NOVA’s New Adult Career Pathways Initiative Surpasses Goals

This Labor Day season, NOVA can celebrate workers’ initial achievements in advancing their careers through NOVA’s new Adult Career Pathways (ACP) initiative. Launched in spring 2011 (see the May 6, 2011, Intercom article about ACP’s launch event), ACP works much like Pathway to Baccalaureate by providing ongoing, individualized college and career counseling services for unemployed or low-wage working adults. The program’s first dashboard report shows that it has already surpassed or is well on its way to achieving all of its initial goals. ACP is co-sponsored by Loudoun Provost Julie Leidig and Vice President for Workforce Development William Gary.

Here are a few highlights from the dashboard report:

  • ACP exceeded its initial goal of 100 participants by registering 107 participants as of June 30, a number that has since increased to 140.
  • The program team has engaged over 16 partner organizations to refer candidates, mostly local human service government agencies and nonprofits, which have collectively referred more than 200 candidates.
  • 94 percent of ACP participants who registered for summer courses at NOVA successfully completed the coursework with a C or better, exceeding the original target of 80 percent.

ACP has succeeded in attracting the intended target audience of low-income adults who present multiple risk factors that can inhibit college and career success. Initial participants are predominantly non-native English speakers (65 percent), from households where the average income is $30,000, with most (61 percent) supporting children.

One ACP participant was ineligible for financial aid due to academic difficulties during a tumultuous separation from an abusive spouse five years ago. As a single working parent, she was unable to pay for college herself but never let go of her dream of earning a college degree. Her ACP counselor, Wende Ruffin-Lowry, assisted in restoring her financial aid eligibility through an appeal process. She registered for summer classes but then struggled with a difficult course from which she wanted to withdraw. After talking with her ACP counselor, she regained her resolve, continued taking the class, and earned a B. She plans to continue career studies in social work at NOVA and beyond, driven by a calling to help others who face similar life challenges. She recently wrote an email to thank Ruffin-Lowry, saying: “I’m excited to have found such an amazing person like you! I’m sure the Lord placed you in my life as a wingless angel.”

Interested NOVA staff can request a copy of the ACP dashboard report or other program information by contacting ACP Program Manager Bill Kosanovich at or Bill Browning at Prospective ACP participants can inquire about the program via email at

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