I-Best adult education prepares adult education students for employment

5 Nov

Moi wrote in The International Baccalaureate program and vocational students:
There is an “arms race” going on in American Education. More people are asking whether college is the right choice for many. The U.S. has de-emphasized high quality vocational and technical training in the rush to increase the number of students who proceed to college in pursuit of a B.A. Often a graduate degree follows. The Harvard paper, Pathways to Prosperity argues for more high quality vocational and technical opportunities:

The implication of this work is that a focus on college readiness alone does not equip young people with all of the skills and abilities they will need in the workplace, or to successfully complete the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This was highlighted in a 2008 report published by Child Trends, which compared research on the competencies required for college readiness, workplace readiness and healthy youth development. The report found significant overlaps. High personal expectations, self-management, critical thinking, and academic achievement are viewed as highly important for success in all three areas. But the report also uncovered some striking differences. For instance: while career planning, previous work experience, decision making, listening skills, integrity, and creativity are all considered vital in the workplace, they hardly figure in college readiness.
http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/features/2011/Pathways_to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf

There is a reluctance to promote vocational opportunities in the U.S. because the is a fear of tracking individuals into vocational training and denying certain groups access to a college education. The comprise could be a combination of both quality technical training with a solid academic foundation. Individuals may have a series of careers over the course of a career and a solid foundation which provides a degree of flexibility is desired for survival in the future. See, Why go to college? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/why-go-to-college/
https://drwilda.com/2011/11/29/the-international-baccalaureate-program-and-vocational-students/

Kavitha Cardozo of NPR reported in the article, How To Turn Adult Education Into Careers, Quickly:

From The Classroom To The Workplace
Students going through this program are pretty typical of what you’d find in any adult education class across the country. They’ve often dropped out of high school, have low levels of reading and math, many don’t speak English fluently.
Through this program, they can take college-level courses and earn certificates in any of the almost 200 courses offered, from medical billing to welding to building maintenance.
I-BEST programs teach students specific skills that employers value.
Millions of adults who grew up speaking a language other than English are still held back by their language skills..
Students at Shoreline Community College have just finished the theory portion of an auto mechanics class, where they learned about the physics of manual transmissions. Then it’s a quick change into overalls and the hands-on part begins.
This class isn’t child’s play though. Instructor Mark Hankins says students have to learn the complex systems of today’s cars so at the end of the program, “they can go out and do a brake job, they can do fluid replacement, they can do inspections.
“And those are the kind of jobs that there’s a big need for,” he says.
All I-BEST programs have to demonstrate that students can get jobs paying a living wage when they graduate. In most parts of Washington state, that’s $13 an hour.
C.J. Forza says his brain “just clicks with engines.” He dropped out of school in the 12th grade; he’s now 31. He loves cars so much he works part time in a mechanic shop already. Forza’s now learning the “why,” not just the “how,” of repairs.
“Instead of just guessing at what it is, I’m more able to figure out, OK, this issue can be caused by this, this or this,” he says.
Like most adults here, Forza is managing many responsibilities, without much money to hold his life together. But he sticks it out because he can see exactly what the connection is between this class and his career.
At the end of one year, Forza will have a certificate in general auto mechanics and will see his pay jump from $10 an hour to $15.
“I want to be the breadwinner of my family. I have a 3-year-old daughter that I need to raise. I want a career not a job,” he says.
‘Not Everybody Has Bootstraps’
Instructor Hankins says this program really does make a difference.
“I have a student that is now a general manager of a dealership, and I’m sure he’s making two or three times more salary than I am right now,” he says with a laugh.
It can take years before adults in typical adult education programs can take college courses. But what makes I-BEST unusual is that it shortens that time by bypassing the GED exam completely. Students in a Washington state community college program who earn an associate’s degree can receive a high school diploma retroactively.
I-BEST’s Erickson says that when people talk about the program’s success, they often focus on the numbers and the model and the research. But at its heart, she says, I-BEST is about giving people another chance.
“A lot of people will say, ‘Why can’t they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps?’ But not everybody has bootstraps or even boots,” she says.
Erickson says if we can create opportunities to get more people educated and into the workforce, why shouldn’t we?
http://www.npr.org/2013/11/02/241897572/how-to-turn-adult-education-into-careers-quickly?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=

