Workforce Developers

CAEL’s research and publications help you discover best practices for connecting job seekers to appropriate training and secure careers. You’ll find publications on innovative models for financing education, serving veterans and older workers, and awarding credentials and college credit. You’ll also find public policy recommendations designed to improve the way we educate adults.

Research & Publications


  • Webinar Recording

    How Supervisors Can Help Employees Learn


    Supervisors can have a dramatic impact on employee learning. This webinar will share innovative practices for helping front line supervisors build skills critical to their performance. By developing their skills using real workplace challenges, supervisors strengthen their ability to lead their teams and improve key business metrics.

  • Best Practices for Serving the Student Veteran


  • Workplace Action Steps for Leveraging Mature Talent: Finding from the Talent Mangement Study


  • New Collaboration Ensures Students Receive College Credit for prior Learning

    Gant Daily

    Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has formed an innovative collaboration with and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning that will ensure prospective students receive credit for college-level learning they have gained through their work, military or other prior learning experiences.
  • EdLink Publication

    Innovative Approaches to Manage Your Tuition Program Spend


    Tuition costs in the U.S. continue to rise on an annual basis, making it increasingly more expensive and challenging for employers to offer tuition assistance programs aimed at developing their workforce. In this study, EdLink presents real data that shows that employers can achieve significant savings in their tuition assistance programs by supporting alternative forms of obtaining college credit.
  • State Policy Approaches to Support Prior Learning

    CAEL and HCM Strategists

  • Older Workers, Rising Skill Requirements and the Need for a Re-envisioning of the Public Workforce System


  • CAEL's Tapping Mature Talent Series

    Workplace Action Steps For Leveraging Mature Talent: Findings From the Talent Management Study


    The U.S. Department of Labor supported a three-year Aging Worker Initiative (AWI) between 2009 and 2012. As this initiative came to a close, CAEL invited leading experts on the mature workforce to help us showcase the work of the AWI grantees alongside their own research findings. This fourth paper in the five-part series presents findings from a survey of employers on the kinds of external and internal pressures that prompt employers to adopt policies and practices that respond to the aging workforce.

  • Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies


    Game Changers explores the tolls and processes that can improve the quality, flexibility, and scalability of postsecondary education.

    CAEL’s Pamela Tate and Rebecca Klein-Collins contributed a chapter to this book discussing technology and the nontraditional learner, with a focus on career pathways, prior learning assessment, and career/educational advising.

  • How to Avoid Paying Twice for the Same Learning


    A study by Manpower estimates that by 2020 there will be 123 million high-skill, high-pay jobs available in the U.S., but only 50 million Americans with the right education to fill them. That fact directly affects your ability to recruit and retain the talent you need to make your company competitive.

    There is a way to address this problem -- and it actually saves money instead of costing money. By encouraging employees to apply for college credit for training and on-the-job learning, you can lower your tuition benefit costs while helping more of your employees attain college degrees and credentials in the fields that help you the most. Students who earn college credit this way are two and a half times more likely to persist to graduation. You'll also pay only for classes in subjects they don't know, instead of paying tuition for learning they already have.

    This webinar will provide an introduction to, a new online service hosted by CAEL (The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning). Through a tour of, you will learn:
    - What learning might be evaluated for college credit, including workplace and military training
    - How to document this learning
    - The process of assessing this learning by a college faculty expert toward college credit
    - How to transfer these credits to any number of colleges, including public, private and for-profit colleges

  • CAEL's Tapping Mature Talent Series

    Financial Literacy and Retirement Decisions: The Choices Facing Older Workers


    The U.S. Department of Labor supported a three-year Aging Worker Initiative (AWI) between 2009 and 2012. As this initiative came to a close, CAEL invited leading experts on the mature workforce to help us showcase the work of the AWI grantees alongside their own research findings. This second paper in the five-part series presents the affects of financial literacy programs on retirement decisions.
  • CAEL's Tapping Mature Talent Series

    Occupational Profiles for the Mature Worker: Finding and Using Detailed Information About Occupations with the Largest Share of Mature Workers


    The U.S. Department of Labor supported a three-year Aging Worker Initiative (AWI) between 2009 and 2012. As this initiative came to a close, CAEL invited leading experts on the mature workforce to help us showcase the work of the AWI grantees alongside their own research findings. This third paper in the five-part series presents ways to assist mature workers to select careers that meet their needs.

