All right. Room is open and just waiting for people to come on in here.
Here they come. Hello, everyone. Welcome to our 10:10 session today. And just to make sure you are in the right room, you are coming into English learner navigation and co-enrollment pilots: building blocks for IET. Just to make sure you're in the right space here. People are still coming in the room, so I'll wait a few more moments before I start with my housekeeping here.
I'm going to go ahead and put myself on mute until it's my turn or unless anybody needs me to chime in on anything.
Good idea. Thanks, Mary Ann. All right. Let's see. I'm going to go ahead and start sharing my screen. So I'm going to take over your screen share. Here we go. All right, everybody. I hope you can see my screen. The webinar is being recorded, and it will appear on the vFairs platform as soon as it's available.
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Hello everyone. My name is Ursula Bischoff. For CWA, the California Workforce Association, I'm the project director for the English language learner strategic co-enrollment pilot project. I also serve as the project director for the English language learner navigator pilot project, which was the first round of grants that the state issued to enhance and expand and increase enrollment in workforce development services, particularly for English language learners.
I'm very pleased to join you today with my panel of colleagues to provide this presentation on ways that these pilots are serving as building blocks for our ET. Renada, would you like to introduce yourself?
Yes. My name is Renatta DeFever. I'm a senior associate at social policy research. I am the director of evaluation of the evaluation team. And I'm really glad we're here today.
Thank you. John Werner. Executive director of Sequioas Adult Education Consortium in the Tulare King's county region.
Good morning, everyone. My name is Mary Ann Pranke. And I am the coordinator of GlendaleLEARNS, which is the California adult education program consortium. We branded it GlendaleLEARNS. And I'm also staffed to the Verdugo Workforce Development Board. And I'll talk a little bit more about that role in just a little bit.
Well, thank you. Renatta, can you put up our slides? Great. Our agenda for today is to provide a quick overview of the goals of these two pilot programs, how they intersect with IET, some of the challenges that grantees have faced and overcome in terms of implementing the pilots, and successful practices based on the evaluations from the first round and also the interim evaluation for the second round of grants.
And then we'd like to turn it over to our people in the field who know really how things work. To talk a little bit about the key features of the pilot programs as they've designed them, how the current challenges in the context of COVID have presented opportunities for creative ways to adapt and refine their services, and plans for sustainability over the long term.
So the pilot goals in a nutshell are to meet key WIOA goals to increase collaboration among the core programs. As I'm sure that you're very much aware, English language learners are the heart and soul of title two programs. Not so much in the other titles. And these pilot projects were created to increase enrollments of English language learners and workforce development services, particularly in title one services. And to begin to really foster not only the partnerships between the titles, titles one and titles two, but also where possible, to increase partnerships between title three and title four, and between community based organizations that serve this population.
So the main goals are to increase access. There's a real equity focus to these projects, these pilots, in particular focusing on people with barriers to employment as English language learners are or often are, to continuously improve the way programs and services are delivered. And also, as I mentioned, to increase those partnerships. So there is a real systems level adjustment and transformation that these pilots are looking to achieve, as well as creative ways to improve services and accessibility through user-centered design approaches in the immediate delivery of the services.
Increasing collaboration between titles one and title two has I guess the most resonance in terms of a building block for IET in particular. There is a lot that both titles can contribute to an English learner's advancement and progression through workforce outcomes. All the linked outcomes for education, and measurable skill gains, job training, job readiness, employment, retention.
And the beauty of it is that by partnering and increasing the collaboration, individuals with barriers to employment can be served concurrently. So that there is stronger retention, stronger skill gains, and stronger skill gains through this collaboration.
The key features of the navigator model are to position a knowledgeable person, typically from the communities of English learners that are being served. And we know English learners in California are extremely diverse. Whether they're refugees, or special immigrant visa holders, or migrants, or individuals who come here from any number of countries. They speak any number of languages.
So navigators are usually from the communities that the English learner population is from. They are cultural mediators and brokers. And they have knowledge of how to navigate all of the different program systems that English learners need to access to be successful learners and eventually, employees.
So they conduct assessments. They identify at the systems level opportunities for partnership. They facilitate referrals. And they mentor and support the student customers, so that they too can have more agency and success in navigating on their own.
The key features of a co-enrollment model include navigation as a central feature because it's often very helpful and necessary for English learners to get to the programs that they need to. And it really emphasizes the AJCC as a central point of access, at times, co-location with adult education providers, and/or community based organizations, and/or the other titles that the English learners often need to access the services from.
Outreach tailored to the complex needs of the students or customers that they want to enroll. The partnerships that have really been tested and structured, so that goals are aligned. Service delivery is synchronized. Outcomes are aligned. And funding resources have been leveraged to support.
They usually have a common intake process, shared intake forms, joint intake processes, shared case management, and cross-trained staff. And a lot of this also depends on the smooth exchange of data and information across all of the partners.
The intersections between the EL co-enrollment pilots and IET are kind of noted here in this diagram. Some students are right for the co-enrollment pilots. Some are right for IET. And it's that sweet spot that we're looking to help the pilots build if they don't have it in place already. It's to enhance the service delivery strategies that are being offered to our English learners.
So the promising practices of the navigation model that Ursula just described is emphasizing that the navigators really support the participants at key points of transition in their trajectories. With warm hands-off and provide these opportunities for share case management to enhance the services that they are provided.
They also facilitate the no wrong door to access services, which means basically that they could really intersert the flow of services from multiple points of entry. And this is further facilitated because some establish co-located to facilitate these co-enrollment in WIOA titles one and title two programs. The navigator is also strengthened coordination of partners to generate their customized education and employment opportunities for participants.
The challenges of these navigator model as we have seen through talking with the various pilots is that there is need to train staff for all partners, so everyone can better understand the program eligibility, service and outcomes requirements from the different systems. There is also a need of professional development for a navigator. So we all ought to support those the stronger partnerships. And that can potentially enhance those participant outcomes, measurable skill gains, credential attainment, et cetera.
