State Leadership Funds (Adult education and family literacy act Section 223 (AEFLA))
AEFLA Section 223(1)(a)
Under Mississippi’s Combined Plan, from the instant an individual enters the education and/or workforce system, he or she will be provided the necessary tools to choose and pursue a career pathway relevant to the state’s current and future labor markets.
The Mississippi Community College Board (MCCB), Office of Adult Education (OAE), is the designated agency in the state responsible for administering WIOA Title II funds. The purpose of adult education in Mississippi is to enable local adult education programs to develop, implement, and improve adult education and literacy services throughout the state to further the vision and goals as outlined in Mississippi’s Combined Plan.
The Office of Adult Education assumed the following activities to implement MS’ seven WIOA strategies:
- Developed policies that will coordinate service delivery with WIOA Combined Plan Partners and participate in shared governance through the State Workforce Investment Board
- Strengthened interagency partnerships
- Provided cross-trained adult education representatives in four Comprehensive One-Stop Centers
- Monitored referrals from One-Stop Centers or Youth Providers to the Smart Start Pathway Course
- Implemented activities of MS’ Works Smart Start Career Pathway Model
- Developed and updated articulated pathways across educational and technical sectors
- Smart Start Pathway Course curriculum is aligned with employer/labor market needs
- Partnerships developed with K-12 providers to enroll dropouts in HSE classes.
- Northwest MS Community College’ Adult Education program hosted a K-12 Counselor Day at their Senatobia Campus
- Interfaced with the MS Works Common Intake and Reporting Module to transmit outcomes in order to calculate skill gains and cross-program participation
- Exchanged data in MS' WIOA Hub to share service enrollments, barriers, and other common identifiers in compliance with WIOA
- Determined priorities for training and align the Smart Start Pathway Class with regional and state labor market needs
- Participate in state-wide efforts to increase awareness of MS’ workforce system among employers and job seekers
AEFLA Section 223(1)(b)
The primary goal of the OAE’s use of state leadership funds is to provide high quality and ongoing professional development (PD) to ensure adult education practitioners can implement the requirements and intention of the WIOA. The OAE works to ensure professional development program(s) at the state and local levels align with the goals of the state and local workforce development plans to meet the needs of workers and employers. Each year a survey is sent to program directors to determine professional development needs. Once the results are collected, the OAE staff looks at how the needs align with the goals of the state and local workforce development plans before designing the yearly professional development schedule. Each program is required to develop local professional development plans and submit them to the OAE. These plans are monitored for alignment to the state goals. Adult educators are trained to utilize evidence-based best practices in instruction enabling every adult learner in Mississippi to acquire the necessary basic skills to compete successfully in today’s workforce.
To ensure the instructional effectiveness of new teachers, the state requires all new teachers to participate in the New Teacher Academy (NTA). This Academy is offered at the beginning of the fiscal year and offers an overview of the Mississippi Adult Education system, our policies, instructional methodology for adult learners, and program design. Each new teacher is matched with a mentor teacher from their local program for the first year. This mentor is available to help the new teacher as they navigate their first year in adult education. Ongoing professional development is provided for these individuals throughout their first year. This year the NTA Academy was provided virtually using the Canvas platform. Teachers participated in synchronous and asynchronous activities. Each new teacher completed the following before attending NTA:
- Back 2 Basics Canvas course
- TABE Assessments 11/12 and submit scores
- Canvas Tutorials
The state’s professional development system includes training in reading instruction which incorporates the essential components of reading. Student Achievement in Reading (STAR) Training is offered every other year in the state. STAR contains training in evidence-based reading instruction which includes diagnostic assessment and instructional practices in the four components of reading. Teachers learn how to assess and instruct in alphabetics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. In addition to STAR training, webinars focused on reading and writing instruction were provided to teachers.
Digital Literacy skills are of vital importance for adult learners in competing in today’s workforce. The OAE has provided adult educators training in how to teach digital literacy skills and integrate those skills into content instruction. Northstar Digital Literacy Skills was purchased as a state license and each program has access to this resource for use with students. The resource provides self-guided assessments to measure mastery in basic skills in 15 areas which include basic computer skills, internet basics, using email, Windows, Mac OS, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Docs, social media, information literacy, career search skills, accessing telehealth appointments, your digital footprint, and supporting K-12 distance learning. Test takers can receive certificates and/or digital badges when they pass a Northstar assessment in a proctored environment at a Northstar testing location. Classroom curricula provides detailed lesson plans for teachers and can be used remotely or in person. Northstar Online Learning provides individualized online instruction and practice.
