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Kentucky Employability Certificate. Reecie Stagnolia, Interim Vice President, Kentucky Adult Education Tools for the New Pathway: Work Readiness Certificates and Integrated Training National Training Institute, Seattle, Washington November 14, 2008 .

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Reecie Stagnolia, Interim Vice President, Kentucky Adult Education

Tools for the New Pathway: Work Readiness Certificates and Integrated Training

National Training Institute, Seattle, Washington

November 14, 2008

“Kentucky’s reality is that we will sink or swim not on how well we educate our youth, but on how well we educate our entire population, whether age 15, 25, 55 or 75.”

Ron Crouch, Director, Kentucky State Data Center


kentucky s strategic education initiatives
Kentucky’s Strategic Education Initiatives

Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) - 1990

Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act (House Bill 1) - 1997

Adult Education Reform (Senate Bill 1) – 2000

senate bill 1 the adult education act of 2000
Senate Bill 1: The Adult Education Act of 2000

“Adult illiteracy is a fundamental barrier to every major challenge facing Kentucky, including early childhood education, education reform, economic development, and improving the health and well-being of Kentucky’s families and communities”

adult education task force report and senate bill 1
Adult Education Task Force Report and Senate Bill 1
  • Provide a multi-faceted strategy
  • Narrow funding disparities among counties
  • Require performance and accountability
  • Use incentives to drive change
  • Create statewide competency-based certifications
  • Emphasize coordination
  • Conduct a statewide public communication campaign
  • Avoid a “one-size fits all” strategy
governing principle
Governing Principle

Kentucky Adult Education Act of 2000 – Senate Bill 1

"An efficient, responsive, and coordinated system of providers that delivers educational services to all adult citizens in quantities and of a quality that is comparable to the national average or above and significantly elevates the level of education of the adults of the Commonwealth."

target population
Target Population

Source: U.S. Census, 2000

why is it important
Why is it important?
  • “No country however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources.”
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt
why is it important9
Why is it important?

Per capita income 84% of the national average

49th in high school completions and GED

Strong correlation or direct link between educational attainment and income.

Source: US Census

national workforce training programs
National Workforce Training Programs

In a poll of more than 80 corporate site location consultants, Georgia’s workforce training program was ranked number one in the country. Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky rounded out the top five.

Source: Expansion Management, August 2007

An easily understood, conveniently attained, and universally valued workforce credential

Based on objective, standardized results

Nationwide portability

An internationally recognized assessment organization

Available for immediate use

what is act s workkeys
What is ACT’s WorkKeys®?

Standard system used in the business community created by ACT.

Allows business to have a common language regarding workplace skills through job profiling, skills assessment, and instructional support.

Compares the skills of workers with the skills required by the job.

WorkKeys Foundational Skills assessments measure cognitive abilities such as applied mathematics, reading for information, and locating information.

act s occupational profile database
ACT’s Occupational Profile Database
  • More than 4,668 job profiles are contained in the ACT job profile database.
  • 90 percent of the 4,668 job profiles require a minimum skill level of 5 on the WorkKeys Foundational Skills assessments.
  • Alignment with O*NET (Occupational Information Network) database.

workkeys and the kec
WorkKeys®and the KEC

The Kentucky Employability Certificate is based on three WorkKeys skill areas:

Reading for Information

Applied Mathematics

Locating Information

reading for information
Reading for Information

Measures a person’s skill in reading and using work-related information including:






Governmental Regulations

applied mathematics
Applied Mathematics

Measures a person’s skill in using mathematical reasoning to solve work-related problems:

Calculating percentages, discounts and mark-ups

Performing multiple mathematical operations

Calculate perimeters and areas of basic shapes

locating information
Locating Information

Measures a person’s skill in using workplace graphics such as:


Floor plans





the value of the kec
The Value of the KEC
  • Employers recognize the KEC as a meaningful credential and have “confidence” in the skills that credential holders possess.
    • Documented employee skill levels
    • Pool of certified applicants
  • Citizens recognize the value of the KEC in terms of making them more employable and documenting their skills to employers.
    • Provides skill-based credentials to Kentuckians
    • Portability among jobs, industries and states
how does an individual earn the kec
How does an individual earn the KEC?
  • Score at
  • Level 4
  • Level 5

Targeted Instruction/

Assessment in Three Skill Areas: Math, Reading and Locating Information





Re-assess as Needed




Kentucky Employability Certificate Levels

Core employability skills for approximately 30% of the jobs

*in the process of being added

Core employability skills for approximately 65% of the jobs

Core employability skills for approximately 90% of the jobs

state support
State Support

Kentucky Adult Education (state funds) will provide 100% funding to Adult Education eligible students for KEC associated costs of assessments, scoring, targeted instruction and KEC fees.

Available at “no charge” to business and industry.

kentucky employability certificates issued to adult education students
Kentucky Employability Certificates Issued to Adult Education Students

11,893 KECs Issued to Adult Education Students

i best integrated basic education and skills training
I-BESTIntegrated Basic Education and Skills Training

Commitment to enroll more students from underserved populations and improve academic achievement among all students

Demographic Imperative

  • Non-English Speaking Adult Population
  • High School Drop Out Rates
  • Workforce, …. grow or shrink?

Economic Imperative

  • 1990’s Growth
  • 2000 Neck-n-Neck
  • 2001-2003 Recovery, BUT….