Another challenge that we have noticed through talking with our pilots, the ones that we're currently working with, is that there's the need of additional information about administrative funding sources that can be tapped to support navigation staff at the local level.
Now the promising practice about co-enrollment, this concept that we're talking about today, is really, as Ursula just mentioned, is to support participants concurrently, at the same time. So there's like you get the momentum of timing, so they can access the career and support services they need that are more integral to title one and then also services assessment of services and educational gains that can be transferred to title one.
Another promising practice is that there's an increased agency coordination and capacity to provide that enhanced service delivery and strengthen coordination among partners, which is really what I think is kind of like the linchpin to really make this possible.
Some of the challenges of co-enrollment that we've been seeing and that are apparent from talking with our pilots is that it requires knowledge of the different eligibility and regulatory requirements. It requires multiple eligibility documents and paperwork, although we have seen that there's some progress into making a common intake form. But that's not readily available. It's something that has to be worked through as the agencies begin this kind of projects.
It really hinges on functional partnerships with mechanisms to share timely participant information, which is kind of the basics of that coordination. The data is super important. But because there's two different systems of record, CalJOBS and TOPSpro Enterprise, there needs to be a coordinated effort to ensure that everybody's kind of on the same page for each of the participants.
It also requires that understanding of different assessment systems and some coordination, like further coordination. And to understanding what they are, how do they help, what does it what time does it need to be done, et cetera. And with that, I'm going to turn it to John.
Thank you. I think I've unmuted. OK. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share how we engaged the pilot locally in the Tulare and Kings County region. So we are predominantly a rural area, in an area of high need and high numbers of ELL population to serve with a project like this.
So our program design takes into consideration three main areas. One is going to include the co-enrollment agencies, the title one, title two. We also took a look at special grants that we may have had operating in our area, like a homeless or reentry type population service grant. And then that would bring in other regional partners, like local CBOs. Locally, we have Prodeus.
We look then at special grants that some of those partners may have been administering as well, to bring them into the fold, to make sure we had all the right partners at the table that serve this population. And I've got to tell you, we benefit coming into a pilot like this with an already pretty strong awareness of each other and interconnectivity amongst regional agencies.
We have been implementing navigators, not EL pilot navigators, but adult ed navigators for almost five years now. And that work has led us to tackle a lot of the areas of focus that this pilot addressed very specifically with an ELL co-enrollment pilot program.
We also took a look at our pathways. And we're focused on making sure our ELs had job readiness, resume development, interviewing skills, assistance in how to fill out some sometimes very long and cumbersome paper applications. They did receive job leads. They were encouraged to attend Job Connect, which is a virtual ServiceNow due to COVID. And our email coordinators worked with our AJCC job developers to provide the participants in the pilot with transitional jobs, on the job training, which has subsidized placement, and refer to local play employers and job placement, all while engaging the educational training side of WIOA title two as well.
And then the third major component of the program design relies on an EL. We call it a coordinator. The navigator though, those are synonymous for us. That terminology shift in my portion that you'll see here is because I already had adult education navigators. And we didn't want to confuse the two roles amongst our community partners and participants. And so we just used the term coordinator for the EL pilot. But they mean the same in our application of the role.
So the EL coordinator or navigator if you prefer was provided to give case management to our EL participants, develop individual employment plans to help those participants plan their education and employment goals and how they would achieve those goals, to assess their needs, provide supportive services. Sometimes that may have included work clothes, tablets for distance learning, other resources. And then to provide referral, that warm referral that you heard about, that warm handoff, to our partner agencies or providers amongst the different program areas as needed.
And that's kind of the heat which makes this work, is the warm handoff. Where someone's not just given a stack of papers and note card, saying, well, you gotta call this office. Good luck. Maybe follow up and let me know how it goes. The navigator stays close with the person and actually helps them access the other support provision.
I Just want to mention that we did make sure that we were well connected to our foster partnership organizations to provide services for any of our English language learners that may have needed it. And some agencies that we normally we work with, but we wouldn't be so focused or strategic about to help us reach out to the EL population. That may have included the United Farm Workers Group, the Family HealthCare Network in Ola Raza as well for program referrals and resources to our ELLs.
We worked closely with all. Obviously, I'm here helping present this with title two partners for co-case management. As Renatta I think was speaking to a little bit, we had to be careful about the data entry. In title two, we did not pick up the title one data system and start using it. We continued to use our TOPSpro enterprise system. So we had to communicate between my adult ed navigators and the EL pilot navigator very clearly and have constant contact between the two on the data and information that we are sharing back and forth to make sure both systems maintain alignment with regards to participants.
The slide you're looking at now is focused on challenges that we had. And I think everyone struggled with COVID. I can speak at length here. I could probably spend an hour on challenges that we had in title two. At one point, our EL enrollments were down 80% on average across all our adult schools in talking with folks around the state. We were hit pretty hard locally here.
Other programs fared a little bit better than that. Our CTE programs seem to do fine once we got through a catch-up phase of last year's students. But our EL population just wasn't coming in and signing up. And I think it had to do with the fact that we transitioned everything to virtual formats. Those numbers are kicking up now though. I'm getting good reports on attendance in class fills now.
All of our community events that we normally do were canceled. That was a big piece of doing this pilot with our workforce development board, that their EL pilot navigator would come with my navigators to our events. We don't sit idly by on the curb and wait for students to find our adult schools. We go out into the community, and we push in very hard with a pretty strategic marketing campaign to find the people that need our adult schools, our title three services, and the supports that title one brings to the community, and title four as well.
So school closures became a huge problem. We are the number one referral to a pilot like this, adult ed is. So that was very difficult. Our events, job fairs, health fairs, flea markets made it difficult to recruit. We moved a lot to an online recruitment platform, but that's got limited reach.
And some of our other challenges included technology use in the population that we want to serve. Digital literacy plays a huge role in being able to reach people through a computer. And if they just don't have the skills to begin with, it becomes a barrier very quickly, even though we try to support around that.
Partnership. All of our partner programs were challenged by COVID. Title two, our adult schools dealt with closures. Some of our partners, HHSA particularly, had some staff positives that caused limited access or closure. And then staff working from home made it kind of challenging to connect with folks, that we couldn't do it in person.
