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Taking Career Awareness to Scale in Texas: Career Awareness for Every Adult Education Student. Elizabeth B. Thompson, CFLE, CMPI Assistant Director, Texas LEARNS ethompson@hcde-texas.org Joanie Rethlake State Director, Texas LEARNS jrethlake@hcde-texas.org. A TEA/HCDE Partnership

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taking career awareness to scale in texas career awareness for every adult education student

Taking Career Awareness to Scale in Texas: Career Awareness for Every Adult Education Student

Elizabeth B. Thompson, CFLE, CMPI

Assistant Director, Texas LEARNS


Joanie Rethlake

State Director, Texas LEARNS


texas learns

A TEA/HCDE Partnership

  • Formed in 2003
  • Administration of adult education and family literacy in Texas
  • Eligible adult education providers include
    • ISDs
    • Institutions of higher education
    • Nonprofits
    • Other entities as described in Title II WIA
  • Serves approximately 100,000 students/year
thanks to massachusetts sabes

Integrating Career Awareness

  • System for Adult Basic Education Support (SABES), the Massachusetts ABE professional development organization
  • The goal of the curriculum is to encourage all students, at all levels, to begin thinking about and articulating short- and long-term career, educational and life goals.
Thanks to Massachusetts SABES
ica sections

The Cultural Context for Career Awareness

  • The Self-Exploration Process
  • Occupational Exploration
  • Career Planning Skills
ICA Sections
integrating career awareness ovae pilot


  • Career Awareness Project to increase and improve adult learners’ career awareness and planning throughout all levels of English as a Second Language, Adult Basic, and Adult Secondary Education
Integrating Career AwarenessOVAE Pilot
integrating career awareness ovae pilot1

Designed to help adult education program staff incorporate career awareness and planning into instruction and counseling

  • Utilized intensive online course and related webinars
  • Local programs developed a plan for sustaining professional development offerings related to career planning; and share with other local programs statewide
  • Assisted NCTN in identifying state-specific materials and information to compliment the ICA curriculum.
  • Responded to questions about how to connect the curriculum to state standards and other initiatives
Integrating Career AwarenessOVAE Pilot
ica pilot spring 2011

4 programs, 8 teachers/counselors

  • All participated in a 6-week online course
  • Average of 10 weeks in pilot using 9 lessons
  • Each lesson averaged 3.5 hours to complete
ICA Pilot, Spring 2011
ica pilot spring 2011 teacher feedback

Training essential or very important

  • Important that the teacher value and implement the Cultural Context lessons
  • Appendix article regarding the Cultural Context should be required
  • Important to get student buy-in early in the class.
    • Most students come to class with a fixed goal of completing their GED, with little thought to what comes next
ICA Pilot, Spring 2011Teacher Feedback
statewide strategic action plan desired outcome c 4

A Second Chance to Pilot ICA

C-4 Pilot Initiative- Desired Outcome:

By 2013, design and implement targeted adult basic education programs to enhance employment outcomes for populations requiring workplace literacy skills.

Statewide Strategic Action Plan Desired Outcome (C-4)
c 4 key performance measures

Increase in the number of workforce literacy graduates (subset of ABE population)

  • Increase in workforce literacy graduates entering employment (subset of ABE population)
C-4 Key Performance Measures:
c 4 overall objectives

To target adult learners functioning at NRS levels 4, 5, and 6 (Grades 7-12) who, while their intent is to earn a GED, are functioning at a level where they are at risk of dropping out of the educational continuum before reaching this objective

  • To provide these individuals with intensive GED preparation and career readiness skills that will enable them to earn a GED and quality for job training and/or employment
  • To enhance employment outcomes for adult education populations requiring workplace literacy skills
  • To target adult learners whose intent is to earn a GED but who are functioning at a level where they are at risk of dropping out
  • To provide career readiness skills
C-4 Overall Objectives
project description responsibilities

Recruit cohorts of adult learners who have begun their GED testing and/or could be available for and benefit from an intensive fast track GED course combined with career readiness

  • Provide intensive GED preparation and career readiness skills (soft skills and understanding of workplace documents, behavior, etc.) that will enable these individuals to earn their GED and quality for job training and/or employment
  • Provide adult education providers in three regions (Houston, Austin/Central Texas, and San Antonio) with guidelines for launching the C-4 pilot initiative supporting adult learner transitions to workforce training and/or employment. Provide technical assistance via meetings, teleconferences, and email messages.
Project Description/ Responsibilities
rationale for c 4 pilots
Changes in ABE services (accelerated academic instruction plus career readiness)
  • Development/adoption of new practices
  • Evidence of effectiveness
  • Impact on/changes to state policy
  • Adaptation for statewide replication
Rationale for C-4 Pilots
framework for tx c 4 literacy pilot

