[Adult + HigherEd Learners] Slow and Steady Collaboration Toward Success

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 -- Stephanie Abbott

As an Implementation Coach, I get the opportunity to work directly with customers to set up, improve, and monitor their success. One learner who stood out to me recently was “Jose,” a client at the 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Training Center in Boston. “Jose” was validation of a program success story. Two years ago, “Jose” had started at the Training Center reading at the 6th grade level. Now, after a great deal of persistence and time, he was close to the 11th grade level.

Here’s a bit more information on the MA 1199SEIU Training & Upgrading Fund. The Fund is a negotiated benefit between multiple healthcare employers and the 1199SEIU, covering 44,000 employees. Through this unique collaboration, the Fund provides career and educational advising, adult education, skills enhancement programs, tuition vouchers/reimbursement, and professional development opportunities to thousands of 1199SEIU healthcare workers throughout the state. The Fund has diverse offerings, including GED® test-preparation classes and prepaid college vouchers.

The clients who take advantage of the services within the Fund are remarkable. “Jose” is a typical client working with the 1199SEIU Training Center staff—an adult who dropped out of high school. He has taken an extraordinary step in returning to school to earn his GED credential. After he completes it, he plans to get certified as a respiratory therapist. “Extraordinary” is a valid description for clients like “Jose.”  Often, 1199SEIU Training Center clients work odd hours, so traditional schedules aren’t an option for them. Commuting to the Training Center may be too challenging. Then, add the demands of a family, as well as other obligations, and these challenges aren’t a recipe for guaranteed success. There are just too many reasonable explanations for many clients not to complete their courses and training. 

So, how has “Jose” managed when many others have not? First, the programs available through the 1199SEIU Training Fund provide the resources and support needed for success. Union members are able to discover pathways to career-improving learning.

Then, there are online programs for achievement, like Plato Courseware, Edmentum Assessments, and Northstar Workforce Readiness. 1199SEIU clients can access these tools from any location, on any device, at any time because they are web-based. So, in the nontraditional daily lives of 1199SEIU members at the center, these tools provide the flexibility needed to prepare for standardized tests like the GED test and professional certifications.

As crucial as mentor and software support are, it is “Jose’s” internal drive that makes the progress happen. It would be too easy to say, “I’m too busy, tired, or frustrated.” Instead, “Jose” has remained focused on his goal and not the impediments to improving his future. Along with the support of the 1199SEIU Training Center staff and Edmentum programs, “Jose” has been able to find a path to academic and career success.

Interested in learning more about how Edmentum can partner with your adult or -post-secondary program to provide effective, innovative online learning solutions? Check out this resource on Five Steps to Targeted Instruction for Adult and HigherEd Learners!

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