And then we had some canceled meetings of course because of COVID as partners, try to keep their base going. And that made it very difficult at times. Some of the adaptations. Obviously, like everybody, we went virtual, with all of its limitations. Our AJCC, our employment connection here in Visalia, is what we call it, remained open, but with limited access. But they did a really nice job of transitioning to Facebook Live presentations to help recruit people in. And we help them market that and make those available, along with some other workshops and intake process that went virtual.
And then our EL coordinator providing case management to EL target participants over the phone or in person by appointment with a one on one situation with all the PPE, social distancing. I mean, that kind of goes without saying. We're all doing that. But we did do some in-person by appointment meetings, but it made it challenging.
So sustainability. How do we keep this moving forward? One is the inclusion of core partners. A pilot like this helps cement the relationships and what I call agency awareness. That we understand each other's programs very well. That can be a difficult thing to do. We've engaged things like cross-training, have had staff embedded with each other to make sure they understand.
The way that looks is I call the one stop. I say, hey, we've got a navigator. If it's an adult ed navigator that's new, we did this with all of mine. You're going to get them for two days. Train them to be one of your frontline staff members. They need to know exactly what it's like to live and work in the one stop environment. That's just one example. We'll do this with all of our partners over the course of a week or two.
It's a heavy investment, but our navigators know our partner agencies very well. And the title two folks, we extend that back out to our partner frontline staff as well. Give them to us. We'll take them in. If he can only give him to us for an hour or two, we'll do what we can. If you can give him to us for a full day, we're going to teach him to be one of us and engage at cross-training, so that they deeply understand us.
Constant communication in meetings. One strategy that we've used-- and I just want to add. It wasn't part of this pilot specifically in this way. It happened differently. But one strategy that we used is when our frontline staff, amongst navigators or coordinator level staff, referral staff, would find someone, whether it was an EL type student or not, that was just hard to serve. There was a lot of barriers, a lot of issues going on. There may have been some mental health issue. Maybe some substance abuse issue. But just job readiness. Just a lot of stuff going on. How do you where do you start with this person?
We had for a while convened a group of our referral experts together, like an intense focus group. Where they would bring these one-off hard to serve cases in and say, all right I've done everything I know to do. What do I do for this one team? Help me out. Like a triage. So we stole the model out of the medical hospital realm. How do you diagnose you, right? What's the old show that you watch with the doctors, right? How do you how do you solve this case? What do you do here? How do you treat this person? Bring the experts together, and throw the stuff on the board, and try and figure it out.
That really helped us with our interagency awareness because it even helped us understand each other more. So pilots like this give you that partnership awareness. We did that, maybe not the same look or model that intensive group. But when people met for the pilot meetings, they were achieving the same outcome.
And it kept our staff connected. We started to know each other better, know who did what. It's easier to call people and refer to people. And then it helped with our direct referral system. Within that, we will maintain some things that have been developed in this. One of those is going to be our electronic referral system, our tracking of students and the data through our EDD, our HSA, HHSA, CSET, department of rehab, our partners in sharing data and information is going to continue.
And that the maintenance of what we call offline, out of fancy presentations, the referral bible locally. But it's a employment connection partner referral guide that has everything in it as a one-stop location for us as people who refer between each other to go to and learn about each other's services.
And then each of us to some degree have tried to take that and add it as a community resource on our public-facing web pages as well. Helps keep us aware of each other. That will continue our ongoing presence. It's helped inform our adult ed navigator practices as well. And so that continues. So that we just ensure that we continue with the warm handoff, the awareness of each other. So that our EL population doesn't get lost in the wildness that the service availability that comes into our region. It's hard to navigate without some of the barriers that our EL population faces.
We will then take a deep focus on. You see the other tile up here about IET. We do run IET programs through some of our bigger adult schools. We're looking to develop them in our rural adult schools. I wouldn't characterize it doing a great job of connecting our IT efforts to the EL pilot. It wasn't bad. But I don't think we did a very strategic job of doing that.
And what we want to do in the future is make sure that we tighten up the relationship between IET and our EL pilot program. Our IET systems or programs weren't born out of the EL pilot. We didn't identify it as a need because of the EL pilot and say, we're going to do IET. We were already doing IET. So that kind of separated them a little bit. It was just another program that an EL student could go to that we didn't necessarily have connected to the navigator service provision.
So we're going to tighten that up. We want to involve our pilot group with the design and implementation of IET programs going forward, bring them into those conversations, and then really help them connect students to the IT programs that are our adult schools are building out in partnership with other workforce development interest parties in our region, so that we can continue with assisting them.
And then bring in those supports, that other WIOA title programs may be able to provide to help people engage the actual training over at the adult school. And with that, I think my last slide is pictures and contact information. That's who you really want to contact about this program. Blanca was our shepherd herding all of us. And I'm here presenting because Blanca was out of the office this week. She needed to get some time with her family. I'd really hoped she was going to be able to present to you all. She is the person who kept us all well organized, deserves all the credit for keeping us together and operating well. And by all means should have been the person presenting to you today. She's the most knowledgeable about every detail of what we do. And I just really want to thank her, even though she's not here, for all the work she's done to make this pilot work for us. Thank you.
Good morning again, everyone. This is Mary Ann Pranke. And I'm so happy to be here and share with you our experience in the pilot project. Hopefully, I'll share some of my learnings, my aches, my pains. And hopefully, you'll take away some information that can help you as well.
So our project is an acronym called VECES. Verdugo ELL Co-Enrollment System. And you'll see here on this slide the list of all of our partners. And that's what this pilot project helped us to do, which is really to bring together all of the and service providers that serve English language learners.
On the next slide, we've been talking about Verdugo. I don't think people know where Verdugo is. So this slide, I thought I would just let you know where we're located. We're actually located in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County. And the Verdugo Workforce Development Board has a joint powers agreement with the three cities of Burbank, Glendale, and La Canada Flintridge. So we serve all three cities on the workforce side. GlendaleLEARNS, our adult education consurtium, they concentrate on the city of Glendale. The other two to fall under a different community college district. Next slide, please.
