Veronica Parker: --And thank you all very much for joining us this afternoon for the learner transition in California, a deeper dive. We are excited about this webinar because this is an opportunity to not only revive our research brief-- we'll talk a little bit more about that a little later-- but then also to hear from more practitioners in the field and understand what their learner transition programs look like.

So I'd like to, first, again, welcome you all. Again, thank you very much for being here with us. In addition to myself being the facilitator of this webinar, I am also joined by a colleague and friend, Sherri Watkins, who is the executive director with the State Center Adult Education Consortium, and also more friends, Tim Combs, director of the Mid-Alameda County Consortium, and then Beth Cutter. She is the director with Castro Valley Adult and Career Education. So they will be having their own segment of this webinar, where they will present on their respective programs.

Here is our agenda. So first and foremost, we wouldn't be here today if it wasn't about the research brief, the supporting transition from adult education to postsecondary education and employment. And so we'll talk a little bit about that research brief, especially for those who may have not read the research brief.

We'll talk about our objectives as well as have panel presentations, as I mentioned. And that will be panel presentations from State Center and Mid-Alameda. We'll do a panel Q&A. And then we'll do audience Q&A and talk a little bit about our upcoming PLC, where we'll have an opportunity to continue the conversation.

So our objectives, again, we want to reacclimate ourselves with the High Road Alliance research brief on effective transition practices in California. As we know, transition, or learning transitions in particular, are a priority for the CAEP office and the CAEP program as a whole. And so we want to make sure that we continue this particular conversation.

Our TAP team had the opportunity to convene a small advisory team of consortia leads. And we conducted a needs assessment about what were some of the most critical issues that consortia are dealing with present day. And one of the top things that came out of that need assessment analysis was learner transition in different categories or different subjects within learner transition.

And so again, this is an opportunity to continue to talk about and think through how we effectively transition learners from adult education and noncredit education to postsecondary education and employment. And then our second objective is to understand how adult education practitioners support student transitions and then participate in a Q&A with our panelists.

So the research brief-- a question for you all. And you can type in the chat. Or you can raise your hand. Are you familiar with the Supporting Transition from Adult Education to Postsecondary Education and Employment in California research brief, which was authored by our colleagues, Jennie Mollica and Peter Simon of High Road Alliance. Please use the chat or the reaction to raise your hand if you are familiar with this particular research brief.

And I am scanning the chat now to see if I have any responses. All right, Araceli tells me she is not. Grace says she's heard of it but have not read it yet. All right, thank you all very much.

And I'm scanning the chat. And I believe Mandilee posted a link to the research brief. So you do have that.

Ivan says he's heard of it but have not read it yet. OK, great. Janice says she's familiar but not fluent in the content.

All right, so our idea to revive this research brief-- because again, a lot of resources, time, energy, so on and so forth was really utilized for this research brief. So we want to make sure that we keep it at the forefront and the content is still very relevant.

Shannon says she has not read it. But it's printed out and sitting on her desk. Wonderful, Shannon.

All right, so in addition to the webinar-- excuse me, the research brief itself, I also want to post a link to the webinar recording because back in 2021, we did conduct a similar webinar on this particular research brief. And we included other consortia. They were invited to participate in the panel presentation.

And so it's, again, an opportunity to get a more detailed understanding of what they are doing to support learners when it comes to transition and transition support. So I definitely invite you all if you have not access the recording to do so in tandem with the research brief. It will provide a more broader understanding of the research and what practitioners are doing.

So as I mentioned, in 2021, High Road Alliance was partnered with CAEP TAP to conduct this research brief to understand how CAEP practitioners are supporting learners through transition support, simple secondary education, and employment in California. And so we provided you with the resources. So we'll move on to the next slide.

And the purpose of the research brief-- so the purpose of the research brief was to identify and inform CAEP practitioners of creative solutions developed by peers to better serve students transitioning to postsecondary education and employment. And more detail overview of the research brief-- so interviews for this particular research brief started towards the end of 2020 into '21. And interviews were conducted with administrators and instructors representing 30 consortia in all CAEP regions.

Transition support is needed to successfully transition students from adult education and noncredit to postsecondary education, employment, and short-term occupational goals. And so during the data collection phase, interviewees were asked about their role. Their role, their institutions play in supporting transition through curriculum and instruction, student support services, community connections and referrals, and organizational structure and funding.

Interviewees were asked to describe the partnerships, staff roles, data management tools, and funding sources that support the work in this particular area. And interview responses were analyzed to identify widely used effective practices as well as innovations that stood out for their creativity, resourcefulness, and/or impact.

And so here are the overarching themes. Again, you can find all of this information in the research brief. And those overarching themes were integration of basic skills, career education, and supportive services, partnerships and co-location, and personalized research-- relationship-based services.

And so again, thinking about the analysis of this particular research brief, transition supports are incorporated into the following categories-- curriculum and instruction, student support services, partnerships and leverage resources, and organizational structure and funding. The research analysis documented specific examples of how consortia are providing transition supports within each of these particular categories. And so I'm going to read some of the examples from the report by category.

And so it includes the following. Under curriculum instruction, when we're thinking about short-term CTE and IET, one consortium has developed a career skills institute offering short-term training, leading to credentials and employment opportunities in business, information technology, and digital media. Often, these short-term programs incorporate job readiness skills, training on topics such as resume writing, interviewing, and a range of soft skills that are often cited as lacking by employers.

