Welcome to LINCS' first, asynchronous interview! I want to introduce a relatively new member of the Community, Carrie Scheiderer. While still new to the LINCS Community, as a veteran career pathways leader, Carrie is no stranger to many of the other resources that LINCS has to offer. A presenter at the National Career Pathways Network's annual conference, and one of the 2017 ACTE National Leadership Fellows, Carrie has worked to develop and lead high quality career pathways for a continuum of K-12 to adult learners. For the past six years, she has served as the Central Ohio Tech Prep Consultant for Central Ohio Technical College, and currently serves as the Chief Administrator, at Central Ohio Technical College.
I want to jump right into asking Carrie about her work, and how she uses LINCS resources to address challenges of collaborating with stakeholders to build effective career pathways networks. Please feel free to join in with your own questions for Carrie throughout the day, by adding them to this thread.
Mike Cruse (MC): Hi, Carrie, welcome to the LINCS Community! Can you tell us a little about your role as Tech Prep Consultant, for Central Ohio Technical College? What does a typical day look like for you?
Good Morning! I'm excited to be a part of this group and helping to lead the discussion today! A typical day for me includes working with our local career-technical programs at our area career centers and high schools as well as our college faculty and administrators. A lot of my discussions include aligning our local secondary career-technical programs with our college pathways. I facilitate these discussions between secondary career-tech teachers and post-secondary faculty. Also, I work regionally to help align all of our career-technical programs and design programs of study. All of these items benefit our career-technical students and help them to transition easily from their secondary career-tech program to a post-secondary pathway.
(MC): Those sound like busy days! Can you tell us a little about the spectrum of learners your programs touch? What is the age range, and what are the most in-demand programs of study for your learners, right now?
They are busy, for sure! In Ohio, we have career-technical programs in the middle grades, high schools, and we also offer adult education career-technical programs. Some of our career-pathways incorporate all of these grade levels! It's an exciting time because our state is focusing on the expansion of career-technical programming right now. One of the newest career pathways we are working on right now is cyber security which continues to be a growing field but we really try to find pathways for all of our career-technical programs to provide students the opportunity to grow and continue in their chosen career field.
(MC): That's great to hear that you work with such a broad age range with your career pathways. I'm wondering what transition supports you're seeing in Ohio to help learners go from secondary to post-secondary programs? I'm also interested in whether you're seeing a trend in blended programs, where you have both secondary students and adult learners in the same classroom?
In Ohio, there are multiple ways students can earn college credit and easily transition to a post-secondary program. Those options include our dual enrollment, now called College Credit Plus, statewide articulation, and also local articulation agreements. All of these credit options can be incorporated into a career pathway where students can earn credits in multiple ways. By earning college credits, and taking college level courses, students have an easier transition into post-secondary following graduation. In our College Credit Plus Program, we do see blended classrooms where secondary and adult learners are taking courses together.
(MC): It's great to hear the number of options learners have to earn credits that will help them transition into post-secondary enrollment. Do you also see programs providing wrap-around services for learners who may need tutoring, daycare, and transportation support? I wonder if you can paint a picture for us of what these blended classrooms look like from a program planning, and instructional, perspective? What are some of the unique challenges, and synergies, to this type of learning environment?
Yes, for sure! At our college we offer many support services because a majority of our students are adult learners who are not coming straight out of high school. Also, many of the the adult education programs at our Ohio Technical Center provide the same types of services.
There are many unique challenges that arise in blended classrooms. In Ohio, through our College Credit Plus Programs, we can have students as young as middle school involved in college level courses. By combining adult learners with high school and middle school students in some cases, our academic department always has to be aware of scheduling issues at our multiple campuses as well as different levels of learning in classrooms. Our adult learners are also working in a lot of cases, so multiple schedule at multiple campuses can help to accommodate their changing and challenging schedules.
MC: We've discussed the LINCS Career Pathways Toolkit, which outlines the Six Key Elements of Career Pathway (graphic below). I wonder if you can talk about your perspective on how each of these elements combines to create resilient and responsive pathways? How has the Toolkit helped you think about each element, and plan your work with educational, and community business partners?
(CS): Each element is key because they all work together to create high-quality career pathways for students. The Toolkit really helps with the planning and implementation of these pathways. Not only does it keep everything organized for each partner, but it outlines everyone's role and keeps them accountable. The toolkit outlines all of the steps to develop a high-quality and rigorous career pathways and all of the partners that need to be involved for it to be successful. The commitment from each partner is also outlined so everyone knows their continuing role throughout the process.
(MC): Is there an anecdote from your experience where you've used the Toolkit to help establish, or re-affirm, a commitment with your partners? If not, can you think of a scenario where it could be used this way?
(CS): I think this toolkit allows for you to re-affirm commitment with partners in a more documented way. We may think we have a great career pathway, but if it is not and writing and everyone is not on the same page, it may not turn out to be as high-quality as you had planned. By putting ideas and commitments to paper, it allows all partners to have a copy of what was discussed and agreed upon and continue to work towards the same goals.
