Arkansas Career Pathways helps thousands of community college students (90% women) gain skills for jobs paying above minimum wage. Often, a “work first” approach creates active opposition to sending women on welfare to college. But in Arkansas, the alternative partnership between the Department of Workforce Services (TANF agency) and the Department of Higher Education’s community colleges identifies high-demand jobs, provides women in poverty with the training and support to fill those jobs, and works to close the skill gap which otherwise would make the state’s companies less competitive. Students in the program achieve a ten-point higher student success rate and the initiative exceeds all performance measures set by state legislators (enrollment, attainment, entering and retaining employment).