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Basic Skills, Bridges, and Career Pathways -- The Wisconsin RISE Initiative. Mark Johnson Wisconsin Technical College System. Today’s Presentation. RISE Overview Career Pathways and Bridges Bridge Types and Characteristics Questions & Discussion. Wisconsin’s Challenge.

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basic skills bridges and career pathways the wisconsin rise initiative

Basic Skills, Bridges, and Career Pathways -- The Wisconsin RISE Initiative

Mark JohnsonWisconsin Technical College System

today s presentation
Today’s Presentation
  • RISE Overview
  • Career Pathways and Bridges
    • Bridge Types and Characteristics
  • Questions & Discussion
wisconsin s challenge
Wisconsin’s Challenge
  • Good jobs and skilled workforce to build wealth for communities, workers, and companies
  • Predictable, reliable, relevant & realistic ways for lower-skill adults to get more education and job skills
  • Employers, educators, and workforce organizations working together to connect education, good-paying jobs, and reliable supply of skilled workers.

The Wisconsin RISE Target Population -- 2010

Total number of adults (ages 25-54) who have no 2 or 4 year

college credential and/or speak English “not well” or “not at all” 1.4 million

Total number of those adults who worked last year 1.2 million

Total number of those working adults with wages under

$9.60 per hour* 337,000

Total number of those working adults with wages between

$9.60 and $15.38 per hour 372,000

Total RISE target population: working adults with low wages

(less than $15.38) 710,000

Developed by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy for RISE

two structural elements of rise
Two Structural Elements of RISE

-- Postsecondary career pathway curriculathat chunk WTCS diploma or degree programs into certificates associated with career advancement opportunities

-- Career pathway bridge curriculaemploying contextualized learning to accelerate the transitions of ABE/ELL learners to postsecondary occupational education.



2 years


1 year

Lakeshore TC Pre-Tech

Contextualized Math and Reading combined with Work-Certified. Earns 1 credit for Industrial Maintenance, Machine Tool, and Welding. Bypasses Accuplacer.

Waukesha County TC

Contextualized, team-taught ABE/ELL modules in health care, culinary arts, welding, business.

Below Postsecondary


2 years


1 year

FVTC Accounting

Career Pathway

Accounting contextualized ABE

Certificate (3 college credits),

leads to an Accounting certificate

and beyond.

Madison College ELL/CNA

3 credits of concurrent ELL support.

After CNA students can matriculate into

other certificates or nursing sequence

Below Postsecondary


2 years


1 year

MPTC Baking/Culinary

7 and 6 credit certificates,

leading to the two-year degree.

3 credits of ABE/ELL support


9 credit entry Point into 1-year TD

3 credits of ABE support

Below Postsecondary


2 years


1 year


3 credits of ELL support for CNA,

After CNA students can matriculate into

other certificates or nursing sequence

WTC CNC Machinist

Three 6-credit stacked certificates

with job exit points. 3 credits

of integrated ABE support

Below Postsecondary


1 year

CNC Programmer


CNC Set-up Set Up

CNC Set-up Operator


WTC CNC Machinist


Manufacturing Math 1


Manufacturing Math 1 – 1 Credit

Blueprint Reading – 1 Credit

Measurement and Inspection – 1 Credit

Introduction to Machining – 1 Credit

CNC Production Lathe: Operation – 1 Credit

CNC Production Mill: Operation – 1 Credit

ABE Math (CNC Pathway) NRS 5 -- 2 Credits

ABE Reading and Study Skills – 1 Credit

WTC CNC Machinist

other bridge models
Other Bridge Models
  • Integrated Developmental and LPN at Blackhawk
  • Integrated ELL and General Ed at FVTC
  • Math/Reading/Science Bridge at Madison College
bridging ell students into postsecondary programs a promising model
Bridging ELL Students Into Postsecondary Programs – A Promising Model

Fox Valley Technical College became frustrated with the lack of success of ELL students who wanted to transition into Associate Degree programs at the college. The Associate Degree in the WTCS requires completion of General Education classes in addition to the program classes, and ELL students were not doing well in completing these classes.

