News Updates

November 2022
The NCA Project researchers will present a paper entitled “Investigating Latina/o Community Cultural Wealth, Social Network Capital, and Academic/Career Development: A Quantitative Study” at the 2022 Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) General Conference. 

October 2022
NCA Team Wins Collaborative NSF Grant with the University of Texas System LSAMP: The Networks and Cultural Assets Project (NCA) team has won an NSF Racial Equity in STEM grant in collaboration with scientists at the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). UTEP is the lead institution for the University of Texas System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), and this partnership aims to help the Alliance better understand the STEM career trajectories of Latina/o students at Hispanic Serving Institutions. The project team will document the assets, experiences, and relationships of a group of Latina/o students each fall over the course of 3 years, and will employ new quantitative techniques for assessing their Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) during their college-to-career transition. The longitudinal mixed method design is among the first to combine CCW with ego network analysis. This not only expands the epistemologies and methodologies available to STEM education researchers, but more broadly speaking, can inform institutions of higher education as they develop CCW- and social network-based STEM programming to support Latina/o students as they work toward their career goals.

The NCA project researchers will present their findings  from the “Harnessing Students’ Networks and Cultural Assets for STEM Success” study at the 2022 Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence (LSMRCE) Conference.

Kyoungjin Jang-Tucci will present the findings about non-traditional students’ internship participation at the 2022 American Association for Adult and Continuing Education Conference.

January 2022
Dr. Mindi Thompson joins Dr. Matthew Hora as CCWT co-Director

December 2021
The Role of Socioeconomic Status and Internships on Early Career Earnings: Evidence for Widening and Rerouting Pathways to Social Mobility

Wolfgram, Vivona and Akram publish new paper on intersectional amplification of barriers to college internships in Harvard Educational Review

November 2021
Hora, Wolfgram, Chen and Lee publish new paper on internship obstacles in the Teachers College Record

August 2021
Hora, Benbow and Lee publish new paper in the Journal of the Learning Sciences

Results from the 1-year longitudinal follow-up analysis for the College Internship Study at Northeastern Illinois University

July 2021
Results from the College Internship Study at Georgia College

Results from the College Internship Study at Great Lakes Technical College

Results from the 1-year longitudinal follow-up analysis for University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Results from the 1-year longitudinal follow-up analysis for the College Internship Study at Texas College

May 2021
Our HMoob American College Paj Ntaub team published a new article in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education on the college experiences of HMoob American students and possibilities of college student-engaged Participatory Action Research

April 2021
CCWT researchers Smolarek, Wolfgram & Hora receive grant on reducing inequalities in higher education
Fifteen projects — from improving doctor-patient communications for high-risk patients, to using data to understand racial differences in how Americans handle civil legal problems, to better understanding the factors that influence success and well-being of Hmong-American students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison — have been chosen for the Understanding and Reducing Inequalities Initiative. For more info see here:

March 2021
Results from the one-year longitudinal follow-up analysis for the College Internship Study at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

CCWT grantee Adrian Huerta releases policy brief on minoritized student parents

February 2021
Hora & Thompson publish essay in The Conversation on unpaid internships

December 2020
Results from the 1-year longitudinal follow-up analysis for the College Internship Study at Madison College

November 2020
Results from the College Internship Study at a Texas College

Understanding the Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic for Undergraduate Students attending an HBCU: Insights from Student Voices

CCWT student researchers present findings from their study on the factors that impact Muslim American college student experiences at Northeastern Illinois University. Upcoming Tuesday, November 17th, 3:00 PM.

New report on internships at HBCUs released by Hora, Forbes & Preston

October 2020
Graduating during a recession: A literature review of the effects of recessions for college graduates—Literature Review #4

HMoob students advising HMoob students; The CCWT Paj Ntaub research team releases report with the advice that HMoob American college students would like their peers to know.

August 10, 2020
Check out the CCWT Paj Ntaub research team’s presentation to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation discussing their college student-led community-based participatory action research project to document the experiences of HMoob American college students at UW-Madison.

May 28, 2020
CCWT researchers Matthew Wolfgram and Tamanna Akram have partnered with Brian Vivona at Northeastern Illinois University to study how a variety of social factors and identities compound and amplify barriers to internships for minoritized college students. The findings are published in a new WCER Working Paper

May 20, 2020
Drs. Matthew Hora and Zi Chen of WCER’s Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions (CCWT) have received a $145,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study online internships amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led many internships around the world to be cancelled or moved online, but little research exists on online or remote internships. This 6-month mixed-methods study will examine college student experiences with the short-term “micro-internship” model offered by Parker Dewey, and also if and how STEM-related companies are shifting their internships to online modalities. Results from the project will expand the field of higher and experiential education’s knowledge about online forms of work-based learning, and also provide actionable insights for colleges, employers and students on how to best design and implement an online internship.

