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Transitioning ESL Students to Post-Secondary Education and Job Training


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  • 1. ESL Bridge Program in Partnership withGrand Rapids Community College (Michigan) March 19, 2011, TESOL Conference, New Orleans
  • 2.  To build a literate community and transform lives by strengthening reading and language skills Providing services to 1500 adults and families 2009-2011
  • 3.  Labor Force ◦ In 2008, 15.6 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force were foreign-born. Educational Attainment ◦ 26.4% foreign-born labor force had no HS Diploma -- compared with 5.8% native-born Wages ◦ Foreign-born workers with less than a high school education earned $417 per week in 2008, while those with bachelors degrees and higher earned about 2.6 times as much--$1,092 a week. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported on March 26, 2009.
  • 4. Less than 9th grade $22,6629th to 12th grade $24,881HS Graduate $33, 609Some college $39,106Associates Degree $41,447
  • 5.  Funded by Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth (MDLEG) Part of Adult Learner Demonstration Grants ◦ 10 projects overall in Michigan February 2009-December 2010 ◦ Classes started in April of 2009 Main partner: Grand Rapids Community College and Literacy Center of West Michigan $300,000 in funding to both organizations for 23 months
  • 6. Program of•Referrals Enrollment •Employment•Walk-Ins •Post-Secondary Education•Word-of-Mouth •English as A Second Language •Job Training•Marketing/Advertisements (High Intermediate and Advanced • Not in the Labor Force •Adult Basic Education (Reading Grade Level 6th - 8th) •GED Preparation (Reading Grade Level 9th - higher) Points of Entry Points of Exit
  • 7.  Various locations, off the main college campus ◦ GRCC‟s Learning Corners  ABE and GED students ◦ Literacy Center of West Michigan  ABE and ESL students  Below 9th grade level reading Community-wide marketing of the program to participants ◦ Advertising the program as the „bridge‟ ◦ Ability to start at „any point‟ in students‟ education
  • 8. Community College Services‟ Map
  • 9.  Align marketing materials across partnerships within the program for continuity as a form of brand recognition.
  • 10. GRCC‟s West Side Learning Corner Literacy Center of West Michigan
  • 11.  Orientation and Intake Assessments Career Coaching Instruction Transitions/Outcomes Professional Development
  • 12.  Adult ESL exit standards ◦ 236 on CASAS Reading or Listening (9th grade level reading) ◦ But: students not ready to transition to college or GED preparation programs GED preparation entry standards ◦ 9th Grade Level reading on TABE Job Training programs use ACT‟s WorkKeys testing for entry standards College entry: Accuplacer (Reading, Listening, Language usage, Algebra, Arithmetic) College ESL (Credit): LOEP test-Listening, Speaking, Writing, Grammar, Reading, Vocabulary—up to 4 hours
  • 13.  Joint orientations between Community College and Literacy Center of West Michigan Explanation of program, student commitment and outcomes Collection of required documentation Assessment Initial meeting with Intake specialist and career coach
  • 14.  CASAS ◦ Helps determine initial level of students and place in ESL classes ◦ Assess progress TABE 9 &10 Survey ◦ Given to students, who do not have a GED, at the end of the ESL course to determine level of readiness for a GED program ACT‟s WorkKeys ◦ Students can receive a nationally recognized certificate of basic skills, valuable for employment and further education
  • 15.  Offered to students at High Intermediate and Advanced ESL levels (CASAS)—ESL 3 Courses Recruitment ◦ LCWM orientations/waiting list ◦ Referrals from partners ◦ Current LCWM students Intake ◦ Group orientation or individual intake  CASAS pre-testing (Reading, Listening, Math (optional))  Information about the program  Initial WIA eligibility verification (WIA pre-registration form)  $25/program year registration fee
  • 16.  Composite Technician Description: Composite Technician is an 80 hour job training program to prepare for an entry level position in a manufacturing plant that produces products using composites. This training is focused specifically for those who will work in composites manufacturing for the renewable energy industry (wind energy, green transportation). Please note that composites manufacturing involves resins epoxies and other chemical materials. There is one location: Energetx Composites Lab in Holland (click here for map.) Pre-requisites: This course requires an assessment prerequisite using the WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate system at an additional cost of $60. Registration, payment and scheduling information to complete the pre-requisite may be made at, and choosing the National Career Readiness Certificate Bundle. In order to effectively perform in this training, the following levels must be achieved prior to class start: Applied Mathematics- Level 3 Reading for Information- Level 4 Locating Information - Level 4
  • 17.  Entry point for the adults with multiple barriers to education Small comfortable community of learners, less intimidating Classes are free Students can choose to work with a one-on- one tutor or take more intensive ESL classes Content is not-only academic, but also life- skills and workplace skills
  • 18.  One-on-one meetings Convenient time and location before and after classes Assessment of barriers Career Coaching assessments ◦ LASSI: Learning and Study Strategy Inventory ◦ VARK: Learning Style assessment ◦ True Colors and Michigan Career Pathways Survey ◦ Exploration of careers (ex. ONET)
  • 19.  Career Goals ◦ Action Steps ◦ Barriers ◦ Support Systems and learning how to use them ◦ Understanding personal strengths and transferable skillsYou‟ve developed many abilities throughout your lifetime. As a parent, worker or student you‟ve learned skills that transfer from one activity to another. These transferable skills can be used in a variety of situations.
