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Narrative Report for New Hampshire 2021

State Leadership Funds - Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) Section 223

State Leadership Funds (Adult education and family literacy act Section 223 (AEFLA))

Describe how the State has used funds made available under section 223 (State Leadership activities) for each the following:

AEFLA Section 223(1)(a)

Alignment of adult education and literacy activities with other one-stop required partners to implement the strategies in the Unified or Combined State Plan as described in section 223(1)(a)

The State has used State Leadership funds in combination with state funds to align adult education and literacy activities to implement the following strategies in the Combined State Plan.

STRATEGY 1.1 Employ proven strategies for marketing and outreach that target audiences (e.g. small and medium-sized businesses, sector-specific stakeholders, long-term unemployed individuals, underemployed individuals, youth, etc.).

STRATEGY 1.2 Work with community-based organizations, libraries, schools, and partners’ networks to promote services of NH Works and its partners to individuals and youth.

During 2021 -2022, the Bureau of Adult Education launched a statewide recruitment campaign that included the use of photos and stories from several adult education students to create a contemporary look with consistent messaging featuring the I Can/Can’t Learn and Learn English tag lines. Four featured students represented different ages, ethnic backgrounds, genders and adult education programs.

The campaign included print materials that were distributed to all NH Works partners as well as a variety of other community service agencies, schools and local employers. Additionally, the statewide website was overhauled with the new look, pages were streamlined for easier access to information and animated videos were produced for a variety of audiences.

STRATEGY 2.1 Identify and define workforce development policy priorities for which the State Innovation Workforce Board can advocate among State decisions makers (e.g. workforce housing, transportation, benefits cliff, etc.).

STRATEGY 2.2 Continue supporting and strengthening the talent development system partnerships though professional development, peer-to-peer contact, data sharing, and communication.

As a member of the NH Works Consortium (a standing committee of the State Workforce Innovation Board and the one-stop operator for New Hampshire), the State Director participates in quarterly meetings for joint planning, resource alignment and brainstorming how to overcome barriers. She also attends and contributes at the SWIB meetings. This year, policy priorities included workforce housing and addressing the benefits cliff. The State Director shared the data, policy recommendations and resources with local providers.

The Consortium also guides the work of the Professional Development Team, an interagency team that provides state-level capacity building and planning to enhance customer service across the NH Works system through coordination of partner agency training opportunities to reduce duplication, leverage existing training resources and to affect system efficiencies, as well as plan, develop and implement staff training opportunities. The priority project for 2021 - 2022 was to re-establish the team, which had been impacted by significant staffing changes during the pandemic and to prioritize updating the onboarding process for new system staff.

At the local level, NH Employment Security restructured and restarted quarterly regional WIOA partner meetings which had been suspended during the pandemic. These meetings provide a regular opportunity for local regional staff to network, improve communication and the share resources in the six regional areas of the NH Works system. Local adult education providers are regular attendees at these meetings.

STRATEGY 3.1 Leverage current industry-driven sector partnerships throughout the state and support their expansion.

STRATEGY 3.2 Continue the collaborative business services strategies by engaging additional partners and formalizing information sharing protocols.

STRATEGY 3.3 Engage locally with economic development to ensure the systems are aligned and operate from an up-to-date understanding of in-demand sectors and occupations with regular sector analysis at the state and local levels.

STRATEGY 3.4 Provide the talent development system with data analytics that provide in-depth analysis of national, state, and local labor market information.

STRATEGY 3.5 Explore ways to collect data that would allow for tracking metrics that currently do not exist (e.g. non-degree credential attainment).

Starting in 2021-2022, an adult education State staff member was assigned to the Interagency Business Team, the subcommittee of the SWIB responsible for coordinating and aligning services to employers at the state and local levels. Her participation increases the Bureau’s ability to facilitate communication and promote information sharing across multiple business networks. Additionally, she meets with the sector initiative liaisons to identify employer needs, facilitate employer connections for local adult education providers and increase awareness of adult education services.

NH Employment Security developed a labor market information video course that is a required component of the NH Works staff onboarding process including adult education program directors.

STRATEGY 4.1 Work with the network of the state’s community colleges and other post-secondary education institutions to expand best practices related to flexible, business-driven training and education.

STRATEGY 4.2 Work with public and private K-12 education, career and technical education, adult education, post-secondary education, and business to promote career pathways for in-demand sectors and occupations to students in the talent pipeline.

STRATEGY 4.3 Coordinate with other state agency and partners to support talent attraction and retention actions including advocacy, resource dedication, subject matter expertise, etc.

STRATEGY 4.4 Develop an inclusive talent pipeline by creating targeted strategies for working with under-represented populations, such as seniors, veterans, immigrants, refugees, etc.

During FY22, the State Director leveraged the existing relationship with the community college system to initiate a discussion on developing a coordinated state plan to implement Ability to Benefit, to increase access to postsecondary education for adult education students prior to completion of a secondary credential.

To increase access to career pathways for adult education students, the Bureau, along with the Bureau of Career Development, contracted with the National Center for College & Career Transitions to embark on a two-year project to develop a model and pilot a program that integrates adult education services and the occupational skills training provided at the regional Career & Tech Ed centers operating under Perkins V. An advisory committee with wide representation from adult education, career & tech ed and sector partners was formed to create the model and the pilot is anticipated to start in January, 2023. The Bureau of Career Development also provides access for adult education to a statewide, online career exploration tool and a work-based learning consultant to promote career pathways.

State Adult Education Staff participated in the IET Design Camp in 2021-2022 along with professional development and local staff. The training will be replicated and offered for a wider pool of local providers during 2022-2023. The purpose of this project is to increase capacity for Integrated Education & Training programs as well as to coordinate with other NH Works partners and employers to promote career pathways for in-demand sectors and occupations.

