Adult Career Pathways from Coast-to-Coast

Technical Work Group Member Spotlight on:

Lea Anne Crooks Lea Anne Crooks
Executive Director
Ivy Tech Corporate College–Wabash Valley
Terre Haute, Indiana

Q: You have helped facilitate the delivery of career pathways courses for incarcerated individuals. Tell us about the delivery methods you used to serve these students and why you feel the career pathways model is such a good fit for educating the reentry population.

A: Ivy Tech Community College has delivered adult basic education and career education in the Indiana state prison system for the last two years. Education is critical to reducing the recidivism rate within the state. When Ivy Tech began its programming, it was important for us to align the career education with our programs at the college. Our primary goal was for the education inside the prison to be the first step in the offender’s educational process. Once released from the system, offenders are provided a contact at the Ivy Tech Community College location closest to their home. That advocate will help them enroll on campus and ensure they receive credit for work completed within the prison. This prior credit encourages them to continue their education and gives them a jumpstart on their future. For many offenders the education they are receiving in the prison will be the first time they have had success with anything related to learning. Providing a path to the final outcome is critical to their success.

Q: What are some of the biggest instructional challenges when it comes to serving students during their incarceration?

A: Education in a prison facility has many challenges. It truly takes a special teacher to succeed in this environment and we are fortunate to have a large number of great teachers dedicated to seeing their students succeed. Unlike other educational environments, education can be interrupted by things outside the classroom including facility lockdowns that can last for weeks at a time. When a facility is in lockdown, education is put on hold. In addition, students can be transferred to other facilities which can slow their education or completely stop it, depending on program availability at their new location. Our staff works every day with the facility administrators to reduce these issues as much as possible.

Q: Share a success story made possible by Ivy Tech career pathways programs.

A: Success for us is an offender who doesn't return to the facility. After the first year of our instructional program, we had completers who began returning to society. It is exciting when those offenders show up on our campuses ready to begin the next chapter of their lives. Our ultimate reward will be when we see them cross the stage at graduation with their associate degree.



Career Clusters Institute

Washington, D.C.
June 18-20, 2012

Designing Instruction for Career Pathways (DICP) session:

Wednesday, June 20
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Correctional Education Association International Conference and Training Event

St. Paul, Minnesota
July 29-August 1, 2012


Agencies Share Vision for Career Pathways

A recent letter was jointly released by the assistant secretaries of the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor announcing their commitment to promote the use of career pathways approaches as a promising strategy to help adults acquire marketable skills and industry-recognized credentials through better alignment of education, training, and employment, and human and social services among public agencies and with employers. Read the letter at:



Points of Entry Website Resource Bank

The Points of Entry website resource bank includes materials that assist programs in developing successful reentry programs, provide foundational and background information on topics related to reentry, and provide sample instructional materials.

The National Reentry Resource Center

The National Reentry Resource Center, established by the Second Chance Act (Public Law 110-199) and administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, provides education, training, and technical assistance to states, tribes, territories, local governments, service providers, non-profit organizations, and corrections institutions working on prisoner reentry.

This blog provides an informal forum for prison educators and prisoner-students to provide prison education news, overviews of innovative programs, research updates, observations on effective teaching methodologies for the prison population’s demographic, and the experiences of Executive Director Christopher Zoukis,, and other instructors in the prison classroom.

This is an archived newsletter from ACP-SC and is available for archival purposes only. Hyperlinks on this page may be broken or may no longer link to the content specified from within the original posting date.

Points of Entry: Guiding Adults to Education and Career Success through Career Pathways

Points of Entry

Points of Entry is an initiative funded by the Open Society Foundations’ Special Fund for Poverty Alleviation that builds upon the goals of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s (OVAE) Policy to Performance (P2P) project. The Points of Entry initiative provides funding and technical assistance to eight demonstration sites to develop career pathways and transition models for adult learners in three target populations: adult learners with skills at the 6th–8th grade level equivalency (GLE), incarcerated adults in prison or jail with skills at the 6th–12th GLE, and adults on probation or parole with skills at the 6th–12th GLE. The demonstration sites were selected in August of 2011 from four states participating in the P2P project and include Alabama, California, Massachusetts, and New York.

This issue of ACP News highlights the efforts of the Points of Entry demonstration sites since implementation began in January 2012. Sites were tasked with implementing innovative approaches for facilitating adults’ access to career pathways services; enhancing comprehensive support services, including behavioral change interventions; integrating pre and post-release services as applicable; and identifying strategies to sustain services. Additionally, all sites are participating in an evaluation to contribute lessons learned and best practices from the varying project activities resulting from the project goals.

Programs Serving Reentry Learners

Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) Parolee Education Program (PEP) – California

CCCOE’s PEP targets the reentry population in Riverside and Visalia, California. As of April 2012, the Riverside Points of Entry program has served 51 students, including 14 students who are pursuing Workforce Skills Certification System certification. The Visalia Points of Entry site has served 48 students. Participants will continue in the Points of Entry demonstration through July 2012. The Points of Entry initiative provided CCCOE an opportunity to create new partnerships and expand service delivery. Connections have been made or strengthened with the public workforce system, community-based organizations, and local business communities.