The OAE’s professional development activities have changed to support instructors and other service providers during the Covid-19 pandemic. In FY 21-22, over 260 hours of professional development were provided for statewide adult education programs and community partners in various topics reaching approximately 275 individuals. This program year professional development was offered via Zoom meetings and face-to-face. All face-to-face meetings were in a Hyflex approach. For those who could not attend in person, there was Zoom access provided by MS Community College Board tech personnel.
A Canvas course called Skill UP Webinar Course was designed to house all recorded webinars. This allowed instructors and program staff to access the training at any time. Digital surveys and certificates were developed for all webinars to provide immediate training evaluation and records of professional development hours for staff.
The state’s professional development focus during this year was Advancing Career Pathways. This began with the Program Directors at the fall director’s meeting. A series of sessions on IET, Career Pathways, SSLOs, and Contextualized Instruction was provided. Throughout the year, local directors developed SSLOs and uploaded them into a Canvas course accessible to all program directors and instructors were provided webinars on IET and College and Career Pathway development and implementation. Additional webinars were offered on Ability to Benefit and Team-Teaching Training for IETs. At the English as a Second Language teacher’s retreat, ESL teachers were given an overview of career pathways and how to incorporate these discussions into orientation with their students. The Smart Start Curriculum was presented and attendees were shown how to use it in the classroom with English Language supports. Each teacher was given their own Smart Start Canvas course.
LINCS provided a series of training virtually and face to face (Hybrid) on Workplace Contextualized Instruction for a cohort of teachers. Participants had to complete a short presentation on a lesson they adapted from the TSTM Toolkit or one they created for contextualized instruction.
State staff provided IET Design/SSLO Development/Contextualized Instruction training series for the Department of Corrections. Those in attendance were staff in administration, career technical (CTE) & workforce, and adult education instructors & volunteer tutors. Two other trainings were conducted face to face at the following facilities: Parchman State Penitentiary (North), Central MS Correctional Facility, and South MS Correctional Institution. Developing a Single Set of Learning Objectives (SSLO) was the focus of the first onsite training. After the training, groups designed SSLOs specific to the career pathways offered at their facilities. These SSLOs were also uploaded into a Canvas course. The second training focused on contextualized instruction in the classroom. Workforce, CTE, and adult education worked together to build contextualized lessons tailored to the pathways offered at each facility. Staff from all three facilities participated in the IET in Correctional and Reentry Education technical assistance initiative offered by OCTAE. Through this initiative, the correctional facilities were able to learn best practices from subject matter experts and network with staff from other states.
During 2020-2021, five teachers participated in the Teaching Skills That Matter (TSTM) training provided by American Institutes for Research and made up the state’s TSTM Team. This team conducted a nine-webinar series on Unpacking the TSTM Toolkit and conducted interactive webinars on each of the nine skills that matter during 2021-2022.
The state provided the following webinars and/or training this year as part of the professional development plan:
- CALM Follow-up trainings (8 sessions)
- Teaching the Anxious and Depressed Student
- Team Teaching Training (IET)
- Getting Started with Distance Learning
- Teaching Math Across Levels
- Ability to Benefit
- LACES Database Training
- MAE Referrals
- Unpacking the TSTM Toolkit
- Tips and Strategies to Engage with CCR Math Standards
- Dyslexia in the Classroom
- Teaching Listening to ESL Learners
- Jumpstart Your Year (Keynote: Motivational)
- IET Design/SSLO Design and Follow-up
- Teaching with Webb’s Depth of Knowledge in Mind for HSE Test Success
- ESL Teacher Training
- Equity in the Classroom
- Year End Closeout
- Indirect Cost Policy
- Reporting Career & Training Services
Directors had three training meetings and 90% of the directors participated in LEAD Institute Training provided by the National Association of State Directors of Adult Education (NASDAE). The LEAD Institute was designed to develop dynamic, proactive leaders for the 21st century adult education system. The focus of Mississippi’s Leadership-in-Action Plan was to increase leadership skills for local Adult Education directors by providing guidance to help them better align their programmatic vision and goals with WIOA. In addition to leadership training, programmatic emphasis was placed on improving IET measurable skill gains.