STRATEGY 5.1 Expand the infrastructure for businesses and individuals to pursue work-based learning opportunities along the full spectrum of options (internships, apprenticeship, work experiences, etc.).

  • 5.1.A Map the existing resources and assets to support work-based learning in New Hampshire.
  • 5.1.B Continue to assess business interest in work-based learning and the ideal engagement strategies from the businesses’ perspectives .
  • 5.1.C Determine the most appropriate way(s) to link resources from various programs and partners to offer full spectrum of work-based learning opportunities.

STRATEGY 5.2 Simplify process and procedures for businesses and individuals to navigate the workforce development system by simplifying language and avoiding acronyms and “system lingo” and streamlining access to work-and-learn opportunities and other system services.

STRATEGY 5.3 Ensure career pathways include opportunities to develop foundational skills.

  •  5.3.A Maintain adult education as an entry-point to career pathways for individuals who have not previously earned their high school diploma or the equivalent.
  •  5.3.B Utilize WorkReadyNH and/or similar programs for individuals in need of soft skill/employability skill development.
  •  5.3.C Continue the expansion of sector-based industry specific training credentials.

The Bureau has worked closely with the Community College System of New Hampshire, who was awarded multiple apprenticeship grants to promote connections with apprenticeship opportunities for  adult education students. 

Work-based learning opportunities have posed a challenge in the adult education field because of employers’ liability insurance concerns. The Bureau is working closely with the work-based learning specialist at the Bureau of Career Development to ensure that these opportunities are available for adult learners. Under the Ed rules, adult diploma programs have the option to award academic credit, based on local policy, for work experience, apprenticeship and on-the-job training.

All NH Works partners are aware that adult education is an entry point to career pathways for individual who do not have a high school diploma or equivalency. There is a formal procedure for TANF recipients without a secondary school credential to be referred to adult education services and the Bureau is actively working with other partners such as Employment Security to systematically identify and refer appropriate clients to adult education services.

Several adult education programs offer access to the WorkReady program at their locations.

AEFLA Section 223(1)(b)

Establishment or operation of a high-quality professional development programs as described in section 223(1)(b)

The State has used State Leadership funds and state funds for the establishment and operation of a high-quality professional development program through a contract with Second Start, a private nonprofit educational organization. The contract is primarily funded with State Funds. The Statewide Director of Professional Development works closely with the Bureau staff to identify needs across the system, create a comprehensive delivery system and collect data regarding participation and impact of activities.

New Hampshire has had a long-established practice of providing professional development through a centralized system. This allows adult education practitioners at small local programs to access the same high-quality services as those employed at larger programs. Additionally, the system inherently supports collaborative learning across programs and geographic regions by creating a cross section of practitioners at each PD activity. There were 451 discrete adult educators who participated in more than 3,600 hours of professional development and technical assistance during 2021-2022.

The Mentor team, a group of experienced adult educators with expertise in specific content, provided more than 295 hours of targeted, individualized mentoring services for local practitioners across the state. This includes working with new staff to acclimate to the adult education system; providing classroom observations and instructional recommendations; assisting with using Canvas with students; and supporting instructors with meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities in the classroom.

The State strives to operate a high-quality professional development system that utilizes the most rigorous research, evidenced based practices, promising practices/models identified at the state and national levels through a flexible delivery system to allow accessibility for the large number of (very) part-time adult educators in New Hampshire. Both the PD Director and the State Director consciously model good instructional practices during all PD and TA sessions including universal design, interactive activities, HyFlex options, gamification, EdTech tools and more. PD sessions are intentionally designed for participants to walk away with materials/resources/strategies that can be immediately implemented in the classroom.

This year, all PD was moved to the statewide Canvas learning management system to promote greater access to opportunities for practitioners. All PD sessions were delivered either in-person or through a video streaming program. The PD system is moving toward a HyFlex model, allowing the practitioner to choose to attend in in-person, online or asynchronously. All trainings and resources are recorded and posted for unlimited access. Specific courses are developed based on roles and tasks. For example, there is a course for Counselors that includes the Career Navigator course in an asynchronous online format, resources for career counseling and technical assistance for working on barrier to attendance with participants. This system is used to share models and promising practices across the state – such as sharing adult diploma program course syllabi and sample intake forms from other states.

In FY22, highlighted professional development activities included:

  • STAR Training- provided training for an additional national trainer, and the two national trainers administered a complete STAR training course for six adult ed practitioners incorporating the essential components of reading.
  • SIA Curriculum Review Cohort 1 – attended by the Professional Development Director, two local program directors, and three local staff were guided through the rigorous evaluation of the alignment for the Civics Fundamental Course from to the College & Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education. As a follow up, the team submitted some recommendations to the publisher for increasing the alignment of the curriculum to be better suited for use in adult education programs nationwide.
  • IET Design Boot Camp – attended by one State Staff, one Professional Development Director and two local program directors and two local instructors resulted in the adaption of the training materials to be offered during the 2022-2023 program year.
  • Building an EdTech Tool Kit Strategy with World Education –Professional Development Director and three local practitioners earned credentials from this course. Participants will be disseminating this strategy during FY23 through presentations at the annual conference.
  • National Training Institute – attended by the Professional Development Director, the Program Director Mentor and the State Director.
  • SIA 2.0 EL Virtual Training – completed by three adult ed practitioners. One of the graduates hosted a monthly discussion group to disseminate instructional strategies. There are eleven regular attendees at those meetings.
  • Teaching the Skills that Matter – as a part of the sustainability plan, a graduate provided statewide training for an additional six adult ed practitioners. Additional activities are planned for FY23.