Clients at


Levels 4,5,6


AE Programs

in WFC Region









Guide Clients

Re. Next Steps

AE Provides

Fast Track




WFC identifies


Job & Training


AE reviews



with WFC



clients attend

intensive &


Fast Track

GED & Career



Complete GED

& AE counsels

re. next steps

for employment

and/or training

WFC places


in jobs




WFC refers


without HSD/

GED with


AE confirms


skill levels/


Classes held

at One Stops

Clients may

be or begin

working while



Framework for TX C-4 Literacy Pilot
c 4 pilot initiative collaboration and kick off tea and twc

TWC publishes report: Assessing the Robustness of the Relationships between Local Workforce Development Boards and Adult Basic Education Providers

  • TWC indentifies San Antonio, Houston and Austin/San Marcos Area Boards for pilot sites
  • TEA and TWC draft joint letter to local workforce development boards in three regions to encourage full support and cooperation.
  • TEA/Texas LEARNS assists AE providers in the selection of workplace literacy curriculum accompanied by professional development.
  • TEA/Texas LEARNS provides online training in use of Integrating Career Awareness into the ABE/ESOL Classroom.
C-4 Pilot Initiative Collaboration and Kick-off - TEA and TWC
4 proposed program components
1. Workforce Literacy Resource Teams (WLRT):

Work groups consisting of local adult education providers and local workforce partners (board or board staff; local vendors/contractors; business service directors). WLRT meets quarterly to discuss pilot goals and objectives and to identify roles and responsibilities of each partner.

2. Cross agency referral form:

For use in tracking and documenting student/client activities in both adult education and workforce venues and strengthening linkages between adult education and workforce partners. The three regions are in varying stages of developing and using a formal referral process. 

4 Proposed Program Components
4 proposed program components1

3. Fast track GED component:

Focus on intensive writing and math components; students assessed for reading skills. Instruction delivered in 4 to 6 week courses, extended when necessary in response to student needs.

4. Career Awareness Curriculum:

C-4 instructors trained in use of Integrating Career Awareness into the ABE Classroom (ICA) from World Education.

4 Proposed Program Components
2011 2012 program year c 4 summary outcomes

$400,000 divided by 3 regions

  • 3 Fiscal Agents (one per region)
  • 7 providers
  • 21 sites
  • 27 classes
  • 482 served to-date
  • 65 contact hours per
  • 68% had Language gain on TABE
  • 70% had Math gain on TABE
  • 66% had Reading gain on TABE
  • 129 obtained GED to-date
2011-2012 Program Year:C-4 Summary & Outcomes
feedback from c 4 program san antonio isd adult education

Cultural Competence in career awareness can open possibilities for students!

  • Instructors insight into students awareness of:
    • Education and Training,
    • Careers and Career ladder,
    • Job Seeking and Job keeping, &
    • Labor market
Feedback from C-4 ProgramSan Antonio ISD Adult Education
the goal

Build student pathways to college and career readiness by creating and implementing tools, support, and professional development.

The Goal

Objective 1

Objective 2

Objective 3

Objective 4

  • Provide JFF Counseling to Careers Training
  • Create a cadre of trainers to facilitate future teacher training and its expansion to all adult education programs
  • Introduce contextualization tools at 8 pilot sites at the local teacher level for use in both specific occupations and academics.
  • Provide train-the-trainer classes to assist local programs to develop and plan for implementing college and career readiness and transitions into each program
  • Create resources and professional development for teachers through the use of effective General Educational Development (GED®) to College models and
  • Initiate the process to revise the Adult Education Content Standards
  • Develop a local plan to train all teachers to use ICA over the two years following the end of the grant period; develop a local plan for contextualization, counseling to careers specialists/coaches and use of GED to College models.
statewide implementation

The task:

  • 2850 teachers/counselors (89% PT)
  • 650 administrators (52% PT)
  • 390 paraprofessionals (81% PT)
  • Located across 268,820 square miles
  • Achieve actual sustained implementation of ICA in every adult education classroom
  • Supported by a professional development consortium – 8 GREAT Centers

Not an ordinary challenge!

Statewide Implementation
statewide implementation1

Create cadre of Master ICA Trainers (MICATs)

  • MICATs Train Key Teachers in each local program
  • Develop local plans to train and implement
  • Key teachers, MICATs train remaining local staff over a 2 year period
  • Online ICA Course supplements F2F training
  • Implementation observed on Technical Assistance Visits
  • Work with JFF to strengthen Counseling to Careers, Contextualization
  • Local Programs engage employers, higher ed. and TWC
Statewide Implementation
anatomy of ica training


First Follow Up Training

Second Follow Up Training

Anatomy of ICA Training
statewide adoption of ica

Purpose: Intentionally bring career awareness activities into every Texas adult education classroom

Result: Adults are no longer lost in the corn maze. Every student has a clear plan to transition to college or training that leads to a job earning a sustainable wage.

Statewide Adoption of ICA