Urban Institute Glossary of Terms

Accelerated Learning: Blanket term for approaches that allow students to complete education and training programs more quickly than in traditional postsecondary programs. 

Accreditation: Recognition that a person or organization has the knowledge, skills, or components that meet official standards set by an industry agency. 

Adult Education: A program that teaches adult learners foundational skills (e.g., reading, writing, math, English language) that are often needed or required to complete education or job training programs or to obtain a high-school equivalency diploma; sometimes referred to as adult basic education or ABE. 

Adult Learners: People age 25 or older who are enrolled in education or job training or who could benefit from education or job training; can also include individuals ages 18 to 24 with adult roles, such as working full time, parenting, or living independently. 

American Job Center (AJC): A locally-based center that provides a full range of employment services (e.g., referrals to education and job training programs, job search assistance); formerly known as “One Stop Career Center” or “One Stop;” funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). 

Business Association: An entity representing employers within a community or within the same industry sector that helps address businesses’ needs for skilled workers; sometimes referred to as an industry group or industry association. A chamber of commerce is an example of a business association. 

Career and Technical Education (CTE): Education and job training programs that provide individuals with knowledge and skills that are specific to an industry or occupation; can include for-credit or non-credit education and job training programs. 

Career Readiness Training: Provides instruction in nontechnical skills that are important to success in employment (e.g., teamwork, critical thinking, professionalism, conflict resolution, computer skills, communication); may also include job searches, résumé writing support, interview skills training, or literacy and math skills; sometimes referred to as soft skills training or 21st century skills training. 

Career Pathway: A mapped series of manageable education and training steps, such as a series of courses that allow an individual to work toward attaining industry- or occupation-specific skills, credentials, and career advancement; each step is designed to prepare people for employment while providing a clear pathway to the next level of education and training within an industry: pathways may also include certifications or supportive services.  

Certificate: An official document attesting to the attainment of knowledge or skills, often related to a specific occupation; similar to  a degree but often taking less time to obtain. 

Chamber of Commerce: A group of businesses or employers who collaborate to promote business interests and sometimes broader community interests in a local area or state. 

Community-Based Organization (CBO): In a workforce system context, an organization that offers training, employment, or support services to people who need assistance to succeed in employment; may also support economic development needs of a community, such as providing loans to new businesses and helping existing employers avert layoffs.  A faith-based organization (FBO) is an example of a CBO. 

Employer-Based Training: Overarching term for training that takes place in the workplace, including components of apprenticeships, paid and unpaid internships, and training for current employees to give them new skills; similar to on-the-job training.  

Job Corps: A career technical training program that helps eligible disadvantaged youth ages 16 through 24 complete their high school education, trains them for meaningful careers in high-growth industries, and assists them with obtaining employment. 

Industry-Recognized Credential: Credential earned through classroom or on-the-job training that aligns with employer hiring requirements or decisions; also referred to as industry-recognized training. 

Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST): An accelerated learning model that uses “team teaching” between technical and adult education instructors to simultaneously provide job training and skills in reading, math, or English language; developed by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. 

Navigator: Dedicated staff that help students and job seekers plan out and achieve their education, training, or employment goals; similar to counselors, advisors, and coaches, and sometimes referred to specifically as college navigators or career navigators. 

On-the-Job Training: Training provided by an employer to a paid participant engaging in productive work in a job that provides knowledge or skills essential to mastering an occupation; similar to employer-based training. 

Polyvictimization:  experiences of multiple victimizations such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, bullying, and exposure to family violence. The definition emphasizes experiencing different kinds of victimization, rather than multiple episodes of the same kind of victimization.  

Prerequisite: Knowledge, skill, or credential that must be demonstrated or obtained prior to entering an education or job training program. 

Prior Learning Assessment: Evaluation of skills and knowledge acquired from education, training, the workplace, or self-teaching for the purpose of recognizing mastery against a predetermined set of required standards or competencies; also referred to as credit for prior learning. 

Registered Apprenticeship: Combines paid training in a workplace with classroom-based technical instruction, typically resulting in a certificate of completion issued by a registration agency. 

Trade Organization: Organization that advocates for laws, policies and practices, education and training, or information dissemination that benefits or supports employees in certain occupations or industry sectors; similar to a union. 

Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Program: Federal program that supports job training, employment accommodations, resume development, job seeking skills, and other employment services for veterans and service members; formerly called Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment. 

Workforce Development Board (WDB): Organization that administers WIOA workforce programs in conjunction with government agencies; local WDBs are mostly composed of employers but often partner with organizations such as training providers; can be statewide or local (local WDBs operate under guidance and oversight from state WDBs); formerly called and sometimes still referred to as a workforce investment board (WIB). 

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): Federal legislation implemented in 2015 that strategically brings together most of the core federal programs that support skill development, including employment and training services for youth and adults, as well as adult education and literacy programs and vocational rehabilitation state grant programs, which assist individuals with disabilities.