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Adult Education Partnerships with Career One Stops

I recently facilitated the LINCS Learning to Achieve Workforce Preparation Strategies training at a regional adult education conference. Since it was a double session, we had a good amount of time to discuss how participants are able to help prepare their students (especially those with learning disabilities) for the world of work. We also had a great discussion during which participants shared their community's model of partnerships to support their Career One Stops. Many participants said that their adult ed programs work closely with other organizations in their community to connect their students with workforce preparedness services. They all said that relationship building and cultivating is a key factor in the success of these partnerships. The programs that are able to participate in partner meetings and events know the "players" in their community who can really help their students. 

One program makes a special effort to transition students to partner programs by accompanying them to onsite orientations and initial appointments at partner organizations so the students are comfortable and confident in accessing these services. The program builds in paid time for staff to make these trips. They also organize group field trips to local community colleges and other relevant organizations.

Another adult education program is located in the same facility as the local Career One Stop and other related partner organizations. In this case, the typical silos are totally broken down and the staff of each partner organization know each other and work closely with each other to provide seamless services to the adult education students in their communities.

What other successful models are there? Please share how your program works with your community partners and Career One Stop Centers to help your students, especially those with disabilities, access these important work-related services?

Comments

Michael Cruse's picture

Hi, Kathy -

It's great to hear about these programs that have actively taken the extra steps to connect students with work-related services.  I worked as a vocational evaluator for a state's Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services for a number of years, and traveled to offices around the state.   In some cases, these offices were co-located in buildings with One-Stop Centers.  It surprised me in many cases, even when these offices were neighbors, the clients I worked with were not aware of the One-Stop Centers, or how they worked.  It took making a visit to the One-Stop a part of their plan for employment to get these clients connected to the services provided by One-Stop Centers.   This involved working with clients to understand the differences between One-Stops and VR, and reducing barriers that kept them from accessing services from both agencies. 

I mention this because I think that sometimes we - as professionals - assume that proximity to services equals access to those services.  However, if the individuals we're working with don't have guidance to help make these connections, they can be easily overlooked, or lost in the mix.  Making these connections explicit for our learners is another step in the process, but it can make a world of difference in whether they benefit from these services, or not.

I'd be happy to highlight more programs that are going the extra mile, and encourage members to share their models for making these connections.

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways and Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator

michaelcruse74@gmail.com    

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