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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. E. Partner Engagement with Educational Institutions

Describe how the State’s Strategies will engage the State’s community colleges and area career and technical education schools, as partners in the workforce development system to create a job-driven education and training system. WIOA section 102(b)(2)(B)(iv).

Current Narrative:

(2e.) Partner Engagement with Educational Institutions
Core and non-core programs have strong partnerships with the Alabama Community College System and the Alabama Department of Education’s Career Tech system. Representatives of both entities are members of the Alabama Workforce Development Board along with the Executive Director of the Alabama Commission of Higher Education (ACHE). Partner representatives from Alabama Community College System, Alabama Career Department also participate in quarterly WIOA Roundtable meetings which includes State Board staff, One-Stop Career Center regional management staff, Local Workforce area staff, and non-core partner staff such as TANF, SNAP and unemployment insurance (UI) senior management. These Roundtable participants represent senior and mid-level management and have access to information related to activities of the core programs and opportunities for collaboration, coordination and partnering. At the regional level, there are quarterly RWC meetings that include business, local community college workforce development coordinators, local career tech directors, one-stop career center managers and economic development staff. The community college and local career tech representatives at these meetings provide program updates and seek core partner and business input into training processes and equipment needs.

In Alabama the core and additional partners have a very close relationship with the ACCS. The ACCS not only provides the academic and technical training but also is the entity responsible for operating the Title II Adult Education grant. This allows for the full array of skills from basic skills to specialized skills training. There are several Workforce Career Centers located on community college campuses and adult education is represented in all of the Comprehensive Career centers. The close-knit relationship streamlines the process to move the jobseekers into training and supportive services for skill development and to connect with local employers. Core and additional partners are able to connect their customers to training that leads to the high demand occupations. Adult education provides additional state funding to local programs to increase partnerships with Career Technical Education to expand Integrated Education and Training (IET) Career Pathway initiatives. Core partners and additional partners such as TANF, SNAP, ABAWDS, veterans, English Language Learners and Senior Services refer jobseekers into the IET training pathway programs. Alabama has adopted a dual enrollment integrated adult career pathway model. An increased focus will be placed on expanding short term training, Ready to Work, Bridge programs, and Adult Career Pathways that target high demand, high wage sector strategies in the regional areas.

For the state of Alabama Title II Programs, 93 percent of the providers are located on the campus of the community college system. This integration allows increased discussion, access and engagement within the state’s educational system. In addition, most campuses also have transitional counselors that can connect students to additional educational opportunities. The ADRS representation will collaborate with all secondary educational institutions in the State of Alabama by providing Pre-Employment Transition Services and Transition Services to students with disabilities (ages 16-21) to assist with transitioning into the state’s workforce. Pre-Employment Transition Services activities will focus on: 
⦁    Job exploration counseling 
⦁    Work-based learning experiences, which may include in-school or after school opportunities or experience outside the traditional school setting (including internships) that are provided in an integrated environment to the maximum extent possible. 
⦁    Counseling and guidance on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs at institutions of higher education 
⦁    Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living 
⦁    Instruction in self-advocacy, which may include peer mentoring.

The ADRS has Transition Counselors assigned to each of the 136 high schools in our state. Through collaboration with each Local Education Agency (LEA), the ADRS will develop and improve transition partnerships, programs and service models by implementing and expanding the following services/programs. 
⦁    Summer work program - Job Exploration Training (JET) Students are provided training in the areas of job exploration, career assessment, social skills training, mock interviewing, resume preparation, and self-advocacy training. Paid work experiences in a community setting are arranged for each student satisfactorily participating in the training. 
⦁    Smart Work Ethics Training (SWE) - SWE is a social skills curriculum that addresses communication skills and workplace behaviors (attitude, work ethic, image and appearance, interpersonal skills, teamwork, time management, accountability) needed to obtain and maintain successful competitive employment. This curriculum is provided to the student in the LEA by a certified trainer from a Community Rehabilitation Program. 
⦁    Jointly Funded Job Coach - ADRS is committed to providing jointly funded job coaches in local education agencies to assist with the provision of pre-employment transition services. The jointly funded job coaches provide pre-employment transition services which are not typically or customarily provided by the LEA. These pre-employment transition services are designed to increase the likelihood of independence and inclusion of students with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, in communities, as well as, maximize opportunities for these students for competitive integrated employment. Currently, ADRS has 27 jointly funded job coaches in place through third-party cooperative agreements.
⦁    Career Interest Inventories - ADRS transition counselors will expand the delivery of career interest inventories to students with disabilities earlier in the transition planning process to assist with identify the student’s interests, abilities, aptitude, and values.

ADRS also has a liaison to two secondary educational institutions housed within the Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC). This liaison collaborates with DOC staff to ensure referral to ADRS is made within 90 days of release. The goal of this collaboration effort is to ensure that the inmates will have an appointment with a VR counselor within one week of community re-entry to avoid any delay in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services. Post-Secondary- ADRS also collaborates with two-year colleges and universities across the state to provide college preparation programs to prepare individuals with disabilities in entering post-secondary education. Typically, classes are held for one week on the college/university campus. Topics of discussion include note taking, finding your best study style, time management, how to better prepare for college tests, and how to access student support service.