Online Course: Learning to Achieve Workforce Preparation Strategies

The Learning to Achieve Workforce Preparation Strategies online course asks users to consider the questions below. Please post your responses to some or all here for discussion. We also invite you to read the responses of fellow teachers, as well as to ask questions or comment where you would like to know more.

  • Have you used any of the ideas presented in your classroom instruction?
  • What other strategies, activities, and methods have you used to help adults with LD develop skills that will support success at each phase of the employment process?
  • Which ones seem to be most effective? How do you know?
  • Have you used the services of your local One-Stop?
  • Which One-Stop services seem to be the most effective in helping your students?
  • Do you have other ideas for assisting learners with LD in accessing One-Stop services? 
  • What concepts and ideas discussed in this course were new to you?
  • Which ideas stood out as most important for you and your practice in supporting adults with LD in your classroom?
  • What are some specific strategies from this course that you feel you can readily incorporate into your instruction?
  • What are some workforce-related resources to which you can refer your students? 


Since the population I work with in prison are by and large under employed or have no employment experience, I would first have to discuss with them the value of employment and then find out what interests they have. Education and development of skills are directly linked to lower recidivism rates with offenders. Discussion with them concerning the compatibility of education with positive employment/career goals is essential.


Thanks for your post about working with incarcerated individuals.  I would encourage you to take a look at the LINCS Learning to Achieve course on Workforce Preparation Strategies.  This course is designed for those working with learners with LD, and focuses on some practical strategies adult basic educators can use to help their students develop effective skills for finding and retaining employment.

Another resource I recently watched is by Great Big Story.  Their video, Need a Pedicure?  Ask These Prisoners, shares a unique job skills training program that may inspire you, as well as some of your learners, to consider their future employment goals.

At one point, Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, California, only housed women. In 2013, however, it became a male prison with a very unique skills training program. As a women's prison, Valley State had a cosmetology certification course just like any you would find outside its walls. That program now continues with male inmates and is thriving. Here, dedicated students work toward professional certification by building service skills that will translate outside the prison walls.

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways and Disabilities in Adult Education Moderator

The Community College that I work at has a very strong Workforce Development focused department. We have programs which help prepare workers in industries such as Warehousing and Healthcare. We also offer certifications and re-certifications in the Healthcare field. However, the  contextualized Bridge classes that have been developed to introduce students to these fields are geared towards ASE level students. It is helpful to learn how those of us with lower level ABE students can start the process of introducing students to think about careers and the expectations of employers in our community.I have never used/ explored the services offered by One-Stop centers even though my college does have partnerships with these agencies by providing GED classes at their locations.


Thanks for sharing about your college's workforce development department.   I wonder if you have any insights into potential challenges faced by your college in connecting these lower level ASE students with Career One Stop services?  Are there specific barriers you have experienced in connecting these two?  I'm happy to help you explore strategies for connecting these students with the multiple resources that One Stop Center offer. 


Mike Cruse


Hi, Nicole -

One-stops are a great resource!  I'm happy to be a thought partner on how you could use them with your learners, when you're ready.  Just let me know.


Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

During the three years I thought  Adult Education, I have never heard about the One Stop partnership with adult learners. Now that I am teaching high school I see the need for ELL students to become self aware and find new opportunities for employment after finishing high school. I feel the same way you do, and I hope to be able to use One Stop as a way to help my students have access to services prior to going to college.

I agree that these could be great tools for students to help become familiar with various resources for their entry into vocations/careers.

I will motivate my students to go forth with opening their day cares and making sure that they have a good business plan. I want them to be knowledgable about business mangamnet so that their business can strive. 

  • Have you used any of the ideas presented in your classroom instruction? 
  • What other strategies, activities, and methods have you used to help adults with LD develop skills that will support success at each phase of the employment process?
  • Which ones seem to be the most effective?

I use work scenarios in my Family Literacy/ESL class to help students develop workplace skills. Students, of course, practice basic skills as they engage in activities that get them to converse, problem solve, role play, and identify workplace skills and soft skills evident or not evident in the work scenario. They have many opportunities to reflect and apply life experiences to the situation or conflict we read about.

I definitely need to expose them to resources that are available to them so I need to become familiar wand comfortable with with what they are myself. I am lacking in that area.

The adult program I work with does offer certifications in many areas that students are certainly benefiting from. They combine the ESL and the area of certifcation. Electrical, Hotel and Hospitality, Security, HVAC, Microsoft Office Specialist. These certifications have been added recently and students are flocking to our program.

Our program is working more closely with WorkOne Indiana to improve some of these basic skills that are needed for some of the certification programs.

As an instructional assistant, I am there to support all students in whatever ways I can. I was unaware of one-stops, and now know there is one in the building where our classes are held. At this time, I am not sure how we will integrate more of these ideas into our program.