  • Competency-Based Degree Programs in the U.S.: Postsecondary Credentials for Measurable Student Learning and Performance


    This paper examines the current state of competency-based postsecondary education in the U.S., profiling the various types of competency-based, or competency-focused, models that currently exist, the extent to which these programs assess for student competencies or learning outcomes, and the extent to which these programs operate outside of a credit-based system.

  • From High School to Career: A Strategy to Weather Talent's Perfect Storm


    Across the country, businesses are partnering with high schools and colleges to build programs that develop the skills needed for employment within their own industry. This report covers exemplary high school-to-career programs. Each of these initiatives results in prepared students contributing to a prepared workforce.
  • The Career Lattice

    Joanne Cleaver

    The traditional corporate ladder has become a thing of the past. In her new book, Joanne Cleaver presents the idea that "over is the new up." Instead of following the established moving up the ladder path, The Career Lattice paves a flexible career path for those professionals seeking a way to make transitions in their career. The book features many case studies from CAEL's work to help adult learners discover their career path.

  • Tapping Mature Talent: Policies for a 21st Century Workforce Summary Policy Recommendations


  • CAEL's Tapping Mature Talent Series

    New Approaches for Supporting the Mature Worker: The Experiences of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Aging Workforce Initiative Grantees

    Rebecca Klein-Collins, CAEL

    The U.S. Department of Labor supported a three-year Aging Worker Initiative (AWI) between 2009 and 2012. As this initiative came to a close, CAEL invited leading experts on the mature workforce to help us showcase the work of the AWI grantees alongside their own research findings. This publication presents the first in a five-part series of papers. CAEL’s Rebecca Klein-Collins describes the experiences, best practices, and lessons of the USDOL-funded Aging Worker Initiative.

  • Webinar Recording:

    When Employees Don't Develop Themselves: Learning and Development Advising to the Rescue


    Employees who make smart education choices get smart results. Helping employees make good choices about what and where to study can be a money- and time-saving proposition, for both you and them. In addition, when employees take advantage of advising:

    78% of employers report that employees are promoted more often
    72% of employers say employees have higher rates of course completion

    In this webinar, you will learn about CAEL's unique coaching method which helps your employees:

    1. Fit their goals with your business objectives and recruitment needs
    2. Make smarter choices by identifying their skill and competency gaps
    3. Be more successful by finding appropriate education and training providers
    4. Save money and time by earning college credit for what they already know

    You'll also learn about strategies for building a successful advising program such as:
    • Marketing the program and controlling usage
    • Customizing advising to meet your organizational learning goals
    • Meeting the needs of diverse audiences including frontline employees, managers, and older workers

  • Innovation in Maryland Nursing Education to Meet Anticipated Demand


    This policy brief describes innovative approaches to nursing education and how the policy leadership help to support the use and expansion of these models and strategies while keeping a sharp focus on educational quality.

  • Earn College Credit for What You Know, fifth edition

    Janet Colvin

    This edition offers the latest, most current information on prior learning assessment (PLA). Earlier editions of this book, specifically written for adult learners considering the prior learning assessment process, have assisted tens of thousands of adult learners.  The book is also helpful to evaluators, administrators, faculty, and training managers.  Many CAEL member institutions use this book as text for their PLA portfolio development courses.

    The new 5th edition of Earn College for What You Know features: 

    • Updated references throughout the publication
    • Exercises for understanding and applying learning theory
    • Profiles of adult students and their successful use of prior learning assessment to complete their degrees
    • Explanation of the CAEL standards for quality prior learning assessment
    • An expanded and refined focus on the use of online portfolios

    A 20% discount is available for members. Price: $29.95, E-Book Price: $14.95

  • CAEL's Tapping Mature Talent Series

    Not Too Late for School: Winning Strategies to Help the Mature Learner


    The Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL) has mapped out a set of strategies to support mature workers in becoming mature learners. This paper shares what we have learned and identifies the steps that states, localities, employers and educational providers can take to support mature learners.