And so in the category for student support services, adult education/community college transition support classes, consortia describe various types of counseling classes on topics such as career exploration, college success, academic readiness, or navigating the path to community college. Students in these classes access valuable information as well as individualized support with their own college readiness, college application, and future career pathway planning. One consortia requires a career exploration class of all its CTE students who benefits from both the classroom activities as well as job shadowing.

In partnerships, one of the major themes that came out of partnerships in the research was public workforce development systems. So many consortia reported innovative and substantial partnerships with their local workforce development boards that provide adult school students with job search information, training opportunities, and assistance in job placements. Many consortia reported innovative and substantial partnerships with their local workforce development board that provides adult schools with job search information, training opportunities, and assistance with job placements.

And for the organizational structure and funding, meaning consortia describe the importance of accessing funding beyond CAEP and WIOA Title II funding to expand their programming. So some examples included leveraging federal WIOA Title I, funds with local workforce development boards, state and county grants and services, public library resources, community college FTEs, and strong workforce funds, union and employer support, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship, and employer-based internships and on-the-job training.

So we hope that just this short synopsis of what's included in that research brief really entice you all to access it or even refamiliarize yourself with it if you have read it before. So onto our panelists, again, this is the heart of what we do-- sharing our practices and learning from one another. And so, of course, we wanted to make sure we do our due diligence and provide you with real-life examples of what's going on locally in the field.

And so we have invited our friends from the Mid-Alameda Consortium as well as the State Center Consortium. And so we'll hear from them. And they will talk about their transition support program. And they are representing the curriculum category that was in the research brief as well as the partnership category.

And so I will turn it over to Sherri Watkins, executive director with the State Center Adult education Consortium. Sherri? You are on mute.

Sherri Watkins: Sorry, I was muted. I got that. I think we need shirts that say that you're muted, right? I think we would all get rich off of that. At any rate, I will share my screen.

As Veronica mentioned, I'm from State Center, which covers Madera and Fresno counties. And then we have one of our members who is in Tulare County, but they feed into one of our colleges. So that's where who we are.

So this is our team. I always point out Pang Vangyi is our regional transitions coordinator. She was gosh, a K-12 counselor and adult ed counselor. And so she is the glue that keeps all of us together. And we have three transition specialists. And we have our amazing Allyson Adams-- always have to bring her attention to her because I could not do this job without her.

So these are our members. State Center Adult Ed Consortium has 22 members. A lot of them are smaller and in the rural areas. But nonetheless, we still have reporting. We still have everything we need to do, just like other larger members.

So just take a look at all those members. It's crazy when I think about that. And people say that sometimes it's like herding cats. But it's good. It's just they're doing great things out there.

Because we're such a large consortium, we broke into subregions based on the community college district that the adult schools feed into. So if you notice here, we have a central subregion. All of these schools are adult schools and our Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, which is an ROP and a young adults and corrections program. And they would all feed into Fresno City College or whereabouts.

Each of the transition specialists are placed in these subregions so that they can be the true liaison between all of the agencies. And they're also located at our workforce development boards. We have one in Parlier, one in Fresno, and one in Madera. So again, they're the liaisons and the glue that makes it all work.

So why transitions? So our board decided six years ago that it was really important that transitions were our main focus of our goals for our consortium. So it's a critical role. It's support staff. It's helping adult education students sets priorities and goals. We help students address obstacles that stand in their way.

And basically, what the transition specialists say, especially during COVID, too, is they need that warm handoff. They need that hand-holding. We know that they need extra support in order to be successful. And that's where these transition specialists have come into play.

So what happens to transitions to community college? They make an appointment with one of our transition specialists. And I'll show you our website a little bit later where they can do that. But again, like I said, they're located at 15 of our adult schools and our workforce centers.

And appointments are always available in Zoom. Sometimes they'll meet the students at Starbucks. They'll meet them at nighttime. Wherever they need to be, it's always about what's easiest and most convenient for the student in order to provide better services for them.

And they've built trust so a lot of them are still getting calls three or four years later, like, hey, I'm ready to do this now. So they remember that transition specialist because they built that relationship, which is really important.

They help them create-- I mean, complete the college applications CCCApply. And then there is a shared spreadsheet with each transition specialist or college. And they share that with the college counselors. So they'll get a notification, like, oh, we have somebody new we've put in your system. Go ahead and check that out. So that helps us try to stay organized.

Online assistance, orientations-- for students that struggle to complete the online orientation, transitions specialist provide a brief tutorial on how to locate the orientation on WebAdvisor. Assistance with financial aid-- we have our three transitions specialist and our regional transitions coordinator. Each of those specialists are experts in their own area. One of them focuses on ESL and immigration. The other one focuses on FAFSA, financial aid applications. And the other one is our social media guru, for better words.

So you can see that, again, they have that shared spreadsheet. And they meet again however they need to in order to create that student educational plan.

Am I going too fast? Am I good? OK.

So the challenge is keeping students engaged in the transition process, following up with scheduled appointments, providing necessary documentation, and communicating any changes in progress or contact information. So I think we all share in that, that same struggle because people change. They move around, and/or they may change their cell phones or lose their service. So it's a challenge to find that out.

But the solution is that they schedule in-person appointments, as I said, at home schools, whatever's convenient for the student. They do lots of various classroom presentations throughout the year-- again, just putting their face out there. They provide early and morning and late night appointments, whatever they need to do.

And they keep close contact with the teachers. That's been very critical. I would say that because the teachers know that transition specialist, they build that relationship. And then they constantly like in communication with each other-- so-and-so is getting ready to graduate. Make sure you meet with them. What are their next steps? So that has really been helpful.