In 2021, the Office of Adult Education in Mississippi hired an Instructional Specialist whose primary role was to create and oversee a robust online HSE program called eDULT. Available in the Learning Management System, Canvas, eDULT piloted in July 2021 with participation from all programs that currently do not have a virtual option. Content courses for the 300 and 200 levels were developed. Each subject area: math, science, social studies, and reading language arts, has its own unique course but follows a standard framework and outline over seven weeks. One of the program's key features is the eSkills Sucess Series Course that serves as an orientation to becoming an online student, and provides additional opportunities for students to build soft skills that aid in the development of community throughout the course. Students have the opportunity to interact with peers, coaches, and instructors in various synchronous and asynchronous formats. Seven seasoned adult education instructors participated in the pilot and were given stipends for course development and online teaching.
Mississippi added six additional instructors to the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) state team in 2021, with a total of 13. The team participated in the national Standards in Action Curriculum Review training offered by the Standards-in-Action project, under the leadership of Susan Pimentel. The CCRS team assisted with the development of the eDULT Online 300 and 200 level courses and also developed training videos to be included in the Standards Foundational Canvas courses. The two courses, one for English Language Arts (ELA) and one for Mathematics, are housed within Canvas and are the cornerstones for the refreshing instructional practices professional development offered during PY 2022-2023.
The teams reviewed an ELA and Math adult education curriculum and shared the results with the state’s adult education programs and gave an overview of the Foundational courses and lessons learned from the Curriculum Review training. The team will adapt the national training and train local staff from each program in the state on curriculum review during PY 2022-2023.
This year’s summer conference was provided face-to-face at the Hilton, Jackson. Ten hours of training were provided and teachers were offered one unit of continuing education or ten hours of professional development. Training and networking were key focuses of this year’s conference. Teachers and staff could choose from the following trainings offered:
- Keynote Address: Real Heroes Don’t Wear Spandex
- Leadership Matters: Eight to Great, Pathways to Leadership
- Burlington English for Specific Careers: Your IET Solution
- Data Do It
- Teaching that Sticks
- Supporting Student Success with Best Practices in GED Test Administration
- eDULT HSE Online
- Tips for Managing Your Adult Classroom Like a Pro!
- Skills 2 Strive 4 Teacher Excellence
- Excellence in Online Instruction
- Let’s Get Students Ready for Success with GED Testing, Resources, and Manager
- IET-What’s an Outcome?
- Best Practices for HiSET Test Administrators
- WIOA: Importance of Community Partnerships
- Reinforcing Mathematics Skills in the ESL Classroom
- How to Plan When Time is of the Essence: Integrated & Contextualized Approach
- Be CALM Geometry: Remote Ready Curriculum for Beginning Math Learners
- How you Doing? (Data)
- Grant Writing 101
- ACT WorkKeys/NCRC Updates and National Initiatives
- How Do We Approach Different Learning Modalities with Class?
- Better Writing for ESL Learners
- Building on What Works: Developing CCN Outcomes
- The HiSET Program & Resources for Educators
- From Striving 2 Thriving: Developing Skills to Become a Better Coach and Mentor
- Smart Start: Practices to Advance into 2022
- Program Guidelines for Achieving Excellence
- Achieving Measurable Skill Gains with GED, HiSET, and TABE 11/12 Academy
- College and Career Readiness Standards & Curriculum Review
- Writing & Reading: A Powerful Combination
- Developing a Community Resource Guide to Assist with Student Barriers
- GED Higher Order Math: Functions
- Online Workforce College: Equipping Individuals & Supporting Employers Through Innovative Approaches
- Improving Digital Classroom Skills for Teachers and Students
- Directors Meeting
All Professional Development activities were evaluated using a Google form linked to a PD hours of completion certificate. After each webinar or training event, teachers were given a link to complete a survey/evaluation of the activity. These results are used to guide the professional development staff when providing technical assistance and training to improve adult education activities.
AEFLA Section 223(1)(c)
The OAE has previously mentioned its investment in rigorous research helping providers learn, understand, and implement instructional practices from scientifically-based research. The overall goal of MS’ designed professional development framework is to improve the quality of instruction in adult education programs, enhance program accountability, and share best practices while serving as a one-stop partner more effectively and efficiently. Through research and evaluation, the OAE provided targeted technical assistance, specifically with technology, instructional design through Open Educational Resources (OER), distance learning, and ESL.