This is our staffing strategy for this particular pilot project. And again, this pilot project helped us to bring all of our partners together, even though we were all working together, but just focused on English language learners. And probably, the key takeaway from this chart is a partnership between the workforce board, and our community college, and in particular, our CAEP consortium.
So our workforce board, which oversees the Verdugo Job Center, which is our local AJCC and all of WIOA title one. We have actually been a partner with community college for more than 30 years. And so because of that partnership and relying on each other's expertise, we became a member of the board that oversees the CAEP consortium. So we're a board member along with the college and our school district, Glendale Unified School District. In Glendale, it's our community college that provides the adult education and not our K through 12 system.
Our dean of community and continuing education is also the director of CAEP consortium. And so I report to him as part of CAEP. But I also report to the executive director of the Verdugo Workforce Board. So my paycheck actually comes from the workforce board, but I report to both.
And thankfully, they're both very dedicated to the community. So I never run into a problem having to report to two people. They're always both in alignment. And they're both really great to work with. And I say that not just because they're paying me, but because I really believe that.
But as the coordinator, as a CAEP coordinator, our role is to coordinate partners. Our role is to bring together partners and help to increase access to adult education for all residents within our community. And so this is just a natural progression for me to be the coordinator of this project as well.
And so I coordinate with all of our English language learner partners as well as other partners that provide services that our students might need. And make sure that everybody is working together, and that our core enrollment system is working, and that information is exchanged across partners. So I just make sure that everybody has what it is that they need. I think that with having my role as being half workforce and half education has really helped us to advance not just our core enrollment system, but overall integration between workforce and education.
And on the next slide, you'll see that when we started this project, we actually felt that we had an advantage because we've been co-enrolling students with WIOA title one and other programs for about five years. And we actually built our initial co-enrollment system to serve individuals with disabilities, in particular, individuals with intellectual disabilities and focusing on students with autism.
So we had to bring all of our partners together to serve this group because we had never done this before. People weren't even familiar with all of their needs. So we really had to rely on the expertise of multiple partners. And within that system, we developed a single system and included a common intake application and process, so that individuals would only have to complete one application. And with that one application, we could use it to co-enroll in multiple programs without having to refer them over to the different partners.
So warm handoffs were really important to us in sending people over to the partners that we were referring them to. But what a common intake application and process did is we didn't have to hand them off to anybody. There were no handoffs at all. That person would communicate with one case manager. And then the case manager got the information out to all of the partners. And then we would co-enroll them. So from adult education, I would call enroll them in adult education, and I never even had to meet with them.
So we've been doing this for five years. So when we came into this project, we felt like we really had this advantage of our experience. We had the advantage of working together in integrating our workforce and education system. We were co-located, our AJCC was co-located with on our adult education campus. And our adult education was co-located in our AJCC. And we had other partners co-located at AJCC, including department of rehab, and employment development department, as well as other partners as well.
And when you're co-located, you have access. You have greater access to students. You have greater access to the WIOA participants who might need adult education. So it was a lot easier for us to outreach and co-enroll. Under adult education, we also, as part of CAEP, we had implemented ESL classes all over the community.
So we were holding ESL classes at churches, at parks and rec facilities, at any community room that would allow us to use their room. We had ESL everywhere. So we kind of had that Starbucks model where we wanted ESL at every corner, so that people would just have to walk over and enroll in a class. And it would be right in their own neighborhood. So that's kind of the model that we were following.
Also, because I wear two hats, we have access to the TOPSpro data. And I enter enrollment data into TOPSpro. And then my peer on the workforce side enrolls into CalJOBS. Now I technically could enroll into CalJOBS and access information directly in CalJOBS however my peer has offered to do that, and who am I to turn down help? That's just something that I would never do.
So she takes care of that. I take care of TOPSpro. Every month, she sends me a CalJOBS report or whenever I need it. And then I use that to calibrate the information in TOPSpro and make sure that both are reconciled. Every once in a while, I might find somebody that's enrolled in CalJOBS that isn't enrolled in TOPSpro. So I'll find out what's going on and then go ahead and take the information and enroll them into TOPSpro.
The benefit of CalJOBS is that we're able to track all of the enrollment. So no matter what partner they're enrolled with, it's going to be an enrollment activity in CalJOBS. So that's all I can tell all of the services that a student is receiving. And if I need to, I could even run downstairs and get a copy of the hard file and look at what's happening with a particular student. But I can also see it in CalJOBS because the case notes are in CalJOBS. So I can see what's going on if I'm not quite sure what's happening. And then I can use that information to update information that's in TOPSpro.
And if there's any information-- for example, the WIOA title one has tried to confirm that somebody is already enrolled in ESL, then I can go into TOPSpro and provide that information if I have that information. So we really have a lot of advantages. I mean, we're feeling really good. And so what we wanted to concentrate on for this project was in expanding our co-enrollment system, so that it was really robust and systematic.
And on the next slide, you'll see our process flow for our English language learners. Sorry. This slide is a little difficult to read. But anyway, so this particular process is specifically for all of our English language learners, not just the ones that are enrolled in this navigator pilot project.
And so our goal is to work with all English language learners, have one systematic process where we can assign a case manager, and they can determine eligibility for multiple programs and make sure that they get enrolled in all of those programs in order to meet their needs. Whether they end up enrolled in ESL, although that's our goal. Our overall goal is any English language learner, to enroll them in ESL and bridge that gap. But whatever they decide to do, we're able to assist them and meet their career and education goals. If they have a social security number, great. If they don't, we can always issue one through CalJOBS.
Also, what we wanted to do was for those that do go into ESL and go into any type of training, we wanted to continue that case management service, as well as providing any supportive services that they might need. And then of course, connecting them to employment. And with WIOA title one, once they're placed on a job, we continue to follow up with them for 12 months after they're placed in order to make sure that they have been successfully placed and retain that job. And then with CalJOBS, by having them co enrolled in CalJOBS and in WIOA title one, we're able to access the base wage data, which confirms their employment status.
