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June 2016 Newsletter

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Regional Workshops Recap

The Iowa Department of Education Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation recently provided regional workshops in Council Bluffs, Des Moines, and Davenport. One of the objectives for the regional conversations included continuing efforts to align Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) with PACE programs. To promote greater collaboration, the attendees for this professional development opportunity included AEL coordinators, instructors, pathway navigators, and Iowa Workforce associates.

Organizations were encouraged to send a regional team led by at least one pathway navigator, AEL coordinator, or lead instructor who could influence systemic change that would result in better alignment between programs. Instructors or other pertinent staff engaged in transitioning instruction (career awareness/workforce preparation) were also encouraged to attend this training. The objective was that at least three staff members from each program or region would be represented.

Some of the goals of the training:
• Identify best practices from the PACE programs on the credit side to bridge to the non-credit side.
• Discuss mapping a pipeline through a career pathway.
• Build a cohort model through a value mapping discussion.
• Create working relationships.
• Build more integrated and cohesive support networks.

Almost all of the WIOA regions were represented at the trainings, and all of the attendees were very appreciative of the time spent in collaboration and discussion. Now they begin to blend and integrate their employment, education, and training processes.

With the advent of WIOA, along with “One Door Many Paths,” this was a great time for us to build upon the positive tracks that our PACE and adult education programs have been developing over the past two years. The training also served as a precursor to the upcoming “One Door Many Paths” conference to be held June 27-28.

ODMP Conference

Developing and Managing Industry-Informed Training Pathways
Presented by Mike Williams, Jared Reed, Teresa Tripp, Kay Maher, Judy Stoffel, and Ashley Massa

Business partnerships are critical to designing comprehensive career pathway systems. So how do you get started and maintain business engagement? Three community colleges will highlight strategies used at various stages of development that showcase the value-add for business and the available workforce. Attendees will learn tangible ways to engage businesses in developing a comprehensive career pathway system. The presentation will also provide strategies that have netted results, enhanced business engagement, and evolved the maturity of industry sector boards.

Registration for the One Door Many Paths conference is currently full and closed.

Inspire Success with ESL/ELL Success Stories

Help us celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month by sharing your story! Starting the process of taking ESL classes can seem like a daunting task. By sharing your story, you can encourage others to start the process so they can further their education or advance their careers.

Share your story and encourage someone to forge their path today!

The entry form to submit your story can be found here.

 Carlos Gonzalez's Story to Success

My name is Carlos and I am from Guatemala, “the land of eternal spring." My family and I came to the United States around 2010 for political asylum. I had an important goal, to succeed. It took me five years to decide to take the HiSED because I was busy working. I never realized how important it was to have a high school diploma until the plant where I was working closed their doors in fall of 2015.

Every single job where I was applying required a high school diploma, and I might have qualified for the job but not without the diploma. It was then that I decided to attend Iowa Valley Continuing Education Classes at Ellsworth Community College. After a couple months of hard work and persistence, I am able to say that I feel proud to have obtained my diploma. I want to encourage anyone who doesn't have this diploma to consider getting it. Make the decision, don’t wait too long!

Coordinator Spotlight:

Meet Jennifer Wilson, Ph.D

Jennifer Wilson
Iowa Valley Community College District
Director of Adult Literacy Programs

How long have you been a coordinator for adult education?
I have been a part of adult education for eight and a half years.

Tell us about yourself — family, pets, spare time/hobbies.
I recently graduated with my doctorate in educational leadership from Iowa State University. I am a wife and mother. I have three boys— Cole (17), Cale (15) and Cade (15), one turtle— Speedy, and two Chihuahuas— Lucy and Otis. Since completing my degree, I find myself watching baseball, completing small projects that I put aside during my schooling, and spending as much time as I can with family. I have three very active boys, so sports, outside activities, and food preparation are common pastime activities within our household.

Since becoming the director of adult literacy, I have gained great opportunities to get involved in my community, develop friendships, and grow a sense of urgency regarding the importance that diverse communities have on the sustainability and advancement of our nation.

What is your best piece of advice/favorite quotes?
Those who know me know I am a woman who speaks her mind, is true to herself, genuinely cares for the greater good of society, and believes that anything is possible, which is my advice for others. I do not really have a favorite quote but would like to pass along some old adages I have chosen to live by: You can do anything that you put your mind to. Don't settle for second-best. Remember where you come from because you may end up going back there one day. Only you can limit yourself from success. When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.

What will you miss most about working at IA Valley and the AEL program?
As I transition from my current work in adult literacy to developing educational opportunities for students through business and workforce development, I will take with me the many lessons I learned because of this job. I remember a student who graduated with her high school equivalency diploma who teachers thought would never successfully pass, yet I told them to test her anyway. This student taught me to take chances, do things that may not always be popular or feel comfortable, and advocate for those who are still learning how to believe in themselves because success happens when we least expect it.

I also recall when the students from Burma started taking classes at the Education and Training Center. They would walk down the hall staring at the ground making their way to their classroom. For weeks, I spent each day in the hall wishing them, "Good morning," yet they continued to walk on by me with no response. Months later, after my continued persistence, they reciprocated the greeting and our eyes met. It was then I learned to never give up on those who are adjusting to life in another country; take time to meet students where they are in their learning, and be patient — learning is a process. Together, these students taught me the importance of developing trust in others. As educators, we must never forget the influence we have on those around us. I am thankful to have been a part of a prestigious group, Iowa's adult literacy educators. These folks are amongst the most compassionate, professional, and inspirational people I have ever met. I am, and will always be, an adult literacy educator and advocate at heart.


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