- Back to Basics Training Course
- MCCB’s Growing with Canvas
- LINCS Learning Portal:
- Integrating Technology in the AE Classroom
- Build a Lesson with OER
- Open Your Classroom with OER
- Introduction to Teacher Effectiveness & Induction
- Principles of Learning for Instructional Design
- Motivating Adult Learners to Persist
- Transforming Distance Education
- TABE Class E Administration Certificate Training
AEFLA Section 223(1)(d)
MS OAE’s monitoring procedures included analysis of data and program performance through monthly data submissions and desk reviews. Follow-up onsite visits were conducted when warranted.
During 2021-2022, Mississippi’s monitoring instrument, MS Adult Education Monitoring Tool, incorporated five (5) vital components – WIOA and State Plan Coordination, career pathways, data quality, curriculum and instructional practices, and finance. In 2021-2022, the six programs selected for on-site monitoring and classroom observations utilized the tool to guide discussion about the implementation of minimum components and other compliance requirements for providers receiving funding from the MCCB’s, Office of Adult Education.
Programs being monitored would complete the tool and provide specific evidence in each area as requested. Monitoring reports were prepared after each monitoring visit. With-in four weeks of the visit, the OAE sends a letter to the program director noting any commendations, recommendations, and findings, if applicable. If corrective action was needed, a letter outlining the timeline for reply is required from the program. Programs were given 30 days to prepare and submit a written plan of action describing the plan of resolution. State staff were assigned to ensure all plans were adhered to and non-compliance addressed in a detailed follow-up process to ensure a resolution was determined and put into effect.
Monitoring and evaluations are accomplished by multiple methods. Desktop monitoring and actual on-site review visits make up the process used to evaluate the success and/or areas for program improvement. The OAE utilizes a Desktop Monitoring Tool based on the National Reporting System (NRS) Educational Functioning Levels (EFL), Measurable Skill Gains (MSG), High School Equivalency attainment, and postsecondary education, training. Mississippi included four additional state indicators to include: 1) Posttest-rate goal, 2) Smart Start Credential attainment, 3) National Career Readiness Certificate attainment, and 4) Career Pathway enrollment.
After the completion of the desk audit, programs are contacted by phone, email, or a visit to discuss recommendations for improvement and to provide technical assistance. Programs are required to follow-up on how to increase performance in those areas. The state continues to revise and adapt new features to the compliance review and technical assistance process. Desktop monitoring is completed for all programs quarterly, at a minimum, to assist programs with staying on track and meeting the annual state performance target.
When completing formal on-site program monitoring, if it is determined a program is in noncompliance with state and federal policies related to local data management and program services, the program is placed on a Corrective Action Plan. In addition to these formal monitoring and evaluation methods, review of dashboard data and other data analysis frequently prompts targeted technical assistance of specific performance areas, which generally includes a deeper assessment/evaluation of the area being analyzed. Programs who do not meet the annual state performance target are required to complete the Desktop Monitoring Tool (https://www.mccb.edu/offices/adult-education/local_program_resources) monthly, in lieu of a Performance Improvement Plan, as well as receive intensive technical assistance.
On-site monitoring visits are formal, scheduled visits with local program providers and are on a three-year rotation cycle. These visits consist of examining the progress made in the project against the agreed upon goals set forth in the application for funds. Monitoring visits also provide an opportunity to make constructive suggestions, recommendations, learn best practices, and note areas in need of specific professional development.
Monitoring also employs systematic collection of data and on-site observations to provide stakeholders the extent of progress and achievement of objectives, proper and lawful use of funds, and compliance with federal and state policies and guidelines. On-site review visits resumed in the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
AEFLA Section 223(a)(2)
To meet the diverse needs of our students and part-time adult education programs, the Smart Start Pathway Course was created in the online format, Canvas, in spring 2019. To be able to allow students the flexibility of a hybrid or completely online atmosphere with the same high-quality learning experience, was a priority of the OAE. With the assistance of MCCB’s eLearning and Instructional Technology department as well as the OAE’s Smart Start state curriculum team, the ability to add, build, or modify digital content to enhance the student’s learning experience is quickly accomplished.
In 2018, the OAE started an initiative called Skill Up Mississippi with the full purpose to transform the mindset of adult education. Adult education is no longer only about high school equivalency preparation. Our programs focus on broader, higher-level skills students need to transition into further education and/or training or the workforce. Along with high school equivalency preparation, programs also offer the Smart Start Pathway Course, English as a Second Language classes, and Mississippi’s Integrated Education and Basic Skills Training (MIBEST).
