Online Course: Integrating Career Counseling and Planning into Adult Education

Update! The Adult Career Pathways online courses are now available on LINCS!

LINCS is adding the opportunity for professional development for its members in the form of a series of optional online courses developed by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s initiative Adult Career Pathways. These online courses are self-paced, freely available, and accessible 24 hours a day through the LINCS Learning Portal. The courses will enable users to work at their own pace, at a time that is most convenient to them. 


Online Course: Integrating Career Counseling and Planning into Adult Education

Integrating Career Counseling and Planning into Adult Education is intended for adult educators, administrators, coaches, case managers, transition specialists, career counselors, and others working with adult learners seeking to transition to the next step along a career pathway.  The course is self-paced and features three modules: (1) Career Counseling and Planning Programs; (2) Individual Career Development Plan Process; and (3) Transition to Employment and Postsecondary Education. The modules link to this discussion thread (Title: Online Course: Integrating Career Counseling and Planning into Adult Education) within the LINCS Community Career Pathways group to provide opportunities for you to discuss how to apply the course information in your teaching with your colleagues from around the country.

Use this discussion thread to post your responses to the questions below from the online course, Integrating Career Counseling and Planning into Adult Education. Please share your comments on any of the following questions, or post a general comment or feedback on the course?

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Which self-reflection activities are you able to incorporate into your classroom?
  • What are some activities and resources you have used successfully to help your adult learners develop good time management skills?
  • In what ways does your program collaborate with your local Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Title I provider? With local employers? Are you and your colleagues kept informed of the hot jobs in your area or the skills learners need to secure these jobs? What is working well in your collaboration with local employers? What could be improved?
  • Share your thoughts on your newly acquired knowledge and how you might integrate it in ACP programs.

This online course was developed under the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s Designing Instruction for Career Pathways initiative under Contract No. ED-CFO-10-A-0072/0001, which developed and delivered trainings and online courses to adult education providers in order to increase the quality and quantity of adult career pathways programs.

The new LINCS Learning Portal offers adult educators free online professional development courses from a variety of OVAE initiatives. Join today at:


Hi - I am Judy Shanley. My background is in youth transition. I also worked as a rehabilitation counselor for a number of years. Currently, I direct student engagement work at Easter Seals, and focus on ensuring that students with disabilities have transportation supports to facilitate their attainment of postsecondary goals. I am always interested in connections across education sectors.

I don't work in a ACP program, but, have collaborated with adult education as part of transition planning for youth with disabilities. I would think that employers could be important supporters in ACP programs - such as to inform and advise course content, to serve as guest instructors, as a venue for student projects, invitees to career-related events, job shadowing and mentorship, and informally, through networking type events. In all of these forums, students are learning about the requirements for particular careers and also learning about opportunities and jobs that may exist within their communities. Employers are benefiting through this collaboration by ensuring that students that leave adult programs have the skills that are aligned with their needs.

I would love to hear if my thinking does happen in your settings?

Thanks for the opportunity to share.



Good morning Judy-

I work with students (18-21) with disabilities in a correctional setting.  I am always looking for resources to provide to this population for when they transition back into the community.  I would like to know more about how Easter Seals could benefit our clients?  Any information you can pass along would be appreciated.  Thank you.


Ted Oparnico, Special Education Program Manager - Idaho Department of Corrections. 

Hi My name is Delia Watley and I am the Program Manager for the AEL program for Irving ISD in Irving TX.  Our program, Irving.Net is part of the Dallas County Consortium.  I've been working in the field of adult education for over 15 years and our programs have always had a work focus.  The current partnership with the workforce board has helped move our programs forward in a more aggressive fashion with a focus of getting our students enrolled into career training or into better jobs.

Hi, All.  My name is Rebecca Eller.  I'm working as a Transition Specialist & Instructor at a small non-profit in Georgia.  We're an adult education organization offering class to help students improve reading, writing and math skills and to prepare for the GED exam.  We are currently working to develop a comprehensive transitions program that will support students along the pathways to emploment, career advancement and postsecondary education.  I look forward to exploring new ways to integrate career counseling into our classes.