The “Tipping Point” ResearchEconomic attainment: 1 year of college level credits + a credential is the tipping pointfor students needing to find career pathways

Study tracked 35,000 working age adult students who came to CTC’s with high school education or less, or non-English-speaking

6 years after college start, the highest value-added for work success

  • 1 year + credential gives future earnings bump:
    • = $7,000 more per year for ESL students
    • = $8,500 more per year for an ABE student
    • = $2,700 and $1,700 more per year (respectively) for workforce students entering with a GED or HSD only
  • Jobs that need 1 year college level credit + credential are among those in greatest demand
a deliberate strategy for systemic innovation to change
A Deliberate Strategy for Systemic Innovation to Change!
  • Research & Data – Integrated Models
  • A Gathering of Leaders – National, State and Local
  • Demonstration Projects – Integrated Adult Basic Education & Workforce Training
what is i best
What is I-BEST ?
  • Pairs a basic skills instructor with a professional-technical instructor in the same classroom at the same time
  • Provides academic and workforce skills that lead to a living wage job on a viable career path
what is i best34
What is I-BEST ?
  • Contradiction to ideas of pre-requisite skills or certifications
  • Approach to non-traditional students/workers that assumes ABE and technical instructors will fundamentally change how they teach students all along career pathways and into the foreseeable future
what is i best35
What is I-BEST ?
  • Right level of education in the right amount for students to succeed in current and “next step” workforce training
  • Basic skills curriculum contextualized to skills needed for success along a particular job and career path
  • Strategy that results in a much faster rate of skill attainment than sequencing basic skills and workforce training
from where you are to where you want to be
From where you are … to where you want to be

The IBEST Revolution

Pierce College

Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training

Integrated Basic Skills & Corrections/Protection Officers and Corrections Careers ProgramFort Steilacoom Campus-Days



In 14 weeks students are prepared to be licensed and work as Protection or Correction Officers

Earn a Pierce College Corrections/Protection Officer Certificate

Earn 20 credits towards a Certificate in Criminal Justice

Earn 5 credits towards a Certificate in Homeland Security

Earn 20 credits transferable to an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

Corrections Officers earn $27,000-$42,000 per year with excellent benefits.

basic skills curriculum in context
Basic Skills Curriculum in Context

An Example from the Corrections Protection Officers Program:

Speaking: is focused on the skills needed to do things such as communicate clearly andeffectively with correctional officers, inmates and/or juvenile offenders and to promote correctional facility safety.

Listening: is focused on the skills needed to do things such as understand directions, offenders’ requests and explanations, and follow safety warnings.

Writing: is focused on the skills needed to do things such as write observation, infraction, and incident reports; entries into daily logbooks; memos; resumes; and security management plans.

Reading: is focused on the skills needed to do things such as comprehend the correction specific text books, policies and procedures, and technical reports.

Math: is focused on the skills needed to do things such as read graphs and charts and perform basic math operations to include percentages and fractions used on the job in Corrections.


Pierce College Integrated ESL & The United Union of Roofers Apprenticeship Program(Transfers to Clover Park Technical College Fall 2007)

Pierce College & Local 153 Roofers Union

Students begin work over $15.00

4 hours of theory daily

4 hours of on-the-roof practical application daily

Upon completion of this 2-year program students are journey union roofers earning over $26.00/hr.

state board for community and technical colleges customized workplace solutions
State Board for Community and Technical CollegesCustomized Workplace Solutions

SBCTC Resource Team

Workforce Education



Basic Skills

Workplace Basics:ESL and Adult Basic EducationPaid release time; site

Customized Training ProgramDeferred payment50% B&O credit

Job Skills Training ProgramDollar-for-dollar match

Contract ServicesFee for service

  • Continuum of workplace services to meet employer needs:
  • Address range of needed information and skills sets.
  • Provide a continuum of options for employers to support training.
  • Education and career pathways to increase skills of incumbent workers
  • Work-based learning options within the work site and work day.
  • Options to continue to increase skills that can occur at colleges or use e-learning.

State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Customized Workplace Solutions – Workplace BasicsEnglish as a Second Language and Adult Basic Education

  • Continuum of instructional models:
  • Negotiated locally.
  • Addresses the needs of employers and workers and communities.
  • Meets the requirements for adult basic education programs, including assessment and reporting in WABERS.


Success is measured by adult basic education gains, such as a GED.


Success is measured in workplace terms tied to job performance,like productivity.


Success is measured in terms of gains in both basic and workplace skills.

WORK-BASED BASIC SKILLS INSTRUCTIONoccurs as employees carry out their jobs.

Success is measured in terms of gains in both basic and workplace skills.

training for airport screeners

Training for Airport Screeners

New test for airport screeners after 9/11

1000 screeners facing layoffs, many non-native speakers

650 incumbent screeners attended classes and workshops

Classes offered six days/week, at various times of day; most students attended 4-6 hrs/week for 10 weeks

Content: reading comprehension, test taking and familiarity with test item format; speaking and interviewing skills, completing on-line application

400 screeners (61% of class attenders, 50% of those assessed overall) retained their jobs. National average at similar airports was 10-15%

airport university

Airport University

Screening training led to Airport University

Partnership: college workforce education, non-profit PortJobs

Entry level jobs  Career pathway

Job skills classes, computer skills, leadership class, ESL

765 students have successfully completed Airport University classes

84 students have received scholarships for area community and technical colleges

developing healthcare project

Developing HealthcareProject

Partnership: Healthcare Workforce Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, local hospital, community college

Creating a “pipeline” of healthcare professionals

Central supply  basic skills training  Surgical Technician Training  Certification

developing healthcare project48

Developing HealthcareProject

Make training possible, given

Different work shifts

Different skills gaps

Limited time outside of work

Opportunity to learn on the job

Systematize, support, build on existing mentoring and training

Strategies under consideration

Assessment of skills needed and gaps

“Modules” for use by mentors

Some F2F class time

Computer-assisted or on-line