The professional development system also includes statewide membership in COABE, ProLiteracy, IDEAL Consortium and the New England Literacy Resource Center. There are numerous professional development opportunities provided as a part of these memberships. In FY22, the ProLiteracy membership was leveraged to provide standardized, self-paced, online training program for volunteer literacy tutors. This is supplemented by a mentor, an experienced adult educator who specializes in this area, through quarterly meetings and providing one-on-one mentoring services.

Several NH adult ed practitioners had an opportunity to learn about models and promising practices from other states by attending the national COABE conference, the IDEAL Summer Institute and the NH Adult Education Conference. This year’s topic at the NH conference was increasing digital equity and access and featured Priyanka Sharma from World Education’s TechEd Center as a keynote speaker.

Promising practices, research-based content and models are also disseminated on a monthly basis through various communication channels including the Canvas AE-practitioners group, a monthly newsletter and through statewide training sessions.

Extensive training on Zoom, Canvas, and distance learning software (Burlington English, Essential Education, Aztec, Edmentum and NorthStar Digital) seems to have improved instructional quality resulting in increased measurable skill gain and an increase in the average number of instructional hours despite fewer enrolled participants. Even though adult education programs were still operating in a primarily online format due to the continuation of COVID-19 protocols, instructors who were able to adapt to online learning were able to engage their participants effectively and participants were able to demonstrate improved skills.

Training was also provided on assessments including remote and online proctoring; using diagnostic tools in LACES to determine when to administer assessments; and interpreting and using student profiles from the assessment publisher to inform instruction.

AEFLA Section 223(1)(c)

Provision of technical assistance to funded eligible providers as described in section 223(1)(c)

The dissemination of practices based on research for reading, writing, speaking, math, and ELA is described under the professional development system. These activities accounted for 151 hours of training provided to 164 adult education practitioners including Improving Reading Instruction with Research-Based Instructional Techniques, Engaging the Text, and Teaching the Skills that Matter,

The role as a one stop partner to provide access to employment, education and training services was provided through multiple trainings and meetings including quarterly WIOA partner meetings; targeted training for Counselors on facilitation postsecondary transitions to education and training; and Workforce Development Resources for Adult Ed Students. Additionally, NH Works sponsored training services and job fairs are highlighted in the monthly newsletter.

A total of 72 discrete adult education practitioners, representing 21 different programs, were provided with more than 70 hours of technical assistance on the use of technology especially the use of technology to improve system efficiencies. This included extensive LACES and Canvas training. Other activities included Building an EdTech Strategy, Ed Tools of Engagement, EdTech Survival 101 and computer-based assessment testing.

State Leadership funds are used to support a Program Specialist IV in the State Office. This staff member, along with the State Director, provide the majority of technical assistance activities including convening multiple role-specific groups every other month.

  • Data Entry Group – local program specialists responsible for data entry, data quality and the quarterly reports. During FY22, this group focused on collecting SSNs in preparation for data matching; improving data quality on the quarterly reports; identifying participants eligible for post-testing; training on new features in LACES; and refining the end of year processes.
  • Counselor Group – local counselors responsible for working with participants on barriers to attendance, transitions to postsecondary education/training and/or employment and making referrals to community social services and/or WIOA partners for additional support. During FY22, this group focused on creating career development plans; increasing access to housing, child care and technology; promoting apprenticeship opportunities; designing a smooth transition between adult education programs to ensure year-round programming.
  • Intake & Assessment Group – local staff responsible for completing the intake process including assessment administration. During FY22, this group focused on tracking co-enrollment in other WIOA programs; collecting data on access to technology and internet services; revising the Intake process using guidance from AIR; training on administering assessments remotely; exploring managed versus open enrollment models; and improving post-testing rates.
  • Program Director Group – local program directors responsible for administer adult education programs. During FY22, this group focused on understanding federal reporting, practices for effective program administration, and how to use data for program improvement.
  • Regional Meetings – program directors met in regional groups twice to explore cross-region or shared staffing positions to increase programmatic and fiscal efficiencies in response to staffing shortages due to the pandemic.

The State Director also convenes Open Office Hours every other month. This is an open discussion forum and an opportunity for Program Directors to bring their questions, ask for recommendations from other program directors and share best practices. The Program Specialist publishes a monthly newsletter that includes upcoming professional development and technical assistance opportunities; updates on federal initiatives, funding, rules and policies changes; WIOA partner programming and reporting requirements; featured topics for LACES and the Grants Management System; highlights of student and/or program accomplishments; and a list of upcoming deadlines. She provides a monthly overview of the newsletter in an online webinar that is also recorded and posted in Canvas.

Special technical assistance activities included:

  • NRS Table Overview to increase understanding of the data flow process, state and local performance rates and improve data quality.
  • NH Data Institute was a three day training provided by the LACES national trainer designed for multiple user levels from beginner through advanced.
  • Training on how to complete the Quarterly Reports and End of Year Checklists
  • Canvas training including onboarding into the system, support and mentoring for the field for the adoption of Canvas, strategies to utilize Canvas in a way that program directors can role model for their practitioners. Assistance was also provided directly to instructors for creating courses and using Canvas with their participants.
  • Outreach Campaign Launch and Training – A communications contractor conducted multiple focus groups and interviews to develop a statewide recruitment campaign designed to address declining enrollment during the pandemic. They also provided multiple sessions and technical assistance to local providers on aligning local websites to the statewide campaign, using social media, email marketing, telling a digital story and using web site analytics to inform outreach activities.

Canvas is also used extensively to provide additional, on-demand, technical assistance. There is a specific course for each of the above-mentioned groups that contains modules for the recordings, resources and notes from all meetings, additional resources on appropriate topics, written instructions, discussion boards and video training clips.

AEFLA Section 223(1)(d)

Monitoring and evaluation of the quality and improvement of adult education activities as described in section 223(1)(d)

In 2021-2022, the State Office revamped its Risk Assessment and Monitoring Protocol to better align with the categories outlined in the competition conducted in 2020. The Risk Assessment was conducted in January, 2021 and five adult education centers chosen for on-site monitoring. In accordance with the new policy, pre-visit meetings were conducted in March and April to prepare for on-site visits. Documentation was collected during the same time period and on-site visits were conducted in April and May. Final reporting was completed in June.

The implementation of the revised policy and documents provided an opportunity for the State staff to reinforce activities that lead to program improvement in addition to the required compliance elements. Prior to the release of the Risk Assessment, the State Office convened all program directors to review the rationale behind the changes and compliance expectations. This provided for robust discussion among Program Directors and a renewed interest in some federal initiatives that were highlighted as being a priority for the State Office. For example, there was an increase in the number of local practitioners interested in pursuing STAR certification and there was a request for an online, asynchronous training on the College & Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education.

The on-site monitoring visits confirmed some of the concerns that the State Office had already identified prior to and during the Risk Assessment process. The visits with directors and staff provided an opportunity to explore ways that the State Office could provide additional support and resources to assist programs with meeting their requirements. For example, one ESL program was experiencing challenges with pre-testing within the required time frame due to continuing COVID restrictions, lack of staffing and a reliance on paper-based testing. They also did not have a designated staff person responsible for intake and assessment which has been identified as a promising practice in other NH programs. During the monitoring process, the center was able to identify a designated staff person for intake and assessment as well as begin the process of moving to computer-based and remote proctored assessment testing.

FY22 was the first full year of mandatory quarterly reporting. This new requirement was added after realizing that the State did not have a mechanism in place to measure pre- and post-pandemic participation or measurable skill gains. With a full year of quarterly data collected as submitted by each center, program directors and other staff are required to review their data regularly. Extensive training was provided on pulling the correct data and identifying anomalies. All quarterly reports were reviewed and compared to statewide data to identify both data quality issues and data trends over time. Feedback and guidance for corrections was provided within two weeks. Common errors were identified and technical assistance provided for improving data quality through Data Entry Specialist meetings, Program Director meetings and resources posted in Canvas. Program directors frequently engage in discussions sharing how they use data to provide instruction and overall program efficiencies. Moving forward, the State staff will create a dashboard for center by center comparisons and provide technical assistance on data analysis.

Other monitoring and evaluation activities include:

  • Desk monitoring conducted regularly using multiple diagnostic tools within the data system
  • Review of integration error logs from data integration for DRC for assessment results and HiSET scores. The Program Specialist works directly with the local providers to make corrections each month.
    • This close monitoring led to identification of a local program that needed assistance with using the automated scoring software from DRC to increase accuracy and save time.
  • Monitoring the usage of statewide distance learning software including Aztec, Burlington English, Essential Education and Edmentum courseware. Usage data is compared to instructional hours entered in the data system to ensure the accuracy of instructional hour reporting. In the future, the State will implement a process to determine the impact of usage on measurable skill gains.
    • As a result of the data reviewed, the State office identified one local provider with a large number of instructional hours using Burlington English which resulted in a significant increase in that provider’s measurable skill gain in FY22. The program director and her promising practice of using BE with every student was featured during a Director’s meeting. This led to a change in practice for several other programs in FY23.

The State office is working on additional ways to collect data on groups of participants using specific instructional strategies such as those from the STAR evidence-based reading program and the Teaching Skills that Matter program in order to determine the impact of using these strategies and identify programs or instructors who can share best practices.

AEFLA Section 223(a)(2)

As applicable, describe how the State has used funds for additional permissible activities described in section 223(a)(2)

The State has used funds, both federal and state to support the following permissible activities:

  1. Support for the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC) – NH has continued its membership in NELRC using this resource for expanded professional development and technical assistance as well as regular opportunities to learn about promising practices and models from other New England states. This membership also includes a subscription to The Change Agent which is used extensively in NH adult education classrooms to provide CCR aligned reading materials, differentiated lesson plans and the unique opportunity for program participants to have their own writing published.
  2. Implementation of technology has been highlighted under professional development and technical assistance. NH offers multiple statewide licenses for educational technology designed to supplement in-person instruction.
  3. Developing and disseminating curricula is provided through the Earn & Learn grant. This grant provides a stipend to instructors to create sharable instructional materials, including those incorporating the essential components of reading. In FY22, the focus of this grant was to promote the adaptation of existing curricula materials to an online format in Canvas.
  4. Funds were used to support State staff and program directors participating in the IET Design Camp.
  5. State funds were used to support a statewide Outreach campaign including branded print materials, social media tools, animated videos and an overhaul of the existing NH Adult Education website.
  6. Covid relief funds were used to support a statewide, completely online English as a Second Language pilot program targeted for parents of English language learners in the K-12 system. This pilot was designed in coordination with the K-12 EL coordinators in the school districts because it was determined that these parents were not accessing adult education services. In addition to ESL instruction, the pilot provides workshops designed by the EL coordinators to assist with understanding the American school system, how to assist children with applying to college and accessing community supports.
Performance Data Analysis

Performance Data Analysis

Describe how the adult education program performed in the overall assessment of core programs based on the core indicators of performance. Discuss how the assessment was used to improve quality and effectiveness of the funded eligible providers and any plans to further increase performance in future reporting years.