They do call students directly. But they found text messaging is, like, you always get the better response. I'm guilty of that, too. We all respond better, I think, to text message these days. And they also send an introductory email to new students, letting them know, we're here, and what we can do to help you, and just trying to connect.

So SB 554 is what-- this took us a bit to get this together because it's a district form that we all created. And the only way you can get to this form is through a transition specialist. And they are the ones-- and everybody's familiar with SB 554?

It is the dual-- we say dual enrollment, but they would really rather have another word than dual enrollment because it is confusing with the high school dual enrollment. But this allows adult school students that are enrolled in a high school equivalency program to take up to 11 units per semester at the community college for free. And it's for credit classes.

So again, we're trying to build our transitions, trying to build our numbers. So this is another avenue that is really a win-win for the adult school student. And if you want more information on that, I can help you. Or we'll talk about it at the next meeting. But again, the only way this works is it's maybe through a college counselor but usually through our transition specialists that connects them with the college counselor.

So one way, one thing that Pang thought of a few years ago is like, how do we track our service hours? We don't even know what we're doing. Or how are we recording this? We have this Google form. But how are we capturing other information?

So we worked with ASAP to create our own transitions data collection page for whatever-- or whatever words there. So they use that on an ongoing basis. And ASAP charges us a minimal amount. But at least it's something that we have to work with.

And they collect all the relevant information, like we all do. And we're also working with our college district to create an adult education dashboard. And we have a data workgroup on a regular basis that meets.

And transitions data-- so we have shared transitions datasheet with all the colleges, like I mentioned before. It's like a Google Sheet, but they're working on this dashboard. And let me just-- hopefully, this is going to open.

I don't think it's foolproof yet. But it's a start and much better than we had before. And it's a little more current than what LaunchBoard or the Adult Ed Pipeline shows us. Can you see my screen OK?

Audience: Yes, yes.

Sherri Watkins: So this shows unduplicated count or GPA or course pass rate. And it goes all the way. We can change the terms.

What I liked about this is down here because it shows the enrollment since they were able to pull the information from the adult schools to the colleges. When we go down here, we have 298, right now, unduplicated for fall-- or sorry, spring of '23.

So again, not wonderful, but it's a start. But you know, it's all about the data, right? And we all know that we need to be able to have numbers to justify what we do or hopefully, to gain more support.

So Unite Us is another thing that we started using. Has anyone heard of Unite Us? Yes, no, yes. I can put this in the chat as well.

So Unite Us is a free referral system for schools and CBOs. It was created by or spon-- or, gosh, paid for by Kaiser Permanente because they felt that as long as you're treating the patient as a whole person and providing all these different resources for them, they're going to be visiting the hospital less.

So the services here are pretty cool because basically, you just go in. And you put a referral in. And it goes out to CBOs. You can also upload your information about when we're accepting-- what classes we're accepting, when we're accepting students, what we offer, and then all the CBO services that are out there.

So if you were interested in this, you're more than welcome to email me. And I can connect you with the person in our area. And they probably can connect you with someone in their area. What's wonderful about it, it is free-- free, free, free.

So funding-- this is interesting. Our CAEP funds our transitions team. So we have the one transitions coordinator and our three transition specialists. So that comes to our office budget.

And then the colleges have really done a great job finding-- I'm always going to brag about Fresno City because they're really our model college because they've actually created their own adult ed department. They have three designated counselors, adjunct counselors that work specifically with our adult students. They also have a website or a subwebsite on their website to direct you to the adult ed home page.

And they are very instrumental. One of theirs is one of our chairs. One of their board member-- their dean, excuse me, is our board chair.

And then we have Clovis Community College, has a student success coach and an outreach specialist that they designate to adult ed. Madera Community College has an adjunct counselor. And Reedley Colleges has two adjunct counselors. And again, our TS team is located at the 15 adult schools in Fresno, Madera, and Parlier Workforce Connections.

They embrace collaboration and partnerships to have a positive collective impact. And we continue to work with other community partnerships. So Pang has made it her mission that once-- Fridays are usually a little slower for our schools. And on Fridays once a month, Pang has set up for that the whole year to where we reconnect with our CBOs, learn about what they're doing, what other services they're offering, and how we can support them and vice versa. So it's, again, continuing to make those connections and build those relationships.

So one of the biggest things, of course, in our area is the immigration refugee population that we deal with here. And CIVIC is the-- actually, should be C-V-I-I-C, CVIIC. So it is an organization that helps undocumented people in providing those services. So we connect with them on a regular basis because that's always a huge, huge need. But you can see all of our partnerships-- I don't need to read that-- and then some, right? We have a lot more than this.

So the big one of the big things, I think, that has helped our transitions is because every-- I think we've had five years in a row, we have what's called the college showcase. So we bring all of our college people together and our adult school people and CBOs in one room. And they go through about the programs that they offer, the services they offer, the different CTE courses, whatever, and just providing that support.

So we start on it as soon as we finish the last one. We start planning for the next year. And it's just a one-day event. It's a nice-- we're finally able to be back in person this last year. It was pretty amazing. And they go through what CTE-- credit and noncredit, and financial aid, and dual enrollment, and other special programs that are available.

This is just a picture of them. See how kind of fun, right? All these wonderful people, and they're just listening. And this was part of our planning team. This is our chancellor at Madera Community college.

We had a special-- we're getting bigger and bigger. So we had to have another room that had all of our tables and outreach people set up. I think this is really key to help with our transitions.

