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Advancing Innovations Project Names 9 Innovative Practices in Student Support Services

Manhattan Strategy Group (MSG) and Abt Associates, under contract with The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, are excited to announce the third round of innovative practices in adult education, as selected by the Advancing Innovation in Adult Education project. Nine practices have been named as innovative for their approaches modeling effective integrated education and training (IET) programs, transitioning adult learners from adult basic education to postsecondary education or training, and/or increasing access to adult education services.  Each of the nine practices are featured in a compendium report and gallery of innovative practices available on LINCS, and in this pre-recorded webinar.

“It is important to shine a light on innovative practices that adult education programs are using to meet the evolving needs of adult learners. The nine practices we’ll be showcasing are illustrative of the types of activities that adult education programs have implemented, using a holistic approach to carry out adult education,” said Cheryl Keenan, Director of the Division of Adult Education and Literacy, U.S. Department of Education. “The work of the staff leading these practices reinforces that adult education programs need to consider adult learners intellectual, social, physical, and emotional needs. So many individuals who already had barriers to employment have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic. Innovation may be more important now than ever to get people back to work and on a pathway that offers real opportunity.”

These nine programs have made advances in their support of adult learners through focusing on underserved populations, distance learning alternatives, connecting learners to community and social services, offering employment assistance, and providing access to career navigators and mentors. The list of innovators includes:

  • Career4U Academy at Houston Community College Adult Education & Literacy Programs in Houston, TX — This IET program helps adult learners access high-demand occupations in five sectors: healthcare, construction management, information technology, business technology, and logistics transportation. Learners participate in online basic skills or English language instruction and in an adult education and literacy support class in which basic skills instruction is contextualized to the content of the workforce training. When learners complete Career4U’s three components (workforce training, contextualized adult education and literacy, and workforce preparation) they receive a college and state-recognized Level 1 certificate.
  • Career Training at Wayne Township Adult Education in Indianapolis, IN — This IET program offers training in a range of occupations, including healthcare and construction management, that lead to industry-recognized credentials. Learners can work on building their academic and employability skills through self-paced, online instruction that is customized to their academic needs. The Adult learners are paired with a life coach who provides advice and support in addressing barriers such as transportation and childcare. This adult IET program is part of an established career pathway that includes career counselors and workforce partners.
  • STEPS for Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship at Calhoun Community College in Tanner, AL — STEPS is an IET program that offers Pre-Apprenticeship training in manufacturing through a six-step in-person or online program. Learners receive weekly mentoring with employer partners and can obtain employment and exit the program after completion of any of the six steps. Those who complete all six steps can enroll in an apprenticeship program at Calhoun Community College.
  • High School Equivalency Honors Boot Camp, College and Career Readiness Program at Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, NC — The Boot Camp, an intensive, 100-hour course delivered over a five-week period, is designed to motivate adult learners to earn a high school equivalency diploma more quickly. A transition coordinator works with participants from the beginning of the course to help them apply to non-credit and for-credit programs at Nash Community College and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Transition to College/Postsecondary Training at Catholic Charities – El Centro in Boston, MA — This program is unique in its focus on preparing English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learners to transition to college through reading, writing, and math instruction, college preparation activities, learner advising, and wraparound supports provided by Catholic Charities. El Centro has a dual enrollment model that allows learners to continue to receive support from program staff and math instruction to ease their transition to college.
  • Alternative Sentencing Program at Crawford County Adult Education Center in Van Buren, AR — Through this program, justice-involved individuals charged with nonviolent offenses can receive education and training in lieu of jail time, community service, and/or fines. In addition to individualized instruction, participants receive employment assistance, benefits assessment and application, and counseling.
  • Breaking Barriers at Jefferson Community and Technical College—Kentucky Skills U in Carrollton, KY — Through Breaking Barriers, adults in rural communities can access a fully online program with college and career navigators who provide advising and support for transition to postsecondary education and employment support. The online delivery of instruction has reduced registration barriers and increased learners’ options for instruction.
  • Integrated Education and Training (IET) Culinary Arts Program at Hampden County Sheriff’s Department in Ludlow, MA —This IET program focuses on residents in pre-release status for vocational training in culinary arts, basic skills, and high school equivalency preparation. A job coach supports learners with job searches, including how to positively respond to questions about their incarceration. Program completers receive four industry certifications and a certificate of completion that represents six college credits.
  • Ohio Deaf Literacy Partnership at Delaware Area Career Center Aspire Program in Delaware, OH — The Partnership provides a model for offering distance learning opportunities for learners who are deaf and hard of hearing. English literacy is taught completely in American Sign Language with the goal of building fluency in both languages.

To learn more about the 18 adult education programs that have been named as innovative throughout the Advancing Innovation in Adult Education project, visit https://lincs.ed.gov/state-resources/federal-initiatives/advancing-innovation/explore.