Here is a description of the Washington program from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.:

Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training
(I-BEST)
________________________________________
Washington’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Program (I-BEST) is a nationally recognized model that quickly boosts students’ literacy and work skills so that students can earn credentials, get living wage jobs, and put their talents to work for employers.
I-BEST pairs two instructors in the classroom – one to teach professional and technical content and the other to teach basic skills in reading, math, writing or English language – so students can move through school and into jobs faster. As students progress through the program, they learn basic skills in real-world scenarios offered by the job-training part of the curriculum.
I-BEST challenges the traditional notion that students must complete all basic education before they can even start a job-training program. This approach often discourages students because it takes more time, and the stand-alone basic skills classes do not qualify for college credit. I-BEST students start earning college credits immediately.
A Benefit to the Economy
Talent and skills determine the competitive edge in today’s economy, yet one out of every six people in Washington lacks the basic reading, writing and math skills to get living-wage jobs and meet the needs of employers. This segment of Washington’s population is growing quickly at the same time that most jobs now require college experience. By 2019, two-thirds of all new jobs in Washington State will require at least one year of college education.
In order to have a vibrant economy, Washington employers need access to skilled, credentialed workers and all residents need access to opportunities that allow them to earn a living wage.
In Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges, I-BEST pairs workforce training with ABE or ESL so students learn literacy and workplace skills at the same time. Adult literacy and vocational instructors work together to develop and deliver instruction. Colleges provide higher levels of support and student services to address the needs of non-traditional students. There are more than 170 approved programs, expanding each year since the 2006 launch of I-BEST. State Board staff provide colleges with technical assistance and information on best practices to ensure low-income students successfully complete integrated programs and find family wage careers.
Why I-BEST Was Developed
The SBCTC developed Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) to address the changing needs of employers and students. It tested traditional notions that students must first complete all levels of adult basic education before they can advance in workforce education training programs.
In Washington state, over half of the students come to community and technical colleges with the goal of getting to work. Research showed that students were not transitioning to higher levels of education.
“Only 13 percent of the students who started in ESL programs went on to earn at least some college credits. Less than one-third (30 percent) of adult basic education (ABE/GED) students made the transition to college-level courses. Only four to six percent of either group ended up getting 45 or more college credits or earning a certificate or degree within five years.”
Building Pathways to Success for Low-Skill Adult Students:
Lessons for Community College Policy and Practice
from a Longitudinal Student Tracking Study
(Prince, Jenkins: April 2005).
I-BEST moves students further and faster to certificate and degree completion. As a result, I-BEST was designed to directly transition into college-level programs and help students build skills that will move them forward.
The I-BEST Model
• I-BEST programs must include college-level professional-technical credits that are required of all students in the selected program and are part of a career pathway.
• All students must qualify for federally supported levels of basic skills education.
• Students must be pre-tested using CASAS (the standardized test used statewide to assess ABE and ESL students).
• An instructor from basic skills and an instructor from the professional-technical program must jointly instruct in the same classroom with at least a 50 percent overlap of the instructional time.
• Faculty must develop integrated program outcomes, jointly plan curriculum, and jointly assess student learning and skill development.
• I-BEST programs must appear on the demand list for the local area and meet a minimum set wage.
Questions about I-BEST?
Contact Louisa Erickson, SBCTC, lerickson@sbctc.edu or 360-704-4368.
Top of page
© 2013 Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/college/e_integratedbasiceducationandskillstraining.aspx

There shouldn’t be a one size fits all in education and parents should be honest about what education options will work for a particular child. Even children from the same family may find that different education options will work for each student.

Resources:

Vocational Education Myths and Realities
http://www.fape.org/idea/How_it_works/voced_myths_8.html

Vocational Education in the United States, The Early 1990s
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/web/95024-2.asp

Related:
The International Baccalaureate program and vocational students https://drwilda.com/2011/11/29/the-international-baccalaureate-program-and-vocational-students/
What is the National Association of Manufacturers ‘Skills Certification’ https://drwilda.com/tag/vocational-education-career-mapping/
Borrowing from work: Schools teach career mapping
https://drwilda.com/2012/03/24/borrowing-from-work-schools-teach-career-mapping/
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