These partnerships will serve as models for statewide replication. Introduction of a cognitive behavior treatment program is another enhancement yielding positive results. For more information, contact Angela Hatter:

Elk Grove Adult and Community Education (EGACE) – California

The Points of Entry program at EGACE is providing much-needed transition support for inmates at a nearby correctional center, adding career counseling, academic advising, and case management to existing academic services. Working with a transition specialist and job developer, participating Points of Entry students are creating action plans to support their education and career goals. Through extensive community collaboration, EGACE and its partners have developed a well-structured program for ex-offenders wanting to re-integrate with society. Points of Entry participants are experiencing increased literacy gains, completion of the GED, and/or completion of a certificated vocational program. For more information, contact Renee Collins:

Ingram State Technical College – Alabama

The Points of Entry program at Ingram is a 15-week dual enrollment approach that includes adult basic education and career technical education in high-demand career fields. The program includes case management, career planning, behavior change intervention, counseling, and reentry and life skills training. The program has provided participants the opportunity to progress by reducing custody levels, gaining access to work release and community corrections programs in addition to gaining skills necessary to aid their success upon release. The communities in which participants will return will see ex-felons with changed behaviors, in-demand job skills, and the desire to succeed and contribute to the communities in which they live. Additionally, students have acquired credentialing documents that will aid them in qualifying for specific jobs and providing future employers meaningful documentation of their skill sets. For more information, contact James Wilson:

Literacy West NY, Inc. (LWNY), STAR Pathways Program – New York

The STAR Pathways program provides Points of Entry students a strong foundation of basic skills and workplace readiness through contextualized instruction related to growth industries. Results after the program’s initial 12-week class cycle are promising. All Points of Entry students realized educational gains, all are eligible for a National Work Readiness Credential certificate, 33 percent obtained an OSHA general industry certification, and 33 percent advanced to the next pathway. Although students’ scores are promising, the most positive impact has been on students’ commitment to their career pathways and their futures. The culture within LWNY and the community is changing to embrace career pathways. A career pathways committee has been established in the region to address changes in the one-stop system by offering expanded opportunities for career planning and exploration. The project team has learned that to facilitate change it takes a strong commitment from partners willing to share resources and work together for the benefit of students and the community. For more information, contact Lisa Lee:

Syracuse City School District/Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office Incarcerated Education Program – New York

The Syracuse Points of Entry program offers incarcerated students academic and vocational classes, employment skills, and intensive case management that links to post-release education and training offered through the area’s Literacy Zone, a reform initiative providing pathways out of poverty for individuals and families. Collaboration with a local business has enabled students to participate in an OSHA certificate course in construction and general industry while incarcerated, with the opportunity to complete the course post-release. To date, a total of 44 students have participated in a Points of Entry Transition Class. Nine students have successfully transitioned to the Literacy Zone for continued services. For more information, contact Kathy Lent:

Programs Serving Reentry and Lower-Level Learners

Holyoke Community College Ludlow Area Adult Learning Center (LAALC) and Hampden County Sherriff’s Department (HCSD) – Massachusetts

The Holyoke, Massachusetts area’s Points of Entry project includes two sites—LAALC and HCSD—both of which are feeder programs for Holyoke Community College’s ABE Transition to College and Careers program. The Points of Entry program has provided a model for regional efforts to align ABE instruction with transition to college and career, workforce development, and job training programs. LAALC reports that 19 of their 22 Points of Entry students have identified a clear career goal, including plans for further education and/or training. The integration of career pathways curriculum into ESOL instruction has focused the efforts of staff and students on common objectives, leading to accelerated learning and goal achievement. HCSD reports mid-term exam results indicating learning gains in computational math skills for almost all students and learning gains in applied math skills for 50 percent of the students. Ten students have completed college applications. After initially offering programs in the middle of the day, the Points of Entry team recommends offering classes at times more convenient for participants who work. For more information, contact Kermit Dunkelberg:

Programs Serving ABE/ESL Lower-Level Learners

Cambridge Community Learning Center (CLC) – Massachusetts

The Points of Entry project at CLC focuses on integrating college and career awareness into mid-level ESOL and Pre-GED classes. Students participating in the project are developing career plans and benefitting from a workshop series focused on targeted professions. CLC teachers have developed curricula that integrate career exploration and goal-setting. Overall, the Points of Entry grant has helped teachers and staff explore new ways of making career awareness a priority, laying the groundwork for an agency-wide culture change. For more information, contact Rebecca Garland:

St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Office of Adult and Continuing Education’s Gateway to College and Careers – New York

Upon completion of the first cycle of classes, 24 of the 30 students in the Gateway program advanced one or more National Reporting System (NRS) levels with 80 percent demonstrating educational gains. Twenty-three students along with an additional 12 new students continued on into Cycle II of the program. Of that cohort, six students have obtained a National Work Readiness Credential and 25 students completed a day-long college activities day hosted by SUNY Canton that included seminars on financial aid, admissions, and career services. Program staff are pleased with early results and report a marked difference in student engagement, retention, and participation in comparison to past programming. Their suggestion to new programs is to complete your homework up front, identify successful programs and their common elements, and develop a good relationship with partner colleges. For more information, contact Lisa McKeel:

Cambridge Career Bulletin Board
A career-oriented bulletin board at Cambridge Community Learning Center
SSL Boces Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
SLL BOCES' ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 9, 2012 for POINTS OF ENTRY program

Phone: 703-688-ACP7 (2277)
Kratos Learning, ACP-SC Project
2920 South Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22206

Disclaimer: The Adult Career Pathways (ACP) News is a publication of the Designing Instruction for Career Pathways (DICP) initiative and was produced by Kratos Learning, in partnership with the Center for Occupational Research and Development, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), under Contract No. ED-CFO-10-A-0072/0001. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, and no official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education should be inferred. This document is in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission.