Sometimes, even adults don’t know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. This can be especially true of our adult learners who often are not aware of all of the career pathways that are available in the United States. Many of our students have a stated goal of finding a job or advancing to a better job, and we as adult education professionals want to help them succeed. Furthermore, funding for adult education programs comes in large part from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which places a lot of emphasis on career preparation. For these reasons, more and more ABE programs now include career exploration, employability skills, and career pathway courses as part of their program offerings.
The Developing a Future Pathway (DFP) section of the Transitions Integration Framework (TIF) was designed to help adult educators identify the skills that are needed for our learners to find and successfully enter into a chosen career field. The DFP section of the ACES Resource Library already has several high-quality resources that can be used by ABE instructors to facilitate the development of these essential skills, and now we have added one more.
Career Connections, part of the PBS Learning Media website, is an amazing collection of 100 videos in which “Young professionals tell us about their jobs and take us behind the scenes to show us what they do every day.” The videos are listed alphabetically, and they feature a huge variety of career fields, such as auto factory worker, construction worker, dental assistant, farmer, machinist, pipe fitter, and sonographer. The sampling of videos that I looked at for this article range in length from about 3 ½ - 8 ½ minutes, and some include a transcript of the audio. Some of the videos also include support materials, such as discussion questions and graphic organizers for learners to complete while viewing.
In the hospitality management video that I watched, an inn keeper, restauranteur, wedding planner, and movie theater manager talked about which academic subjects to focus on if interested in a career in the hospitality field, what they each do at their jobs, and what they each enjoy most about their jobs. Although the videos do seem geared towards a middle school and high school audience, the vast majority of the content still applies to our ABE learners.
I encourage any teachers who are interested in trying to embed more career exploration activities into their ABE classrooms to check out these videos.
You might also check out the upcoming Career-focused Contextualized Basic Skills Instruction (CCI) Cohort, which kicks off this January. The cohort focuses on helping ABE instructors better understand how to create contextualized unit and lesson plans that combine basic skills with specific career content.
- CCI informational webinar - October 17
- CCI applications due - December 1