May 20, 2017

A Successful Career Pathways Project at CCIU's Family Literacy Program

To an immigrant with limited English and limited formal education, the notion of a full-fledged career pathway in the U.S. may be daunting, but it is one that the students in the CCIU’s Family Literacy program have unmistakably faced head on.  Instead of simply studying a job-themed vocabulary set or decontextualized grammar, students earnestly engaged in a purposeful, scaffolded project, building meaningful career awareness step by step. 

The project began simply enough with brainstorming, discussions, and writing activities related to job interests, skills, and experiences.  Then, in order to  gain a deeper understanding of a focused and personally meaningful career option, students were placed in groups based on mutual interest in jobs such as nurse, childcare worker, and accountant.  After the teacher modeled her own presentation on the career of a university professor, students were given a rubric to begin researching and crafting their own posters detailing essential, though often unexamined information like educational requirements, expected salary, and local employers.  One especially helpful source was the U.S. Department of Labor’s comprehensive career database:

When presentation day arrived, the results proved to be an impressive culmination of students’ hard work.  Not only were the oral reports a showcase of sustained speaking in English, they elicited genuine questions from the audience, as classmates continued to push one another to clarify and comprehend the nuances of the various careers. For example, the differences among Certified Nursing Assistants and Aides, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Registered Nurses turned out to be an area for further investigation. As a follow-up to the presentations, students then participated in a gallery walk activity, taking notes and leaving questions and comments on sticky notes for each poster hung up on the walls around the classroom.  This close analysis allowed for even richer class discussion as careers were compared and contrasted and their advantages and disadvantages were debated. 

As the famous Chinese proverb states, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and students in the Family Literacy program can now be proud to have taken a solid first step toward a fulfilling career.

See a description of and the rubric for the project. 

Teaching Tips and Resources
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Families Learning News of the Week,  National Center for Families Learning
Features information and resources for family literacy, early childhood education, and parent education  
April 21            April 28             May 5          May 12          May 19

Workforce GPS, Workforce3 One, Features career pathways and workforce development information
April          May

World Education/U.S., Features resources and information from World Education projects including The Change Agent, College for Adults, E-Learning, LINCS Region 1 Professional Development Center, National College Transitional network, and many others.   
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OCTAE Connection,  US Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, & Adult Education
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April 26

GED® In SessionGED Testing Service®
Features news and information related to the  GED® test