To strengthen the message of how adult education programs are “skilling up” students, the OAE created the website, www.skillupmississippi.com. An array of information, such as community partners; an interactive map of all adult education programs; various program offerings; resources for employers; and student success stories are evidence of the OAE’s efforts to communicate adult education in Mississippi is helping individuals enhance their skills while strengthening the state’s workforce and economic development needs. During PY 21-22, pages were updated for English Language Learners, eDULT Online, and AE On Demand. AE On Demand has our podcast and video recordings of interviews with program directors, College and Career Navigators, and state staff. Fahrenheit Creative Group (FCG) provided services by developing an infographic for legislative distribution, push cards for ESL and updating the AE existing push card, and items for job fairs. They also maintained and updated the SkillUP Mississippi website. Summer conference items were designed and provided by this group.
In January 2021, the Office of Adult Education in Mississippi was able to hire an Instructional Specialist whose primary role is to create – through research and forming partnerships – a robust Online HSE program. The program is titled, eDULT Online. The course was built in Canvas – a popular Learning Management System (LMS). The first pilot launched in July 2021.
The state’s College and Career Readiness Standard’s (CCRS) Team (team of 7 instructors and 2 state staff) helped the new Instructional Specialist at the Office of Adult Education begin development of the eDULT Online.
Content courses were developed at three levels: 100, 200, and 300. Each subject, math, science, social studies, and reading language arts has its own unique course but follows a standard framework and outline over the course of seven weeks. One of the program’s key features is the eSkills Success Series Course and learner portfolio. This course serves as an orientation to becoming an online student, and additionally provides various opportunities for students to build soft skills and aids in the development of community and continuity throughout the program. Students will have the opportunity to interact with peers, coaches, and instructors in various synchronous and asynchronous formats while attaining their educational, personal, and professional goals through participation in eDULT.
Performance Data Analysis
Mississippi served 8,546 (NRS Table 2A + Table 4) undereducated and underemployed citizens in FY 2021-2022 with 5,915 students participating in basic skill instruction (NRS Tables 4). Mississippi achieved a Performance Rate (MSG) of 56.98% for program year 2021-22, exceeding the required MSG target of 50% (NRS Table 4). Effective instruction at the local level is evident by the fact that 70.23% of students who post-tested (NRS Table 4B) demonstrated an EFL gain.
Mississippi OAE works with the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) to data match for the primary indicators of performance on Table 5. Results for PY 2021-2022 participants show: 59.94% were employed second quarter after exit; 57.85% were employed fourth quarter after exit; the median earnings second quarter after exit is $3,736.00; 36.36% attained a secondary school diploma/equivalent and enrolled in postsecondary education or training within one year of exit; 34.29% attained a secondary school diploma/equivalent and were employed within one year of exit; 38.78% attained a postsecondary credential while enrolled or within one year of exit; and 42.66% attained any credential (deduplicated).
Mississippi has 82 counties with 19 local providers, accounting for over 300 classes, providing services to students in each county. Adult education did experience a decline in local staff in 2021-2022 with an overall total of 285.
Mississippi still experienced the effects of COVID-19 in the 2021-22 program year with programs navigating class site closures, limited seating, student’s lack of reliable technology, while at the same time ensuring adult learners and adult educators are acclimated to the virtual environment, specifically with coursework and assessments. Furthermore, students overcoming barriers such as transportation issues, participant attendance decreases due to inconsistent schedules with their children’s needs, or simply still having a fear of exposure, brought about decreased participation. Many programs have yet to recover in student attendance compared to pre-pandemic enrollment.
To continue the trend of performance achievement, local programs were provided target percentages for each educational functioning level (EFL) and analyzed findings on a monthly basis through the utilization of the Desktop Monitoring Tool. This allowed programs to identify specific areas in which to focus in a timely manner. Technical assistance has become strategically focused on ways to earn an MSG, components of the NRS data tables, and ways to improve performance. We encourage the use of the OAE-developed Instructor Class Monitoring Tool (https://www.mccb.edu/sites/mccb/files/Adult%20Education/Local%20Program%20Resources/Instructor_Class_Monitoring_Tool.pdf) which allows programs to disaggregate data at the classroom, instructor, and student level in order to compare their performance to the benchmarks and identify which staff members need additional support.