So here we are. We have all of these systems in place and where we have our common intake application. We have our FERPA form. We've streamlined it to one page. You have all of these great things happening. And then of course, we get hit by the pandemic. And I don't think I need to go into all of the impact of the pandemic. I think we've been discussing that in almost every workshop this week.
However, a couple of things that I do want to point out. And that is this is the perfect time. If you're not already working with your workforce board, this is the perfect time to work with them. There are 46 workforce boards across the state of California. And each one has at least one a AJCC. Some have multiple.
And right now, most of them have received some type of emergency funds that can be used for supportive services. And that can support our students. So with Verdugo, we can provide up to $3,000 per person in supportive services. And that allows them to actually purchase technology, pay their rent, pay their utilities, health premiums, whatever it is that they need. And so this has been a real help to our students.
Now one of the concerns from our adult education instructors was that well, if you're going to lure them away with supportive services and jobs, they're going to want to just quit and go and work with you. However, in order to receive supportive services, they actually have to be enrolled in education and/or career services. So we actually encourage them to stay with their classes and letting them know that that's one of the reasons why they were eligible. So I think that really helped.
And of course, with some of the challenges regarding our case managers and our faculty and staff was in providing digital literacy instruction and IT support in order to get everybody online and be able to participate in distance learning, as well as all of our virtual services that we converted into virtual services. Remember, we all thought that we were just going to be closed for two weeks. But that kept going. And so we had to convert. And looking back on it, I think that both our community college and our AJCC converted pretty quickly to virtual services.
This just shows how we went from having a common intake form, and our FERPA, and how everything changed. We had to completely rewrite our policy on providing services in emergency events to include a pandemic, which we were not prepared for.
We also had to include or develop forms that addressed the pandemic. So if any of our students that participated in work-based learning, for example, if they got COVID, that the Verdugo Workforce Board would be held harmless, and that the college would be held harmless. So we had to come up with those. We also had to come up with worksite agreements. In order to provide work-based learning, then all of our work sites have to follow the CDC guidelines. So we just had to completely change courses and add additional resources that were needed in order to address the pandemic.
So our wonderful systematic approach had to be revised immediately in order to address the pandemic. So now, the front part of the enrollment process had to include an emergency detour, where we could determine students and participants, their eligibility for emergency services and supportive services. So we can provide those services as quickly as possible.
One are the changes there that basically made our common intake form obsolete for the moment was that CalJOBS a pre-application process to try to get people enrolled as quickly as possible. So our staff had to learn the new process. They had to learn the system and how it worked with pre-applications. And then our students had to learn how to access the CalJOBS and be able to complete their application, and upload any documents that were needed, and get them through as quickly as possible.
So that replaced our common intake process for now with this emergency detour. And so here I am, sitting, wanting to get my students enrolled into our ELL navigator pilot. And it's now taking longer because they're getting taken care of with all of their emergency services. So they're still getting services, and they're still being provided with all of the information and services that they need. But it's just my co-enrollment is taking a little bit longer.
This is just an example of our career pathway model that we're using, that we're also focusing on in this pilot project. And this kind of shows the integration of workforce and education. What we learned from all of the strategic planning sessions that we've been doing at our local workforce development plan and our CAEP three-year plan, we brought together and held community forums with students, with partners, with community members. And what we learned from that process is that students may have gaps, educational gaps, skills gaps, but they need a job as quickly as possible. So how do we make that happen and still bridge all of those gaps that they have?
So the typical model was if people needed ESL, they would go to ESL. And then when they got to a certain level, then they could enter skills training. And then when they got to a certain level, then we could work with them to get a job. Well, we had to find a way to shrink all of that and integrate all of that, so they would be getting all of those services at the same time.
People who need jobs want it right away. They can't afford to be in extensive training and not have a job or not have income. So this is the model that we've built, and we've been using it for career pathways for all underserved populations. Which is no matter where they come from, they can participate in a program. This is their bioscience academy which is still under construction. But it gives you the model.
Whether it's a certificated program or an associate's degree program with the potential for stackables credentials, we will still integrate the VESL. The vocational ESL, ASE, ABE. We will integrate that into the curriculum. So as they're gaining their skills, they are also bridging the education gaps that they have.
And within that, we're also integrating work-based learning, so that they can participate in an internship and help them practice the skills that they're learning on the job. And at the same time, this is a paid work-based learning. So they're getting some income coming in while they're in training.
The goal is that we have industry valued credentials for all of our career pathways. In bioscience, we've partnered with seven bioscience companies. And they helped us to develop the assessment instrument that is going to be used. So anybody who passes this exam per se will receive this industry-designed valued credential. And the seven companies have guaranteed that anybody with this credential will be guaranteed at least one interview with any one of the companies.
From that, then of course, we want to help them meet their career and educational goals. So if they're in a certificated program and they want an associate's degree program, then we can help them get there. And/or they can enter into a job. And then from that, they can enter either a four-year university and/or a full time permanent job.
And then we have the follow up retention services. And within all of this, we're providing the career counseling and the case management from WIOA title one, as well as a supportive services from both from education and the workforce in order to make sure that they're successful in meeting their goals.
Our medical assistant program is one that is underway while our bioscience academy is still being designed. This program provides dual credential administrative medical assistance and clinical medical assistance. So this is both the front office and back office. It does incorporate vocational ESL and includes the work based learning piece that the workforce board is responsible for creating those opportunities and making sure that the match happens with employers.
We've also added the case management and the job development piece to make sure that they know that they are placed into jobs. And of course, providing the supportive services throughout. And then finally, it's just my contact information. So if you want any further-- Oh Looks like this version does not have the contact information. So I'll go ahead and put it in the chat.
Thank you, Mary Ann. I'd like to thank our panelists and just apologize for the deck shuffle. There should be the complete deck posted as a handout online for this session with the conference materials. And I'll double check to make sure that that is the case.
I'd like to open the floor to questions for our panelists. There was a question about how jobs applications presenting challenges to some of the English language learners. And a question about what our pilot sites have done to address that challenge. And so I'll open it up. And John, you may like to begin.