  • LiLAs: Profiles of Lifelong Learners


  • Highlights of the Lifelong Learning Accounts San Francisco Demonstration

    Helping Workers Save Successfully for Education and Training


    Despite our need for a more highly-educated workforce, there is little financial support for worker education and training. The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) developed a unique co-investment vehicle to finance worker education and training: the Lifelong Learning Account (LiLA). LiLAs are employer-matched, portable, employee-owned accounts that fund training and education for the employee. Our most recent initiative in San Francisco in 2008-2011 targeted mature workers, minority workers, and lower-income workers.

  • Webinar Recording

    Linking Learning to Work


    Despite high unemployment, many employers are finding it difficult to find the talent they need. Why? Because the skills of our workforce are not keeping pace with the demands of work in our knowledge economy. A study by Georgetown University estimates that by 2018, 63% of jobs in the U.S. will require at least some college. However, only 42% of adults aged 25-34 have attained a postsecondary degree.

    In this webinar, you’ll learn about the factors contributing to this trend, and hear suggestions about steps you can take to attract and develop your workforce in this sluggish economy.

  • CAEL's Tapping Mature Talent Series

    Just Add Seasoning: A Business Case for Tapping Mature Talent


    Mature workers can and should be tapped by employers to fill entry level jobs, meet the needs of middle- or high-skill work, or serve as experienced mentors to the new generation of workers.

  • CAEL's 2012 Research Briefs on PLA

    Employer Views on the Value of PLA


    This CAEL research brief, produced in partnership with Prometric, presents highlights from conversations with 19 U.S. employers representing a range of industries on the topic of PLA. The conversations address the value of PLA to both workers and corporations, as well as employers’ views on PLA as an allowable expense within their tuition assistance programs.

  • CAEL's 2012 Research Briefs on PLA

    The Learning That Maturity Brings: An Analysis of the Value of Prior Learning Assessment for Mature Learners


    Just as mature workers bring decades of experience to the workplace, they also bring learning from that experience to their postsecondary pursuits. This learning, if evaluated through prior learning assessment (PLA) methods, can give mature learners a way to earn college credit for what they already know, helping them complete their learning programs in a shorter period of time. This CAEL research brief presents data on the experience of mature learners with PLA credit.


  • Webinar Recording:

    Leveraging State and Federal Data for Your Organization's Strategic Planning


    Workforce and education programs strive to be responsive to regional economic conditions, and to predict emerging skill needs. While we have access to a wide array of data and data sources, sifting through and making good use of that data remains a challenge. Workforce agencies and educational institutions need to be careful about how to find and use data, and how that data informs strategic planning and program development.

    Chris Engle, Vice President of Avalanche Consulting of Austin, Texas, will be sharing his firm's secrets on how to find and analyze data to write your own strategic plan. He will discuss competitive benchmarking, SWOT Analysis, Cluster Analysis, Workforce Gap Analysis, and Scorecarding. Avalanche Consulting has 17 years of experience advising communities on their economic growth strategies, workforce plans, and marketing campaigns. Joel Simon of CAEL and a strategic partner to Avalanche will facilitate the presentation and lead a Q&A session with participants.

    This 60-minute free webinar is ideal for strategic planners, researchers, and directors who want to boost their organization's data and research capabilities in 2012. 

  • Mentors 4 STEM Program Explores New Roles for Mature Adults in Public School Classrooms


    CAEL sought to match the supply of motivated baby boomers with the urgent need to improve science and math education in public schools by creating a volunteer math and science mentoring program.

  • STEM Education: Utility Gets Out of the Box and Online to Develop Workforce


    The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), received funding from the Xcel Energy Foundation and a Metro Denver WIRED grant to create a program model to reach into local high schools and attract and prepare students to enter careers in the energy industry.

  • Lifelong Learning in the USA: A Focus on Innovation and Efficiency for the 21st Century Learner

    International Journal of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, Vol. 4, Issue 1 (Nov 2011)

    Article by Pamela Tate, Rebecca Klein-Collins, and Karen Steinberg on innovations in adult learning. Copyright owned by International Journal of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, Vol. 4, Issue 1 (Nov 2011), published by the School of Professional and Continuing Education, University of Hong Kong
  • State Strategies to Support the Maturing Workforce: A Paper for CAEL’s Tapping Mature Talent Initiative


    This paper describes strategies that states and regions can consider in their efforts to assist mature workers and also to use this group as a valuable resource in meeting skill requirements for developing economies. We look at strategies that have been developed and used in a U.S. Department of Labor-funded initiative in ten pilot sites since 2009 as well as strategies that state leaders have implemented to support the mature workforce.

  • Maturity in the Workplace: Stories of Workers Aged 55+ on Their Journeys to New Work and Careers


    This publication profiles the stories of some of the mature workers who have participated in the Tapping Mature Talent initiative. Some have needed to upgrade their skills, some have pursued brand new careers in high-growth industries, some have worked hard to recover after layoffs and other hardships, and some have found themselves thriving as they pursue postsecondary degrees.

  • CAEL identifies industries and jobs appropriate for mature workers

    Career Pathways and Career Counseling for the 50+ workforce

    Written and compiled by: Sarah Miller, Joel Simon and Gabe Schneider

    With generous support from the MetLife Foundation, the Council for Adult and Experiential
    Learning (CAEL) has worked with seven regions across to country to raise the capacity of
    community colleges to address some of the challenges facing mature workers, those age 50 years
    and older. CAEL worked with each region to identify priority industries, examine the job and
    career opportunities in those industries, and highlight the opportunities that are most appropriate
    for mature workers. Employers representing each regionally prioritized industry were identified
    and consulted to focus the research on the realities of the local area. Additionally, group training
    sessions were conducted in each region to provide career advisors and workforce development
    professionals with region-specific information and resources for more effectively working with
    mature workers.

  • CAEL report on building a workforce that supports sustainable manufacturing.

    Workforce Skills and Sustainable Manufacturing: Lessons from Connecticut Employers

    by Joel Simon

    The Sustainable or Green Manufacturing movement is characterized by firms whose production and
    distribution process deliberately optimize the use of energy, materials, water and waste.This report is designed to clarify how workforce developers and their partners in industry and education can utilize sustainability concepts to create a workforce that is more competitive, to support a manufacturing sector that is healthier and more profitable.

  • Strategies to Produce New Nurses for a Changing Profession

    Rebecca Klein-Collins

    This policy brief provides data on the projected nursing shortage, discusses the larger issues facing nursing education today, and describes pockets of innovation in nursing education that provide models for the kind of innovation policy-makers should embrace in order to meet the growing demand for a highly-educated nursing workforce.
  • CAEL's 2011 Research Briefs on PLA:

    Underserved Students Who Earn Credit Through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Have Higher Degree Completion Rates and Shorter Time-to-Degree

    Rebecca Klein-Collins

    In this research brief, CAEL showcases findings from our 2010 PLA study by race/ethnicity and income – two demographic categories often used to define underserved student groups. The data show that black non-Hispanic, Hispanic, and low income students with PLA credits have better academic outcomes than similar students without PLA credits. The positive findings for low-income, black non-Hispanic and Hispanic students suggest that awarding college credit for significant life learning could be an effective way to accelerate degree completion, while lowering the cost, for underserved student populations.

  • Developing the Workforce as It Matures

    CAEL and Council on Competiveness - Supported by Atlantic Philanthropies

    This monograph describes the work of the U.S. Department of Labor's Aging Worker Initaitive grantees. Emerging practices at the mid-point of the project include mature worker career navigators, computer training, reverse job fairs, and internships. The report concludes with lessons learned about serving the needs of mature workers.

  • Webinar Recording:

    Increase Employability by Drawing-out “Hidden” Skills


    Webinar featuring work by CAEL and the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board to assess transferrable skills at New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.

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