Important state data which is not reflected in the NRS data is the number of work ready certifications earned through adult education. Two of the state recognized certifications in Mississippi are the National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) and the Smart Start Certificate and/or Credential which aligns with our State WIOA Plan. The number of National Career Readiness Certifications (NCRC) for FY 21-22, based on the ACT Work Keys assessments, was 2,801. Also, the state awarded over 2,120 Smart Start Credentials to adult education students supporting the State’s mission of producing individuals with the necessary skills needed to be successful in the workplace as well as life.
For FY 2021-2022, students enrolled in Smart Start, specifically those below the 8th grade level, out performed classroom peers in their educational and career goals with 61.02 percent earning a MSG, as opposed to those who were not enrolled in the course with 52.32 percent MSGs.
MS OAE continues to develop reports, trainings, and resources which support local programs’ abilities to analyze performance in real-time and use data to drive instruction, retention, and transition.
Integration with One-stop Partners
Mississippi developed a career pathway model, Mississippi Works Smart Start Career Pathway Model, to outline specific steps and responsibilities with and between Combined Plan Core Partners in order to strengthen interagency partnerships. All Combined Plan Core Partners created and agreed upon a diagnostic questionnaire to assist with identifying eligible services in each core partner program and to provide wrap around resources addressing the individual’s barriers to employment/education. Based on an individual’s responses to the diagnostic questionnaire, services and resources are referred through an electronic referral process, the MS WIOA Hub. Data in the hub is exchanged between core partners ensuring all agencies are coordinated not only for the purpose of reporting and performance but also in the partner’s approach to individual case management.
The OAE has aligned adult education and literacy activities with other core programs and one-stop partners as outlined in the State plan. A requirement of all OAE local programs’ core services is to provide the state’s workforce preparation course, Smart Start Pathway Course. The 45-hour course includes instruction and activities designed to assist an individual acquire a combination of academic, critical thinking, digital literacy, and workplace discipline in order for them to successfully transition into postsecondary education and/or training or employment. It is through Smart Start, individuals learn about the different workforce areas, job sector strategies, and economic development specific to MS workforce needs. All individuals are registered in the MS Works Labor Exchange and through created profiles utilize the system to research occupations and become more aware of Mississippi career pathways.
To strengthen interagency partnerships, adult education provides a cross-trained adult education representative in the four (4) Comprehensive One-Stops (American Job Centers) as well as in several Affiliate One Stops throughout the state. Adult education assists programs with the coordination and delivery of key services within the one-stops and affiliate one stops delivery system, such as instruction, workshops, assessments, ACT WorkKeys Curriculum, ACT WorkKeys testing, Individual Training Accounts, and referral services.
In partnership with Comprehensive One-Stop and Affiliate One-Stop centers, adult education remains up-to-date with changing industry needs and measures the outcomes to realize the potential of the state’s workforce programs and delivery systems while participating in system-wide efforts to increase awareness of the Mississippi workforce system among employers and job seekers.
Adult education providers, along with other workforce area service providers, align available resources in order to achieve the strategic vision and goals of the Mississippi Works Smart Start Career Pathway Model. Participants in need of the most intensive services to become job ready are referred to adult education’s Smart Start Program. Upon completion of Smart Start and other educational/career goals, participants may transition into a career-technical/workforce training or directly into unsubsidized employment, often with assistance from the coordinating One-Stop Center. In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, 23% of adult education students received WIOA services through the One-Stop Center.
Mississippi’s vision of cooperation between workforce stakeholders is to ensure all state resources would be marshalled to improve workforce participation, meet recruitment needs of business and industry, and connect job seekers in real time with resources necessary for success. In 2021, Mississippi appointed a new state workforce agency, Accelerate MS (www.acceleratems.gov), with the responsibility to organize a platform designed to propel a unified workforce system aligning educational, training, and economic opportunities for the state’s citizens. To educate students on the identified high-demand careers and appropriate training programs in Mississippi, the OAE embedded Accelerate MS’ MS Pathfinder into the Smart Start Pathway Course. MS Pathfinder is somewhat like a one-stop online shop for finding high-demand programs outlining training needed, location of training, employment opportunities, and potential wages.
Mississippi has four (4) Local Workforce Development Areas (LWDAs) that house at least one Comprehensive One-Stop Center and several Affiliate One-Stop Centers. Comprehensive One-Stop Centers staff a member from each of the WIOA Combined Plan Partners, who can provide fully assisted services to all participants, whether it’s registering in Mississippi Works Labor Exchange; providing knowledge about individual programs; assisting with virtual, self-service access to workforce and employment resources; or providing access to education and training opportunities. Additional services are provided if determined appropriate for the participant, such as individualized career planning and counseling; internships and work experience; workforce preparation activities; adult education and literacy activities; financial literacy training; and English language classes. The LWDAs and the local adult education programs establish MOUs and infrastructure funding agreements for the region in which they oversee services.
