Adult Education Innovations
State Reports on Adult Education
California Adult Education Program
The California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) and the California Department of Education (CDE) are working in partnership to implement the California Adult Education Program (CAEP). The 2017-18 budget appropriate $500 million for the block grant following with another $500 million in 2018-19 in addition to $25 million for data and accountability funding as well as an additional $5 million for CAEP technical assistance. The CAEP appropriates these funds through regional consortia consisting of community college districts, school districts and county offices of education to implement regional plans to better serve the needs of adults.
There are 71 regional consortia across the state that include members from community colleges, k-12 adult schools, county offices of education and a variety of community partners including, but not limited to local workforce investment boards, libraries, and community-based organizations.
Regional Asset and Pathways Website
Capital Adult Education Regional Consortium
The Capital Adult Education Regional Consortium (CAERC) is comprised of 14 members and 24 partners and expands across multiple counties: Sacramento, Yolo, El Dorado and Amador. During Assembly Bill 86 planning, members voted unanimously to implement the top five regional strategies: (1) expand adult education course offerings; (2) develop regional asset and pathways roadmap; (3) align courses and streamline pathways; (4) provide professional development; and (5) analyze regional labor market and needs to align implementation and expansion. With a consortium that is geographically vast and expanding, a strategic outreach plan was needed to ensure adult learners know about the programs available and educational pathways to support learner success.
The CAERC Regional Asset Map and Pathways website promotes outreach, communication, alignment, collaboration and efficiency of services in the region. The website was developed in two phases. In phase one, the regional asset map identified the adult basic education (ABE), adult secondary education (ASE), and English as a second language (ESL) classes offered by CAERC members and partners across the region. Phase two expanded the search capabilities of the site to connect learners to a career exploration tool, job skills programs, and career technical education (CTE) programs. The goal was to capitalize on technology and the digital age to increase access to programs and information, a strategy that also promotes consortium-wide collaboration and fosters a shared online presence in the community.
Phase two of the CAERC Regional Asset Map and Pathways website went live on June 30, 2017. The site uses a mobile responsive platform and features Google Maps and its route-planning capabilities for traveling by foot, car, bicycle or public transport. As of July 2017, visitors to the site can find 107 classes, 40 job skills programs and 80 CTE programs.
Placer School for Adults
The challenge? What an interesting question. The answer to the question, which is just another question, was how to change the way we have done things for so long? How to integrate from the bottom to the top. How to innovate, educate, invigorate, and clear the path for our students to come in one door, and then leave by a multiplicity of other doors that lead to internships, career paths, further education, and so much more.
The solution required something bold, something global and unifying. The answer has always been right in front of us—and yet obscure. The answer was to create a Teacher Academy in which we twice yearly bring all of our part-time teachers into one space for a paid 8 hour day. In this day we explore with them data (CASAS/TOPS Enterprise), teaching practices, curriculum, and a new picture and model of integration. A model in which everything we now do as a school leads our students to career pathways and possibly further schooling. A new model which does all of this in a way that uses the resources we have already developed and created integrations we could only come to as a group.
The outcome has been the development of two integrated pathways based on collaboration between our CMA program instructors, our Business Office Profession instructor, and our ESL and ABE instructors. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The Teacher Academy, the training, the opportunity for teachers from different areas of the adult school to collaborate and dialog on many other possibilities, has led to the beginnings of a culture of collaboration and integration.
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Employer Success Stories
Building Skills Partnership (BSP)
UCLA Labor Center
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles janitors clean the city’s largest metropolitan buildings, yet their children attend some of the city’s most under-resourced public schools. Ninety percent of janitorial workers are immigrant workers and often work difficult hours and hold multiple jobs. As a result, many struggle to access educational resources for their children.
In collaboration with the UCLA Labor Center, the Parent Worker Project aims to improve educational opportunities for janitors’ families and communities. Through this project, parents and young children participate in workshops, field trips, and cultural activities at worksites, schools, and the union. For example, recently families attended a college tour at UC Santa Barbara, as well as a field trip to the California Science Center. For many janitor parents and their children, it was the first time setting foot on a college campus. In addition, BSP facilitates college workshops for the high school aged kids of janitors and science activities for children ages 5-12.
The Parent Worker Project trains a cohort of janitor parents and union members of SEIU-United Service Workers West, who will become advocates for their children’s education. It has been successful in reaching the entire household to improve student outcomes and keep dynamic, productive workers in the workforce. The project overcomes barriers common to the immigrant experience by providing a pathway to higher education to lift families out of poverty.
Ventura Adult and Continuing Education Center
In April 2017, the Workforce Education Coalition started a regional IT guild designed to offer local employers an opportunity to identify industry needs in the field. The challenge was to find qualified, entry-level employees who possessed the IT industry certifications and basic skills necessary to retain employment. Guild and Ventura Adult Continuing Education (VACE) advisory committee members helped by offering unpaid internships, on-the-job-training opportunities, and jobs. Another challenge emerged when VACE placed a deaf career technical education (CTE) graduate at an internship. Initially, the employer was concerned about his ability to communicate with the student, who was skilled and focused, with both A+ and N+ certifications.
