The Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) has presented adult education systems with challenges and opportunities. This year, our COABE 2016 pre-conference session was designed as an opportunity for state staff to learn about some of the strategies used in other states to ensure WIOA requirements are met. Participants learned how states are addressing the areas of Integrated Education and Training (IET), workforce preparation, and the provision of services to low-level learners under WIOA. We’ve posted some of the presentation slides and related resources here.
Session I: Implementing Technology Solutions
The virtual learning center is a critical tool that will help extend the learning for students outside the traditional 4 walls and boundaries of the school/work setting. The avatar is a virtual person who is directly interacting with the student in the center, thus creating a new human/social interaction activity for the isolated student.
Session II: WIOA for Low Level Learners, Multi-level Part-time Classes
We all know WIOA supports I-BEST and the benefits of integrating occupational training and adult education via team teaching and bridge classes. But how does WIOA impact the 80% of our teachers who teach part-time multi-level classes? In this session on “Career Infused Adult Education” we examined strategies and policies for just those situations: for “infusing” (a) contextualized instruction around high demand job clusters, (b) job readiness (soft) skills and (c) career awareness, exploration and planning in low level and multi-level classes. We also explored options for organizing classrooms to accommodate career infused adult education strategies.
Session III: MI-BEST
MI-BEST is an innovative workforce training program dedicated to preparing people who need help with foundational skills for careers by mixing career training with additional support for math, writing, and reading inside the classroom. This student first approach give participants the skills they need to succeed in school and compete in the workforce by working on technical and basic skills education at the same time while also providing support services to students through a navigator and a job placement coordinator. The navigator helps students complete college paperwork, provides general support, and develops plans for students to meet their goals, tracks student progress and makes referrals as needed. The job placement coordinator conducts a skills assessment, assists with resume writing, job search activities, training services, career counseling, and provides job referrals.
Session IV: IET—Free Instructional Materials Developed by Wisconsin
Whether your state is focusing on horizontal integration of academic and occupational instruction (between ABE/ELL and a WIOA Title I, III, or IV partner) or vertical integration (between ABE/ELL and postsecondary partners), planning for instruction and then supporting the instructional staff involved is critical for the success of your state’s programs and their students. To support these efforts the Wisconsin Technical College System has developed instructional materials to support the training of pairs of teachers who will integrate occupational and academic instruction – whether they are fully involved in team teaching or just significantly coordinating their instruction. These materials can be used in face-to-face structured training, online training, or a hybrid of the two. These materials are being made available to other states in case they could be helpful for your professional development purposes. You are free to use/adapt the materials as you wish.
At this session two experienced teachers (one ABE instructor and a college health instructor) will review these materials and discuss how they can be deployed and used. They will then show how your state can access the materials.