And our resources-- I was going to show you our website. We have a transition services handbook that we provide to students. We have a presentation on the partnerships and action.

Our website-- let me give you a little peek at that. We're pretty proud of this because it's pretty easy to navigate. Students click here.

Up here, we have our transition services. And it talks about what we offer. And then we come down here, we have a little video that says how we can help, some steps to take, and then a little bit about each of our transition specialists, and if you want to make an appointment, you can set an appointment right there, tell us a little bit about each of them, shows a face that, you know, maybe someone wants to connect with someone who's closer in their age or maybe something they have more in common with them. So at least it gives them an opportunity to make the right selection.

I think that's about it. We're going to wait for questions, right, till next time?

Veronica Parker: Actually, we are ahead of schedule. So we can actually take questions now. And you do have a couple. So I'll start with the first one that came in. Sonya asks, did your consortium try using CommunityPro to track referrals and data?

Sherri Watkins: We sure did. And once they sold to their other company, we could not afford it anymore. So that was really disappointing because we put a lot of work into that, a lot, a lot of work into it. But no, not anymore. But the better part of it is that Unite Us came along and basically does the same thing but for free.

Veronica Parker: All right, thank you for that. And then Shannon asks if you can email the transition services handbook.

Sherri Watkins: I sure can. OK. Is that Shannon, Shannon-- yep, I can do that. Is that the Shannon I know? Yes.

Veronica Parker: All right, any additional questions for Sherri before we transition to our next presentation? Araceli says more requests for the handbook. Araceli would like it emailed as well. Sherri, I don't know if you are willing to share your PowerPoint, but we can do that and send it to everyone with all of the links.

Sherri Watkins: Sure.

Veronica Parker: OK, perfect. All right, any additional questions? All right, and Wilma says Sherri rock. And then you have some thank yous.

All right, so we will move forward with our next presentation with Tim Combs and Beth Cutter from the Mid-Alameda County Consortium and Castro Valley Adult Education. Turn it over to Tim.

Tim Combs: All right, hello, everyone. And thank you for having us. So briefly, I'll just introduce Beth because Beth is the director for Castro Valley Adult. And they have the program that we're going-- that was profiled in the brief.

But quickly, I just wanted to tell you a little bit about who we are as a consortium. We are the Mid-Alameda County Consortium. So we have our consortium neighbors to the north and south of us. But we're covering the midsection, which consists of 12 members. Among them, we have two community colleges, eight adult schools, and two ROP programs. We're divided by east and west. And so each of our areas within the region coincide with the two colleges in the consortium.

And basically, that's it. I was going to speak more to our transition work in the Q&A after, if that makes sense. But for now, I'll just turn it over to Beth. And she can tell you about our program from the brief.

Beth Cutter: OK, great. Thank you, Tim. Thank you, everyone.

So our section of the brief included highlighting our Adults with Disabilities program. So I'm going to be sharing a bit of information about that. So it is a very specific kind of program. And if your school does not currently have an Adults with Disabilities program, there will still be some information in here about how you can work towards setting one up if you would like to do so.

So Castro Valley Adult and Career Education actually has a 80-person day program for Adults with Disabilities that has been around for many, many years. And it's called Strides. And you can see a couple of pictures here. So the day program involves classes as well as a lot of community integration-- so outings into the community, volunteer work experience-- and is primarily focused on independent living as well as workforce readiness.

The workforce readiness component that we added this year, that is new to us, but not brand new to our consortium. We have another adult school in our consortium that has a very, very similar program. And that's a paid internship program. And it follows along the format of Project SEARCH, which is something some of you may be familiar with.

But within our program for Adults with Disabilities for workforce development, we basically have three different levels of support based on the needs of the individual and where they're at in terms of their readiness to be independent in the workforce. And I should just back up a little bit.

So these programs are for adults over the age of 22 primarily. So these would typically be folks that would have gone through a transition program for ages 18- to 22-year-olds, although we do have some that graduated from high school with a diploma and typically have some mild to moderate intellectual or developmental disability.

And the most beginning level support is within our day program. So students that are in the day program select what track they want to be a part of, which is really just based on their interests. So we have healthy planet, independent living, and job skills. And we call that our pre-employment. So within the day program, students are in classes to help them gain the skills so that they can be ready to be employed.

For those students that are close to being independent but would benefit from more support for about a year or so, the paid internship program is a great fit. And I'll go into more detail about what that entails in just a moment.

And then beyond the paid internship program, we do have students that are able to work mostly independently. And so they receive some on the job coaching that's just as needed on a case-by-case basis for students. So the paid internship for adults-- you can see our flyer over here to the right. The young lady here, Marina, is one of our current interns. And that's her working-- I think, it's at our child nutrition services within our school district.

The program runs alongside a regular school year-- so roughly, August through May. And our interns are paid hourly. They are actually employed by our school district. And I'll talk a little bit more about the funding because we get completely reimbursed for the cost of their wages and benefits.

They work through two to three different placements during the school year. And the placements are based on their skill level and their interests. And we really are trying to gauge where we think we can give them skill development for successful placement at the end of the internship. So really, the goal is that by the time we're reaching this time of year in May, that we're securing jobs for our interns.

The structure of the day is a combination of on-the-job work with support of our job coaches and classroom instruction. So the interns start their day with a class on our campus. Then they go to their job sites and then come back at the end of the day for an end-of-day check-in with the job coaches. And again, the goal is that they're mostly independent with some job coaching by the end of the program.