Sure, yeah. So just testament to how a pilot like this creates communication channels. I'm a director of a consortium. We've got some 9,000 students. I'm able to reach out very quickly to the navigators themselves via text, and just talk to them, and say, OK, so tell me exactly what you're doing in this question. I'm on a presentation right now, and I want to hear from you. So the pilot one fixes things like that where it takes time.
The answer that I got back is yeah, CalJOBS is difficult to do, one. Two, we just help him do it. The navigators are co-located at the sites. And they will sit the person down at a computer and help them do the application themselves, like a big brother or big sister would with their sibling.
The other option they get to use is we refer them, call up someone over at the AJCC. Tell them that our ELL student is coming over and that they need some very specific help in a one on one appointment. I think there's a lot of direct support going on, where our navigator should just say, OK, you're not doing well with it. Come meet me at a school site or meet me here, and let's just do it together.
Thanks. Mary Ann, did you have anything to add?
As far as the CalJOBS application process, we also have the dedicated case manager that assist them with the application process in CalJOBS. I'm not exactly sure what kind of difficulties were being experienced. And then of course, the pre application process was new to everybody, but it did actually facilitate getting them co-enrolled and getting them enrolled faster into WIOA title one to be able to access the services.
Now I will say that just the technology piece of doing this virtually was a challenge. We tend to think that even our young adults are so tech-savvy, and they are with their phones. But as far as being able to access communications platforms or an Adobe form to complete and sign and so forth, we really had to walk them through all of that technology. So we did need to walk them through the CalJOBS pre-app process.
Are there other questions from our attendees?
Ursula, I see some questions in the chat.
Mary Ann, there is now a question for you in the Q&A. You might want to take a look at that.
Is it the one from Jenny? OK. So sure. So concerns about English levels. We haven't run into major concerns because the vocational ESL is specific to that particular training and that particular job that they're going to have. They have enough in there for the employer to feel comfortable, that they know what they're doing, and they're able to communicate at that level. So that hasn't been much of an issue.
But I will say that this is where work based learning, that paid internship really comes into play because employers are more likely to be able to want to take a chance on someone who has the skills, that may have the English language learner potential barrier because they're on our payroll while they're going through this paid internships. They are not on the payroll of the employer. So basically, it's like free help to the employer.
But it allows the employer to also train and groom that student for their company. So the overall goal is that they're going to keep that student on. So I think that that paid internship is what helps to bridge that gap and for them to be able to take their hands on the student.
And then, are there supports provided on the job or in the VESL class, specifically around being able to meet the expectations of the on the job piece of the program? So it depends on the barrier, but the language barrier hasn't been that much of an issue. And it depends on the occupation or job.
So for example, if they're going in-- and Jenny, I think you're familiar with our apprenticeship that we develop for ESL. They do have a mentor but also apprentice apprentices have a mentor so they will have that. Now with the paid internship, they have a supervisor. They have someone who is training them on the job. So in that sense, they do have a mentor going through. But within all of that, they also have the case manager.
And the case manager is monitoring their progress while they're on the job, whether it's a paid internship, an externship, or on the job training or the job. They're still monitoring them and providing that case management services to make sure that if there's any barrier that evolves, that they're able to address it, and they're going to be successful and retain that job.
One last question. Was the paid work-based learning wages are paid by WIOA OJT?
Most of it, no. It's paid by not OJT. It could be an OJT. But it is WIOA. It can be WIOA title one, what's called work experience. So you put that into your grants. And you budget that within your grant, especially any specialty grants that you may have.
But with WIOA and non-WIOA funds that are used, whatever it takes. I'm the grant writer for the workforce board. So I always make sure that there's money there for all of the services that we want to provide. So it can be WIOA title one. Most of it is WIOA title one. But it can be a non-WIOA grant.
I'd like to also acknowledge the comment in the Q&A, thanking our panelists for the response on the CalJOBS issue and pointing out very rightly that digital literacy is a huge, huge issue and challenge and barrier for many of our students and for our pilot sites. And our technical assistance team has engaged our pilots around the solutions to provide enhanced digital literacy supports and services to the students and customers they serve.
And if you'd like to go to the resources that are available for the pilot sites as a result of our technical assistance on the project, as well as a result of some of our evaluation materials, they are on the California Workforce Association website on the tab that says ELL pilot resources. So they're all available to the public and posted there if you're looking for some yourself. Are there other questions or comments for our panelists?
Panelists, do you feel complete? Do you feel that you've shared all of the information that you had wanted to? Any other highlights from your work you might want to share with our participants today?
I think we're good here.
I think you're good too.
I think I'm good as well. I hope that I've done our program justice through explaining everything that we do. I could go on forever talking about our program, especially the lessons learned there are so many. I'm happy to answer questions and happy to take questions even after the session is over.
Thank you, Jane, for submitting a question regarding whether we see other communities adopting co-enrollment strategies. I'll just observe that yes. Co-enrollment is happening. It's tricky to accomplish because there are different languages that are spoken in the different titles, and it takes a little while for people in those different siloed systems to learn the languages, to learn how to exchange the information that would make concurrent services across the titles easier for program participants to actually experience it and achieve and success in.
And it also requires the coordination of a lot of partners outside the titles. So as you heard from some of our panelists, co-enrollment has been a successful model, and navigator models have been successful with respect to other populations with barriers to service. Autism, disability. Criminal justice also has a number. So the WIOA grant programs are targeting certain populations with barriers to access to service, to help them achieve navigation and co-enrolled program participation.
English language learners have a host of specific and special needs of their own. And I think that the lessons that have been learned in other communities with other populations are translatable. But they're very unique to English learners themselves. And John, I can see that you'd like to share some reflections on that as well.
Yeah, sorry. So I was looking at Paul's question in the Q&A on institutional change. And yeah, Paul. So policies have been changed. Procedures have been changed. Practices have been changed. But as the culture of the agency has really been changed, right? Those are all sort of transactional level indicators.
