Adult Career Pathways from Coast-to-Coast

Project Team Invites Feedback on Planned Resource Collection

A key deliverable of the Designing Instruction for Career Pathways project is an online collection of instructional resources. The collection will consist of a broad variety of teaching resources—ranging from course outlines to lesson plans and activities—appropriate for ABE, ASE, and ELL programs. The resources will be categorized by career cluster, core knowledge and skills, audience, and resource type. Each resource will be reviewed by a team of SMEs to ensure content quality, transportability across institutions and states, and adaptability to diverse groups of learners. The project team invites your input on the types of resources you’d like to see featured in the collection.

LINCS webmaster note: The LINCS Resource Collection is now deployed. Visit the LINCS Resource Collection at:

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Adult Career Pathways from Coast-to-Coast

Washington State

From NIMs certification to high placement rates, Shoreline Community College’s CNC Machinist program is enabling low-skilled, unemployed adults to obtain the academic and personal support they need to enter a career pathway leading to family sustaining wages. Shoreline’s CNC program is built on the I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) model, designed by Washington’s State Board for Community and Technical Colleges in 2005 to help adult basic education students advance to certificate and degree completion. The I-BEST model pairs workforce training and ABE or ESL, allowing students to learn literacy and workplace skills simultaneously.

The CNC program is benefitting from the rebirth of Shoreline’s manufacturing program four years ago. Currently, the CNC program consists of two cohorts: one is an evening program, the other is offered on weekends (Friday evening plus all day Saturday and Sunday.) Each cohort has 25 students who are taught by a full-time faculty member with manufacturing industry experience and a half-time ABE/ESL instructor to help with the embedded English and Mathematics. Says CNC instructor Keith Smith, “Before this was an I-BEST program, I was too busy in the classroom to find the time I needed to help one-on-one in the shop as often as I’d like,” Smith said. “Now we’ve got Chris (Lindberg) to help the students with their basic skills, freeing up time for me to work in the shop with students. It’s a win-win situation.”

Students in the program also enjoy the support of a Career Navigator who helps them cope with life’s daily challenges, understand the job search process, and navigate the maze of financial aid options. Shoreline staff has found the role of the Career Navigator to be essential in helping students persist and complete the program.

The CNC Machinist program is an open-entry, open-exit curriculum so students can begin or finish in any quarter. This allows them to take time out, if they must, and not lose the ability to finish. Shoreline faculty also award credit for prior experience (known as prior learning assessment), enabling some students to begin in the second quarter of the program if they have industry experience. Students completing the first quarter earn 21 credits and a Basic Manufacturing Certificate. The next two quarters are 20 credits, and upon completion of both, students earn a Certificate of Proficiency in Manufacturing. These certificates are stackable, leading to a two-year Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences Degree.

In 2010 Shoreline’s CNC program received its accreditation by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), making it the only NIMS-certified school in the upper northwest states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska. Students who finish the manufacturing program take the NIMS online test to earn nationally recognized certificates demonstrating they’ve achieved certain skills standards in machining.

Many students in manufacturing are considered high risk but most finish all three quarters and earn their Certificate of Proficiency. The program hosts an open house for employers at the end of spring quarter. The employers experience skilled student demonstrations and often hire on the spot. This spring, the program’s Career Navigator has managed to help 11 students find full-time jobs and place seven students in paid internships. A recent visit by a manufacturing company will result in the hiring of three additional students. Dr. Susan Hoyne, Dean of Science, Mathematics and Manufacturing points out that the NIMS credentials could also help when the college lobbies for state funding. “We are asking for help supporting a population that really needs help at the same time we are asking for dollars to support our local economy – and local businesses have already let us know they want our students,” Hoyne said.

For more about Shoreline’s CNC program, email: Susan Hoyne at

For more about the I-BEST model, visit:


Adapting Career Pathways to an ABE Environment

Maine ACCESS – Adult Career and College Education Service System

The Maine Department of Education has a new state plan for adult education that involves a practical approach to implementing and sustaining career pathways. Why? As is the case in many states, but to a higher degree in Maine as the state with the oldest population, the retirement of the baby boom generation is expected to create a skilled worker shortage in many of Maine’s high-growth employment areas. In addition, Maine is affected by the following conditions: 75% of its projected workforce through 2020 is already beyond the age of public education and 57% of its adults have neither a high school diploma (21%) or gone on to any type of post-secondary education (36%). As a result of these conditions, Maine will need more workers with post-secondary degrees and industry-based certifications that are aligned to expected job growth.

To that end, Maine Adult Education worked with critical stakeholder groups, such as local workforce investment boards, community colleges, Career and Technical Education, employers, Department of Corrections, Job Corps, and many more, to build a framework for educational and workforce development that is based on proactive planning and practical programming with the coordinated aim of addressing the need for a skilled workforce primarily in high-demand, high-wage, high-growth occupations. This framework is intended to prepare learners to:

  • attain or retain employment in specific industries within targeted employment sectors or career clusters.
  • advance over time to successively higher levels of education, work and compensation in those industries.
  • contribute to and maintain viability in a competitive state, regional and local workforce.