So the way we fund this is almost entirely outside of our CAEP funding. We do use some CAEP funding for just our general program costs. But in terms of the actual direct parts of the program supporting students, it's primarily funded through our regional center.

And so if you wanted to start this kind of program, you would need to apply to be a vendor through the regional center. And the vendor is in two different categories. One is community integration. And the other is for the paid internship program. And the community integration component vendorizes your school at a daily rate for the program that you're providing. And then the PIP, or paid internship, is the reimbursement for the wages for the interns.

And then we utilize another vendor code called tailored day services to provide job coaching. And that can also be used to provide other supports for People with Disabilities that are regional center clients. So for example, supporting a student taking a college class is something that tailored day services can be used for as well. The application for tailored day services to get vendorized for that, if you are already a regional center vendor, is actually much, much easier now than it used to be because it's also the broader category that some schools are using to provide remote services. So that was one positive from the pandemic, is that it made applying for that vendor code much more simple.

The other funding component that we use is through Department of Rehabilitation. And we basically developed what our tuition cost is for the classroom component of the internship. And we're able to receive funding for the tuition from Department of Rehabilitation.

So for the students that we accept into the paid internship program, they are already regional center clients. But our experience is that some of them are Department of Rehab clients, not all. And so we support them with the paperwork to become a client of Department of Rehab as well.

And so again, this particular program, the paid internship, you can actually fund it with very little of your CAEP Dollars other than, for example, using CAEP for office administrative staff and so forth-- so more keeping the lights on maybe coming out of CAEP. But the actual new costs from the program are basically covered by these other funding sources.

The goal here is competitive integrated employment. And just as far as the definition on that, it's really what you would think of from those terms. So we want people, regardless of where they land on the neurodiversity spectrum, to be able to earn exactly what another person doing that job would be earning, more than minimum wage or at least minimum wage.

Integrated-- so working alongside neurotypical employees and having the same opportunities for pay raises and promotions within their organization. And I just wanted to give a shout out here by sharing the logos of our local employers that are working with us, either through the paid internship program or who have hired our Stride students or hiring our interns.

And we have a small cohort for this internship. We started this year with just four students. Of them, we have three that we know have job offers. And a fourth is actually going to continue with us and do another round, it looks like, of the internship program.

So going back to what I mentioned before, for this particular type of program, it's important when you're bringing students on to really, really be able to correctly gauge the level of independence that they'll be able to reach within the year. So there's sort of a sweet spot.

Obviously, the program is not targeted towards people that don't need the support. So we actually have screened people out because they really don't need this level of support. So they're kind of too high. Don't like to say high and low, but just the simplest way to explain it is that their skill level is beyond where we think they would actually need one of these spots.

And then the flip side of it is those people that are needing more support. And they wouldn't really be ready to have the level of independence that this program strives for. So for them, we recommend our day program in the job skills track to continue to develop their skills until they're ready for this level of independence.

And see-- I'm not sure how we're doing on time. Do I have time, Veronica, to do a 6-minute video?

Veronica Parker: Yes, you absolutely do.

Beth Cutter: OK. So this is a video where you can meet some of our Strides students and hear from couple of our staff members as well. OK, I've got this ready to play sound. But please let me know if the sound doesn't come through.

[video playback]

[instrumental music]

- The Adults with Disabilities program has been part of Castro Valley Unified School District for over 40 years. At one time, it was part of K-12. But when adult ed changed in California, it became separate and part of the adult school. In 2014, we vendorized with Regional Center of the East Bay. And then it became Strides like we know it today, where the focus is on workplace skills, independent living, community access.

So the Strides internship program is a yearlong program, goes from August to May. And it prepares students for a job in the workplace. They'll have three different placements based on their interest and availability of the business, where they will get job coaching from our transition specialists.

Businesses that host an intern have the benefit of adding to their staff, while our school district pays the intern. So there is no out-of-pocket cost. On top of that, our job coaches assist with training. And oftentimes, coaches develop learning tools that benefit the entire business.

- I clean tables and sometimes mop and wash all the dishes. I like to speak more Spanish to them. They can understand my language.

- When at work, I just clean the table. Everyday people, they say, hi, how are you?

[speaking spanish]

[instrumental music]

- I want to improve myself and even my skills. If you like your job, then I will show you how to do it.

- Christopher is very detail-oriented. So he's very particular on how things are done. He gets along with everyone. He actually makes us better.

We, in life, lose the little things. And those are big things to Christopher. He really, really fits in our school and makes us all a little humbler. We enjoy work more when Christopher is there.

It is something that you have to just take the chance because everyone has the skills. Or given the proper opportunity, they can excel. It's just being a little patient and understanding that people do work different. They're still fully capable of getting jobs done.

- Training can be tailored to the students' interests in many ways. But our primary areas that we can support are food service, hospitality, clerical, and retail. We realize that communication, problem solving, and self-regulation are essential areas for all employees. So our staff works with students in a lot of these areas.

The intern would arrive on the adult school campus approximately 8:30. Or they'll have class time with their teacher, working on all sorts of different skills. And then they will go off to their workplace and get back to school about 2:00 for a check-in with their teacher to debrief on what happened during the day.

Before we place a student in a business, we ask them what their interests are, what they may want to do for a career. So the businesses are going to have a student that truly does want to be there. And studies show that neurodiverse individuals tend to stay longer in their positions, which benefits the business financially.

- The job is very important to me because I got a family to take care of. And if they want a job and they'll find me, I can really and I can help them out.

- First, I wipe, take the tables down, take your garbage out, wipe the mailbox down. I cleaned the bathroom to make sure the people can use it and take the trays where they belong.