Hi, Beth -

Thanks for posting about your work with WorkOne in Indiana.  It’s a great resource, but I understand that it can be challenging at first to think about the best ways to integrate One Stop resources into your adult education program.  Can you tell us a little more about how you’re currently working with them to improve some of your learners’ basic skills?  I’d be glad to partner with you in thinking through options for developing that relationship, and building even stronger connections to the resources your One Stop has to offer Indiana residents.  


Mike Cruse

Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator

  • What are some specific strategies from this course that you feel you can readily incorporate into your instruction?
    Specific Strategies include many self-awareness activities, to include, surveys and assessments. It's important to reflect on your interests and skills and experiences so that you can make more sound decisions about next steps to take in your education and career. It's always fun and relevant to learn about yourself. Maybe explore others' experiences and paths or complete scenarios and case studies.
  • What are some workforce-related resources to which you can refer your students? The Career one stop is a great place and resource to learn about yourself and explore opportunities available to you. It promotes taking initiative and gathering information. Both are important employability skills.


1. Yes, I have integrated the careers pathways approach where students linked their interest and aptitudes to specific careers.

2. Students viewed a "Reality Check" video and created a checklist on potential living expenses according to wants and needs. They explored careers that met the salary range of their expenses and examined the requirements (such as education, age, experience, etc.) for each job.

3. The "Reality Check" was the most effective because the students realized their wants cost more than their needs

4 & 5. We have a Job Center in our program. Our transition specialist often refers adults to the services of this facility.

6. The other ideas introduced to me were the other important resources available, such as My Next Move.

7. I think all of the ideas stood out to me which makes me eager to share them.

8. I particularly like the career pathway strategy.

9. I have already referred the MOLearns website but will definitely incorporate the websites mentioned in this lesson.

The services of the one-stop center that seems most effective and I would use are as follows:

Center will assist students in understanding the language, law, and their rights as a person with LD.

Center will provide job search resources.

Center will prepare students for interviews by knowing how to hand questions about their disability.

Center will provide vocational rehabilitation services to help the adult with LD prepare for, obtain, and maintain a job.


Most of my students have minimum wage, low-skill jobs. They are taking my class to earn their high school equivalency certificates. As part of the enrollment procedure, students complete an interest survey and employment opportunities are discussed in general. Some of the activities that I include as course work include completing job applications, interviewing skills, and mock interviews. The mock interviews seem to be most helpful.

I was not aware of the one-stop website, however our program uses and some students are referred to the Rolla Career Center, which is the listed one-stop for our region. The problem my students have with accessing this service revolves around transportation and the cost of gasoline. Most of my students do not own a car and must rely on others for transportation. Also this service would require driving about 60 miles round-trip. This would be quite expensive for my students.

The population I work with is men ages 18-21, who are incarcerated. I am a special education teacher at a prison in Wisconsin. For their annual IEP, we discuss careers and the skills needed for those careers. The one inventory that I use is O*Net. The students seem to enjoy it and they like looking up the salaries in the big book. I also enroll my students in the employability class that is offered in our school. In the class, they create a resume, fill out job applications, and have a mock interview. It's a great class because many of my students have never had a job before.

I have used the services of my local one-stop, for my students. We host a job fair every year and representatives from our job center come out and help the inmates with their resumes and interviewing skills. They give advice to the men and then they also set up booths at our job fair. Having someone physically at the job center, or in our case, someone physically at the prison, helps the inmates the best. They can have their questions answered on the spot and they get the guidance they need.

1. A lot of the resources and websites were new to me. I knew about O*Net and job centers, but a lot of the other resources are ones that I haven't previously heard of or used. The idea that stood out to me the most was having multiple resources accessible for my students. Spending time with each student and exploring different jobs is important. Then, look at the different skills needed for that job. Teamwork is a skill that I really need to start incorporating into my lessons because there are a lot of times when the students don't work well together.

2. As mentioned above, I would like to incorporate teamwork into my instruction. Teamwork is an important skill in the workplace and also an important skill in every day life. I will definitely being referring my students to their nearest job center, DVR, and online career interest inventories. All are important parts and resources to use when searching for a job.

We discuss the importance of having a good plan to find a job with our incarcerated students.  If they get released and don't have a plan, there is a chance they may go right back to the situation or people they were involved with who were not a good influence.  I would refer students to go to the Department of Labor website, visit a job fair, or go to a local one-stop with a friend for support.  I would also make sure they were prepared with a resume and give them tips on interviewing.

For my entire life I was told "go to college", and yet I make the least amount of money than my siblings who did not go to any form of higher education.  In 2019 we really need to look at skills, not academics.  Someone needs to fix cars, make food, fit pipes ect ... 

Moving forward, I hope society realizes that people with LDs have amazing value!  Ugh, just because someone has difficulty in a singular area does not mean they won't excel in other areas - like hands-on work or creative works - art, music, design and architecture. 

