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  • III. Operational Planning Elements

    The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an Operational Planning Elements section that supports the State’s strategy and the system-wide vision described in Section II(c) above.  Unless otherwise noted, all Operational Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.  This section must include—

    • a. State Strategy Implementation

      The Unified or Combined State Plan must include–

      • 2. Implementation of State Strategy

        Describe how the lead State agency with responsibility for the administration of each core program or a Combined Plan partner program included in this plan will implement the State’s Strategies identified in Section II(c). above. This must include a description of—

III. a. 2. H. Improving Access to Postsecondary Credentials

Describe how the State’s strategies will improve access to activities leading to recognized postsecondary credentials, including Registered Apprenticeship certificates.  This includes credentials that are industry-recognized certificates, licenses or certifications, and that are portable and stackable.

Current Narrative:

(2h.) Improving Access to Postsecondary Credentials
WIOA training services often lead to recognized credentials such as high school equivalency, Career Readiness Certificates, and certificates from partner community colleges. The ACCS is implementing and will continue to execute several strategies to improve access to postsecondary credentials. The ACCS has long been a nationally recognized leader in the number of articulated CTE courses between secondary and postsecondary, enabling high school students an edge in accessing college credentials. In addition to articulation, Alabama has become a national leader in providing high school students dual credit for dual enrollment in CTE and academic courses. Alabama has increased the numbers of students taking advantage of this opportunity each year and has realized tremendous growth in the last five years as more students and parents learn of the significant savings that are available in both time and money. Tremendous momentum is in place and should continue as more systems, parents, and students learn of the advantages of these opportunities. Our funding for CTE dual enrollment scholarships has tripled in the last three years, and we anticipate increased funding, so students will have greater access to post-secondary credentials.

Alabama has also established a process for creating a compendium of valuable postsecondary credentials. Credentials deemed as valuable for employment in high-demand high-skill occupations will be placed on this list and will be recognized as part of Alabama’s attainment goal, known as Success Plus. Those credentials of value will receive recognition and funding support from the state. Completion certificates for Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) are being included as credentials of value in that compendium. The newly established Alabama Office of Apprenticeship (AOA) is actively working with employers and education providers across the state to expand the use of RA as a workforce training tool. RAs increase the access to postsecondary credentials by providing a path for individuals to work while they complete training. RAs in Alabama are built in a way that removes financial barriers to access for apprentices because the apprentice can earn a livable wage and the training is provided by the employer at no cost to the apprentice. The AOA partners with the Alabama Community College System as well as Alabama’s four-year institutions to provide much of the related technical instruction for the RAs. This ensures apprentices are completing college credit bearing coursework as the related technical instruction component of their RA. These college credits earned through the RA position an apprentice to complete further academic training culminating in post-secondary degrees.

Additionally, programs that contain an exit point of occupations requiring degreed employees can also begin with a culmination of short-term or long-term certificates offered with job relativity and competency mastery at an early learning stage. This provides an opportunity not only for youth but also for adults with barriers to employment for engagement as pre-apprenticeship participants. Employer-valued certification, reflected through the state-developed compendium of valuable credentials, will allow for early on-ramps toward career pathways that require a level of employability attainable by any adult engaged in adult basic education programs through local Community Colleges.  Alabama delivers postsecondary credentials with entry-level employment by not only identifying the list of competencies required for occupation mastery, but also instructing students on the entry-level competencies by embedding them into adult basic education curricula.  In this event, students who have been identified as having a barrier to the workforce can progress as their skill set allows, perfecting their mastery of embedded competencies and integrating job relativity into all courses. Alabama also integrates a variety of support services into these programs by providing access to things like childcare and transportation paid for by WIOA, ITAs, and other local workforce development grants.  As adults progress through career pathways toward identified in-demand employment opportunities, case managers and career counselors carefully monitor progress relative to employability ensuring pathway progression is seamless and uninterrupted where at all possible.  These pathways are not only developed by public and private partnership, but they are also published in state-wide advertising displaying the multiple entry and exit points available for student progression and ensuring articulation of courses, prior learning awards, and access to postsecondary credentials and in-demand occupations.