Everybody really appreciate how I'm a hard worker. People, like, I take the tray, they tell me thank you. People in the kitchen and my boss always say thank you because I'm a hard worker. And then everybody's very nice about me.

- Kevin's actually one of our most seasoned employees. He's been with us for almost five years. He's a personality. He's great. He loves being around people. He loves talking to people and showing up to work, very dependable, and just a fun guy to be around.

From my personal experience as far as managing Lake Chabot public market and the program with Castro Valley Adult School, it's really about building community. The more that we empower each other and really continue to build these relationships, it not only helps the individual, but businesses as well. And so the goal for us was not to just hire someone for the sake of hiring someone, but really to help empower the community and see what type of opportunities there are for everyone.

- Our students make the community a better place. They have so many skills, so many talents that we often haven't got a chance to see. Once they're out in the community, they can do these amazing things that just make our community that much better. I can't wait to go see the students on the job, doing the thing that they've always wanted to do, and watching our staff support them and be able to do it.

[end playback]

Beth Cutter: All right. Oops, I think that's for that. Well, I mean, I think, getting to hear from students directly, you can see how much of an impact the access to work has for them. And serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities is a really important part of our role in adult education. And I know it's one that sometimes can feel a little bit challenging to get started with. So certainly, if anyone wants to talk further, I'm happy to share more.

What's on the slide now is basically a screenshot from our presentation to our school board when we were seeking their approval to start this program. And I can mention that I've started the paid internship program in two different adult schools. We started at my previous adult school that was also in the same consortium. And then when I came to Castro Valley, we added it on here, too.

So I could definitely step anyone through it. There's so much need. And it's also something that, I think, in adult ed, we sometimes feel like the stepchild within our districts. [chuckles]

And having a program that connects with your special education needs within your K-12 district and creates an opportunity for students after they are exiting a transition program is something that can keep your foot in the door in terms of your K-12 leadership seeing the value of your programs. Not that they don't value all of our various programs, but it is one that can have a really, really visible impact and get some people that might not otherwise think about the importance of our adult ed programs to really see their value at times when decisions are being made.

And just for this group, I'll say within Castro Valley, I have thought that one of the reasons it fared so well during the time of flexibility is because of the large Adults with Disabilities program because they were able to avoid a lot of cuts at that time. So I've got this timeline here just in terms of if it was something that you wanted to do. At this point, you would probably be looking at a start in fall of 2024 realistically. That would be my recommendation.

And here's just another slide that shows some of our students working and a little bit more about how the internship is just one small piece of our larger Adults with Disabilities program. And I will go ahead and stop sharing there.

Veronica Parker: All right, thank you, Beth. And thank you, Tim, for your presentation about your Adults with Disabilities program-- truly, truly inspirational, as someone said in the chat regarding the video but just overall, how you have set up this program within the Castro Valley Adult School. Our audience, any immediate questions for either Tim or Beth before we go into our panel discussion?

All right, and everyone received the link to Sherri's presentation. So hopefully, you find that valuable. She has a lot of great resources in there and really laid out her transition program very, very well. So thank you, Sherri, for that.

All right, I'm not seeing any questions. So we'll move forward with the panel discussion. And maybe that will spark some questions from our participants.

All right, so our first question-- and again, these are questions for our presenters. So for Sherri, Beth, and Tim, why is keeping transition front and center-- my controls-- front and center in your consortium's work important? And anyone can go first.

Tim Combs: OK, I'll jump in and give them a break. So for us in, again, Mid-Alameda County Consortium, it's simply that when students are provided with the educational and support and community resources that they need, that they're just more likely to be successful.

And so we also feel like it's very important that students are actively involved in their goal setting and communicating that within the consortium as well. So we have a monthly meeting called the seamless transitions workgroup meeting, where our transition specialists come together. And that's where we really use that as an opportunity to communicate about the referrals that are taking place, the challenges that students might be experiencing and trying to make a transition, either from an adult school to another adult school or adult school to a community college or into the workforce.

And then the last piece is really continuing to monitor those referrals. And it helps promote collaboration among the consortium but also accountability. And it's really putting in our words into actions.

Veronica Parker: Thank you for that, Tim. Sherri, Beth?

Sherri Watkins: I would say because it's the main mission of students, right? Why is it important to keep it front and center? Because that's what we do. We're student-focused or student-centered. We want everybody to succeed because it's what we do, so easy, easy, easy answer.

Veronica Parker: Yes, absolutely. We are student-focused and student-centered absolutely. And we want to meet their goals. Thank you both for that.

The second question is, how are you using CAEP funds and other resources and partnerships to transition learners? And I know you all have both touched on this. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Tim Combs: I think, similar to Sherri's program, we're employing transition specialists. I would just add that one thing that I think is unique in our setup is one of our regions in the Tri-Valley area, we have one transition specialist that's employed through the ROP but is supporting the three adult schools in that region. So they have the opportunity to access different programs and services for those students through that transition specialist. And then also, she's making the connection to the community college and the region, too. So that's one creative way of how we're using the funds to employ transition specialists.

Veronica Parker: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Tim.

Beth Cutter: Again, I can tack on a little bit more regarding partnerships. We do work with a number of community-based organizations to help serve students with barriers. So for example, Diversity in Health Training Institute is a local nonprofit. And we work with them to support English language learners going into healthcare careers.

