Governor Bruce Rauner
Chair Dr. Lazaro Lopez
Executive Director Dr. Karen Hunter Anderson

Illinois Community College Board

CTE Month Day 25

Day 25: Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System (ICAPS)

The Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System (ICAPS) is Illinois’ implementation of the Accelerating Opportunity model put forth by Jobs For the Future. ICAPS fosters a partnership between Adult Education and Career and Technical Education by integrating both technical training and basic skills education into the educational experience, delivering education in a team taught environment, and culminating in educational functioning level gains and industry recognized credentials.

The AO Model was designed after the Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) Program in Washington State and promotes integrated instruction delivered by Adult Basic Education and Career/Technical Education faculty through Team Teaching. The AO model includes several essential elements.

  • Explicit articulation of two or more educational pathways, linked to career pathways, that begin with Adult Basic Education or ESL and continue to a one-year, college-level certificate and beyond
  • Evidence of strong local demand for the selected pathways
  • Acceleration strategies, including contextualized learning and the use of hybrid (online and classroom-based) course designs
  • Evidence-based dual enrollment strategies, including paired courses I-BEST –like approaches
  • Comprehensive academic and social student supports (e.g., tutoring, child care, transportation, access to public benefits, subsidized jobs)
  • Achievement of marketable, stackable, credit-bearing certificates and degrees and college readiness, with an explicit goal of bypassing developmental education
  • Award of some college-level professional-technical credits, which must be transcribed the quarter or semester in which they are earned
  • Partnerships with Workforce Investment Boards and/or employers


During the Design and Implementation phases, Illinois selected and funded (with AO support) 8 community colleges to participate in ICAPS. These original 8 colleges piloted and paved the way for marketing, implementing, and expanding AO and its innovative approach to changing the delivery of adult education and career and technical education. Based on the successes of the first 8 colleges Illinois has added 17 additional colleges through 3 cohorts of ICCB’s Transitions Academy; in total Illinois now hosts 25 colleges with ICAPS programs.

To learn more about ICAPS and the Colleges involved click here.

Upcoming Webinar Series

March 2, 2017, 10–11 AM: Career Navigator Online Resources


March 22, 2017, 10–11 AM: Developing an ICAPS Program Using the Process Checklist for IET Models


April 13, 2017, 10–11 AM: Tips for Successful Development and Delivery of an ICAPS Support Course


April 20, 2017, 10–11 AM: Building Capacity of Existing ICAPS Programs


May 3, 2017, 10–11 AM: Effective Strategies for Team Teachers