The College is the leading Florida institution of higher education to use the tool to help students plan for success after earning a college credential

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (JUNE 30, 2021)—To support the College’s goal to invest in students’ success beyond their attainment of a degree or credential, Broward College has partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to incorporate the Career Ladder Identifier and Financial Forecaster (CLIFF) tool. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development, pilot, and use of CLIFF will help the College guide students to make informed career decisions to overcome “benefits cliffs,” the term used to describe a barrier for low-income families trying to improve their economic status. The goal is to foster economic mobility by assisting students in competing for higher-paying jobs while planning for adjustments with the possible loss of public benefits and success after a college education.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and Broward College will incorporate CLIFF into the case management model offered in the six Broward UP™ zip codes. Broward UP reflects the College’s expanded business model to provide workforce education directly in areas with disproportionately high unemployment and low education attainment. To begin the pilot project, Broward UP case managers will be trained to utilize the tool. It allows users to create individually customized career paths while taking benefits, taxes, and expenses into account. This will be followed by plans to scale for broader use among the College’s academic advisors and career coaches. Once training is complete, the use of the tool will begin, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the College will monitor implementation through surveys of academic advisors and coaches.

Following the pilot phase, the MOU also seeks to secure the following goals:

  • Identify benefits cliffs by analyzing how public benefits interact with in-demand career pathways at Broward College.
  • Broward College will partner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to develop advising and career coaching resource guides for staff to confidently and competently use CLIFF with students in the career decision-making process.
  • Broward College will also explore possible applications as an employer and how CLIFF can inform its job architecture study.
  • Explore opportunities for research on the intersection of benefits cliffs and economic mobility for Broward College students and Broward County residents.
  • Partner with local employers to identify and support workers on in-demand career pathways.
  • Collaborate on the development and delivery of CLIFF training modules for employer and education constituents prior to deployment.

“Our partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is vital to understanding and ameliorating barriers to economic mobility relating to the intersection of workforce education and public benefits,” said Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile, J.D. “Our learnings will be leveraged to support residents and businesses of Broward County, as well communities throughout the country.”

Broward College is the first higher education institution in Florida to utilize CLIFF. The College and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta will use the research findings to help other higher education institutions, employers, and policymakers understand how benefits cliffs impede career advancement and help identify solutions.

“As we look to make sure the economy works for everyone, it is important to address benefit cliffs in a way that ensures the incentives are not sending the wrong signal to people, but rather are pushing and driving individuals to invest in themselves and become more resilient," said David Altig, executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. "This partnership with Broward College will equip students with information about the possible loss of public benefits as they use their college education to move into higher-paying jobs."

The partnership for using the tool will create a greater understanding of the relationship between educational attainment, income, and public benefits. This will help educational institutions such as Broward College and employers support individuals to economic sufficiency, increase general awareness of benefits cliffs, and help inform education and career pathways.

“The work with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta on the CLIFF tool will allow us to demonstrate the social value of public higher education,” said Dr. Mildred Coyne, senior vice president, Workforce Education, and Innovation at Broward College. “By leading people to career paths with resilient wages, we will ultimately be able to help them become economically mobile and financially able to cover basic expenses without the need for public assistance.”

In January 2021, President Haile was appointed to The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Board of Directors. The continued partnership between both institutions allows them to work toward their shared goal of seeking equitable opportunities for everyone.

Learn more about Benefits CLIFF

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About Broward College:
Serving approximately 60,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees, and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the College is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. For more information, visit

About the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta:

The Atlanta Fed is a part of the nation's central banking system, which Congress created in 1913. The Federal Reserve conducts monetary policy by influencing money and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of full employment and stable prices, supervises and regulates banking institutions, and helps ensure that the nation's payments systems operate smoothly. The Atlanta Fed serves the Sixth Federal Reserve District, which encompasses Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and sections of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.