity: Not included
Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant, the DBS program was a consortium designed to provide training in high growth industries in the East Bay Area of San Francisco. The consortium included the Contra Costa Community College District to include 11 community colleges, local workforce investment boards, two four-year universities, as well as employers and partners in the industries that were targeted (advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and biosciences). The objective of the program was to build regionally-based career pathways by enhancing training programs at colleges and developing an intermediary system with partners. The DBS program included college training programs in the three priority industries, student support services (basic skills, counseling, and job search), and collaboration between the staff at the college, workforce agencies, and industry partners. The intervention components included building contextualized basic and digital literacy skills.
Features of the Study
The study authors conducted an implementation study with qualitative and quantitative data. The intervention targeted 2,017 participants for the career pathway program, with varying educational backgrounds from below high school to those with advanced degrees. The program also served veterans and individuals with criminal records. DBS served 2,516 students between Summer 2013 to Summer 2016. The qualitative data included document review, site visit observations, staff/faculty and student focus groups, and phone interviews with leadership, consultants, workforce and industry partners. The authors also used college and DBS program data. The authors conducted a social network analysis that included a collaboration questionnaire. The study authors conducted two rounds of site visits to the original 10 participating colleges. The qualitative data were analyzed using analytic software with transcriptions for interviews.
- Berkeley City College in Berkeley, California
- Chabot College in Hayward, California
- College of Alameda in Alameda, California
- Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California
- Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California
- Laney College in Oakland, California
- Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, California
- Merritt College in Oakland, California
- Ohlone College in Fremont, California
- Solano Community College in Fairfield, California
- The study found that the partners worked together in order to achieve the goals of the grant. In the planning process, employer engagement plans were developed in the first year, but employers did not participate substantially until the second and third years of the grant.
- The study found that there were differences in how each sector approached the training. For example, advanced manufacturing and transportation/logistics developed regional partnerships for industry and service providers. In contrast, the biosciences sector joined an existing partnership group of employers.
- The study found that the DBS program was successful in utilizing existing partnerships and networks to foster collaboration. The study, however, found some challenges to collaboration, primarily around working across systems (instructors having to be responsive to college and industry systems; no central web-based system for information sharing; limited time for staff to collaboration across the different campuses).
- The study found that the program may be sustained beyond the grant period of performance because respondents expected to continue collaboration and leverage funding. In addition, the colleges already had institutionalized programs, and the network was broad and de-centralized to promote sustainability.
- The study found that the consortium did not have a single workforce intermediary to take the lead on the regional efforts after the grant. Additionally, the study found that the web portal to share information was not completed in its entirety by the end of the grant.
Implementation challenges and solutions
- The study found challenges with regional collaboration to include system-level barriers, lack of institutional support for collaboration, and communication. The study also noted that a challenge to sustainability was that the grant limited the ability of DBS to fully develop cluster partnerships.
- The study found that the partners had plans for collaboration after the grant; however, a concern was continued funding for staff to facilitate the regional collaboration. It was also noted that the regional collaboration had already led to other funding opportunities though and that the efforts included institutionalized change at the community colleges.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The authors noted that a methodological consideration was that evaluators had a difficult time differentiating if the strategies were a direct effect of the DBS program or another initiative or funding source. The authors did not specify how participants were chosen to participate in the focus groups or interviews.