And coming from an adult ed perspective, we've always had a huge willingness and desire and just personal motivation amongst all of our schools and people that work in them, to serve all populations, specifically the EL population in our region. I think what this pilot and some other related work is causing is we've got good partnerships between workforce, and community-based organizations, and the different titles.
But I think the change I'm seeing lately is in our employers. As the rest of us have kind of gotten so in sync with each other and focused on locally, specifically this population, our recent immigrant population, our language learner population. Our employers are starting to see a very valuable labor force that with some supports, which serve and help them out in tremendous ways that they hadn't really been connected to.
And so now, they're starting to want to-- So institutional changes when you start to flex to meet the needs of people around you. Not force them to meet your needs. And I'm starting to see the employers flex now on what they're willing to engage institutionally or corporately, I guess, is a good way to that I think about it, on opening up and saying, hey, there's a whole bunch great people out here that could be part of our labor force. We hadn't even thought about this before. We need to engage our local training providers, support providers, economic development providers, to engage that target population. So I think that's the institutional change I'm really noticing in my local region.
And just to add to that. One of the lessons learned for me is that equity begins with education. And when we develop our career pathway programs, they need to be career pathways that are going to result in a job that pays well above minimum wage. Especially in our area, Glendale is a very expensive area to live in. So they need to be able to support themselves.
And so all of our career pathways. The bioscience academy, they started $18 an hour. Our medical assistants pretty much start about that amount as well. So whether it's our English language learners or our people with autism, they all need to be making a salary that they're going to be able to sustain themselves and their family.
The education piece. The reason why I say that equity begins with education is that if people can read and write and calculate math, then it's going to be a lot easier for them to not only to be trained for our career pathways, but also, that training continue when they're on the job, to be able to progress. So if they have that basic foundation, they're a lot easier to train where the employer needs them.
The bottom line is employers, yes, many of them have a heart of gold. But the bottom line is employers hire talent. They are not a social agency. As much as they would love to give a job to everybody, that they want to help out, ultimately, they have a business to run, and they have bottom lines to meet. So they hire talent. And it's our job to create that talent no matter what barriers they have.
So to me, to have one of our students with autism that graduates from our program gets a job, gets promoted, is making $40 an hour and is now used as the trainer for students that are graduating from the program and also motivating them, that says a lot. We have the same example, even in our English language learners, where some of our English language learners have gotten jobs. They went through on the job training. And they got a job. And they were promoted to a human resource position. And then they come back and hire other English language learners. So not only are you building that economic equity for your own students, but also, it is resulting in additional people also being able to take advantage of that as well.
Thank you, panelists. And I'd also like to add that there was a question in the chat about of the co-enrolled students in your service population, what share do you think are a good fit for IET and IELCE? And before asking our panelists to address that, I want to acknowledge one of the very specific challenges that our English language learners population has, is their right to work status.
Many of our newer immigrants, some of our longtime immigrants, if they have never stepped forward to become citizens, and a lot of our refugees are really concerned about their eligibility for the programs. They have fear of government agencies to begin with. They are welcome in adult schools, but that's part of the coordination across partnerships that really has to be solid to be able to attract these talented people into our programs and make sure that they feel comfortable progressing to those employment milestones.
And so I want to just emphasize how critical the referrals to community-based organizations that can help them achieve citizenship and work authorization are. And how important the education component is because for some, it can be a very long road to the point where they're making those measurable skill gains, and they are actually ready to search for a job. During that time, those partnerships with the community-based organizations that can help them prepare for citizenship and achieve citizenship or right to work, authorization to work are critical. And that's a big part of what the navigators can help support as well.
And so if our panelists would like to comment on the fit of the students for IET and IELCE, that would be great too.
Right to work is a huge issue. And so having access to resources to help people answer that barrier is critical. And whether it's a partnership with a community-based organization, a local law school that's doing some pro bono work, et cetera. Did I just lose audio?
OK. I'm good. All right. It changed in my headset. So I think having those built in are really important. In our region, agriculture will hire-- look, here's the unspoken word. I'm a farmer too on the side. They'll hire anybody. The documents come with the person that say they have a right to work, no one looks past those documents to say, are these things legitimate? Are these really these person's social security number or paperwork? They just stop. That's part of why Ag doesn't like electronic employment verification because it forces them then into a liability position that they have to ask. And they don't want to. They just want to hire whomever.
As we move to professionalize the Ag sector, I see that facet-- now granted, those are all high paying, self-sustaining jobs, some are. As Ag has gotten more and more technologically advanced, we're seeing the number of people employed in the sector drop. The employment numbers have been decreasing over the last five years. Yet the employers aren't saying that they're struggling to find workers. So the number of openings are shrinking, commensurate with the number of people having Ag sector type jobs. And that's coming because of advances in technology and mechanization in the Ag sector.
As we professionalize that sector, the blind eye to right to work is likely going to disappear. We're also seeing consolidation in that sector to a more corporate Ag model as the small family farms that have traditionally built Ag and been sustainable fade away. And we're seeing more of the corporate investment firms that own a farm or organization. With that comes corporatization of those jobs, and the right to work issue is going to continue for us in our sector to be a critical thing to worry about.
Now with all of our other types of employers, our fulfillment centers, health care, other industry sectors. It is an issue that we have to worry about and have strong referral to help students out with solving that issue.
I'd like to acknowledge the question for adult education programs that may have lower funding levels than they have in the past or who are underfunded. What advice can we give them around co-enrollment and to help achieve co-enrollment? Some of the strategies that you've heard us talking about today, those warm handoffs. Making sure that on the data side staff really understand that outcomes are shared across the titles. You can get credit for sharing outcomes. So your program can actually achieve great results by collaborating with staff and other titles.
There are also great ways to leverage resources that you have by coordinating some of the instruction and supports that your students receive. And with that, I'll turn it over to our panelists who I am sure could have really concrete examples and give you much more information.
So there certainly-- WIOA title one is also an opportunity to fund some of the adult education programs. But we also found that many of our partners also receive funding to assist English language learners. So whether they're providing ESL, or providing citizenship court classes, or any other type of workshops and supportive services, they're also funded to do the same thing.
