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OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
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Adult Basic Education

Adult Basic Education Career Connections

Fact Sheet: Adult Basic Education Career Connections download files PDF (88KB)

Overview
The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) awarded $75,000 to each of five local ABE sites to enhance efforts to provide postsecondary education and support services that help adults become employed in occupational sectors important to local economies.

Participants include:

Background

It is widely acknowledged that the fastest growing jobs in the 21st century will require some level of postsecondary education. Consequently, moving more people through postsecondary programs aligned with the economic needs of a community or region is vital to our nation's future competitiveness, security, and stability.

The Adult Basic Education (ABE) Career Connections project promotes career pathways as a framework for assisting ABE students to successfully transition to postsecondary programs and begin careers in high-demand fields.

Career pathways are a series of connected education and training strategies and support services that enable individuals to secure employment within a specific occupational sector and to advance over time to successively higher levels of education and employment in that sector. Each step on a pathway is designed to prepare the participant for the next level of education and employment.

For more information: Tanya Shuy, U.S. Department of Education.

Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) Adult Education Program, Lexington, Kentucky

Partners:

  • BCTC Nursing Program
  • The Louden Company
  • Workforce Investment Board
  • Kentucky Association of Nursing Home Administrators

Defining the Challenge:

Kentucky has a significantly higher percentage of rural residents and a population aging faster than most states, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Job growth for nurses in the state is projected to be between 20-22 percent. Retirements will further reduce the supply of health care workers in Kentucky at an increasing rate through 2020 (Kentucky Hospital Association). This critical workforce need was chosen as the focus of BCTC's ABE Career Connections Project. An increase in Spanish-speaking residents in Lexington/Fayette County, a growth of 66 percent from 2000-2006 (U.S. Census Bureau), has resulted in a great need for bilingual health care workers. Participants in BCTC's ABE Career Connections Project will receive bonuses and raises from their employer as employees achieve certain milestones along the nursing career pathway.

Addressing the Challenge:

The BCTC ABE Career Connections Project seeks to provide a local solution to the national healthcare worker shortage by establishing a Pre-Nurse Aide Program allowing long-term care facilities to train and retain valuable, reliable non-healthcare employees as nurse aides. These workers are laundry, housekeeping, dietary, and floor technician staff, and all are non-native English speakers, with skill levels ranging from low beginning ESL to high intermediate ESL (based on NRS level definitions). With a special focus on this group, the project will prepare non-healthcare employees at Louden Long-Term Health Care facilities to enter the Nurse Aide certification program as a step on the career pathway to becoming a nurse.

Upon enrolling in the pre-nurse aide classes, participants will be assessed using the CASAS assessment to determine their English language ability. CASAS will also be used quarterly to determine progress. The site will develop a pre-nurse aid workbook that integrates basic skills and English as a Second Language materials with the pre-nurse aid curriculum. Louden Company will contribute to the project activities by paying participants while in class, providing classroom space, and providing bonuses and raises for participants.

For More Information:

Instituto del Progreso Latino, Carerras En Salud, Chicago, Illinois

Partners:

  • Association House of Chicago
  • Humboldt Park Vocational Education Center (HPVEC)/Wilbur Wright College
  • National Council of La Raza

Defining the Challenge:

According to a 2007 report by the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC), the healthcare shortage in Illinois is projected to grow to 21,000 by 2020. While enrollment in nursing programs in the state grew by 36 percent, from 18,375 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2005, a shortfall of 4,500 nurses per year is still predicted. The rapidly growing Latino population is accelerating the demand for bilingual/ bicultural nurses and other healthcare professionals. The need for bilingual/bicultural Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs) is of great concern in community clinics and long- term care facilities. An employer survey of 35 health clinics conducted by MCHC found an overall "vacancy rate" of 12.6 percent for CMAs, with most of them taking 90 days or more to fill these vacancies. As the Latino community ages, increases, and continues to have limited access to health insurance programs, community clinics play a critical role in meeting their healthcare needs.

Addressing the Challenge:

The ABE Career Connections project will create a program that prepares students for certification as Certified Medical Assistants. The pathway and instructional approach teaches ESL for Healthcare as contextualized intermediate-level English as a second language (ESL). English language skills are taught at successively higher levels of competency, and each level can be completed in 16 weeks. The program will prepare students to advance to pre-college and college-level English and Math, which will qualify them to enter the CMA class at HPVEC/WILBUR WRIGHT COLLEGE, pending program approval, or to enroll in a series of classes at a local community college that can lead to CMA certification. The Association House provides tutoring to participants enrolled in college courses. The students will follow a pathway with two specific ladders—an academic ladder that starts at the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification level (10th grade) and advances to pre-college and college levels in Math and English; and a career ladder that prepares participants for CMA certification and employment as a CMA in a community clinic or long-term care facility.

To date comparatively few Spanish bilingual healthcare candidates have made it to the CMA level, due mostly to low basic skills and/or non-academic reasons including job, childcare, and family issues. Carreras En Salud helps not only to improve students' basic skills, but also provides a comprehensive package of case management and support services.

For More Information:

Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), San Francisco, California

Partners:

  • SEIU-UHW West and Joint Employer Education Fund (Education Fund)
  • City College of San Francisco (CCSF)

Defining the Challenge:

The Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development has found that the San Francisco healthcare industry will have the greatest employment needs by 2014 due to the city's aging population. The state Employment Development Department notes that over the next 20 years there will be significant growth and replacement potential, including 3,500 new jobs, in hospitals. There is a projected need of approximately 225, 000 employees between 2006-2016, but current entry-level workers in non-patient care face the following obstacles:

  • Lack of advancement prospects, specifically in food and environmental services.
  • Lack of basic skills and language skills needed for advancement.
  • Need for institutional retention and for frontline non-patient care supervisors.
  • Lack of employee and employer awareness of career advancement opportunities.

