Higher education is meant to be an engine of economic opportunity and mobility; yet, for too long, institutions have struggled to provide equitable access and produce equitable outcomes. Black and Latino populations experience wide achievement gaps, underserving many of the learners most in need of higher education to advance socioeconomically.

It seems everyone is talking about equitable outcomes and what must be done to address the systemic challenges and barriers faced by students of color in higher education. But, too few institutions and state systems are urgently changing their higher education models which means these disparities will remain.

Will You Respond To This Call to Action?

JFF and C-BEN seek colleges and universities interested in collaborating through our partnership’s inaugural venture, The Equity Collaboratory. We invite colleges, universities, and state systems to join us in developing CBE experiences to better serve learners of color, leading to improved college and workforce outcomes. The Equity Collaboratory has two main components:

  1. An institution/ systems-based CBE project designed to address your specific learners’ needs, and
  2. A collective project to develop new field-facing resources.

Those chosen to participate in the Equity Collaboratory will receive technical assistance and support from C-BEN and JFF to:


  • Know the key tenets of a competency-based approach for education and training that is equity-based and rooted in labor market outcomes and be able to objectively assess current institutional performance in each tenet.
  • Design an action plan to build a new or modify an existing competency-based program that will educate, equip, and empower learners of colors and lead to economic mobility.
  • Generate pre-program, during program, and post-program strategies and interventions for equitable support services.
  • Identify key stakeholders and relationships needed to connect programs and their learners to the labor market.
  • Document and create a blueprint to guide CBE program development for other institutions in the network and beyond.



We will combine C-BEN’s leadership and deep knowledge in competency-based educational models and expertise implementing and scaling high-quality, non-traditional programs for all learners with what JFF does best – building educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations and developing innovative programs and policies that increase college readiness and career success, leading to a more highly skilled and competitive workforce. This will help participants reach their individual goals while helping the field at large.


Ready to Join Us In This Work?

Our two organizations have committed to working together to address today’s challenges, and now we need YOU to do your part in making a more equitable future for all learners a reality. We invite you to be part of our action-oriented partnership and join us in this movement to break down inequalities in higher education through competency-based education.

If you are interested in being a part of The Equity Collaboratory and committing to the design or redesign of institutional practices to create equitable outcomes, please complete this application form by February 5, 2021. If you would just like more information please fill out this interest form

An informational meeting for interested applicants will be held on January 21, 2021 at 1:00 PM CT/ 2:00 PM ET, with an anticipated kick-off date in early 2021. The application window will close on February 5, 2021. The field-facing resources created by this Collaboratory will be published November 2021 and presented at CBExchange 2021 in Austin, Texas. The initial technical support will last throughout 2021, with potential support for longer-term projects (for institutions and systems) based on project scope and available funding.


Read more: JFF and C-BEN Partner to Expand Competency-Based Education and Access to Good Jobs