Unlike the Comprehensive One-Stop Centers, Affiliate One-Stop Centers do not require a staff representative from all of the WIOA Combined Plan Partners; however, the Affiliate must include at least two Combined Plan Partner Programs, which for a majority, an adult education program is on-site.
Below are examples of services provided in each LWDA:
Training services are available through the One-Stop Centers in the Delta area, one in particular specialized training, such as electrical utility lineman training. Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC) adult participants are eligible to enroll in the electrical utility lineman training while working on their high school equivalency at the same time. MDCC has adult education classes in the One-Stop Center as well as promotes opportunities for education and training through initiatives such as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s financial assistance for low-income and working families.
Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC) is the One-Stop Operator for five counties providing convenient and easy access to services in areas such as employment, education, training, human services, and economic development. NEMCC created the new department, Division of Workforce Training and Economic Development, combining partners, Adult Education, Workforce Development, the One-Stop Center, and Continuing Education, in order to align services and resources to better connect adult learners to careers. For example, NEMCC's short-term Structural Welding course is an approved training on the Eligible Training Provider's List (ETPL) with the One-Stop Center and adult learners have the opportunity to apply for financial assistance once selected to the training. The Structural Welding course is designed to provide specific industry training and stacked credentials required at all manufacturers in NEMCC's district.
Twin Districts Region
COVID required programs to provide innovative ways to introduce students to various training opportunities that align to industry standards. Through Online Workforce College (OWC) (https://onlineworkforcecollege.com/), local adult education provider, Jones College, embedded specific career pathway opportunities into the Smart Start class that align to specific industry needs of one of the LWDA’s largest employers. OWC allows students, of all educational levels, to gain work ready skills and digital badges, in a self-paced, online-format, designed by industry leaders.
Southcentral Mississippi Works Region
Hinds Community College’s Adult Education program, overseeing the WIOA program in three (3) local One-Stop Centers, provides employment training for adults, dislocated workers, and youth. The One-Stop Center provides federal aid to support an Individual Training Account (ITA) to qualifying adult education students attending approved Career-Technical Programs at Hinds Community College. Programs such as Banking and Finance; Diesel Equipment; Industrial Maintenance; Computer Network; Healthcare Data; and many others can be found on the One-Stop Center’s website at https://etpl.mdes.ms.gov/FrmSearchHome.aspx.
Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education
IELCE Funds and grants
The OAE held a competition for IELCE funds in combination with the competition for AEFLA funds using the same Request for Application. Two programs were approved and received multi-year grants for Section 243 funds.
Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE) are education services provided to English language learners who are adults, including professionals with degrees or credentials in their native countries, that enable such adults to achieve competency in the English language and acquire the basic and more advanced skills needed to function effectively as parents, workers, and citizens in the United States. IELCE services must include instruction the literacy and English language acquisition and instruction on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and civic participation, and may include workforce training.
Programs meet the requirement to use funds for integrated English literacy and civics education in combination WITH integrated education and training activities by either:
- co-enrolling participants in integrated education and training, as described in 34 CFR Subpart D, provided within the local or regional workforce development area from sources other than Title II Section 243; or
- using funds provided under Title II Section 243 to support integrated education and training activities as described in 34 CFR Subpart D
During PY 21, training was provided to all ESL teachers in regards to Section 243. During intake, all ESL students were introduced to their College and Career Navigator and received detailed information on the IET programs available at their respective locations. Students were given the opportunity to tour IET programs to get a feel for the skills they would learn and a better understanding of the specific job sector aligned to those skills as well as the beginning rate of pay. Push cards were developed in Spanish, which is the main language for our ESL students, to promote the services offered. Students at Hinds Community College participated in field trips to the Museum of Mississippi History, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the state capital to enhance civil education instruction. For the upcoming program year, students will be exposed to local business and industry by inviting those leaders to speak or field trips to the facilities.