And so another agency, International Rescue Committee and The Unity Council, just to call them out as great partners that we've worked with, where, for example, they might refer students to our career training program or English classes or diploma and GED. And then they are providing job development or other supportive services like access to childcare services, for example. So partnering with those agencies has helped us to address some of the barriers that are a little bit outside of our set of roles and responsibilities that we can address. So working with the CBOs to do that has been very useful.

Veronica Parker: Thank you, Beth. Sherri, would you like to add anything additional regarding how you're using CAEP funds and other resources and partnerships?

Sherri Watkins: I mentioned it earlier, but I just think that it's taken a while to get our colleges to where they fully understand the whole CAEP world and what we do. But since then, they all receive their individual funding. And they provide the outreach coordinators, the transition-- their counselors to work specifically with our adult ed students. And they also always meet on a regular basis with our transitions team.

In fact, two of our transition specialists are Spanish speakers. One is a Hmong speaker. And we're right now looking at if we can afford to hire one that speaks Punjabi because we have a huge Sikh-- it's actually pronounced Sikh, but we all say Sikh-- but Sikh Institute in our area. And we're finding that need. So just trying to get creative to fund that position.

But yeah, it's definitely just the connections, and how they're supporting us. So we're very thankful for that.

Veronica Parker: Wonderful. Thank you very much for that. We'll move forward with the next question. So what has been the most significant challenges with addressing students' transition goals, and how have you addressed them? That's one question. And then what resources are you using to address these transitions?

Sherri Watkins: I can go on that because I did mention that. Again, I guess it doesn't hurt to hear things a couple of times in a row. The Unite Us platform has been really helpful. And again, the challenge is trying to meet those students where they are.

And again, we do that by meeting them at nighttime and daytime Zoom, telephone calls. Whatever we need to do to make it happen, we make it happen. And text message, I think, as we've mentioned that. It's the best way to communicate, I think, with everybody these days.

Veronica Parker: All right.

Tim Combs: So for us, I did service our transition specialist briefly just to get their perspectives coming into this meeting. And some of the responses that they shared with me were, number one, a lack of confidence or lack of information about the transition process. And so that's where they come in. And their role is really important.

There's really that employment readiness piece. So they're doing a lot of work with documents and helping people to get their transcripts in order to access the financial aid information or the job search process.

And then a big one is funding obviously. So we work really closely with our AJCCs to access the WIOA funding to set up those individual training accounts.

I mentioned that we have this monthly seamless transitions workgroup meeting. So in addition to our transition specialists, we have the college reps that come and participate in those meetings so that we can collaborate. But we also invite our community partners to come in. If there's a new resource, we invite guest presenters to come in.

But the AJCC works very closely with us through that committee. And they set up job resource fairs with each of the adult schools. So they have a really close working relationship with each of the transition specialists. And it's really helping them to connect to that WIOA funding has been really important through that work.

I also wanted to say that we do use Unite Us as well. So we started using that last year. We did a pilot with it as part of the seamless transitions work group. And so then we have expanded it and implemented it throughout the rest of the consortium. We just did a big consortium-wide training for others to start using it. And we're in the early phases now.

But just exactly what Sherri was saying, it was a great solution to CommunityPro as an alternative. It's free. We liked it because it helped us connect to those community resources. But we also had this additional need, where we wanted a system that we could track internally and monitor how referrals are being made.

Prior to the implementation of Unite Us, we were using a shared Google Doc. And we would review it during those monthly seamless transitions workgroup meetings. And it was an opportunity for the transition specialists more so to ask questions to the colleges. So I referred this person on this date. And is there any follow up to that just to make sure that nobody was falling through the cracks?

It wasn't the most technical system, technological system. But it worked. And so it worked really well. And Unite Us is making that so much smoother. So we have since moved away from the Google Form. And we're looking forward, in this next year, to be able to pull more data from it and see where there's opportunities or gaps in our referral process.

And I think that was it, and then just focusing on bringing in speakers to participate. And then also, some of the schools have transition courses set up. Castro Valley, for example, has a program called Get Focused Stay Focused. And so it's a way of making sure that we're getting all those supports to the students and being able to promote transition services for those that might not already be aware of it.

Veronica Parker: Right, thank you, Tim. And then you all have touched on this as well. You're tracking. Sherri, you had mentioned that you are using ASAP to track now versus CommunityPro or Google Doc. And Beth and Tim, you said that you're using-- what are you using now?

Tim Combs: Right now, we're using Unite Us tracking the referrals. But in addition, we have the other systems in place to track the data.

Veronica Parker: Wonderful. Thank you. All right, and then do you have any closing thoughts or final takeaways that you want to share with our attendees?

Beth Cutter: Yeah, I--

Tim Combs: I'm sorry, go ahead.

Beth Cutter: No, go ahead, Tim.

Tim Combs: I was just going to say, this is, I'm sure, true for all of you. It's just it's all about having the right people in place. And so I think our transition specialists are just excellent resources. But they're also very dedicated. And one thing I just wanted to mention is that many of them teach other courses as well. And so that's a really nice way of making those connections so that students feel more comfortable accessing those transition services.

And then same goes for the college administrators that we have in the consortium. They play a really important part in helping us to navigate the college system. So it's very accessible to our work group meeting to get financial aid reps to come in or intake counselors or just different program services to profile for our transition specialist.

Veronica Parker: Wonderful, wonderful. Yeah, I'm hearing a lot of collaboration and connections and relationship building. They say it takes a village to raise a child. But it also takes a village to successfully transition our adult learner. So I'm hearing a lot of that.

Anything else you want to add? And we also have a question in the chat. You guys want me to go to that question? It's a panel question. Or Sherri, you have any--

Beth Cutter: Um--

Veronica Parker: Oh, Beth, go ahead.

Beth Cutter: I mean, I just wanted to tag on a little bit. I mean, Tim, we were on the same wavelength. I was just thinking how important the relationships are between the staff members and students. And I mean, I'm singing to the choir here a bit. Obviously, we know we're serving people that the system has not served them. They may be vulnerable because they're an immigrant to our community or they have intellectual or developmental disabilities.

And so knowing that that transition to a new school, a new job is scary-- it's scary under the best of circumstances. And if you have some of these other barriers or areas of need, it can be even more so, so knowing that somebody has got your back, somebody is helping you navigate that is super important. And I do think that that's been a big asset for our transition specialists.

If your school isn't in a position to leverage your consortium funds to create a system-wide transition specialist, you can do like Tim mentioned, where a lot of our schools have carved out, maybe it's only 10 hours a week or something like that, for an existing staff member that's particularly good at relationship building and has the time in their schedule. So you could always start small.

And yeah, I think just, again, just going back to that importance of the relationship. And even if you're not seeing numbers in the triple digits, knowing that you're supporting a smaller number, even if you are starting small, is very important.

Veronica Parker: Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that. All right, so I think we can go forward with the panel question, unless Sherri-- I just want to make sure I give you the opportunity if you had any closing thoughts or anything.

Sherri Watkins: So we're addressing the question in the chat?

Veronica Parker: Yeah.

Sherri Watkins: OK, so the LAO report is just that. And then nothing is in stone as we know. And there's lots of things that have to happen before it moves forward with any impact on us.

However, with that said, our transitions-- thankfully, I feel like we're in a good place with our transitions and just only building. And we have data that supports our efforts. And I think that that's the biggest plus, is that we do have the data. And maybe that data doesn't always get sent up to LaunchBoard or the Adult Ed Pipeline as it's supposed to. But we have our internal data so that when we see what our funding looks like, our board will fully support and continue to support the transitions.

Veronica Parker: Thank you for that. Tim or Beth, either of you want to address this question?

Beth Cutter: Yeah, I do. I think that, as Sherri said, this report doesn't prescribe what is going to happen. And I think it's just very important that there's active communication from the field to our statewide leadership about what kinds of metrics we know are the most important. Obviously, transition to postsecondary education is an important component.

But we know that that's not necessarily aligned with all of our student's goals and making sure that metrics like EFL Gains, looking at actual number of hours students that get a job and reporting that, diploma and GED-- not even just completions, but is there a way we can work a metric in there for earning credits or passing one test?

So there's a lot of conversation to be had. And I think it's just important that if you have concerns about the report, to be sure to attend the educational webinars as they come up and then to be vocal about what do you think would be appropriate to include because now is the time to be giving that input.

Veronica Parker: Thank you, Beth. All right, and so we have another question. Sherri, it's from Jenee She says, I think you say you were using Unite Us. Are you still utilizing the service page in ASAP, or are you using these two different resources in different ways?

Sherri Watkins: We're using both of those platforms because you're right, this is really just the referrals out and referrals in, but not necessarily to track what each of our transition specialists do with students. So whenever they meet with a student at a site, they go into their ASAP login at the site and then just put in what they do. So the Unite us is just the referral system in and out but no tracking of what happened during the appointment. Does that help answer the question?

Veronica Parker: Yeah, it does. She said thank you for that clarification. All right, any additional questions from our audience members to our panelists?

All right, I'm not seeing anything as of yet. People may be typing. So I'll come back to that. But we'll go on to the next slide.

So what's next? And so we do have a learner transition in California, a deeper dive part II. And that will be our likely facilitated peer learning circle. And that's just an opportunity for us to come together and continue to have the conversation about learner transition as a whole and all of the components that go into learner transition. You will have an opportunity to submit questions beforehand. And our facilitator, which is our TAP director, Renee Collins, will be facilitating that discussion.

And that will take place on May 17th, from 12:00 to 1:00 PM. So if you have not registered, please be sure to do. So we have 54 registered as of sometime yesterday. So hopefully, that number increases, especially if you have not had an opportunity to register. Again, it's an opportunity for us to continue the conversation.

And still not seeing any questions. Thank you, Holly, for posting the registration link. And then Harold said kudos, amazing work. Thanks. All right, any additional questions before we move forward with our closing?

All right, I'm not seeing anything. But before I mute myself, again, I would like to thank Tim, Beth, and Sherri for your participation in this webinar. I know myself, I learned a great deal of information about the program that you have, Beth, at Castro Valley. The consortium model as well as the transition model that you have at these centers, Sherri. So thank you very much for your time, your energy, your participation as well as the resources you provided.

I hope, for you all, who are in attendance, you found some valuable information regarding transitions, something that you could take back to your agency and/or your consortium. So I will mute myself now. I'll see you guys again tomorrow if you're attending our digital equity peer learning circle, and then on Thursday if you're attending our event that day or next week, whenever. We'll see you. But I'll turn it over to Mandilee.

Mandilee Gonzales: OK, thank you, Dr. Parker. And thank you, everyone, for joining us today. And as Veronica said, thank you to our panelists. We really enjoyed having you. And to all of our attendees, thank you for spending the afternoon with us.

This is a great opportunity now to grab those links if you'd like to save the chat. Hopefully, we'll see you in our upcoming professional development. And if you could all just take the few moments to fill out our evaluation, it really does help inform how we plan professional development moving forward. So thank you, everybody, and have a good afternoon.