Hi... My name is Emily Wolfe and I work in the family literacy field. I signed up for this course to better understand issues that my programs are faced with.  I assist in their professional development plan and many of them are focusing on CCR.  I look forward to learning from the group and the course.  

Hello, my name is Norma Aviles and I am new to the adult education field.I currently am a Coordinator for a program that helps adult learners with their "next steps" in addition to receiving educational services from my organization. Previously I have worked at a high school as a Career Development teacher, so I have some experience in the career search field but not much. I have a lot to learn in order to better serve my clients and hope this course helps. Most of my clients are from Foreign countries and have formal educations but it is difficult to get everything transferred to an American equivalency. I plan to learn as much as possible as far as helping with further education and selecting careers. I am also in graduate school to become a high school counselor, so I have a lot going on but everything I learn will help.

I am a seasoned educator and professional developer. I am reviewing the CP course to see if it will be a good fit for our new career pathway navigator positions in the state. I am glad to see that there are resources already available for this type of position and look forward to completing the course.


My name is Cindy Miller and I am the Assistant Professor for Career and Technical Education at Eastern New Mexico University. One of the reasons I am taking this course is so I can better confirm the longitudinal research I will be starting in Spring 2017 with several high schools in determining the significance of their individual education plan (known as the Next Step Plan), with the incorporation of programs of study and other career components (e.g. career assessments, career exploration, work-based learning, etc.) as a career-driven mapping tool for increasing high schools students' ownership in the college and career planning process. I'll be working mainly with secondary school counselors and career and technical education teachers as I follow their freshmen students through the senior year as these educators implement various career learning opportunities into students' Next Step Plan (career mapping tool) that helps them see the relevance and application of their education while in high school and beyond. Therefore, I hope to gain quite a bit of new knowledge from this course to enhance this research study.

Hi, just wanted to introduce myself.  I am an ESL instuctor at the Wilkinsson Center. I am taking this class to see how I can help my students in planning out their Education and Carreer.

I would like to download and  use the Creating a personal Career Plan in my ESL class. I woud also like to have each of my students take an online Assessment using the Holland Code.

My name is Amy Garcia and I am a PD Coordinator.  I am taking this course to be more well-rounded to work with all instructors and staff with the AEL Program I work for.  In being more knowledgeable about all areas, I feel I will be more prepared to assist all individuals in trainings. A strategy I would like to use is the Holland Code.  There are various assessments of this nature but this one seems very detailed.  I myself enjoyed the assessment and it was fairly accurate with what I currently do.

I can think of several college-age, but maybe not college-bound, people who would benefit very much from these websites.!!

At my former school we used a very structured program.  I didn't realize how valuable it was!!

I liked TREE and Hollard especially, but I jotted down the names of other sites that other young adults I know. They can use them to help decide what they're doing next.   They're in their late 20s and still having a hard time!!

Sometimes a classroom is not inside your own room.

My name is Carolyn Hendrix.  I have many years of experience in adult education and workforce development.  I teach GED and Workforce essentials classes.  I am taking this class for new ideas to use in my classes.  I look forward to the discussions.


When I worked at this program, which was part of a public school district and designed for potential high school dropout, we used a program for all of our students.  It was a part of our schedule every Thursday morning.  Only after working with this course have I realized how important it was!!

I was really grateful for the names (and URLs) of the all the available websites.  Once learners can be directed to these they can do so much on their own!!   It's especially great for learners who are embarrassed about how little they know (and some really are).  It's also another technology piece I can add to my classroom.

Our main resources include the “Smart Work Ethics” training program and the book, “What Color is Your Parachute”.  The “Smart Work Ethics” training program, based on Meyers-Briggs, consists of a series of videos and an instructor and participant workbook.  The skills covered include understanding yourself and understanding how to get along with others, personal life skills, ethics, attitude, image, interpersonal skills, organizational skills, time management and dealing with a difficult boss.  We also have students read the book, “What Color is Your Parachute” which ties in perfectly with the “Smart Work Ethics” training.  The students read one chapter per week and answer a discussion question from the chapter reading.