These pathways will integrate a rigorous academic foundation and targeted workforce training along with comprehensive support services, including: ongoing assessment, student success courses, student learning communities, career and personal advising, assistance with childcare and transportation, tuition assistance, and mentoring. Each pathway features multiple entry and exit points denoted by benchmark achievements: credential or degree attainment, improved educational and life skills, and enhanced levels of self-sufficiency through job attainment.


The past two years have been especially busy for the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Career and Adult Education. In late 2009, FLDOE Chancellor Loretta Costin and State Program Director Zelda Rogers worked closely with a small group of Adult Education Deans and Directors as well as Career Pathways specialist Libby Livings-Eassa to consider how Florida’s Adult Education programs might better support the re-emerging economy with a focus on middle-skilled jobs. The result of the meetings was a decision to lead Florida’s Adult Education programs forward through Career Pathways.

Confident that Career Pathways would give Adult Education students greater purpose and increased opportunities as they pursued their high school equivalency diplomas and improved their English literacy skills, Chancellor Costin appropriated more than $7 million dollars in competitive grant funds and provided a state-wide strategic plan to support Adult Education Deans and Directors who wished to upgrade their programs and join the emerging Adult Education Career Pathways movement. Of the 67 Adult Education programs in Florida, nearly all have been awarded grant funding and are in the process of developing or expanding their Adult Education Career Pathways programs.

The development of the statewide system has been supported by a variety of partners and advisory groups including Indian River State College’s Institute for the Professional Development of Adult Education (IPDAE), the FLDOE’s Professional Development Standing Committee, the Center for Occupational Research and Development, and the Chancellor’s Advisory Cabinet which consists of Deans and Directors from across the state. Prior to making grant funds available, Chancellor Costin commissioned a series of professional development trainings on career pathways. The trainings were held throughout the state and allowed interested parties to not only learn more about career pathways but also to interact with presenters and ask questions relevant to their own programs.

Since the trainings, Florida teams have been actively working to support adult education by contextualizing curriculum and repurposing programs. The FLDOE hosted a variety of teleconferences and, with the support of ACE (Adult and Community Educators of Florida), several interactive video conferences have been offered. Additionally, in April the Florida Literacy Conference hosted sessions on career pathways for Adult Education teachers and volunteers. The 2011 summer Sanibel Symposium and the Continuing and Adult Education Standing Committee (CAESC) conferences will host sessions led by national Adult Education and Career Pathways experts, ACE of Florida has made Career Pathways for Adult Education students the theme of its fall 2011 conference, and IPDAE is developing an Adult Education for Career Pathways virtual resource center. Supporting Adult Education students who often enter classrooms functioning at the academic grade level of 3rd and 4th graders and/or are illiterate in their native languages is not an easy task but tens of thousands of students enrolled in Florida’s Adult Education programs this fall can expect to find a very different environment, one that will not only help them earn a secondary education credential but will also put them on a pathway to a brighter economic future. Chancellor Costin and her staff have taken a giant leap forward in redefining the future and purpose of Adult Education in Florida.

Contributed by:
Anthony Iacono, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Developmental Education
Indian River State College

New Publications of Note

What are the key ingredients that make Maine ACCESS a success?

  • A strong, responsive adult education
  • Post-secondary Involvement
  • Local, regional and state political support and leadership
  • Employer and community-based partner engagement
  • Comprehensive support services

The task of developing an effective, efficient career pathways approach to workforce development in Maine has been and will continue to be challenging due to funding and legislative barriers, as well as the difficulty in bringing siloed systems together. However, with every challenge, comes opportunity. Maine ACCESS is positioned to transform its workforce development efforts into a comprehensive whole, a well-oiled machine if you will, that will ensure an adequate skilled workforce that will sustain its economic development into the future.

To learn more about Maine ACCESS visit:

Contributed by:
Jeffrey A. Fantine, Senior Project Director
Kratos Learning Solutions
(and former State Director of Adult Education with the Maine Department of Education)

New Publications of Note

New Policy Paper Addresses ROI of Adult Education

During the recent meeting of the state directors of adult education, the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation released a position paper jointly developed with the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education and the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium. “The Return on Investment from Adult Education and Training: Measuring the Economic Impact of a Better Educated and Trained U.S. Workforce,” asserts that billions of dollars could be earned, saved, and pumped back into the struggling economy as a result of investments in effective and efficient workforce development programs. Co-authors Dr. Lennox McLendon, Debra Jones, and Mitch Rosin contend that adult education and career training is potentially one of the most cost-effective tools for economic recovery.

To download the paper in its entirety, visit: