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Adult Literacy Education Providers Prep for WIOA’s Integrated Education and Training pt 2

THE WIA-TO-WIOA TRANSITION BEGINS JULY 1, 2015 

 THE UPCOMING ACADEMIC YEAR IS A YEAR OF CHANGE

In 2012 the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education produced a 30-page document titled: Promoting College and Career Readiness: Bridge Programs for Low-Skill Adults. If you read through it, you will see very sharp resemblances of what we as Education & Training professionals should be focusing on to  gear up for WIOA changes on our campuses and in our classrooms.  Some of the terms in the report vary from the terms in the WIOA proposal, but the meanings are the same.

 


Adult Education & WIOA-1


♦♦♦ I will highlight some of the report’s content below ♦♦♦

Create bridge programs (“Pathways”) to  help adult students identify career and education goals and develop the skills, content knowledge, and learning strategies needed to enter and succeed in postsecondary education and employment.

Combine (“Integrate”) basic skill instruction in reading, math, writing, and English language, including preparation for the GED test,  employment skills, and college success strategies. Some bridge programs also offer college credit and certificates (“Nationally recognized credentials”), which may be the first step toward a college degree.

Use state and local labor market information  develop bridge programs focused on occupations or industry sectors with a high demand for employees. ♦ Note: Your local Workforce Investment Board will need to be very involved in your education and training program planning, per WIOA.

For examples of what your education and training programs should emulate, consider these: 

  1. Washington’s I-BEST approach: an integrated ABE (and now ELA) and CTE instructional planning process and co-teaching.
  2.  Oregon Pathways for Adult Basic Skills Transition to Education and Work Initiative (OPABS) provided the impetus for the state’s Adult Basic Skills (ABS) system to incorporate career pathways and assist  in transitioning learners  into further education and employment, including formal connections to postsecondary education and OneStop Career Centers.
  3. (Alabama Community College has also gained recognition for being fairly “WIOA Ready’ and therefore also serve as a great example for planning and implementation.)

Finally

Look to form partnerships with organizations such as these:

Jobs for the Future (JFF) Breaking Through and ABE to Credentials initiatives

The Joyce Foundation Shifting Gears initiative

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation New England ABE-to-College Transition project

The time to get involved and to start your transitional planning is now.

Sources:

http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/webinars/aligned-by-design-wioa-and-career-and-technical-education

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/cclo/brief-1-bridge-programs.pdf

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Do You Believe in Upskilling?

WIOA says Upskill2“Upskilling” involves work-based training and coaching that results in the growth of an organization’s talent pool by promoting from within. Upskilling, and the visible awareness of opportunities for promotion, reduces employee turnover and increases job-satisfaction. As a strong proponent of Career Management, I encourage career-minded individuals to continually look for opportunities for skill and developmental growth. If your employer provides access to training workshops and courses, take advantage of it. If they provide tuition assistance, grab it! Always keep your eye on 2 or 3 other positions in your company you’d be interested in doing. Depending on the level of responsibility of your current position, your next career move (whether a lateral move or a promotion) should happen every 2 to 5 years. When I was in my early 20s I left my position as an Account Clerk at a small health clinic to take a position as a Messenger working for Chevron Corporation in downtown San Francisco. I literally “pounded the pavement” every day. After a few months, I was given the opportunity to work on a special assignment in Messenger Dispatch. When that assignment ended, I went back to pounding the pavement. Before the week ended, the corporate mailroom requested for me to fill-in for someone who was out ill. I ended up working in the corporate mailroom for the next 6 months. As soon as I reached my required time-in-service, I began applying for other positions. Within no time I went from the mailroom to the 19th floor of one of Chevron’s executive offices. I became the Receptionist of the International Oil Division. While working in this position I noticed two times of day when foot traffic slowed and the executives rarely needed my assistance. I used those times to self-teach myself Lotus 123 and to study my Accounting terms, t-accounts and formulas. Once again when I reached my time-in-service I applied to work in Accounts Payable. I nailed that promotion on the first attempt! From there I promoted multiple times within Chevron’s Financial Services department. At that time Chevron had a robust Training & Development department complete with a computer-based (self-paced) training lab as-well-as regularly scheduled trainer-led workshops. I took advantage of both. Chevron had a tuition assistance program that reimbursed employees 75% of the cost for college tuition and books. I did that too! My career path at Chevron occurred over a 9.5 year-span. I never stopped ‘upskilling’ and I never stopped promoting to higher positions. It only ended when Chevron offered early retirement packages as a part of their downsizing efforts. At the age of 30 I took the package so I could finish college and start a new career in the education industry. Part of the package included one more year of college fees reimbursements. Of course I took advantage of that too. Upskilling works! The WIOA (Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act) legislation aims to encourage more emphasis on upskilling. I hope to hear many stories of organizations and individuals seizing the opportunity WIOA funding creates. I encourage you not to be so consumed with your current work that you neglect to fuel your future. If your current employer creates barriers (instead of pathways) to your professional development it’s time to look for something new. As I always say…

“It’s YOUR career – you take care of it!”


Vice President Joe Biden speaks very well about upskilling. Listen here.