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College Transitions

Postsecondary education is correlated with improved employment and earnings, economic growth and productivity, increased civic participation and voting, and intergenerational economic and social mobility (Carnevale & Desrochers, 2004). Many GED and external high school diploma program graduates and ESOL learners recognize these benefits and wish to pursue postsecondary education, but they need additional preparation to have a successful college experience.  A typical GED graduate does not know academic vocabulary or how to read college texts, write term papers, or do elementary algebra. Often, as first generation college students, they do not know how to navigate the college environment and many must learn how to juggle work and child care while finding time to study and complete assignments on time. They especially need financial aid and help with seeking every available financial resource.  Our portfolio of college transition projects, products and services are aimed at addressing these needs.

Transition to College and Careers (TCC) Pilot Project

Adult education in New England got another boost through the launching of the pilot project.  The Transition to College and Careers is a “career pathways” model to help adults with limited education enter and succeed in college programs that prepare them for occupations in high-growth fields, enabling them to earn family sustaining wages and help to reduce critical staffing shortages. Six pilot sites in five states were funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation through a competitive process managed by NELRC:

  • Community Education Project, Holyoke, MA, in partnership with Holyoke Community College
  • Lewiston Adult Education, Lewiston, ME, in partnership with Central Maine Community College, Central Maine Medical Center College, and University of Southern Maine
  • Marshwood Adult Education, South Berwick, ME. In partnership with Great Bay Community College (NH), York County Community College (ME)
  • North Shore Community Action Programs, Inc, Peabody, MA in partnership with North Shore Community College
  • The Tutorial Center, Inc., Bennington, VT, in partnership with the Community College of Vermont and Vermont Adult Learning in Burlington
  • Vernon Regional Adult Basic Education, Vernon, CT, in partnership with Manchester Community College

Beginning in January 2009, adults learn core academic and college readiness skills and participate in educational counseling and career planning.  Most of the participating adults pursue a career in health care, such as radiology and cardiovascular technicians, occupational therapists, dental hygienists, and nurses.  In addition to the classroom based instruction, they participate in an online course on health science developed by World Education.  They will be able to provide better for their families while helping to reduce critical staff shortages.  The New England Literacy Resource Center designed and manages the project, and provides support to the pilot sites.

Sandy Goodman
New England College Transitions Director

New England
ABE-to-College Transition Project

This seven-year demonstration project had the goal of enabling Adult Secondary Education graduates to prepare for, enter and succeed in postsecondary education to help them improve their own and their families’ lives.  The ABE-to-College Transition Project was a demonstration project that grew to 25 programs, partnered with over 40 postsecondary institutions in the six New England States providing free instruction in academic reading, writing, math, and computer and Internet skills. Students also learned study skills and received educational and career counseling, and assistance with admissions and financial aid applications.

The 22 programs for whom comparable data could be aggregated served 3,740 students 67 percent of whom completed the program and 67% of those who completed enrolled in postsecondary education. World Education served as an intermediary for the funder, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, providing professional development and technical assistance to the programs and managing the project for the Foundation.  Most of the 25 programs continue operating with state or other private funding and WE continues to provide technical assistance to the states in their efforts to institutionalize the program with public funding.  We are pleased to report that three out of six states have already done so: Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Sandy Goodman
New England College Transitions Director

College Transition Network (NCTN)

The NCTN goal is to bridge the gap between what ASE or ESOL programs traditionally offer and what most nontraditional learners need to succeed in postsecondary education. The NCTN is a membership organization of practitioners, administrators, policy-makers, and researchers from the Adult Secondary Education (ASE), ESOL, postsecondary education, and workforce development fields with over 2,000 members nationwide. The NCTN

  • College Transition Toolkit guides educators and administrators to plan and to meet the needs of adult students interested in postsecondary education and training;
  • Annual Effective Transitions in Adult Education Conference brings together high quality professional development by presenters from around the country;
  • Online courses prepare practitioners and administrators to create and strengthen college transition services;
  • Integrating Career Awareness into the ABE and ESOL Classroom curriculum helps practitioners equip learners with career planning skills using lessons and activities correlated to the SCANS competencies;
  • Mapping Your Financial Journey: Helping Adults Plan for College booklet provides financial planning information and skill building exercises for adults intending to go to college;
  • website features promising practices and research-to-practice briefs that are its most popular feature;
  • website helps nontraditional learners plan for college

Ellen Hewett
National College Transition Network Director

Priyanka Sharma
National College Transition Network Coordinator

Cynthia Zafft
National College Transition Network Senior Advisor

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