- Program-specific Requirements for Adult Education and Family Literacy Act Programs
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a description of the following as it pertains to adult education and literacy programs and activities under title II of WIOA, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA).
e. 1. Describe how the State will use the funds to carry out the required State Leadership activities under section 223 of WIOA
In Indiana, there is robust alignment of adult education and literacy activities with other core programs and one-stop partners. Through state and local collaborations between adult education, vocational rehabilitation, family and social services, workforce employment providers, and other partners, Hoosiers participate in a sequential series of services that result in a seamless transition to employment and/or enrollment in postsecondary education or training. While clients enter through multiple doors, the objective is the same – a seamless referral system. In additional to traditional classes within school facilities, classes for eligible adult participants take place at workforce offices, community centers, houses of worship, employers, and postsecondary institutions.
Referral procedures and data sharing are in place among cross agencies. Curricula are aligned with the College and Career Readiness Standards to reflect the content most relevant to preparing adult students for success in colleges, technical training programs, work and citizenship—in the areas of English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Assessment and other professional development opportunities are shared between Core Partners. The workforce system provides assessment services and provides results to adult education partners and other agencies. Adult education coordinators convene regional consortia to discuss and share promising practices and barriers to participant success. Additionally, there is a strong alignment and coordination with the WIOA Youth, Jobs for America’s Graduates, a resiliency-building workforce preparation program that helps students learn in-demand employability skills and provides a bridge to post-secondary education and career advancement opportunities.
Indiana Career Explorer is provided across systems to assist participants with the exploration of career possibilities, to help them make decisions about their future, and prepare for the next step in their education and career planning journey. Indiana Career Explorer is a comprehensive starting point for determining career interests and abilities and is a required part of orientation for all adult education participants. Meanwhile, Indiana Career Connect (ICC) provides workforce services and tools to help employers connect with job-ready talent.
Furthermore, WorkINdiana provides participants an opportunity to earn a high school equivalency or improve academic skills in an adult education classroom, and earn career certificates in areas such as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) while being co enrolled in both WIOA Title I and Title II programming.
High Quality Professional Development
Indiana Adult Education has established a solid foundation for the delivery and operation of a high quality professional development program to facilitate and improve instruction.
Professional Development Facilitators (PDFs) are an anchor for state leadership activities. They are a network of lead adult education instructors who are trained to model and deliver the highest quality professional development both locally and regionally. Professional development delivered by PDFs are tied directly to state and federal adult education performance measures. PDFs develop local and regional professional development plans and share their knowledge and expertise to assist adult education programs and DWD with continuous adult education program improvement.
In addition to modeling effective teaching strategies, PDF responsibilities include development of local professional development plans in conjunction with program directors and DWD representatives; creation of new teacher trainings and orientations; delivery of assessment and accommodations trainings; and one-on-one assistance to instructors as required by DWD or requested by local program directors.
Supplemental professional development is offered based on a needs assessment. Sessions are reviewed by participants and evaluated by the professional development team. Local providers must incorporate lessons learned into local programming, performance targets, and provide feedback through written reports. Past examples included face-to-face trainings and virtual offerings on topics such as Addressing Racism in the Classroom; Evidence-Based Reading; Integrated Education and Training | Workforce Education Initiative Training; New Teacher Training; and Promising Strategies for the Implementation of Distance Education and Remote Instruction.
The state adult education office also jointly sponsors a yearly conference in partnership with its professional organization. The event is a shared educational/professional development opportunity for adult educators, directors, administration and support staff, WorkOne staff, career and transition counselors, and other adult education stakeholders. Conference attendance is typically around 500. The conference allows sharing of promising practices and presents opportunities to model effective strategies, including technology and resources, for adult educators.
Sessions are aligned with other one-stop partners to ensure that coordination occurs at all levels of engagement. Sessions are evaluated by participants and results are shared with DWD’s professional development team as a guide in planning additional opportunities and technical assistance throughout the program year. DWD’s professional development team reviews the conference’s agenda and solicits session presenters based on this coordinated effort. Topics are chosen, in part, based on the state’s professional development initiatives and how Indiana can strengthen and build upon its adult education delivery system based on negotiated performance targets.
Disseminates Promising Practices
DWD’s adult education professional development initiative provides technical assistance; develops and disseminates instructional and programmatic practices based on scientifically valid research; promotes access to employment, education, and training services; and offers assistance in the use of technology. Teachers and instructional aides working nine (9) or more hours per week in adult education are required to complete a minimum of one (1) DWD adult education sponsored professional development initiative annually. Each DWD professional development initiative must be a minimum of 10 hours in length, will be extended over time, and will be either job embedded or require participation in a community of practice. In partnership with the state’s professional organization, many COABE and LINCs trainings are made available to meet this requirement.
Each local professional development plan is approved individually by the professional development team and encompasses goals based on scientifically valid research that will contribute to meeting specific performance metrics. DWD’s Workforce Education Initiative (WEI) pairs adult education, the workforce system, and businesses with employees who require basic skills upgrading to be successful on the job. An adult education coordinator serves as a workforce resource. Meanwhile, Integrated Education Training (IET) programs are approved individually at the state level, must be 40 hours in length and no more than 14 weeks in length, and lead to an industry-recognized credential. Curricula are evaluated and technical assistance is provided when required by the state adult education office.
Monitoring Quality and Improvement
The professional development team continually monitors and evaluates adult education programming throughout the state. Monthly reports are sent to programs outlining performance compared to the same time a year ago and to state averages. Performance metrics are shared and evaluated with PDFs to implement strategies to improve the delivery of instruction and services to participants and core partners. Monthly statewide webinars take place and include performance goals, and initiatives to meet benchmarks. Three adult education coordinators serve as members of the state’s monitoring team. Risk assessments are conducted and programs are chosen for yearly monitoring visits. Reports are written and distributed, and technical assistance, including individualized professional development, is provided to correct deficiencies.