Addressing the Challenge:

In partnership with the Education Fund, JVS will develop a basic skills curriculum to prepare participants for entry into college-level prerequisite classes required for healthcare certificate programs at CCSF. Participants will be recruited from multiple employers and from various departments, including food services, housekeeping, and administration. In the basic skills course, called "Professional Communication for Health Care Workers," participants will have the opportunity to improve their reading and writing skills within general work-related topics. JVS will conduct an intake procedure with each participant to determine what other JVS and external services they may need and will help them obtain such services. JVS' Allied Health Coordinator will provide private, confidential one-on-one wraparound services for all participants to minimize or eliminate barriers to entry, retention, and completion of the program. Participants will have access to such other JVS services and facilities as the Technology Access Center, computer training, job search workshops, employer presentations, and vocational assessments.

For More Information:

Madison Area Technical College (MATC), Wisconsin Career Connections Project, Madison, Wisconsin

Partners:

  • MATC: Business, Industry & Community Services College Preparedness & Academic Advancement Center
  • Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin
  • U.S. Department of Labor: Community Based Job Training Grant and WIRED Grant
  • Community Based Organizations: Centro Hispano, United Asian Services, United Migrant Opportunity Service, Dane Co. Job Center, Covance, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Defining the Challenge:

The scientific research, development, and technical services industry group is expected to be one of the top 10 fastest growing industry groups between 2002-2012. Nationally, the U.S. Department of Labor projects employment in the life sciences to grow by 19 percent within this time, including shortages at all levels of education. Madison-area laboratory employers, including Covance and the University of Wisconsin, also indicate that skills and knowledge are required in chemistry, biology, and biotechnology. In the Madison area, named a 'hotspot' for biotechnology by Scientist magazine in 2005, biotechnology employment grew 28 percent even during the recession years of 1999-2003. Thirty-five lab-intensive companies employing more than 4,500 workers have been established in Madison since 2000.

MATC has determined that the areas of greatest need and opportunity are for Adult Basic Education (ABE) students with limited literacy skills, but retention remains a challenge: students in "survival mode" need to find employment quickly. Contextualized instruction helps students learn and apply workplace relevant vocabulary as part of their basic skills instruction. Limited literacy ABE students often need to develop study skills, and early exposure to the technical vocabulary used in the lab science industry can improve their academic success.

Addressing the Challenge:

The ABE CC project will develop a "Prep for Success" course to promote the success of limited literacy students in Lab Animal Caretaker training and to map career pathways associated with animal lab science. The curriculum will include study skills, adult secondary math, reading, technical vocabulary and general workplace information including standards of communication. It will also include an intensive writing practicum that focuses on writing cover letters and other job-related tasks. Participants will include both male and female unemployed, underemployed, dislocated, and disabled workers aged 18 and older from a range of ethnic backgrounds. No high school diploma is required. Before recommendation to "Prep for Success," students will attend a four-hour orientation/personal planning session including computer-based career self assessment with focus on lab animal science, as well as a training overview including performance expectations.

For More Information:

Montgomery College Adult ESOL & Literacy - GED Program (AELG), Montgomery County, Maryland

Partners:

  • Montgomery College Building Trades and Healthcare Faculty
  • Montgomery College Institutional Research
  • Montgomery College Workforce Development and Continuing Education Unit
  • Montgomery College Student Services
  • Montgomery College Educational Opportunities Center

Defining the Challenge:

Montgomery County, Maryland is home to many immigrants and refugees needing short-term, targeted instruction to contextualize English language skills for specific academic and career purposes. English language instruction within a career context addresses learners' needs for content knowledge, academic skills, knowledge of American workplace behaviors, and career awareness simultaneously, saving learners the time and expense of completing extensive English language training in isolation from career preparation.

The AELG program used feedback from the College's workforce development faculty and data from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation to identify building trades and healthcare as two industries with growing needs for skilled workers in Montgomery County. Nearly one-fourth of statewide construction was concentrated in the County in 2006, and the industry is projected to continue contributing to Maryland's economic growth. Employment in Montgomery County's healthcare industry is projected to grow by approximately 31 percent between 2002 and 2012.

Addressing the Challenge:

Montgomery College's AELG program seeks to design, develop, and implement two advanced-level vocational ESOL courses in building trades and healthcare to help English language learners gain the skills necessary to enter targeted noncredit vocational courses in the building trades (Electrical I, Carpentry I, HVAC I) and healthcare (Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomy, Pharmacy Technician). Noncredit courses allow students to 1) receive content instruction in the industry area, 2) proceed more quickly to entry-level employment and 3) prepare for further education and career advancement. Students develop their basic skills in vocational English as a second language (ESOL) classes so they can be successful in noncredit industry area courses. Credit by exam is also an option in some courses. Instruction in Advanced ESOL for Building Trades and Advanced ESOL for Healthcare Jobs will cover four areas: content knowledge; English language skills; career awareness; and American workplace behaviors. The AELG program staff is working with the College's Building Trades and Healthcare faculty and staff to provide students with links to employers and information about apprenticeships.

For More Information:


 
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Last Modified: 06/18/2014