Although these two resources cover much of what is covered in the resources mentioned in the ACP training materials resources, I plan on utilizing the lesson on informational interviewing and the goals sheet from the “Integrating Career Awareness into the ABE and ESOL Classroom".

We had a more successful program than I thought!!  We used a computer to do most of the inventories and career exploration.  The Guidance Counselor, Mentor, Job Coach and Social Worker made significant contributions to the success of our students in getting a high school diploma and job.

My name is Lucile Hefka I am the Lead GED Teacher and Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) /Transition Specialist for Trident Literacy Association (TLA). TLA is in the process of updating and revising our programs to reflect a more contextualized curriculum with emphasis on specific career pathways, building business and community partnerships, and integrating strategies to align with the new requirements under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  At this time, we have partnerships with South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department, Palmetto Goodwill, Trident Technical College Division of Apprenticeship Program, and Apprenticeship Carolina, and various local community organizations. I currently teach a class for GED and Pre-Ged students 4 days a week to provide assistances and resources to meet their future goals as they enter the workforce, go to college, or enlist in the military. This program provides the supports needed to increase long-term educational and career goals through shared knowledge, digital literacy, technical and soft skills, employability skills, and overall real life/work/world skills allowing a smooth transition in to the workforce and/or higher education programs.

Hello! I work in correctional education and design opportunities for youth and adults who are incarcerated to be trained pre-release and attain employment post-release.

Hi, Jerry -

Thanks for sharing your work with learners in a corrections setting.  It makes sense that they might need both individual and group discussions around values, experience, etc., in order to develop positive decision-making habits.  Is this something you see being done where you work, or in other correctional settings?


Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

I think incorporating self- reflections in the class is key to making sure students are bought into the program. This allows them to see where there are and what is needed to be at their goal.

My name is Marchelle Massey Sandoval. I am a Transition Specialist at Athens Technical College in Athens, GA. My role is to assist GED graduates with planning their post-secondary and workforce goals. I also teach soft skills/employability skills to adults reentering the workforce. I find the lessons offered on LINCS very helpful  to the work that I am doing. and I look forward to learning more.


Hello, my name is Scarlet. I currently work in a correctional institute as an ESL instructor. I am working on going back to the GED/HISET classes. I enjoy contextualized instruction. I am for sure not one for the old traditional ways of teaching. I am working on developing contextualized instruction lesson plans to help bridge our ESL and HISET students to entering the available curriculum courses being offered at the institute.  I speak with my students regularly about their future plans. The student will already have many hurdles to jump over when it comes to the time of their release. My goal is the help their transition into the workforce as smooth as possible. I know that to become a successful member of society the student will need counseling and encouragement. Goal setting is new to many of the students. However, I believe if the student sets goals and is successful in reaching said goals while in the institute, he/she will gain confidence and will keep moving forward. 

I am looking forward to using the many resources this course offered in my classroom. Working in a correctional institute has many hurdles when it comes to helping students to career exploration. There is no access to online resources so I am having to use any contextualized resources I can locate. 

Good evening, My name is Lupe Frias, and I am the Education Counselor for the Pascu Yaqui Adult Education Program in Tucson, AZ. I was formerly an ABE/GED instructor. 

Currently, I provide student intake, referral services for students, as well as College and career readiness workshops. I try to keep myself engaged with students as much as possible, by checking in with them often to make sure they are on track with their study plan. 


After completing the section that covered resources and strategies, the one I found new and most likely to incorporate is the the OC Career Cafe. I like the way the website is broken down into section, the pdfs are very colorful and easy to use. I think our students would enjoy exploring this website and completing the worksheets. I often look for other resources our students can use, and pieces of various career centers and put them together to fit our population.