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Developing a Future Pathway

From the classroom of Jamie Brummel, Minneapolis Adult Education

Career Connections

Career exploration lessons and activities can be greatly enriched by hearing from professionals who work in the targeted career field. This series of videos, developed in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Means Jobs, provides learners with the opportunity to hear a firsthand account of what it's like to be working in 100 different career fields. The videos vary in length from about 3 1/2 to 8 1/2 minutes, and some include support materials and transcripts of the audio. In the videos, young professionals talk about which academic subjects to focus on, how the skills that learners acquire (such as math) are applied in a work setting, what they do at their jobs, and what they enjoy most about their jobs. The videos could be used to embed career awareness into every day ABE and ESL lessons or to bring a particular career pathway to life for a stand alone course.

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Career Foundations Curriculum and Bridge Program Lesson Plans

These ready-to-use lessons, co-developed by Women Employed and the City Colleges of Chicago, were designed to teach employment skills to adult learners. The Career Foundations Curriculum, written for students who read at a 4th grade level or above, focuses on career exploration and goal setting. The Bridge Program lesson plans help students prepare for careers in healthcare, early childhood education, or transportation, delivery and logistics (TDL). These lessons were created to help close the gap between jobs that require, or will require, a college degree or certificate and the number of adults who lack the necessary education to fill those positions. As such, the lessons are part of an initiative to increase college and career success for adult learners with low basic skills.

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Integrating Career Awareness Curriculum Guide

This downloadable curriculum guide contains over 45 lessons aimed at helping teachers to integrate career awareness skills into their ABE/ESL classrooms. A nice feature of the guide is that it can be downloaded in either PDF or Word format. By downloading the handouts in Word format, teachers can modify them to better suit their own students and classes. The curriculum is divided into four sections: The Cultural Context for Career Awareness, The Self-Exploration Process, Occupational Exploration, and Career Planning Skills. The curriculum was developed by the Massachusetts System for Adult Basic Education Support (SABES) and the National College Transition Network (NCTN). As part of the National Career Awareness Project (NCAP) teachers from around the United States, including MN, piloted this curriculum in their classrooms. A review of the guide can found on the LINCS website.


Minnesota Career Information System (MCIS)

A new version of the Minnesota Career Information System (MCIS) has been developed for use with Adult Education learners. This ABE version has a lower reading level (5th grade), and it contains the tools and resources that would be most helpful for adult users. These tools and resources include a variety of skill and interest assessments, detailed information on over 500 careers, a resume creator tool, and tips for conducting a successful job search. MCIS is not a free resource, but annual site licenses are very affordable and based on student enrollment numbers. MCIS is a very powerful and useful tool for programs doing Adult Diploma and for anyone wanting to build career awareness with adult learners. It aligns very well with the DFP section of the TIF.

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Resource - MCIS Fees & Information for ABE

Resource - ACES & MCIS: Creating a Brighter Future Pathway (PowerPoint from Fall 2018 Regionals)

Resource - Using MCIS to Support ACES (handout from Fall 2018 Regionals)

NYSED/CUNY CareerKit Project

The NYSED/CUNY CareerKit Project is a library of hundreds of contextualized high-quality lessons that instructors can pick and choose from to suit the needs of their learners and program. The kits were developed to introduce learners to careers in ten different sectors, while also building core reading, writing, research and math skills. According to the CareerKit Project website, “Each CareerKit activity fulfills a dual purpose – the acquisition of career information and the development of language, literacy and numeracy skills that support achievement on standardized tests.” The project includes a table of skills that allows users to find career-related activities that reinforce the basic skills (reading, writing and math) that they are already working on.

The ten career sectors are:

  • Healthcare
  • Technology 
  • Community and Social Services
  • Education and Childcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitality, Recreation, and the Arts
  • Food Production
  • Retail
  • Construction
  • Transportation and Warehousing

Reading Skills for Healthcare Workers

Career exploration is an essential part of developing a future pathway. Adult learners need to be able to explore a variety of career fields, as well as their own interests, skills and strengths, in order know which path might be right for them. The Reading Skills for Healthcare Workers website is an excellent resource that can be used to help learners explore one very in demand career field: health care. 

This resource was developed here in MN by Southwest Adult Basic Education. The website contains 175 readings to choose from, and the selections that are currently available are intended for intermediate-level readers between 5.5 and 8.5 grade level. All of the selections come with pre-reading questions, target vocabulary, a text dependent question set, and two prompts for writing practice. The questions and writing can be done either online using Adobe Reader or printed out as PDF documents. Each story also has audio recorded at three speeds to help support fluency development.

The selections on the website were all written by experienced teachers, and they would provide high-quality content for a pre-CNA or CNA class, an ESL class covering a unit on health, or a more general career exploration class with a unit on the health care field.

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Skills Commons

Skills Commons is a collection of open educational resources (OERs) that were developed by recipients of a U.S. Department of Labor grant called the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program. The Department of Labor made a $1.9 billion investment between 2011-2018 in order to allow over 700 community colleges from across the country to create and contribute resources to the collection. The website is fully searchable and you can look for materials by material type, institution, credential type, industry or occupation. Skills Commons is managed by California State University and its MERLOT Program with the goal of providing free and open resources to support innovations with technology in teaching and learning. The collection contains primarily open source materials created under a Creative Commons license, so users can feel free to share, remix, adapt, and build on them as long as there is appropriate attribution.

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Work Readiness Curriculum

The Work Readiness curriculum was developed at HAP English School, a program of Hmong American Partnership, in St. Paul, MN. It was designed for use with low-level adult ESL learners (CASAS range 153-210), specifically adults with interrupted formal education. It has a speaking/listening and vocabulary-building focus.

The curriculum consists of nine six-week units, each one focusing on one career cluster. All units include instruction on basic etiquette in formal settings, practice filling out job applications, practice reading simple job ads, job interview preparation, practice reporting problems at work, information about schedules and paychecks, as well as career-specific vocabulary. In addition, there are opportunities for students to get practical experience doing jobs within the classroom, such as making copies, greeting new students, and pushing in chairs.

Learn more about the creation, context, and objectives of this curriculum >>

Unit 1 - Medical

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Unit 2 - Construction

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Unit 3 - Factory

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Unit 4 - Community

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Unit 5 - Childcare

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Unit 6 - Art

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Unit 7 - Food Service

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Unit 8 - Retail

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Unit 9 - Driving

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