The State office performed an overall assessment of adult education and literacy activities by examining the NRS Tables from the last three years as well as comparing the NH data to that of other states. It was determined that NH still falls below the median level as compared to other states. More importantly, there are significant performance differences between local providers.

The State used this assessment to determine that multiple performance measures are impacted by enrollment, assessment testing and transition services. Trending information and targeted assistance was used to improve the quality and effectiveness of local providers and will continue in the future.

Enrollment Trends

During the pandemic, local programs experienced an overall decline in enrollment of 37.8%. As programs started to return to in-person classes and provided increased access to distance learning options, enrollment has started to rebound with a 30.5% increase in FY22. Enrollment has not returned to pre-pandemic numbers because of an unprecedented labor market issue – not enough workers to fill vacant positions. During the pandemic, large groups of residents in the 18 – 25 and the 60+ age groups left the workforce and had not returned by June 30, 2022. With the very low unemployment rate of 2.4%, employers have responded by increasing wages for entry level positions (i.e. $23/hour at McDonalds) and removing educational requirements in order to attract employees. It is very likely that potential participants are prioritizing employment over education. Many employees are working longer hours to cover staffing shortages. This impacts adult education enrollment as indicated by the lack of rebounding to pre-pandemic enrollment and the increase in the percent of reportable individuals from 28% in FY20 to 37% in FY22. The State has addressed this with two major initiatives:

  1. Statewide recruitment campaign
  2. Overhaul of Intake process

The State launched a statewide recruitment campaign in 2021-2022 designed to target participants who had previously stopped out as well as new participants. The State employed the use of different and enhanced recruitment strategies such as social media, an updated website with a built-in translator, and postcards provided to employers to distribute to eligible employees. This will continue in FY23 through the launch of an online course catalog and direct access contact button added to the statewide website to assist potential participants with identifying local services and making self-referral to local programs easier. The State also hopes to add an online registration option in FY24.

The State identified a weak intake system as a potential cause for lack of persistence. Extensive work was started in FY22 on examining and overhauling the intake process. This included conducting a self-assessment; examining intake models from Indiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Nevada and Wyoming; and exploring research from Laura Weisel (Align and Design), Lennox McClendon and Kathi Polis (Guide for Effective Student Intake), and NELRC’s Persistence Project. The work will be continued in FY23 with the goal of implementing stronger intake process in FY24.

Assessment Testing

During the pandemic, the State Office provided additional assessment delivery systems, extensive support for instructors to transition to remote instruction and access to increased options for distance learning activities. Even though local adult education programs served fewer participants, the measurable skill gain rate for FY21 exceeded pre-pandemic rates. In FY22, the State promoted continuation of those activities developed during the pandemic and anticipated a similar or higher MSG rate. However, the MSG rate actually declined even though the number of participants increased. The State has identified two potential causes for this decrease:

  1. Decrease in the posttesting rate
  2. Decrease in the average number of instructional hours

During FY21, there was targeted assistance provided for tracking participants eligible for posttesting in various role specific groups. Local programs were advised to move from an end of year assessment model to posttesting when participants are eligible and ready. This positioned the State to avoid another dramatic drop in the posttesting rate and measurable skill gain similar to the one at the end of FY20 due to the inability to do assessment testing during the first months of the pandemic. The posttesting rate was 40% by the end of FY21.

This upward trend should have continued in FY22, but it did not and the posttesting rate fell to 36% which included an 8% drop in ESL and 4% drop in ABE. Several potential causes have been determined:

  1. Many ASE participants are pre-tested, but not posttested because it is anticipated that they will earn a high school equivalency certificate. If they do not earn the certificate by the end of the program year, the opportunity to measure their progress toward that goal is not captured.
    1. To avoid this in the future, the State will issue guidance that posttesting be administered if the participant will not complete the high school equivalency exam by the end of the year.
  2. Participants are not gaining enough instructional hours to be eligible for posttesting.
    1. To avoid this in the future, the State will continue to promote increased instructional hours (see below) through year-round programming and the access to and use of distance learning and/or hybrid models to counter the impact of barriers to attendance.
  3. Participants are not available for posttesting.
    1. To avoid this in the future, the State will continue to promote the use of remote-proctored assessment testing to increase access for to posttesting for participants who are not physically able to get to a center.
  4. Lack of posttesting impacts measurable skill gains
    1. During FY21, the State experienced an increase of 89.6% increase in MSG. This was due in part to the lack of posttesting at the end of FY20 due to the pandemic, but it was also higher than pre-pandemic MSG. It was anticipated that this upward trend would continue in FY22, but that was not the case. There was actually an alarming drop of 17.7%.  As mentioned previously, this may be a cause of a drop in the posttesting rate and/or the drop in the average number of instructional hours. The State recognizes that there may be other contributing factors and therefore will be conducting a deeper dive into the data to determine the following:
      1. Why was there such a large MSG increase in FY21 and could it be related to serving fewer participants with better quality?
      2. Was there a different pool of participants who attended and achieved in FY21 than in the previous (or subsequent) years?
      3. The post-testing rate was higher during the first year of the pandemic despite the lack of in-person services. Why would it decrease when programs returned to in-person services?
      4. Using the materials from the FY23 NRS Regional Training on Enrollment Data, the State is continuing to analyze the differences between FY21, FY22 and eventually FY23 to examine enrollment, posttesting and MSG by educational functioning level, age, ethnic/racial background and other factors.

There was a decrease in the average number of instructional hours from 71.7 in FY21 to 66.4 in FY22 despite a requirement for summer programming in each region, a concentrated effort on referring participants between adult education centers to access summer programming, the continuation of hybrid instruction and increase use of distance learning software.