December 19, 2019
The Center for Research on College Workforce Transitions (CCWT) at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research invites UW-Madison graduate students to apply for up to $500 to support registration and travel expenses associated with attending a professional or academic conference. Priority will be given to students presenting research on topics related to CCWT activities at the conference including: work-based learning, experiential education, internships and apprenticeships, hiring practices, career/technical education, labor market issues, inequality in higher education, and teaching and learning. Flyer with full details.

November 1, 2019
Bailey Smolarek and Luke Scrivener published a new paper in the Journal of Education Policy:  Examining business-driven education reform by new policy actors: a discursive analysis of UpSkill Houston. The paper is based on the NSF-EMPOWER project and is a critical analysis of the industry-led efforts on Houston to address perceived gaps in how higher education institutions are preparing students with skills needed in the workplace.

October 30, 2019
The Days Of Coffee-Grabbing Internships Are Over. Here’s How Fellows And Apprentices Are Changing The Way We Train Our Youngest Workers. CCWT Director Hora quotes in Business Insider article on internships.

October 25, 2019
Dr. Bailey Smolarek and Dr. Matthew Wolfgram received $75,000 from the UW-Madison School of Education Grand Challenges competition.  This project will expand the Center’s current work on a Participatory Action Research project, and will examine the sociocultural, demographic, and institutional factors that influence the college experiences, educational successes, and post-college transitions of HMoob American students at UW-Madison. More info.

September 6, 2019
The Center for Research on College Workforce Transitions (CCWT) at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research invites UW-Madison graduate students to apply for up to $500 to support registration and travel expenses associated with attending a professional or academic conference.

August 5, 2019
CCWT is currently hiring one Qualitative Researcher to play a key role in the growing College Internship Study at UW-Madison for the College Internship Study.

This position will be provided with the opportunity to carve out their own research interests and program within the general topic area of college internships, equity and student success, and college-workforce dynamics. This research will be conducted at the College Internship Study at a new group of participating institutions, which will either be Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). Required qualifications for this position include the following:

Working knowledge of current issues in one or more of the following areas: policies related to workforce development and higher education, internships and other forms of work-based learning, career advising and student affairs at the postsecondary level, and teaching and learning issues related to 21st century skills. Strong background in theory and empirical research in one or more of the following areas: sociology of education, anthropology of education, experiential learning, vocational psychology and/or career counseling. At least 1-2 years of experience designing and implementing research projects related to internships and/or other forms of work-based and experiential learning. Proven experience conducting independent research projects including study design, data collection and analysis, and preparing results for dissemination through scholarly and practitioner outlets.

Successful record in independently preparing grant proposals, securing funding, managing budgets, and implementing proposed activities. Expertise in qualitative research methods including data collection (e.g., interview, focus group, participant observation, archival research) and data analysis (e.g., thematic analysis, grounded theory, discourse analysis, ethnography), methods. Flyer pdf.

June 25, 2019
$1.8 Million Grant to CCWT Expands Study of College Internships & How Students of Color Enter Workforce

June 3, 2019
New journal article from Matthew Wolfgram and Isabella Vang. The Time Politics of Higher Education for Refugees in the United States. Anthropology News

May 28, 2019
Bailey Smolarek and Matt Wolfgram of CCWT and Dr. Stacey Lee of Educational Policy Studies have been awarded a Grand Challenges Seed Grant for $75,000 for their Our HMoob American College Paj Ntaub project.

This community-based participatory action research project is conducted in partnership with UW-Madison student activists from the HMoob American Studies Committee. This project continues their previous work exploring the experiences of HMoob American college students on the UW-Madison campus by examining the institutional factors (such as campus climates, student services, courses, and policies) influencing the campus inclusion, educational success, and post-college transitions of HMoob American college students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as the potential mechanisms for improving those factors.

January 28, 2019
Results from the College Internship Study at Claflin University
Matthew T. Hora, Emily Parrott, Zi Chen, Mindi N Thompson, Jessica G. Perez-Chavez, Anna K. Fetter, Matías Scaglione, Matthew Wolfgram and Arun Kolar (2018)

The study includes an online survey of students in the second half of their academic programs, focus groups with students who have and who have not had an internship experience, and one interview with an educator involved in internship program administration. The research questions guiding this study focus on how stakeholders conceptualize the idea of internships, participation rates by certain demographic characteristics, and the relationship between internship program structure and student outcomes.

This report concludes with recommendations for specific steps that students, faculty and staff at Claflin University, and employers who supervise interns can take to increase participation rates, access, and program quality for internship programs in the Orangeburg area in South Carolina. Full CCWT_report_results-from-Claflin.pdfreport.