A number of organizations partnered to find a solution that led to the student intern eventually becoming a valued, full-time employee. The student immigrated from India to the United States during high school. He learned American Sign Language when English was not his first language. While attending CTE training, interpreters were provided by VACE and the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), as needed. However, he used technology to communicate through text, thereby making it possible to successfully interact with others during the internship. A concerted effort was made to develop an on-the-job-training site at STS Technology. A job coach was provided to facilitate the interview and to ensure that the student transitioned into the work environment. Networking and support from the members of the IT Guild, Workforce Education Coalition, and VACE’s Program Advisory Committee were key elements to success.
The employer was able to hire a highly skilled computer technician capable of utilizing the analytical and troubleshooting skills he learned as part of a CTE program offered through VACE. The internship provided the employer with an opportunity to test the student’s skills before committing to hiring. The DOR assisted with the job coaching. Initially, the student served as a “bench tech,” until his greater capabilities became clear. The school was able to successfully provide the IT Program Advisory Committee members with a valued employee. Lastly, the IT guild was able to fulfill its goal by offering a local employer an opportunity to identify its needs and be provided with a well-trained candidate to hire.
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Adult Learner Success Stories
Adult Learner, Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center
In August of 2016, Raymond Lopez came to our Orientation at CAJ and met with one of our counselors to discuss what program he might be able to do. Raymond was a dislocated worker and on Disability, he was seeking a new career and was new to Adult Education. Raymond enrolled into the medical assistant program that started October 2016. All new students take a 3-week course in Customer Service before they enter their primary classes. I am updated as to how many students I will be having in my class and upon knowing this information, I make a point of visiting the Customer Service class, introduce myself so the students would know who I am and could recognize me on campus. I was told I had three young men starting and one was rather tall. As I was speaking to the class I noticed a taller young man and said to myself that has to be Raymond, as it turns out, it was Raymond. Entering into the medical assisting program is tough and takes a lot of memorization as well as taking tests, doing procedures, memorizing 200 drug words over and over along with medical math, daily homework and keeping attendance and grades up.
When new students come into the medical assisting program, I ask students to address the class, telling a little something about themselves, why they chose the medical assisting. Raymond’s story caught my attention. Raymond came to Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center because someone from Kaiser told him about the program on Lemon Hill Ave. and suggested he come to a Wednesday morning orientation, meet the instructors and take the reading and math test in order to enter a program of choice.
Raymond passed the reading and math, he applied for financial aid because he was a dislocated worker and had been on disability which qualified him for Pell Grant and then applied for a scholarship that would help pay for the remaining balance. Raymond went through hoops to get into the medical assistant program. During the time Raymond attend the program, he received
‘Intent to Drop’ for his grades were dropping. Intent to Drop is a warning and gives the student an opportunity to improve so we try not to drop them. Raymond took this serious and began to improve his grades. His attendance was perfect and has been through this whole program. Raymond has overcome being beaten and having his skull crushed, suffered brain injury which impaired his thinking, memory, and speech as well as motor skills. Raymond was a victim of a break-in at his apartment, he tried to stop the burglars and help his roommates but could not, and he was overpowered by physical force. He was beaten severely and spent 27 days in ICU. His mother, father, and sister were told he might not live and if he did, no one would know what permanent damages he would suffer if any. Raymond before coming to CAJ’s medical assisting program went through a tremendous amount of therapy, physical therapy; speech lessons after about a two year period decided and tried to work. Raymond day by day held on to his beliefs he would be successful one day even working through his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This young man is a miracle and a wonderful student who has overcome his depression, his fears, his head injury, he has broken his back, tailbone, shattered the scaphoid in the wrist, had several surgeries including brain surgery, repairing of his skull and then faced not ever working again as a laborer or hard physical work.
Raymond took his strength, put all his effort into this program, and is one of my best students, studies harder than anyone I’ve seen in a long time. This young man is an inspiration to all of us who complain that we can’t be successful. Raymond helps all the students, takes his time, offers to work with them and explains to them how he studies. Raymond never tells you no. You would have to be in my classroom and watch this young man. Raymond is completing the medical assisting program on May 15th and then doing his extern hip of 200 hours at Sutter Medical Foundation in Davis. Raymond’s math skills are 100%, attendance is 100% and his overall grade is 99% and his drug words are at a 100%. Raymond took what was given to him, made it work, fought hard to succeed and is on his way to becoming a great medical assistant who wants to give back all he has learned to patients because he was one that survived. His beliefs and strength gave him his life back.
Adult Learner, Long Beach School for Adults
Unable to find work because of a lack of job training and poor English skills, Maria first enrolled in ESL classes at the Long Beach School for Adults over 20 years ago. After progressing through multiple levels of ESL classes, Maria entered the ROP Medical Assistant Program in 2000. Because of improved English skills, she was able to successfully complete the program and found a job working in her field. Maria has been steadily employed as a medical assistant for 16 years now!
