Since 2007, LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC) has worked to redesign its approach to high school equivalency preparation by providing contextualized, career-focused GED bridge classes that integrate basic skills instruction with occupational content to prepare adult learners to pass the GED exam and transition more effectively to postsecondary education and training or the workforce.
MDRC conducted a random assignment evaluation of LAGCC’s GED Bridge to College and Careers programs, the results of which were released last week. Preliminary evidence strongly supports LAGCC’s redesigned, contextualized approach.
The first day of the 2013 National Meeting for Adult Education State Directors largely focused on what is needed to achieve truly transformational change in adult education. The case for transforming our adult education system was made clear during the afternoon panel discussion, moderated by OVAE Deputy Assistant Secretary Johan, that included OVAE Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier; Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education; and Mona Mourshed, Director for McKinsey & Company.
All three panelists emphasized the moral imperative and economic necessity of this work. As Roberto Rodriguez noted, “Our efforts to build a strong economic engine that can drive our economy moving forward really depends on our work to build stronger education and training pathways for individuals to develop the skills and levels of literacy that they need to be successful in our economy…we cannot afford to leave any adult learners behind.”
Assistant Secretary Dann-Messier emphasized the dire consequences our society will face if we do not achieve this kind of transformational change to serve more adult learners: “I am afraid we will have a permanent underclass in our society that is more or less permanently disconnected from the labor market, which will have tremendous social and economic costs for our society.”
Mona Mourshed noted the challenge of educating young adults to transition successfully to the workforce is an acute one felt in many education systems around the world, evidenced by the fact that more than 75 million young people globally are unemployed and more than twice that number are underemployed. McKinsey & Company recently completed a multi-country research project examining the often weak connection between employment and education. The McKinsey & Company study focused on youth and young adults aged 15-29, which includes a significant part of the adult learner population targeted by AEFLA-funded programs. Mona Mourshed summarized a number of the key findings of this research during the panel discussion:
- First, educators and employers often operate in parallel universes, and there is very little agreement between them on the work readiness of graduates.
- Second, many young adults (over 40% of those surveyed by McKinsey & Company) feel they lack sufficient information to make an informed decision regarding what they should study and where they should study.
- Third, many young adults and employers are relatively disappointed in how well postsecondary education has prepared individuals to succeed in the labor market.
- Fourth, not all young adults are in the same position when it comes to work readiness skills, and the interventions required to increase the employability skills of different subgroups of students are often very different. Likewise, some employers are already meaningfully engaged with education institutions in designing education and training programs, while others are not.
All three panelists agreed education and training programs, those aimed at youth as well as adults, need to more fully engage employers and other key partners to transform the learning experience for their students and provide them with opportunities to earn credentials with real labor market value that lead to careers in high-demand fields and provide family-sustaining wages.
The U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department and Education invite you to attend a live online panel discussion this Thursday, May 23, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. This session will highlight important focus areas for the third round of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program including employer engagement, capacity building, and innovative service delivery.
Last week OVAE hosted several visitors from the 12 for Life program to learn more about their innovative education, training and employment program aimed at vulnerable youth in Carrollton, GA and Florence, AL. The program, which was developed by Southwire in 2007 to address the interrelated dropout and skills crises among youth in Georgia, targets many of the most vulnerable youth who are at the greatest risk of not completing high school.
UPDATE: The PWS has been released. Proposals are due June 14, 2013. Questions are due May 21, 2013 noon EST. Please find all materials on the FedBizOpps site by searching for the solicitation number ED-VAE-13-R-0025.
OVAE is seeking a company to execute a new initiative designed to contribute to the Department’s ongoing efforts toward building teacher effectiveness by supporting state-based teacher professional development and training efforts through the provision of high quality, on-demand, evidence-based instructional support for teachers of adult learners who are learning English. Find all materials on the FedBizOpps site by searching for the solicitation number ED-VAE-13-R-0025. Sign up at the site to stay informed.
This new three-year initiative will build on, and extend, OVAE’s previous investments to improve the knowledge, skills and abilities of teachers working with adult ELLs by providing collaborative, evidence-based, and technology-enhanced professional development opportunities.
It is anticipated that an unrestricted full and open competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) will be available on May 13, 2013. All responsible sources may submit a proposal which the agency shall consider. A contract with a base year plus two, twelve- month option years is anticipated. The award date for the procurement is planned to occur no later than August 28, 2013.
Last month OVAE hosted a webinar on emerging community college correctional and reentry education models and the many contributions community colleges can make to promote more effective reentry of incarcerated individuals. During that event, Brian Walsh from Peninsula College in Port Angeles, WA discussed the many innovations his institution has implemented to strengthen the education and training programs offered at Clallam Bay Corrections Center and Olympia Corrections Center. There was a lot of interest in particular in the way Brian’s programs have been able to use technology inside the prison. Brian has shared with us a list of many of the technology resources his institution utilizes, which you can find here.
In case you missed the live event, you can watch the full webinar and download a copy of the presentation slides here.
The Institute for Education Science (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education released FY 2014 funding announcements for five grant competitions in education and training research last week. There are three opportunities in particular that may help advance research and evaluation on postsecondary and adult education:
Now more than ever, maintaining America’s competitive edge requires that workers obtain relevant post-secondary credentials and that employers have access to a well-trained and highly-skilled workforce. For decades, the national Registered Apprenticeship system and the nation’s extensive network of two- and four-year post-secondary institutions have been at the forefront of providing industry-driven education and training that supports business competitiveness and career advancement for workers.
OVAE is seeking a contractor for the new procurement, Implementing College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards in Adult Education. This project will support the development and delivery of educational programs able to prepare adult students for postsecondary school and career success through the state adoption and implementation of the CCR Standards for Adult Education.
Literacy Means Business was the title of a public dialogue hosted by the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia that focused on the role of the business community in career pathways and adult education and training. Johan Uvin, OVAE Deputy Assistant Secretary, shares, “The panel discussion addressed many important challenges and opportunities in both ESL and adult education policy and practice. Among the many takeaways was the opportunity that strong partnerships with businesses represent to address both the needs of adult learners and firms. Several examples were discussed from health care and other contexts that illustrated how improved skills of workers benefit employers, too.”