The Shifting Gears Approach to Systems Change

The Shifting Gears Approach to Systems Change

In 2007, the Joyce Foundation launched its Shifting Gears initiative with the goal of strengthening postsecondary and adult basic education in six states (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) so that more low-skilled workers could acquire the skills, education, and credentials needed to advance and succeed in a changing economy. The foundation's report on the initiative, The Shifting Gears Approach to Systems Change (24 pages, PDF), found that although systems change can be daunting, it is achievable with a well-defined vision and clearly articulated plan of action; multiple types of policy change may be needed to achieve such reform; and proactive coaching and formative evaluation are critical to the success of the approach. A follow-up report will be issued in 2011.