TWC Support Career Pathway Expansion

AUSTIN, April 13, 2016 ⎯ In less than a single college semester, Texas adults can move from lacking basic employment skills to being on track for an in-demand occupation by participating in career pathway training programs. These programs will soon expand as a result of a $500,000 Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) community college mentoring grant.

Supporting the state’s Accelerate TEXAS initiative, TWC is funding a career pathway expansion project through a grant to a consortium of colleges. The expansion project will support the development, expansion and success of Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) programs to provide integrated education and training to meet students’ workforce readiness needs. Houston Community College (HCC) will lead the mentoring college consortium consisting of Alamo Colleges, Amarillo College, South Texas College and the Tarrant County College District.

Accelerate TEXAS is the state’s initiative to help adult students acquire basic skills and progress on a pathway toward a high-demand occupation.

As mentors, the college consortium members will assist at least 10 other community colleges or adult education providers throughout the state in establishing career pathway programs, similar to the successful models operated by HCC and the other members of the consortium. These programs have proven successful because they concurrently enroll learners in contextualized basic education courses, such as reading and math at the same time they are learning high demand skills such as welding. Contextualized content is more relevant and meaningful to students and results in quicker learning. Using this method, students are often able to complete training programs in one semester or less which gets them into a new career more quickly and at a lower cost.

“These efficient career pathway models will equip individuals with the soft skills, literacy and technical skills needed to efficiently secure a job,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Congratulations to the members of the consortium for their commitment to demonstrating the effective scaling of these highly effective models.”

The career pathway program expansion supports the mission of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 60x30TX initiative to equip 60 percent of Texans ages 25-34 with a certificate or degree by 2030. When programs integrate training and adult education for completion within a single semester, HCC has found that 80 to 90 percent of the time the students go on to obtain a post-secondary credential.

“Accelerate TEXAS is the best thing that has ever happened to adult education. If you want underprepared students to complete postsecondary credentials and enter employment, integrated education and training is the best way to do it,” said HCC Director of Adult Education Dr. David Joost. “Of all the education and training initiatives that have come and gone over the years, Accelerate TEXAS is different, it works and it’s here to stay.”

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