Dear fellow adult educators,
The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet is seeking public feedback on the draft of the Indiana Strategic Workforce Plan. This Plan will eventually be submitted for the federal government for approval as a requirement under the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and will serve as guidance to the Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development for the next four years.
You can read the draft of the Indiana Strategic Workforce Plan here: https://www.in.gov/gwc/files/Indiana%20Strategic%20Workforce%20Plan_Draft_2.6.2020.pdf. It’s a mere 538 pages long, so I’d advise searching for “adult education” and other key terms you want to read about.
I STRONGLY encourage IAACE members to provide feedback—both positive and any concerns. Here are the opportunities to do so:
- Submit comments to GWCpubliccomment@gov.IN.gov.
- Participate in a webinar on Monday, February 24, at 3:00 pm EST. To register for the webinar, fill out this form: https://form.jotform.com/200485759332156
As a coordinated effort of our Association to communicate our feedback, here are some points (below in blue) I invite you to consider making in your comments. Feel free to personalize it as you find helpful.
As an adult educator in Indiana, I am very pleased that the DWD-funded adult education program is seen as a valuable asset across all initiatives in the draft of the Indiana Strategic Workforce Plan. Below are some thoughts I would offer to commend and strengthen the strategies outlined in the draft.
- The suggestions to strengthen partnerships between Core Partners (such as encouraging co-enroll customers, co-locate supportive services, data sharing, and cross-referrals) in Strategies 1, 2, and 4) could help increase access to multiple services by eligible customers. From our experience, we find this strategy helpful to adults with low income and limits on transportation and other resources.
- Adult education is more than a triage service as described in Strategy 3.5.
The mission of the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Division of Adult Education, is to ensure delivery of foundational skills development, career pathways, and academic and career counseling services to adult and out-of-school youth for the purposes of employment, reemployment, or enhanced employment. So, adult education is much more than a triage service for high school students who drop out before graduation In fact, in the 2018-2019 program year, 22% of Indiana’s adult education students in DWD-funded programs had a high school diploma or higher from a US-based institution.
- As a DWD-funded adult education program, we partner with other core services to provide the greatest access we can to our customers as described in the Plan. But the model for co-location of adult basic education, Career & Technical Education, and community colleges (p. 76) can lead to inefficiencies.
Putting more classes into one location can decrease services to various populations because of space and equipment availability. For example, if a college campus has a welding facility, it can offer welding classes every morning, afternoon, and evening. If a CTE program has a welding facility at its location, it can also offer welding classes every morning, afternoon, and evening. That’s six class times. But if they co-locate into one facility and close the other to reduce expenses, that would cut the available class times in half.
Adult education classes are in more than 200 locations in Indiana. There is at last once class location in each county. But not all counties have a CTE program or college campus to co-locate with.
“Bridge” programs, in which an adult basic education teacher and a college occupational instructor team-teach courses that integrated basic skills with workforce training are expensive because they essentially involve the employment of two instructors for one class. Most of Integrated Education & Training classes used in Indiana’s adult education programs require only one instructor to provide the basic skills, workforce training, and workplace preparation instruction. To be able to do that, some of our adult basic education teachers have received the training they need to teach the occupational skills with the basic literacy and workplace preparation skills.
Before requiring the expansion of co-located instructional services, more research should be done on the effectiveness of that model. Here’s is a recent, independent evaluation of the State of Washington’s I-BEST model. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/i_best_implementation_and_early_impact_report_508.pdf While the outcomes were favorable for those who participated, actual participation was much lower than the program’s goals. From our experience as adult educators, that comes as no surprise. Many of our adult education students are working more than one job and raising a family. Studying five subjects for the high school equivalency test PLUS an occupational certification training simultaneously simply exhausts the time and effort that many adult education students can give. They much prefer to take steps “one at a time” (i.e., first the high school equivalency, then the post-secondary training).
Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback on this important document that could drive our work for the next four years.
IAACE Advocacy Chair