So there's definitely resources out there, and you're going to find it through partnerships. Again, I can't say enough about partnering with workforce boards. I'm the grant writer for our workforce board. And so I'm constantly looking at grants to apply for. And in fact, I just wrote a grant partnering with our community college. The grant had to be submitted by the community college. The workforce board does not qualify as the applicant or administrative entity. It had to be a college. But our college just did not have a grant writer or somebody to boil the whole thing together.
So I did it. And again, this is a benefit of having me in both worlds, is that I could actually complete an entire grant application on behalf of our community college. And then we ended up actually being the ones to submit it in grants.gov as well. So they just gave us the credentials, and we ended up submitting it. So again, it's workforce boards. They're used to going out, and pounding the pavement for grant opportunities, and then pulling people together, and going after the grants.
Most grants, they either require or you will be more competitive by having partners, including adult education. It's almost required in almost every grant. So certainly take advantage of those opportunities as well. And by the way, any customized program that we pull together, whether it's a career pathway, especially services to underserved population, and doing some of the workshops that we're talking about the approved employment training provider list that you need to be registered with. But if it's a customized program, you do not have to be.
So most of the programs that we develop with our community college, they're all customized. They're customized for underserved population. They're customized for employers. So they don't have to be registered in ETPL. And that way, we can get those programs up and running and meet our student needs and our employer needs as quickly as possible.
I know we're getting short on time. To answer that question, if I'm an underfunded adult school, how do I get something like EL navigator type support to students or accomplish the outcomes of it, to get students co-enrolled? Leverage what you have and add just enough to it that it doesn't break that person's back, but you can still achieve some outcomes.
So one area to add is you have regional adult ed consortium board meetings. Your partners need to be at those board meetings, so you can talk about shared strategies and shared ideas every single meeting. Make sure it's not just an adult ed Manager meeting to talk about adult schools. Make sure your community partners are there. Invite them in to do presentations to inform your adult ed members. That's one strategy. Have your friends at your parties, and you will talk about things in common at your parties, right?
Number two, co-locate. Open your adult school up. If you can't fund a position that does this, your one stop has someone who does this. Invite that person down, give them a space. It doesn't have to be a full blown office. It can be a table of to the side somewhere where they can work with students. Invite them into classrooms. Invite them into your campus to provide that one stop type service on your site. And it doesn't cost a dime to do that. That just takes time and a little coordination.
I would say that those two things are probably low hanging fruit and very easy for most people to do. Another option is you may have a counselor or someone who works in a similar type capacity to advise and support refer students. So do your partners. Convene those frontline staff together to talk about the issues that they're facing as frontline staff and to make each other aware of each other. Have each one do presentations to the others in that group.
And it can be a small group, eight to 10 people from your CBOs, your one stop, your adult school that serve in that capacity of well, who meets the student at the front door when they come in? Get them together for an hour every couple of weeks to start with. And then you'll find out, well, we only needed to meet once every month. And then pretty soon, they're going to come back and say, look, we know so much about each other. We really don't need to eat meat now. We're serving these students and referring them just fine in a few months. So those three strategies I would recommend if I don't have any money.
And I'd also like to recommend something you mentioned earlier, John. The idea of a multidisciplinary team. Getting your staff together when you know you're serving clients in common or students in common who actually have greater need maybe than your typical student. And having the partners to sit, figure it out, move people quickly where they need to be. That saves a lot of time, effort, and energy for the case managers who are responsible for supporting the students.
Ursula, we just call them the hard knock cases. It's the hardest people to serve. And they take the greatest effort to get them up to where they can engage and participate. And sometimes, we do. We come across folks that for all that are navigators and frontline staff know about services and what's out there, they're stumped. They don't know what to do to help this person. Or it's been a person that they've repeatedly tried to help. Just make time flexible, make effort flexible. Just keep it coming. And so we reach out to that theme.
We have just a few minutes left. Is there anything else? I want to acknowledge the thanks we're receiving from the attendees. We appreciate that you're here and asking great questions. That makes our job a lot easier. I'm not seeing any new questions come in.
Sorry, Ursula. Paul had a question there. He said, is that the integrated resource team? So we call our adult ed navigators the regional integrated service delivery system. It's a long technical name for meaning resource delivery, and it's integrated. It's systematic. We maintain it. And that team was a function of that. A subset function. We don't do it anymore actually. We had a need for a while. We turned it off. When the need comes back, we'll go back to it.
And we call ours student success teams. So the student success team comes together. And they make sure that they're communicating with each other and making sure that they're exchanging the information that they need to keep on top of student success.
So it's not just students attending their classroom. And if they don't attend, well, that's on them. No. Case managers need to know when students are not in the classroom. And they will follow up and figure out what's going on because it could be a barrier that they need to address.
And what's great about that is that the student success team, that you throw whatever issue has come up. You throw it on the table. And I have not seen a situation where a partner doesn't step up and say, I can provide this service. I can do this. I can fund this. I can fund the tutors. I can fund the supportive services to pay for whatever their needs are. So we've always been able to find a solution when you have that collaborative teamwork happening.
And speaking of collaborative teamwork, Renatta has just shared Mary Ann's contact information in the chat. And I know that our slide deck got a little shuffled, and we didn't have the correct version for you with everyone's contact information. So now, it's in the chat. And I'll just put a plug-in. We are all searchable online. So if you have our names, you can find out how to get in touch with us online or through LinkedIn.
All right. If there's no more questions, I'll go ahead and close out the webinar. Thank you, Renatta. Thank you, John. Thank you, Mary Ann. Thank you, Ursula for all of that. That was great. Thank you for presenting at the CAEP Summit this year. When I do close out the webinar, you'll be taken to an evaluation page. Please make sure to fill that out. And then I just also want to remind you that our exhibitor-sponsored break today is being presented by CALPRO. That's going to begin in a few moments here at 11:40. And then at 12 o'clock, our learn at lunch is the virtual industry connections to real world learning and distance learning.
OK. Thanks again, everybody. Thank you for presenting. Thank you for attending. And we'll see you later. Have a great day.
Thanks so much.