Maya Angelou’s Young Adult Learning Center (YALC), a grantee of the Raise DC Learning Tours, provides academic and career development services to youth & young adults (ages 17-24) in the District. With programming modeled for students disconnected from school (and often formerly incarcerated), the YALC assists older, under-credited youth, in attaining a GED or workforce certification, and connecting to higher education and workforce opportunities. As Maya Angelou’s YALC continues to serve as a “gateway to life success” for DC students, instructors at the YALC hope to fortify its work-learn model and improve upon current services available.
As a part of the Raise DC Learning Tours opportunity, members of the YALC visited two colleges in Washington State recognized for supporting non-traditional students: Seattle Central College and Renton Technical College. The YALC sought to better understand Washington State's I-BEST model, or Integrated Basic Education & Skills Training program, which strives to increase the number of students with postsecondary credentials and expedite their journey to living-wage careers. I-BEST's unique team-teaching instruction contextualizes basic literacy and math skills within job-training classes, preparing students to “learn by doing” as they work toward a degree. In team-taught classes, one instructor, often an industry professional, introduces content related to a career competency, such as automotive repair. Meanwhile, a second instructor supplements the lesson with the basic math or vocabulary skills necessary to master the content (See below for an example).
A pilot school for the I-BEST initiative, Renton Technical College (RTC), is a leader in the "integrated learning" practice. Offerings have expanded to medical and nursing assistant certifications, early childhood career options, automotive repair, construction trades preparation, and welding. RTC’s anesthesia-tech program was recently highlighted in The Seattle Times for the importance of pairing workforce skills and basic classroom competencies. In this program, students are taught specific medical procedures from a professional-technical instructor, while a complementary basic skills teacher helps students learn relevant formulas and terminology.
Like RTC, Seattle Central College (SCC) also offers an early childhood education program as a part of a Child and Family Studies certification. With courses ranging from “Health, Safety, and Nutrition” to specializations in infant/toddler care, SCC's flexible course offerings (with evening class options) cater to students’ schedules. SCC also offers a Central Supply Technician program for those interested in careers in the healthcare sector, teaching a variety of necessary skills, such as infection control and medical instrumentation assembly.
Check back on the blog later this week for reflections from YALC Instructional Manager Jenny Nauss on the group’s I-BEST Learning Tour.