Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)
College and Career Readiness Summit
Thanks to all the ABE Program Directors who made the College and Career Readiness Summit on June 13, 2011 such a smashing success. Requests to attend the event exceeded capacity and over 160 people participated. This first-ever meeting brought together ABE, community college, and workforce professionals to expand our capacity to create more clear pathways to success for ABE/ESOL students in Massachusetts. State leaders, including the MA Secretaries of Education and Labor Paul Reville and Joanne Goldstein, Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland and Associate Commissioner of Education Bob Bickerton emphasized the importance of the event and its mission to help adult students access and succeed in post-secondary education to build career pathways toward employment with family sustaining wages. Funded in part by the Boston Foundation, the Summit was intended to be a starting point for more intensive collaboration at the regional level to address barriers to students' success, resulting in more enrollments and completions of our students in community college programs.
Evaluations clearly showed that working together in small groups, bringing together ABE, community college, and workforce representatives was viewed as the best part of the day! The event marked a beginning for these partnerships which will help to prepare more ABE and ESOL students for a future that gives them career direction and a chance to build better lives for themselves and their children.
Participants also appreciated the opportunity to learn from national leaders in the "Ask the Experts" session. Gloria Mwase of Jobs for the Future, Sandy Goodman from the National College Transitions Network, and consultant Judith Taylor answered questions posed by the regional groups and shared their knowledge of best and promising practices. Although all questions could not be answered in the hour-long session, these experts have volunteered to respond to the questions posed by those groups who did not get the chance to hear their questions answered.
The concluding remarks from Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education were another highlight of the Summit. Brenda spearheads the work of Policy to Performance (P2P), a national effort to coordinate and support work to improve the success of ABE students in post-secondary education. Massachusetts was a recipient of a Policy to Performance technical assistance award, and we at ACLS and our MA P2P Task Force were thrilled that she could come to our state to share her commitment and that of other education leaders in Washington to the goals of our event.
ACLS staff is working on getting responses from the expert panel and the notes from the regional groups back to the identified point people for each group.
Thank you all again!