IELCE Section 243(c)(1)
Students are enrolled in the Smart Start Course where they receive instruction on basic skills and workforce preparation. The 45-hour course includes instruction and activities designed to assist an individual acquire a combination of academic, critical thinking, digital literacy, and workplace discipline in order for them to successfully transition into postsecondary education and/or training or employment. It is through Smart Start, individuals learn about the different workforce areas, job sector strategies, and economic development specific to MS workforce needs. All individuals are registered in the MS Works Labor Exchange and through created profiles utilize the system to research occupations and become more aware of Mississippi career pathways.
These students also work closely with a College and Career Navigator (CCN). The role of the CCN has proven to increase student retention and goal attainment for students enrolled in adult education as well as students enrolled in an IELCE program. All adult education programs are required to employ at least one (1) CCN; however, because this position provides intensive, individual, on-going case management, larger programs or sites with multiple campuses, may need to increase the number of navigators to ensure all students receive the guidance and support to be successful in the program. The CCN also provides on-demand assistance to mitigate barriers as they arise to ensure students have access to support services and are able to continue in their program of study.
IELCE Section 243(c)(2)
In addition, the navigator and the program director work with CORE Partners to refer and place students in jobs related to their field of study. In collaboration with the State Workforce Investment Board and the Local Workforce Development Boards, we have expanded opportunities for Work-Based Learning, Internships and Apprenticeships. Students are introduced to career pathways at the local community college that prepare them for high demand jobs in the top job sectors of the state. It is challenging to enroll the ESL students into career pathways because: they often enroll only with the goal of learning to read and speak English better ; and a large majority are undocumented and can not enroll in college.
Adult Education Standards
To align to the Mississippi K-12 Common Core standards, the OAE adopted the CCRS Adult Education standards and created a statewide CCRS implementation team consisting of adult education instructors, local program directors and state staff who participated in CCRS Standards-in-Action Training led by LINCS Trainers on how to implement standards in Mississippi. To ensure the sustainability of standards-based instruction throughout the state, the OAE had established a train-the-trainer model. Due to restrictions from the pandemic, the CCRS team inevitably had to pivot and adjust from the original course of action.
Pre-COVID, there were ambitions to develop an online high school equivalency course to mitigate barriers that were prohibiting adult learners across the state from earning their high school diploma. The Office of Adult Education sought funding to create a position to spearhead the initiative which was a perfect solution when COVID hit, reaffirming the need for the program to be developed. The instructional specialist brought on to develop and design the program was aided by the CCRS team.
Course blueprints were researched and designed based on the CCRS and TABE 11/12 blueprints by the instructional specialist in conjunction with the CCRS team. Following the course outlines, content was developed for the 300 level courses in all major subjects – reading language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Instructors from the CCRS team were then trained to facilitate courses for the pilot of eDULT Online which launched in July 2021.
Additionally, negotiations began for the development of two CCRS foundations courses to be a focal point for adult education professional development in 2022. The two courses, one for English Language Arts and one for Mathematics, were developed with assistance from the CCRS Team and are housed within the Canvas LMS. A small group of teachers took the courses to determine if any changes needed to be made. These courses are complete and will be the cornerstones for refreshing instructional practices professional development in the next program year.
Six additional instructors were added to the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) state team. The team participated in the national Standards in Action Curriculum Review training. The CCRS team helped with development of the eDULT Online 300 and 200 level courses. This team also developed training videos to be included in the Standards Foundational Canvas courses.
The teams reviewed an ELA and Math adult education curriculum and shared the results with the state’s adult education programs. This team gave an overview of the Foundational courses and the lessons learned from the Curriculum Review training during the state summer conference. The team will adapt the national training and will train staff from each program in the state on curriculum review next program year.
Programs for Corrections Education (AEFLA Section 225)
The state’s current 36-month recidivism rate is 34.2% (based on FY2019 releases). MDOC tracks recidivism based on the number of inmates returning with a 3-year period. The majority of probationers were African-Americans at 51.74% (13,669) compared to Caucasians at 46.47% (12,276). African-Americans comprised the majority of parolees at 56.93% (4,619) compared to Caucasians at 42.18% (3,422). As of December 8th, there were 773 inmates having less than 180 days until flat-time; another 8,081 are candidates for discretionary release through parole and earned release supervision (ERS) within the next 12 months. This information is for all offenders in the state, and is not a representative for only those served in adult education.
Adult Education services are provided to offenders at the three state facilities: Parchman, Central MS Correctional Facility, and South MS Correctional Institution. In addition to these facilities, local programs provide adult education services in seven county/regional correctional facilities. An offender is any individual who is charged with or convicted of any criminal offence.