  1. Not all local providers are offering year-round services or enough instructional hours for a participant to make sufficient progress.
    1. For many programs, the annual adult education grant is not sufficient to cover the costs of year-round programming. In FY22, the State facilitated a series of Regional Meetings to ensure that summer programming was available and to establish a process for a smooth transition between local centers for participants to access summer programming.
      1. In the future, the State will require that year-round programming be offered at all adult education centers. More importantly, the proposed schedule must include a minimum number of hours to ensure that participants can make sufficient progress during the program year.
    2. The State will also provide guidance on alternative funding options to decrease the reliance of local providers on adult education funds only.
  2. Many programs experienced significant staff shortages during FY22 resulting in a reduction in the number of available instructional hours.
    1. Most NH adult practitioners work part-time, some as few as 4 - 6 hours per week. In a very tight job market, fewer qualified individuals are willing to work for the low wages and the few hours available. This is compounded by varying wage scales depending on the local school district or community-based provider.
      1. The State will continue to advocate for shared staff positions between adult education centers to allow staff to move toward full-time, benefited employment.
      2. The State will continue to encourage the development of consortia to share costs and staffing across regions by including this option in the next competition.
      3. A longer-term goal for the State is to establish a career pathway for individuals to enter into the field of adult education. This could include training former participants to provide instruction for current participants.
    2. In the past, the use of volunteer literacy tutors expanded access to adult education services for participants in rural areas and/or with other barriers to attendance at a local center. Recruitment for volunteers during the pandemic has been extremely difficult. Historically, these positions have been filled by retired individuals, but many of those individuals are either not comfortable with remote instruction or are fearful of in-person contact due to the pandemic.
      1. The State is actively working to identify new potential volunteers through postsecondary institutions and other volunteer organizations.
  3. The current adult education system is not meeting the needs of participants by offering flexible scheduling for attending while working.
    1. FY22 was the first year that the State Office received inquiries from local employers about offering on-site adult education classes. The employers were provided with direct contacts in local adult education centers, but no workplace literacy programs had been implemented by the end of FY22.
      1. The State will develop a model, policies and guidance for the development of workplace literacy programs that includes alternative funding from the Granite Invest program (training funds for incumbent workers) and/or the employer.
    2. For the long-term, the State is working on a strategic planning process that includes participant focus groups. This may assist with better defining participant needs.
    3. Also for the long-term, the State will explore models used in other state such as providing stipends for attending classes through the WIOA Youth or other WIOA Title I programs.

Transition Services

The State has examined performance outcomes for employment and the credential attainment rate. Even though a wage data matching agreement still does not exist, the State was able to exceed its negotiated target for employment at the second quarter after exit of 21% by 4.6% and at the fourth quarter after exit of 23% by 1.08%. These are a 66.8% and a 70.4% increase respectively over the previous year and higher than FY20. This is likely to be the result of both the quick employment rebound after the initial impact of the pandemic and the targeted assistance provided to programs on conducting follow up surveys.

While the secondary credential attainment rate is higher for those entering into postsecondary education or training than the previous year, the rate for those entering into employment is not. Both rates are considerably lower than other states and therefore, the State has started providing additional training to ensure that local providers understand how the credential is calculated and to strategize how Counselors can use this information to provide improved transition services for participants after completion of the secondary credential.

The same is true for the postsecondary credential rate. There was a considerable drop from FY21 to FY22 of 54.5%. Again, this could be due to the robust job market and more employers providing on the job training instead of requiring a postsecondary credential. The Community College System of NH is the primary training provider for short-term occupational credentials, but NH adult education students cannot access those programs until after completion of a secondary credential. This limits the ability of participants to be co-enrolled in adult education and postsecondary training and therefore the opportunity to earn a postsecondary credential while enrolled or within one year of exit (without a secondary credential).

Other ways that the State is working to increase the postsecondary credential rate:

  • The State is using COVID-19 funds to contract with the National Center for College & Career Transitions to create a model for integrating adult education and Career & Tech Ed services (under Perkins V at the secondary level) with the goal of combining a secondary credential with an industry-recognized credential. An advisory group was formed in FY22, funding for a pilot program using the model will be conducted in FY23 and the pilot is scheduled to start in September, 2023.
  • The State is working with the Community College System of NH to consider submitting a state plan to implement Ability to Benefit. Initial meetings have the support of the system Chancellor but faced considerable resistance from the Financial Aid directors. The State will continue this work in FY23 by bringing in experts on this topic and sharing sample state plans from Washington, Wisconsin and Iowa.
  • The State will continue to work with Program Directors and Counselors on strategies to ensure that participants complete the secondary credential early enough in the program year to matriculate and/or complete a postsecondary credential.
  • The State will also continue with the implementation of the IET Design Camp to increase opportunities for participants to complete a postsecondary credential while enrolled in adult education.
Integration with One-stop Partners

Integration with One-stop Partners

Describe how the State eligible agency, as the entity responsible for meeting one-stop requirements under 34 CFR part 463, subpart J, carries out or delegates its required one-stop roles to eligible providers. Describe the applicable career services that are provided in the one-stop system. Describe how infrastructure costs are supported through State and local options.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Required One-Stop Partners

(a) Provide access to programs through one-stop delivery system, in additional to any other appropriate locations.

Adult Education services are not co-located in the NH Works offices, but are located in the same regions as each of the offices.