  • Have you used any of the ideas presented in your classroom instruction?  Yes, I have.  I have used O-Net to allow the student to see first hand what career pathways she could follow.  I have also helped with resume building and master applications.  I have set up mock interviews with employers in community.  
  • What other strategies, activities, and methods have you used to help adults with LD develop skills that will support success at each phase of the employment process?  I have helped one of my LD students with his reading comprehension.  I have also helped him with basic math skills.  
  • Which ones seem to be the most effective? I don't think there is one strategy that has been "most" effective.  I think it really depends on the student and their needs, wants and goals.  
  • How do you know? I know this because not every student is the same so I don't think there is a one size fits all in teaching.  I think that as you work together with your students you come up with a plan and strategies together to make for the best outcomes.  
  • Have you used the services of your local one-stop?  Yes, I work with convicted felons and I have used One-stop.
  • Which services seem to be the most effective in helping your students? I searched for opportunities for those convicted of a crime.  I found types of training, short term trainings in the area he was to be released in.   
  • Do you have any ideas, other than those presented, for assisting learners with LD in accessing one-stop services?  I had also found a facebook page that was solely for those with a criminal record who were looking for work.  It had a list of employers that would higher people with criminal record.  That was not on one-stop but I found that to be helpful.  I think it would be something to consider to do a workshop before inmates were released to go over one-stop with them as a group.  

1. Of all the concepts and ideas discussed in this course:  Which were new to you?  I was familiar with many of these ideas.  I think what was new for me was the idea of making all of this part of everyone's plan for success.  Walk them through the sites and really answer questions and get them employed or trained for a career they will be happy in.  

  • Which ideas stood out as most important for you and your practice in supporting adults with LD in your classroom?  I am going to do some more reviewing of the One-Stop.  I don't think I have fully used this site.  I am also going to work on lessons that involve self awareness.  
    2. Now, based on your previous reflections:
  • What are some specific strategies from this course that you feel you can readily incorporate into your instruction?  I am going to work on preparing lessons that are focused on Applied Skills.  Teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, work ethic and tech application.  I will look at the career pathways of my students and make the lessons apply to those careers.  
  • What are some workforce-related resources to which you can refer your students?  We have a great Vocational Rehab office in town.  I am going to make a field trip day to head over there.  I am also going to work on having my students develop their own network of people they know who are employed.  

I am glad that I took this course for my students sake. I believe I found a lot of information that I did not know about. Perhaps because I have never had a student with LD at employment age so I never considered how such agencies can make a difference in the next pay check for and adult student with LD, that need some guidance. But now I have an idea of how to help my middle school students when the time comes that they need a job or even a psychological evaluation for their condition.

1. I have not.

2. We have a careers facilitator, and I help her when she does lessons.

3. The students display that her interest inventories are successful.

4. I  have never used that it, but now i am somewhat familiar with it and the benefits.

5. I am unfamiliar.

6. No, i have nothing to add.

7. Everything i n the course has been new to me.

8. Ways to help them with resources to overcome the challenges seemed important and useful to me.

9. I can provide resources and help link education to career paths.

10. I think giving them a copy of the lists of Basic Skills/Applied Skills expected by an employer would be very helpful.

I work in a student support role and in the past have utilized MyNextMove during orientation and in workshops. It's a useful tool for helping learners understand their own interests as they pertain to career choices and explore what needs to be done to reach a specific career goal (in terms of skills, training, etc.). We could share information from these career interest inventories with instructors so they can create contextualize learning opportunities. For learners with LD they might need more support exploring their options, but it might broaden their interests when they see how many things they can do with the proper accommodations and support.

O-NET OnLine is always a resource I use to help students become more aware of where their interests might take them. Students are curious as to how their interests can lead to a career opportunity. We have a career coach at our center, guest speakers from Education Opportunity Centers program, guest speakers from business and speakers from local colleges from time to time. We encourage students to schedule a time to tour the Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus to see what careers they offer. I'm a firm believer in "boots on the ground." Many of our students will be first generation college students. They need to be on campus to picture themselves actually attending college.

Our adult education center is literally right across the street from our local One-Stop, Department of Workforce Services. It is a great resource for our students. We refer our students to the One-Stop to receive assistance finding a job and they refer clients to us who need our education services to help in attaining needed skills. 


Thanks for your message. It's great to hear how you collaborate with your One-Stop neighbor.  The close proximity helps make the collaboration on meeting learners' education and employment needs that much easier, but I wonder if there are other ways that you both support this collaboration that might be helpful to programs not located next door to their regional One-Stop.  Do you have suggestions for others based on how you're collaborating to make both agencies' services open and easily accessible to those looking for support?


