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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Policy Clarification on Education and Career Plans and Family Education Plans

Beginning in FY13, Community Adult Learning Centers were required to help students develop an education and career plan (ECP) that aligns a student's personal interests, goals, and abilities with a career. The plan may encompass:

  • an outline of educational steps that the student needs to take to achieve her/his career goals;
  • career planning and advising for employment and post-secondary education/training opportunities;
  • identification of resources to support the steps outlined (e.g., workshops at a career center or other agency providing support for next steps); and,
  • a plan for accessing those resources.

In a revision to the policy in the FY13 Guidelines, Community Adult Learning Centers were asked not to focus on the number of students with individual plans but rather to focus on putting in place the infrastructure and processes needed to build the capacity of the program to eventually engage all students in an education and career planning process.

Beginning in FY13, Community Adult Learning Centers were also encouraged to use family education plans1 to help students who are parents and family members set short- and long-term goals related to their roles as parents and family members.

This memo clarifies ACLS policy regarding Education and Career Plans and Family Education Plans by describing three options:

Option 1: Education and Career Plans

  • The development and implementation of education and career plans is an important component of ACLS-funded adult education programs (i.e., Community Adult Learning Centers and ABE Programs in Correctional Institutions).
  • An ECP is a written document developed by the student and the program advisor to capture a student's goals, interests, skills, values, and experiences. An ECP is also used to record a student's educational background and employment history. As needed, the ECP should be reviewed and revised throughout a student's time in the program.

Option 2: Education and Career Plans with Family Goals

  • Adult learners who have education and career goals may also want to set goals in their roles as parents and family members. A young mother, for example, may have a goal of obtaining her high school equivalency credential and going on to community college at the same time she wants to help her daughter be ready for kindergarten, communicate effectively with her daughter's teacher, and/or attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • Programs may choose to integrate family goals into the materials and tools they are already using or provide separate materials and tools. Part H of the ACLS Education and Career Plan Template is one example of such a tool.

Option 3: Family Education Plans

  • All students must be exposed to options for the exploration of education and career options and given the opportunity to identify education and career goals. However, students who choose not to set education and career goals may wish to develop Family Education Plans focused on their goals as parents or family members.
  • These students should continue to have the option to add education and career goals to their Family Education Plans at any time. Programs are strongly encouraged to periodically inquire whether this is an option students wish to exercise.

The following timeline outlined the expectations for Education and Career Plans in FY14, FY15, FY16, and FY17:

  • In FY14, all programs are encouraged to complete Education and Career Plans with all levels of students. Programs may use the template provided by ACLS, or may adapt the template to meet the needs of students, as long as it addresses the key elements of such plans as outlined at www.doe.mass.edu/acls/ecp/keys.html.
  • By FY15, programs must be engaged in an education and career planning process where 50% of students will have a plan in process with students at all levels being represented in that 50%.
  • By FY16, 75% of students must be engaged in the education and career plan process, again with representation of students at all levels included.
  • By FY17, 100% of students must be engaged in an education and career planning process.

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Last Updated: March 25, 2014
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