Adult Student Success Stories
Bridget’s dyslexia threatened to shut her out from success until adult education intervened in her life.
Hamilton County Jail’s New Career Readiness Program
Hamilton County Jail’s new Transitioning Opportunities for Work, Education, and Reality (TOWER) program was recently developed to reduce recidivism rates. The TOWER program, which is the first of its kind at a jail facility, has been funded by a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The $427,337 grant allows for two full-time employees from WorkOne to work directly from the jail as Career Coaches. It also funds the cost of eight laptops, software and classroom equipment.
Inmates accepted into the TOWER program prepare resumes and cover letters, work on career skills, take personality assessments, sign up for employment websites, and apply for management, leadership and OSHA certifications. WorkOne educators not only provide education but work with businesses in the county to develop partnerships for future employment opportunities. Some inmates have even been able to interview and secure positions before their release.
Ashley Whitsey, an inmate serving 180 days in the jail was accepted into the program. After being accepted, Ashley, like others in the program, has been able to work on interviewing and career skills. Ashley, like others accepted into the program, will continue with the program after she is released by following up with WorkOne educators from the jail and at the local WorkOne office for continued assistance. They plan on developing a community mentorship aspect which aims to “help connect the recently released inmates with individuals who can provide guidance on both work and non-work-related issues, such as opening a bank account for the first time.”
Indiana Plan Apprenticeship Awareness Program
The Indiana Plan Apprenticeship Awareness Program was launched in 2016 at Work One Southwest in Evansville, Indiana. The goal of the Work Indiana-funded program is to help provide people, namely women, minorities, ex-offenders, and the underemployed the opportunity to enter higher-paying careers.
Todd McNulty, a graduate of the program, attended a traditional post-secondary college and served in the U.S. Military but he became increasingly aware that he wanted to take a different route with his life. After he lost his job and could not land another one he decided that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a journeyman for the local union. After scoring “off-the charts” on the TABE test and attending adult education classes for 12 hours, Todd was officially enrolled in the course, and the initial step toward his new future had begun. Todd commented that his instructors were extremely helpful, knew the material in-depth, and were able to present the material in a manner all could understand. Since he was familiar with the union and life of a journeyman due to his father’s example, Todd said the class and instructors surpassed his expectations in refreshing his memory on the specifics of the job as well as ingraining in him new “tricks of the trade”, especially the math skills needed for success in the field.
According to Todd, the greatest benefit of the program has been the fact that it positioned him to obtain work immediately after it ended. “I was eligible to work right after I got out of the pre-apprenticeship class. I earned 4 certifications through the class, and due to earning these certifications, I was hired immediately into the Local 16 union as an apprentice journeyman electrician. I had only a one-week gap between the class and when I began working, and that was only because a drug screen is routinely required before someone can start.”
Todd was hired on at Indianapolis Power and Light Company (IP&K) in Petersburg, IN, and his opportunity for advancement in both position and pay will continue to increase over time. A typical day for Todd currently consists of shadowing experienced journeymen and absorbing as much knowledge as humanly possible. “I am learning the basics and beyond while shadowing these journeymen. I am learning EVERYTHING about the trade, and it is 100% hands-on. The pre-apprenticeship class definitely put me in a great position to go straight into this apprenticeship with the basic knowledge and skills required to be a successful apprentice.”
The element Todd appreciates most about his whole experience is the fact that the program allowed him to enter a career that is versatile and perfect for his lifestyle. In the future, he has the option of owning his own business, traveling, and/or transferring periodically to different work locations. Todd concluded, “There is not just one path in this line of work. All kinds of options are open to me. College and the military turned out to be unsuccessful endeavors that did not fit my personality; I am a non-traditional, ‘think outside-the-box’ kind of guy. This opportunity has given me a different goal in life, and I am working in an environment that allows me to completely be myself while surrounded by the brotherhood of the union. This is where I belong.” Todd’s story is inspiring and a reminder that the programs and trainings the Work One/Adult Education partnerships offer are often life-changing in the lives of the people we serve. Programs like the Indiana Plan pre-apprenticeship trainings are invaluable and can be the ticket our clients need to improve both their lives and that of their families.
** Link for IN Plan Apprenticeship website: http://indianaplan.org/
River Valley Resources: Strategy Concept
After a student registers for the AE program, I implement the strategy concept. The student and I fill out a strategy card where he or she dictates how their course of study will culminate in the student obtaining the HSE in the shortest amount of time. The student helps plot their success, sees the steps in the pathway, selects their testing date, and then starts their course of study. The student has an active part in their success.
The strategy concept is implemented by the student and teacher. A strategy card is filled out and placed in the student folder where the student analyzes their pretest scoring, plots their success, sees the steps in the pathway to HSE and beyond to ACCUPLACER and WorkIN programs, selects their testing dates, and charts their course of study, therefore, taking responsibility for their success.
Through the implementation of this strategy, there have been 205 students that have achieved their GED®/HSE credential through me as their teacher. However, I have 10 students waiting for test results or scheduled to take tests within the next week. What is so remarkable is that Ohio County is the smallest county in the state of Indiana and only has one teacher. The successes have been a wonderful testament to the program. Also, every student’s picture is on the wall of fame for all to see.
South Bend Community School Corporation Adult Education
Our program wanted to bring awareness of the many educational options available through adult education, in conjunction with the National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.
The event, held at Adult Ed’s Bendix location, gave attendees a chance to view the building, meet the staff and find out more about the programs offered. But the event also focused on supporting Adult Ed students and helping them plan their next steps — whether that be a job, training or higher education.
Many local agencies set up booths at the event. Students could sign up for a library card or get info from La Casa de Amistad about citizenship classes. They learned about assistance for home heating costs from REAL Services and healthcare choices. College representatives, the staff from WorkOne and local employers who are hiring, were also available.
Nearly 200 people attended the Adult Ed open house September 27, a 57-percent increase over last year’s event. The event increased community awareness, as well as awareness of the pathways available to current students.