DPI’s Illinois Workforce and Education Research Collaborative will spend two years studying access and outcomes in Illinois
October 24, 2022 (CHICAGO) —The Illinois Workforce and Education Research Collaborative (IWERC) has been awarded $94,191 by the Joyce Foundation to fund a two-year study of Illinois’ dual-credit program, which enables high school students to undertake coursework that counts for high school and college credit.
IWERC, at the Discovery Partners Institute, is part of the University of Illinois System. The Joyce Foundation is a private, nonpartisan philanthropy that invests in public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.
The project will leverage publicly available data to identify and analyze trends in dual-credit participation across racial/ethnic groups, genders, students with disabilities, and low-income students. IWERC will also examine participation trends across high schools that vary in size, funding, location, and average achievement.
“We already know that workers with college degrees enjoy an earnings premium that increases over their lifetime,” said IWERC Director Meg Bates. “In exploring dual-credit access across the state, we hope to identify opportunities for making access to dual-credit opportunities more equitable across Illinois.”
Another project goal is to understand the relationship between dual-credit participation and career outcomes.
“The research is clear that dual credit improves college enrollment and completion,” said Sarah Cashdollar, the project’s principal investigator, “We want to know: how does this translate to longer-term earnings?”
The Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Community College Board are jointly committed to expanding access to quality dual-credit coursework for Illinois high school students. In 2019, the state passed Public Act 100-1049, which included expanding dual credit in order to reduce college costs, speed time to completion, facilitate the transition between high school and college, and offer opportunities for improving degree attainment for underserved populations.
“Illinois policymakers have worked hard to expand access to dual-credit coursework, yet we have little data about trends in dual-credit participation across different geographic regions, types of high schools, and postsecondary institutions statewide,” said DPI’s Executive Director Bill Jackson. “In examining these trends, we can identify best practices to make dual-credit coursework more effective.”
The Discovery Partners Institute empowers people to jumpstart their tech careers or companies in Chicago. Led by the University of Illinois System in partnership with top research universities, it does three things: Train people for high-demand tech jobs; conduct applied R&D; and support business building. With state investment and a new innovation district in development, DPI has the resources to attract, develop, and leverage the most ambitious people and companies the region has to offer — and keep them here.
About the Joyce Foundation
The Joyce Foundation is a private, nonpartisan philanthropy that invests in public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region. The Foundation supports policy research, development, and advocacy in six program areas: Culture, Democracy, Education & Economic Mobility, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform, and Journalism. The Foundation focuses its grant making primarily in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, while also exploring promising, evidence-informed policy solutions nationally and at the federal level.