Fox Valley Technical College also wanted to address key skill areas for ELL students that were troublesome . . .
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Confidence
  • Reading skills in genre
  • Writing and using various rhetorical styles
  • Research skills
  • Academic etiquette, e.g. absences, behavior, missing homework, asking for help, group work, testing, plagiarism, etc.
they had tried different bridge models
They had tried different bridge models . . .
  • Preparatory workshops and courses
  • Simultaneous Instruction
  • Shadowing targeted courses
  • They decided to try an IBEST approach . . .
  • Integrated and team-taught General Education Courses
    • Written Communication
    • Oral/Interpersonal Communication
a variety of students
A variety of students
  • International IEP
  • Community residents, e.g. immigrants
  • 20 countries
  • TOEFL range of 400-500
the bridge approach
The Bridge Approach
  • Two Instructors
    • General Studies faculty
    • ELL faculty
  • Integrated classes of native and non-native speakers of English
  • Supplemental support class
    • Preview and review of lessons
    • Pronunciation
    • Grammar and vocabulary
    • Personalized attention
benefits for ell students
Benefits for ELL Students
  • Access to two instructors
  • Interaction with native speakers
  • One on One attention
  • Cross cultural experience
    • Insight into target language and American society
  • Continued support from day one
  • Confidence building
benefits for american students
Benefits for American Students
  • Access to two instructors
  • Cross cultural experience
    • Insight into different customs and cultures
    • Improved communication skills
      • Learn how to interact with various populations
      • Learn how to negotiate meaning and messages
pros of bridge classes
Pros of Bridge Classes
  • “Two Heads are Better than One”
  • Camaraderie between instructors
  • Global village environment
    • Strong rapport between students and teachers
    • Student centered classes
    • ‘Adoption’ of ELL students
  • Low attrition
cons of bridge class
Cons of Bridge Class
  • “Two Heads are not Better than One”
  • Potential for stress
    • Intimidation
    • Cultural misunderstandings
  • Lowering the academic bar
  • Threat of preferential treatment
    • Assessment
    • Time
    • Deadlines
statistical results
Statistical Results

From Fall 2008 to Fall 2009:

28 students (100%) passed these bridged General Education classes and 19 (68%) enrolled in additional postsecondary courses

11 of the 19 (58%) enrolled in an AAS, TD, or Certificate programs

105 postsecondary courses were taken by these students

o A’s = 59

o B’s = 21

o C’s = 13

o D’s = 3

o F’s = 0

o EX = 1

o W = 8

future of the approach
Future of the Approach
  • Business Math (another Gen Ed)
  • Printing
  • eSEED (Entrepreneurship Training)
  • Nursing
  • Welding
training content instructors
Training Content Instructors

English Language Learning (ELL) Adjustments

  • Limit use of slang and informal style
  • Be careful of sarcasm or "kidding" when working directly with ELL students
  • Allow plenty of wait time when asking questions
  • Ask only one question at a time, and wait for response
  • Slow your speed of speech and try to help students hear word borders and phrases
  • Provide definitions of key terms (hand-out or write on board). It is very helpful to see and hear words
  • Organize presentation of new topics with introduction and summary
  • Careful of "over-paraphrasing"
  • Do not speak louder to be understood
  • Remember that it is easier to understand for most people if they can see someone's mouth and body
madison college combining developmental math and reading with college chemistry
Madison College -- Combining Developmental Math and Reading with College Chemistry
  • Traditionally students can only take General Chemistry if they had a Compass Algebra score of 30+ or completed a 1 – 3 semester sequence of developmental math courses
  • Students with satisfactory math skills still struggle with General Chemistry
  • Bridge was developed to minimize remediation time and align necessary math with the chemistry
what is the math science bridge
What is the Math Science Bridge?
  • Joins together a new Applied Math for Chemistry developmental course and a new Applied Reading for Chemistry developmental course with General Chemistry
  • Enables students to complete this coursework within one semester
  • New math and reading course are specially linked to and aligned with the content in the college chemistry course
who qualifies
Who Qualifies ?
  • Students with a Pre Algebra Compass Score of at least 30 (this level assumes competent in math concepts)
  • Students who need to take general chemistry to satisfy admission requirements for their intended training program
  • Students with a Algebra Compass of 30/40+ and Reading Compass of 75+ are eligible to take any General Chemistry Course and would NOT need to take the bridge
early signs of bridge success
Early Signs of Bridge Success
  • 46 Students have completed the courses
  • All Students increased their Math and/or Reading competencies over the course of the semester
  • 41 out of the 46 students passed college-level General Chemistry with a C or better
    • Pass rate of the Science Math Bridge is higher than pass rate of traditional General Chemistry rate.
    • Remember: none of these students had scored high enough on their assessment tests to take general chemistry
student feedback what worked
Student Feedback (What Worked?)
  • Students reported benefitting from:
    • Three great teachers (learned from different angles, more pressure to do well)
    • Concurrent and applied basic skills instruction (esp. math) reinforced learning in Chemistry
    • Being part of a cohort (“the best part of this whole experience”)

More Information:

  • Case Studies on Five Bridges in Wisconsin
    • Building Bridges in Wisconsin: Connecting Working Adults with College Credentials and Career AdvancementJessa Lewis Valentine, Adrienne Pagac, COWS, May 2010, at

Welding - Instructional Assistant (online) - Culinary Arts -

Integrated ABE/ELL/Occupational Teacher

and Student Interviews

Mark Johnson

Wisconsin Technical College System