(b) Use of portion of funds to provide:

  1. Career Services (see below for complete description)
  2. Establish and maintain delivery system through infrastructure costs – The adult education system contributes to the infrastructure costs in accordance with the established MOU.
  3. Enter into an MOU – Adult Education, through the NH Department of Education, has signed onto the NH Works MOU
  4. Participate in the operation of the one-stop delivery system – Adult education participates in accordance with the NH Works MOU
  5. Provide representation on the State and Local Workforce Boards – The Education representative on the State Workforce Innovation Board is Christine Brennan, Deputy Commissioner of Education. Adult Education is represented by the following State Office Staff or contractor:
    • Sarah Wheeler, State Director, serves on the NH Works Consortium.
    • Ginette Chandler, PD contractor, serves on the Professional Development Team.
    • Courtney Frederick, State Program Specialist, serves on the Interagency Business Team.

Career Services

Intake & Assessment Specialists at every local adult education center conduct an initial assessment of skills for every participant including literacy, numeracy and/or English language proficiency through the use of the Test of Adult Basic Education, TABE Clas-E and the BEST Literacy.

Counselors based in local centers provide information and referrals for supportive services; job search assistance and career counseling; coordination of services with other WIOA core programs; review the eligible training provider list with participants; provide assistance with accessing federal financial aid and other funding for training services.

Through the NH Works system, all adult education local centers have access to tele-language services for translation services. The statewide website has a built-in translator.

The State is working on increased coordination of services, activities and referrals with other WIOA core partners. This information is shared at regional quarterly WIOA Partner meetings; through the NH Works Consortium; and through partner representation at the annual NH Adult Education Conference. Staff from partner organizations have made presentations at Program Director meetings and many local providers have WIOA staff conduct information sessions at their centers. Two adult education providers also offer WIOA Title I services.

Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE)

Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education

Describe how the state is using funds under Section 243 to support the following activities under the IELCE program:

IELCE Funds and grants

Describe when your State held a competition [the latest competition] for IELCE program funds and the number of grants awarded by your State to support IELCE programs.

NH ran a competition for IELCE funds in 2020. Five grants were awarded. The next competition is scheduled for the spring of 2023 to start on July 1, 2023.

Training activity

Describe your State efforts in meeting the requirement to provide IELCE services in combination with integrated education and training activities;

NH continues to struggle with the IELCE service model in combination with integrated education and training activities. In the last competition, IELCE grantees were allowed to develop their programs over the course of the contract period. Over the last three years, State staff and IELCE providers participated in multiple trainings and initiatives including Building Opportunities in an effort to design effective and cost-efficient IELCE programs. The State staff has researched and provided information on effective models in other states, but those were not easily replicable in NH. Additional funding was provided for the IET component, but has not been expended for a variety of reasons including staffing shortages, insufficient funding to pay training providers, lack of participant interest in IET and the lack of participant time to attend training while needing to work.

The one area that NH has seen some progress is developing career pathways in health care. These pathways seem to be a good fit for adult education centers, English language learners and IELCE programs. Training providers are struggling to keep up with employer needs and employers are looking to new Americans to fill the numerous job vacancies in the field. Two adult education programs offer training for the licensed nursing assistant as the IET activity for IELCE. After multiple years in development, one IELCE provider was finally able to launch an IELCE program in collaboration with the local community college to offer licensed nursing assistant training in March of 2022. Another IELCE provider combines home health aid training as the integrated education and training activity associated with their IELCE program. And although challenging, a third agency has been able to combine Communication for Health Care course with an existing local health care training use braided funding from Title I for the few enrollees available to participate.

The pandemic negatively impacted the State’s effort to make progress in meeting the requirement to provide IELCE services in combination with integrated education and training activities due to the challenges of providing occupational skills training in a remote environment. The overall decrease in enrollment during FY21 and the lack of total rebound in FY22, resulted in a decrease of more than 138% from FY20 to FY21. Enrollment in FY22 still represented a 34% decrease from FY20. Despite this decrease in enrollment, the percent of participants also enrolled in IET is higher at 28.7% than the pre-pandemic of rate.

In FY22, the NH Data & Assessment Policy was revised to include MSG types 3, 4 and 5. There were two participants that were able to earn MSG through these measurements while an additional 57 participants were able earn MSG through other means. It is anticipated that this number will continue to grow as the IELCE program expands.

70% of our English language learners come to New Hampshire with a secondary school credential or higher, so it is unlikely that they will meet the secondary credential measurement. However, with multiple providers participating in the IET Design Camp, NH should be in a better position in the future.

The next competition is scheduled for the spring of 2023 and the State intends to compete IELCE funding separately with stricter requirements including a fully developed IET component at the start of the new contract period rather than allowing development over the course of the contract period. Additional support including braided funding with Title I programs who now have less restrictive eligibility requirements and identification of a supporting employer or professional organization should also increase IET opportunities. This may result in fewer agencies receiving IELCE funds, but increased funding for each of the new IELCE programs.

There are several local providers who have been offering occupational skills training using alternative funding. One agency has developed multiple credential courses for adult education students including remote pilot license, bike technology mechanic, and is working on a phlebotomy course. Another agency ran a pilot ESL class in combination with a hospitality certificate under the auspices of a local employer. The State anticipates that these adult education centers will submit a proposal for IELCE funding in the next competition.

IELCE Section 243(c)(1)

Describe how the State is progressing towards program goals of preparing and placing IELCE program participants in unsubsidized employment in in-demand industries and occupations that lead to economic self-sufficiency as described in section 243(c)(1) and discuss any performance results, challenges, and lessons learned from implementing those program goals; and

The recently launched IELCE program with licensed nursing assistant training has already seen some success with graduates passing the occupational exam and obtaining state licensure. The average salary for a licensed nursing assistant in New Hampshire is $41,022. The State Director serves on an advisory committee for a Department of Labor Rural Health Care grant which will provide funding and career counseling services to continue on their health care pathway.

