Posts Tagged ‘Adult Learners’

2022 Advance Fall Meeting Recap – Forward Together: Supporting Every Learner

Friday, October 28th, 2022

Advance CTE’s 2022 Fall Meeting, held last week, included five breakout sessions that equipped state leaders to support every learner in CTE by tailoring support to meet unique and intersecting learner population needs. 

Keep reading for key takeaways and resources from each session shared by state CTE leaders and our Advance CTE-ECMC Fellows! 

Serving Middle Grades Learners through Career Supports

Career advising and development supports geared towards middle grades learners to improve access and achieve high-quality and equitable secondary CTE programs prove to be an early opportunity to develop an occupational identity and better build social capital. Ohio discussed the policy structures the state  has put into place to support learners in CTE programs before they enter high school, including funding mechanisms and alignment of middle grades programs of study. Michigan Advance CTE-ECMC Fellow Tony Warren shared how states and regions can broaden a middle schoolers mindset by focusing on the challenge they want to solve and helping develop a pathway to achieve a goal centered on their intrinsic motivations. Fellow Donald Walker provided local examples of carrying out state policy and practice at the Detroit School of the Arts showcased how one school is putting state policy into practice and action. 

Supporting CTE Learners in Rural Communities

Representatives from Montana and California shed light on the challenges and opportunities faced by CTE students who reside in rural areas of the United States. With a majority of Montana (46 out of 56 counties) being part of the frontier, the state has implemented the Hub & Spoke model for several programs. One such example is healthcare, which enabled a main campus to establish a healthcare program, complemented by satellite campuses through partnerships with local secondary and post-secondary institutions that offer limited services distributed across the other counties. 

Fellow Jean Claude Mbomeda shared California’s approach for reviewing disaggregated data to identify gaps in CTE programs in rural communities colleges in California, which was discussed as a necessary first step to unearth opportunities and develop supports for learners.  

Ensuring the Basic Needs of Postsecondary and Adult Learners are Met

An education consultant and a state leader from Wisconsin provided an overview of programs that support learners basic needs, while elevating that many programs still create barriers for learners to complete credentials. Immediate next steps that were shared included making integrated benefits applications for federal assistance programs available online and inviting benefits coordinators to provide services on campus. Wisconsin highlighted their steps to create  affinity groups with faculty and staff, with Dr. Colleen McCabe stating “To understand the effects of poverty, you have to explore learners’ multiple identities.”

Maximizing the CTE Experience for Learners with Disabilities

Maryland and Nebraska equipped attendees with state-level strategies to leverage Perkins state plans, the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) and interagency partnerships to provide sustainable support to learners with disabilities. With one in four Americans identifying as having a disability, discussions centered on viewing disability as a spectrum, both visible and hidden, and centering learners as people rather than just a population. Maryland shared practices for empowering local leaders to identify and act on opportunity gaps for learners with disabilities through and the CLNA. Nebraska emphasized the importance of developing consistent cross-agency routines, and highlighted their recent achievement of a tri-agency conference across, CTE, vocational rehabilitation and special education.

Equitably Serving CTE Learners in Correctional Education

With more than 30,000 youth being incarcerated in the United States each year in the juvenile justice system, Texas joined by Advance CTE-ECMC Fellows Richard Crosby and Janelle Washington discussed the differences in secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, as well as some of the intricacies of carceral justice-connected program designs. Texas highlighted barriers for this learner populations, including unfair placement testing that occurs days after sentencing and the availability of CTE programs that will not incentivize recidivism. The panelists shared that establishing meaningful and collaborative partnerships with correctional agencies and state CTE departments are paramount to creating better and more equitable programming opportunities for carceral students.

Here are additional resources to support every learner in CTE: 

Nithya Govindasamy, Senior Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Resources
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Voices of the Workforce: Navigating Career Change in a Crisis

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected our workforce systems drastically, forcing unemployment rates to soar and industry sectors to rapidly transition to new ways of seeking and retaining talent. The nation is grappling with how to resolve the economic downturn, while also ensuring that the unemployed, which has disproportionately affected women, Latinx, and Black Americans – are able to get back to work and on track to receive opportunities that advance their livelihoods. 

Some job losses resulting from the pandemic may be permanent causing many American workers to look for ways to reskill and upskill as they reenter into the workforce. The Strada Education Network has committed to building the space for collaboration between industry leaders, state leaders and American adult workers, preparing solutions that are lasting for both. Last week, the Strada Education Network held The Voices of the Workforce: Navigating Career Change in a Crisis webinar, intentionally focusing on sharing the voices from workers displaced from their jobs, navigating a new normal while enrolled in reskilling and upskilling courses. Below are a number of findings from the webinars, and how states have tackled some of these important issues in the past.

Time is a Major Factor

Data shows that 38 percent of workers who lost employment during the pandemic are more likely to now further their education. However, time is posed as a major barrier to enrolling and completing courses. Knowing that 86 percent of adult learners who complete postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) courses are employed within six months of completing a program – CTE is a safe bet for those looking to reskill or upskill in order to gain in-demand and living-wage careers. However, postsecondary institutions must create partnerships with the workforce and industry leaders to attract learners seeking programs that have reduced completion times and offer earn and learn programs to support family-sustaining careers. 

Earn and learn programs, such as apprenticeships, paid internship programs and other work-based learning arrangements play a critical role in supporting workers that need to obtain some income while in school. View Quality Pathways: Employer Leadership in Earn and Learn Opportunities in our Learning that Works Resource Center for core design elements and steps stakeholders can take to ensure their pathways meet the voices of American workers.

Supporting Learners in Postsecondary Programs 

The webinar identified a number of areas that postsecondary institutions may want to focus on to best support learners enrolling in programs including financial assistance, hands-on opportunities and help with finding employment upon program completion. Additionally, some adult learners returning back to school have not been in a school setting in many years and may struggle with basic academic schoolwork. States can play a vital role in implementing policies to help support learners in their transition, such as Washington’s Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (I-BEST), which aims to help adult learners obtain academic and technical skills to better prepare for college-level work.

To tackle the financial burden that many learners likely face, states can learn from North Carolina’s Finish Line Grants program. The grants are operated by the North Carolina Department of Commerce and are administered locally through a partnership between community colleges and local workforce development boards.

Continued on the Job Training

CTE programs prepare learners for high-skill jobs in professions that require regular upskilling due to new technology or shifts in the industry. In many cases, this has been accelerated due to the pandemic as companies have moved to fully and partially-virtual workplaces. However,  the coronavirus has limited many opportunities for hands-on job training experiences to continue. American workers encourage employers to continue skills training and certification attainment for newly hired employees. American workers share that they’re not only looking for a job that meets their interests and talents, they are also looking for companies that will invest in them. Companies and industry leaders can sit down with their employees and help to guide them in the direction of upward mobility within the company and within the industry. 

The most important factor in designing programs, supports and policies that the webinar drives home is the need to include and center the people that you are trying to best serve in order to lead to a more equitable path toward upward mobility for all American workers. The full recording of The Voices of the Workforce: Navigating Career Change in a Crisis webinar can be viewed here

Other resources for state leaders, policymakers, employers and other key stakeholders:

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Resources
Tags: , , , , ,

 

Series

Archives

1