Mike Cruse

Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator

Both of these tools My Next Move and One Stop are excellent tools and I can see them being very useful to any high school student; student in adult education and /or ex-convicts who are will be re-entering the workforce.  Currently, I haven't used these tools but so many of my adult education students make it clear from the beginning of class that they are looking for more meaningful and better paying work.  Directing them to these tools and the other assessment tools mentioned in this article will be very helpful.  I think setting up a couple of activities where the students can have time in class to explore these tools and understand how to use them is a great stepping stone so that they can do a more indebt research later on their own.  Having them come up with what's next for them and specific questions after they've done some research would be a good follow up with open discussion and/or teacher student discussion to answer specific questions and assess the next steps to take etc.  Having a vision and a goal to aim for and an understanding of why you want to or need to learn something is also a good motivator. 

As a workforce educator, I have worked Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy with participants and partners. It was a grassroots program for local economies in mind. It was very local-needs oriented. There were business/industry partners that knew of the program and sent current as well as prospective students to improve skills and learn tools to accommodate themselves in the workplace. 

Upon intake, I made sure to point out strength areas on the test results. Even something so small as this made a huge difference in the students attitude to their own learning. Many times, they had only focused on skill gaps. Many times, they are great problem solvers and troubleshooters because they have had no choice but to learn alternative methods. It is a huge blow to the confidence if the only thing ever pointed out to you are the things you CANNOT do. It helps to remind them of the many things they CAN do.  

The local OneStop has services both in-person and online available for students to utilize. I had a student that received the TTY telephone from their OneStop. This made it possible for any employment related calls to go directly to the student rather than her receiving a message from her family. 

Our program has two OneStop locations that we have classes weekly within. At the previous AdEd program that I worked, we had classes held in the OneStop daily. I know of additional programs in our area that do the same. This increases the options available for our students, many of whom have transportation issues. We have worked to provide bus routes, alternative transportation, and information on carpools in order to help with this issue. 

I have used most of the ideas in this section in my work as a career coach and teacher at our center.  I really like the information in the Work History section when helping students with their resumes.  It is often difficult for students to think of the skills they have, especially when they've never had a real job.  They don't realize that they've acquired skills through activities, high school, volunteering and through things like baby sitting, mowing lawns, etc., and it's important to have them consider all types of things they have done.  I also have lists of skills and verbs that students use to help them realize important skills they already have.

Our center has a very good working relationship with both our local One Stop and Rehabilitation Center; it's nice and very helpful to be able to pick up the phone or email the the counselors that we personally know when we have questions or need help.  During non-Covid years, two representatives from our One Stop center come to our school once a month to meet with students and answer questions.  Our One Stop, "Workforce Center", has helped many, many of our students earn certificates and 2 year degrees by offering financial aid and other help.

In my Adult Education classes, we don't have time for separate, specific career development classes. So I integrate career development as much as possible during our lessons. Often, we make resumes together, fill out educational and job applications, and explore our LEA partner Technical Institute's website for course offerings. I also do some Accuplacer Prep, the entrance exam that many of our local educational institutions use.

I teach literacy and numeracy skills in a CNA class. 

I try to integrate as many career skills, as possible.

Prior to taking this course, I did not about the existence of One-Stop. Workforce employees have spoken to our students in the past, but they were more focused on our ESL population. I looked up the One-Stop locations on the website. There is one on my way to work. I will stop by or visit with a fellow teacher some time soon. I really have no idea how to access their services. I know that they offer partial scholarships to our LEA Technical Institute. I am going to find out exactly how to access those scholarships so that I can explain to my students. I am also going to keep a supply of their forms in my classroom and a map to their office, so that I can give clear and specific explanations!! 

The most important new idea that I learned is the existence of One-Stop! I will definitely visit their office in a couple of weeks. I will bring forms and maps to my classroom, so that I can better assist my students with accessing One-Stop's services. 

I basically integrate as many career development skills within the context of my Adult Ed classes, on an as-needed basis. I help students fill out educational entrance applications, do Accuplacer prep, make resurmes, and explore various career and educational websites.

I also co-teach the literacy and numeracy skills part of a CNA class. 

I have work in adult ed for over 14 years and have refer student to services using one stop such as job search, help with resume, and problem like SNAP

Our local One-Stop used to be in the same building as our main campus and it was a great resource. Many instructors brought our students on field trips there, or had students go and gather information for a homework assignment. We also have had representatives from One-Stop give presentations to some of our classes. Students need to know about this resource before they leave our program. 

We have a website offered by our state that is helpful in finding what types of work someone could be interested in...a lot like an interest inventory which puts all of the results together. It also has resources of how many of certain jobs are available in the state and how much they earn. One tool we use that is very helpful from this website is the resume builder. We are able to discuss and create working professional resumes. We also use the US government Skills to Pay the Bills videos with many LD occupation seekers.

I did not know about the websites the mynextmove....that is a valuable tool and similiar  to our state site that offers this type of information.