Adult education programs are being asked to partner with training programs in order to create bridge classes or integrated classes (training and literacy) so that adult basic education connects to students earning technical certificates. How should adult education programs go about finding WIOA Title 1 training programs as possible partners? How do we know what is out there, and how do we go about connecting? And once we have found training programs that seem aligned, do you have any suggestions for how to develop partnerships that will be helpful for both the adult education program and the training program? We don't have funding to pay for training at this point, so there has to be another reason for training programs to want to partner with us.
CUNY Adult Literacy/HSE/ESL Program
New York City
(CS): That's a great question! I work with a lot of adult education programs in our area. I think networking is key. Making sure you are connected with others in your area that work in Adult Education can provide contacts and best practices on how to connect. Also, being connected with you state departments of education and higher education is important. Those folks can help provide resources and contacts. I'm also very involved in our state organizations. All of these avenues allow for networking and collaboration.
MC: Carrie, I wonder if you can share some of how you work with adult education programs, and post-secondary institutions, to recruit learners for career pathways programs? What suggestions do you have for attracting candidates who are likely to meet Ability to Benefit (ATB) requirements?
(CS): One of the main ways we recruit for our adult education and post-secondary institutions is to create pathways for our secondary career-technical students so they can earn some post-secondary credit while they're in high school, and then have a jump start on their degree and career after they graduate. Another way we recruit adult education students from our Ohio Technical Center (Adult Education) into our college programs is by setting up these same types of pathways. I think the focus with all students including ATB is to focus on the end result and starting a great career.
MC: Focusing on the end result is important! I wonder how much you see your instructors in career pathways programs using contextualized instruction to help learners of all ages see connections between academic skills, such as reading, writing and mathematics, to the industry-related content of their career field? If so, can you provide an example from one of your programs, maybe cyber security?
(CS): Many of the career-tech programs in our area used contextualized instruction. A great example of this is cyber security is the new cyber range in Ohio. Students are able to use the skills they use to practice the cyber security skills just like in a real-world situation. They can compete with other career-tech students within the range and perfect their skills before ever being hired in their career field. This gives them real-world experiences and prepares them for what they will encounter in real world situations.
MC: That's a great point; giving learners real world experiences is the best preparation for what they will encounter in the workforce. Do you ever see programs that believe they are providing career pathways for learners, when they may not have gotten all of the pieces of the puzzle figured out quite yet? Afterall, we know that true pathways require a coordinated effort on the parts of multiple stakeholders. How can you work with programs to help them answer the question, "Are you sure it's a career pathway?"
(CS): Yes, I have worked with local programs that think they have a career pathway in place, but really are missing important pieces of the pathways to make it high-quality. The career pathways checklist is a great tool to ensure that pathways are meeting all requirements. The checklist can be used for new and existing programs. It's a great tool! Here is the link: https://lincs.ed.gov/publications/topic/wioa/careerpathways-checklist.pdf
(MC). The Toolkit is a great resource for newer programs to check themselves on their progress. Veteran programs can also think of it as a routine check-up, as partners are added, and the list of stakeholders grows. I'm glad you've found it useful working with programs in Central Ohio!
Thank you for taking time out of your day to share your work on career pathways with us. I've enjoyed talking with you. Community members, do you still have questions for Carrie? If you do, please send them in, and I'm sure she'll be happy to share more with us. Are you interested in being a featured interviewee in the future? I'd be happy to talk with you more about your work around career pathways. Drop me a message, and let's discuss the opportunity more. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Caarrie and Mike,
What a great idea! I loved reading through the interview. I am curious about struggles and barriers you've had implementing your programs and what strategies were helpful to overcome these barriers?
Thanks for the great question. As I work with local career centers that are implementing new programs, a couple of barriers they encounter are finding and hiring the right teacher, finding a post-secondary partner to create a pathway, and then choosing the right courses to develop their program and pathway. In Ohio with our career-tech programs, we look to folks working in business and industry to fill the role of instructors for our programs. They are passionate about their field and can get an alternate certification to teach in the classroom. Their knowledge and skill set are so important in a career-technical setting. For the post-secondary pathway piece, I work with them on this. If our college offers a program, I work with our faculty to design a pathway that incorporates college credit if possible. Sometime college faculty may not think that secondary or even adult career-technical education is taught at the same level, but once they look at the curriculum and content, they are surprised about how rigorous the programs are. The other piece is helping secondary programs choose that right courses so they can develop a high-quality career pathway for their students. All of these pieces are key!
Hi, Eric -
Other options for finding WIOA Title 1 training programs are WorkforceGPS, and your local workforce development board. Have you explored either of these resources? As far as funding to pay for training, a few good reasons for programs to want to partner with you could be wrap around services, or your ability to recruit and assess adult learners that will also meet training program requirements.