In 2017, Maria felt the need to continue her education. Once again, she returned to the Long Beach School for Adults. This time, she is pursuing her high school equivalency certificate. Maria is currently enrolled in the High School Equivalency Home Study Program, a unique distance learning program that allows her to prepare from home. As a student in this innovative program, Maria meets with an instructor on campus on a weekly basis to review her work, measure her progress, and take HiSET® practice tests.
Maria is not only a Long Beach School for Adults success story, but an American adult education success story as well. Because of her hard work and dedication, and because of the multiple program offerings, she was able to take advantage of at the Long Beach School for Adults, she is now fluent in English, has a career in which she has been employed for many years, and is continuing to expand and pursue further education. We wish Maria on-going success in all her future endeavors.
Adult Learner, Torrance Adult School
Marc Pomerleau resides in Gardena, California. At one time, he worked at Torrance Memorial Hospital as a patient transporter. While working at the hospital, he often passed by the pharmacy department and pictured himself working there. Marc started to research which school had a program that would be nearby and convenient for him after work. He found out that the Levy Educational Center of Torrance Adult School was located less than a half mile away and offered a Pharmacy Technician Program.
Marc Pomerleau was able to enroll in Torrance Adult School’s Pharmacy Technician Program, taught by Leticia Wang. This program is a twelve-week long, fast-paced course. Upon completing the course, Marc would need to complete an additional 120 hours of externship at a local pharmacy. After finishing the course and the 120 hours of externship, Marc would receive a certificate from the school and be qualified to be licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy. While enrolled in the course, Marc devoted his time and effort and received a perfect score on all his tests and classwork. After the course, Marc was sent to a local Walgreens pharmacy to complete his externship.
During his externship at Walgreens, Marc was so highly regarded that they recommended him to be hired. However, Marc wanted to work in a hospital instead of a retail pharmacy so that he could work in either the inpatient pharmacy or outpatient pharmacy. Marc applied at Harbor/UCLA Medical Center and also passed the Los Angeles County test with a perfect score! The supervisors were so impressed by his perfect score and his externship recommendation that he was hired in the inpatient pharmacy.
Adult Learner, Next Step Learning Center
Jesus arrived at Next Step Learning Center in 2004 with a lot to overcome. He wanted to find work and knew that an education was essential; however, having only elementary level reading and math skills made employment almost impossible. “I went to high school, but I did not speak English,” Jesus reflects. “I could not understand the teachers, and I could not communicate. I was alone and became demoralized. I said to myself, ‘I can’t do this,’ and went a different route – a bad one.”
Following in the footsteps of countless Next Step students, Jesus made the tremendous commitment to learning how to read, write, and do basic math. He, like so many others, had to start at the beginning, learning 12 grades’ worth of academic content while supporting himself as an adult. Jesus attributes the Next Step formula of dedication, individual tutoring, and lots of support with his success. “It took a lot of discipline and focus. I had to listen to the tutors and let them guide me. I created good relationships with staff and have a special love for the people here.” Each year, Jesus built his skills and recently found a job. “When I started work, I told myself: ‘Be relentless – don’t stop!’ and I kept coming.”
On a stormy morning in May 2018, Jesus Rodriguez got the news he had been waiting 14 years to hear: He was a high school graduate. “Accomplishment,” said the 34-year old, “has come out of the challenge.” After passing all of his high school equivalency tests, Jesus now looks forward to attending college and being eligible for a promotion at work. “I have what I always wanted, but it is just the passport to the next level.”
Adult Learner, Shasta College
Matt tried a couple years ago with the HiSET exam but did not pass the math section. With such a short window between him needing to pass the test and the first of day of fall semester (2017) at Shasta College, Matt’s financial aid status depended on him passing the math section.
Matt came into the adult education program at the Smart Center looking to get his high school equivalency certificate. The AEBG has had a tremendous effect on adult learners that are unable to qualify for WIOA-funded programs. There are many learners that seek AEBG programs because they are already working or do not currently have the time to work. This is almost always a disqualification for enrollment into WIOA-programs at the Smart Center, which understandably are programs that aim at both educational and employment needs.
Matt worked hard in the past month with a dedicated teacher who believes in what Better.Jobs is doing with AEBG funds to help individuals like Matt. Matt learned the topics needed and stay motivated. A week after retesting, Matt and his instructor were given confirmation that he had earned his high school equivalency certificate. Congratulations Matt and all the best to you at Shasta College!
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“I believe that adult education programs provide a valuable service to our communities. Every American deserves a quality education, including our newest citizens, and our country’s future depends upon it. I will absolutely keep working to provide these education programs with the funding they need, and I hope you will continue to encourage people to take advantage of these wonderful opportunities.”
Susan A. Davis, Member of Congress
“I am the customer, a life long learner attending Foothills Adult classes in El Cajon, CA. I am an artist, learning all I can each and every week from my wonderful instructor Drew Bandish. Now my daughter comes with me, and we have a wonderful art session every Tuesday. As Drew is a very good artist, he knows what we need to learn and how to explain it in easy lessons. He has improved my technique many, many times over, and as a senior lady, I enjoy the experience of meeting other artists. Great friendships have been made with the other students. I could not afford to do this at a college. It has been a wonderful opportunity.”