  • 20.  Comprehensive and holistic approach to students needs: ◦ Referral to 1-1 tutoring, if needed ◦ Referral to human services organizations (Michigan Works!, Department of Human Services, Housing Commission) ◦ Assistance with temporary employment if needed ◦ Assistance with College application ◦ Information about college admissions and programs ◦ Understanding college requirements
  • 21.  Personal connection with the students Help clarifying educational and employment goals Development of a Career Plan and Next Steps Communication with ESL instructor to determine instructional goals and provide individualized help On-going meetings with student and end of semester meeting Follow-up on economic and educational goals after students leaves the program
  • 22.  Instruction ◦ 6 hours of instruction/week, 12-14 week sessions ◦ Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing, ESL Math ◦ Test taking strategies ◦ Employability skills (Equipped for the Future framework of employability skills) ◦ Computer lab (KeyTrain, Rosetta Stone, Plato‟s Pathways) ◦ Field trips and student projects (GRCC‟s Tassel- MTEC, Davenport University, United Way)
  • 23.  Group projects Student portfolios ◦ Employment and education On-line delivery of curriculum and computerized learning programs (ACT‟s KeyTrain, Rosetta Stone) Open computer lab Use of varied technology in the classroom Internet search and research skills
  • 24.  Varied student needs  mix of skills taught ◦ Academic: test taking, study skills ◦ Workplace: Reading for Information, Locating Information, Applied Math ◦ Language skills: reading, writing, speaking, listening  Life Skills context  Workplace context  Competency based ◦ Holistic approach  teaching all four skills ◦ Individualization and small group work ◦ Research industry relevant competencies
  • 25.  In partnership with West Side Leaning Corner and Wealthy Learning Corner, Huntington Bank and Lake Michigan Credit Union Computer Literacy Financial Literacy Bridges to College ◦ Delivered to ESL students each Semester by college admissions counselors
  • 26. LCWM ESL students visit GRCC Tassell MTEC
  • 27. Health literacy is promoted by a Friday‟s bike in the park!
  • 28. Working in small groups helps students gain confidence.
  • 29. ESL classes create communities of learners. “I never thought I could learn English before I started coming to my classes at the Literacy Center.” ESL student
  • 30. Hours Weeks MonthsAverage 83 34 9Maximum 260 75 19Minimum 16 9 2Median 62 23 6
  • 31.  At the end of the semester ◦ CASAS post-test ◦ TABE post-test (if given at the beginning of the semester and 60 hours of instruction are achieved) ◦ Student completes Goal Sheet ◦ Meeting with Career Coach/Instructor to determine next steps/classes ◦ ESL Instructor input Transition ◦ CASAS post-test at 236 or higher on Reading AND listening—GRCC ESL courses ◦ TABE test at 9th grade level—GRCC GED preparation program ◦ Job Training
  • 32.  CASAS Life and Work, Reading and Listening 40 ESL students with 1 Educational Functional Level (NRS) gain or more (64%) ◦ High Beginning—100% ◦ Low Intermediate—88% ◦ High Intermediate—100% ◦ Advanced—47%
  • 33.  Enrolled: 62 Completed Program: 57 Transitioned: 16 (28% of completed) ◦ GED:3 ◦ College Courses: 1 ◦ College Credit ESL: 9 ◦ Job Training: 3
  • 34.  WorkKeys Testing ◦ 31 students took WorkKeys and scored at level 3 or higher in at least one test—60% of total National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) ◦ 15 students achieved an NCRC ◦ 10 Bronze Certificates (3-3-3) ◦ 5 Silver Certificates (4-4-4)
  • 35.  ut.htm
  • 36.  High quality staff ◦ ESL Instructors with MA TESOL degree ◦ Experienced in teaching adults ◦ Dedicated to teaching diverse population ◦ Career Coach with knowledge of local industries Commitment of Program Directors to collaboration and partnership Joint presentation at conferences PD ◦ Jointly with GRCC and LCWM Developmental and Adult Ed instructors  Learner persistence  College readiness  Reading strategies for college success
  • 37.  Encourage students to get higher test scores in noncredit programs, such as GED, to be able to skip some developmental courses. View them and treat them as college bound; help them see themselves as “college material.” Help students develop self management skills Include strong teaching focus on teamwork on meta-cognitive skills
  • 38. Conley, D. (2007). Redefining College Readiness, S. (2008). On Course: Strategies for creating success in college and in life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. See also www.oncourseworkshop.comWeinstein, C. E. LASSI (Learning and Study Strategies Inventory) see Practices for Transitioning Students from Adult Education to Postsecondary Education: A review of Literature with Implications for California Community College Practitioners, January 2009, Retrieved from: Practices.pdf
  • 39.  Equipped for the Future at the Center for Literacy Studies (2009). Retrieved from Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, Office of Adult Education (2008). Preparing Worker for 21st Century Employment: Making the Most of the Job. Retrieved from ACT (2011). KeyTrain. Retrieved from
  • 40. Vera GrishkinaCustomized Workplace English Program DirectorLiteracy Center of West Michigan1120 Monroe Ave NW, Suite 240Grand Rapids, MI 49503vgrishkina@literacycenterwm.orgPhone: 616-459-5151 ext. 14