January 22, 2019
Changes Needed to Help Refugees in Wisconsin Access Higher Education
A new study shows refugees who resettle in Wisconsin face a daunting array of barriers, both systemic and situational, in getting college degrees. But creative remedies could be developed, UW−Madison researchers say, to ease their path to higher education and then to better jobs. Full Article.

Read the research report on higher education for refugees in Wisconsin.

January 11, 2019
Matthew T. Hora, via the Center for Research on College-Work Transitions, recently received a $52,028 grant from the UW-Madison Fall Competition (WARF) to conduct our internship study at two HBCUs: Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, and Benedict College in South Carolina. This translational project is ultimately aimed at partnering with these institutions to improve their internship programs.

The project will involve a mixed methods longitudinal study of students’ experiences with internship programs, barriers to access, and impacts of internships on their academic and workplace outcomes. We’ll also be interviewing faculty, career advisors, and local employers in order to identify strengths and weaknesses in local programming, with the ultimate goal of providing insights to improve institutional internship programs and access to them for all students.

May 10, 2018
CCWT Announces the Winners of the 2017-18 Research Grants Competition

Daniel Ginsberg For: “Anthropology Undergraduates Plan for Life after College.”
Adrian H. Huerta & Cecilia Rios-Aguilar For: “A Mixed‐Methods Study of Latinx Community College Student‐Parents and Their Work‐Force Considerations.”

Complete information

March 4, 2018
CCWT’s Founding Director, Dr. Matthew T. Hora, wrote a guest column for The Chronicle of Higher Education discussing the flaws with requiring internships during college. What’s Wrong With Required Internships? Plenty

January, 31 2018
UW Illumination Journal: Going the Distance
Discusses CCWT’s Documenting the aims of higher education in Wisconsin project.

January 4, 2018
The Center for College-Workforce Transitions (CCWT) at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research is pleased to announce a $25,000 award from the University of Wisconsin System to conduct a mixed-methods study longitudinal of internship programs at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.  This study will examine how college internships actually impact student outcomes such as college completion, employment status and wages upon graduation, and their vocational self-concept.  While internships and other forms of work-based learning are being increasingly promoted throughout the world as a way to improve the employability of college students and address workplace needs, relatively little robust empirical research exists on the relationship between internship programs and student success.  This study will include the analysis of online survey, student focus group, and educator and employer interview data to address these important questions.  In addition, the study will examine the impacts of college internships on students of color, first-generation college students, and low-income students, and institutional experiences (both positive and negative) with hosting and implementing internship programs.  The study at UW-Parkside will be part of the first wave of research on internships conducted by CCWT, which will also examine the topic at a Wisconsin technical college and a historically black college in South Carolina.

November 29, 2017
With mentorship from CCWT researchers Bailey Smolarek and Matthew Wolfgram, a team of UW undergraduate students designed and conducted a research project titled, Documenting the Aims of Higher Education in Wisconsin, and presented their findings at the UW School of Education. The presentation discussed the history of the political polarization of higher education in the state and discussed findings from interviews conducted by the students which suggest that Wisconsinites have a more eclectic vision of the aims of higher education than the politically polarized policy debate tends to recognize. Learn more about this project from CCWT Research Brief #3.

See a video of the presentation on the Center’s YouTube channel.

June 26, 2017

Center Director Matthew Hora gave a keynote presentation at the 2nd Annual convening of the United Negro College Fund’s Career Pathway Initiatives on June 27, 2016 in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Hora’s lecture focused on findings from research on the “skills gap” in Wisconsin, Texas, and China, and how research findings and a cultural capital framework can inform the design of initiatives focused on helping African-American college students acquire 21st century skills and find success in the challenging labor market.” Learn more about the UNCF-CPI program.

June 7, 2017
Center Director Matthew Hora recently went on a tour of the Pacific Northwest to give talks about “Beyond the Skills Gap,” a book published by Harvard Education Press in 2016. Based on research with Wisconsin employers and educators involved in biotechnology and advanced manufacturing, the book highlights the importance of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills, the cultural aspects of teaching and hiring, and suggestions for how policymakers and educators can better design systems to provide students with 21st century competencies. The book tour went to Portland State University, Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, Cascadia Community College, and Heritage University. For more information on the book see an interview with Inside Higher Education, and for information Dr. Hora’s speaking events see

May 22, 2017
Our inaugural event was held on Monday May 22, 2017, at the UW–Madison School of Education, Wisconsin Idea Room (Rm 159). Jim Morgan of the Management Association and Dr. Linda Nilson of Clemson University spoke on the topic “Why work ethic and self-regulated learning are essential skills for student success in work and life.”

Dr. Linda Nilson’s handout on self-regulated learning (PDF)

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