The Covid-relief funded CTE After Dark model development and pilot with the National Center for College & Career Transition is intentionally designed to meet the requirements of IET. It is possible that some applicants for the pilot may be able to use this model for IELCE in collaboration with their local Career & Tech Ed center.

The State is also sharing resources from the Enhancing Access for Refugees and New Americans project to promote IELCE services to local services especially for those with professional degrees from their native countries.

One of the reasons that IELCE participants do not participate in the IET activity is because more than 52% of them are employed at the start of the program. Their work schedules impact their ability to attend the IELCE/IET program fully. Only 22% of participants are available for employment, the remainder are not in the labor force at the start of their adult education services for a variety of reasons, usually based on their employment eligibility.

IELCE Section 243(c)(2)

Describe how the State is progressing towards program goals of ensuring that IELCE program activities are integrated with the local workforce development system and its functions as described in section 243(c)(2) and discuss any performance results, challenges, and lessons learned from implementing those program goals.

One of the major lessons learned during the FY22 IET Design Camp was that local programs were trying to design programs that did not necessarily match local workforce needs. One program that was originally developed several years ago discovered that the original employer needs for entry level administrative employees was no longer identified as a need. This resulted in a decrease in enrollment. The program is now redesigning the IET component of their IELCE to better reflect the current needs of their local employers.

As mentioned above, the most successful programs have been in health care. Healthcare was identified as an in-demand industry in New Hampshire in the State Plan. IELCE programs have developed relationships with local employers, training providers and other WIOA core programs to assist with funding including: Ascentria Home Health Care, Catholic Medical Center, Elliott Hospital, Senior Helpers, Manchester Community College, LNA Health Careers, and Great Bay Community College. Additionally, IELCE local providers have been connected with the apprenticeship grant programs administered by the Community College System of New Hampshire.

Providing IELCE with IET for the purpose of moving program participants into in-demand occupations with good wages continues to be a challenge in New Hampshire. The reasons that have been highlighted in this report for the last three years continue and are exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic and the very low unemployment rate.

  • IELCE participants choose not to participate in the IET component
  • Many IELCE participants are already employed when they enter into the adult education system, others are not in the labor force (waiting for a work visa, retired or disabled). This continues to challenge offering cost-effective IELCE programming:
    • The unavailability of a critical mass of participants at one time with the same career goals in the same geographic areas.
    • Participants are unable to quit current employment to purse full-time training options.
    • Training hours are limited by student schedules.
    • English language learners who are interested in civics education have been in the US for an extended period of time, have a high level of skills and are interested in citizenship rather than training because they are already employed.

Designing a course takes a very long time because of the number of partnerships that need to be developed and coordinated. Many of those partners, especially employers, are struggling with day-to-day operations and prioritizing short term goals. 96% of NH’s employers are small businesses and do not have the resources to devote to designing educational programs. Even if a need is determined by the workforce development system, finding appropriate trainers has been challenging.

The 2023 competition provides an opportunity to strengthen the IELCE program including the IET activities as mentioned above.

Adult Education Standards

Adult Education Standards

If your State has adopted new challenging K-12 standards under title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, describe how your Adult Education content standards are aligned with those K-12 standards.

NH adopted the College & Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education in 2017 with the requirement that all curricula be aligned by 2020.

Optional – Describe implementation efforts, challenges, and any lessons learned

Over 2021-2022, the State worked to convert the College & Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education training into an online, asynchronous, self-paced Canvas course. The course is completed and ready for launch to all NH adult education practitioners as of July 1, 2022.

A team from NH participated in the Standards in Action Curriculum Review project in FY22 and found it to be very useful. A second cohort for the Curriculum Review project was accepted and will finish the project by December, 2022.

Programs for Corrections Education (AEFLA Section 225)

Programs for Corrections Education (AEFLA Section 225)

What was the relative rate of recidivism for criminal offenders served? Please describe the methods and factors used in calculating the rate for this reporting period.

The rate of recidivism is calculated differently at each county facility. There is no systemic communication between county facilities or between the county and the State or between the county and the federal system. In all county facilities, the local adult education center goes into the facility to provide instruction. They are not employees of the facility and therefore do not have access to data regarding the inmates’ sentences, transfers between facilities, release dates or the ability to initiate contact after release unless on probation or parole, this includes whether the inmate re-offends.

At Cheshire County Department of Corrections, the recidivism rate for adult education participants served in 2021-2022 was 0%. This rate is determined by the number of inmates sentenced to the county correctional facility, left the facility and then returned within a 12 month period. This does not include federal inmates as the county facility is not given any information on inmate status once they leave the county.

At Strafford County Department of Corrections, the recidivism rate for all inmates is 17.35%. This is calculated from 1/1/2021 to 1/1/2022 with the number of individuals released and subsequently re-booked at the same facility. They do not maintain data on individuals enrolled in specific programs, nor does the adult education program providing services have access to information about the inmate after exit from the program and/or release from the facility.

Carroll County has a recidivism rate of 0.06% in 2021 measured by the number of individuals who were subsequently re-booked on new charges or probation violations during the calendar year. They do not maintain data on individuals enrolled in specific programs, nor does the adult education program providing services have access to information about the inmate after exit from the program and/or release from the facility.

The NH State Prison operates its own grant under AEFLA and has its own calculation for recidivism based on a releases from the prior calendar year for all inmates released from the state correctional system and returned (recidivate) to the state correctional system. For 2021, there were 250 out of 1015 for a rate of 24.63%. Please note that this rate does not apply specifically to those served in adult education program participants because staff in the education program does not have access to release and return records.