Integrated Education and Training

Integrated Education and Training (IET) is an instructional approach that provides adult education and literacy activities concurrently and contextually with workforce preparation activities and workforce training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster for the purpose of educational and career advancement.[i] Within this model, adult education and/or literacy services are integrated with workforce preparation (e.g., academic and employability skills, critical thinking, digital literacy, self-management) and occupational instruction relevant to a specific occupation, career pathway or career cluster. IET is well suited for those who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by quickly getting unemployed and underemployed individuals into viable career pathways.

There are three components that must exhibit integration within IET that include:

  1. Adult education and/or literacy services;
  2. Workforce preparation services designed to help the participant acquire a combination of academic skills, critical thinking skills, digital literacy skills, self-management and employability skills, and other skills necessary for successful transition into and completion of postsecondary education or training, or employment; and
  3. Workforce training for a specific occupation, career pathway or occupational cluster.
Male and female IET welding students holding a welding project

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College IET welding students

IET has a single set of learning objectives that identify specific adult education content, workforce preparation activities, and workforce training competencies, and the learning activities are organized to function cooperatively. In the WTCS, the adult education and/or English language learning (ELL) component of the IET must be aligned with WTCS-defined adult education/ELL content standards, and the workforce training must be postsecondary programming in a WTCS-approved credential or result in an industry certification.

To date, research exploring contextualized learning models, of which IET is a highly developed example, has shown positive effects for participating students. In a two-year college study investigating contextualization of adult education math within allied health programs, Shore and colleagues (2004) found that students randomly assigned to participate in contextualized learning had higher math scores and more favorable views of the usefulness of delivered instruction compared with students enrolled in non-contextualized math.[ii] One explanation for the stronger outcomes of contextualized learning models like IET is how these programs build student aspirations and motivation. In a study within the WTCS, Wang and colleagues (2017) investigated adult education math contextualization within manufacturing and engineering technology programs.[iii] Through analysis of student interviews, classroom observations, and student surveys, the researchers found that contextualized learning opportunities can elevate students’ belief in their own efficacy, motivation, and confidence to be successful in the classroom.

WTCS Action Research has highlighted IET as a lever for advancing educational outcomes.[iv] Yet, inequities in IET participation persist among the 800 AEFLA participants who were reported as enrolled in IET during the 2019-20 year. White students are twice as likely to participate in IET compared with students of color. Below are recommendations and resources for creating IET opportunities and supporting equity in student access and success in IET programs.

Roadmap to IET

IET should be developed within a larger career pathway with integrated basic skills and workforce readiness. To learn more about the process of creating IET and finding resources to develop IET programs and curriculum, see the Roadmap to IET page.

Achieving Equity in IET

To address equity gaps in IET access and student success, see the Achieving Equity in IET page that has resources for reviewing recruitment strategies, models for providing funding to cover the cost of instruction, and best practices for student supports.

For more information, see:

For questions, please contact:

Ben Konruff, Education Director of Performance Analysis & Continuous Improvement

Cristina Parente, Education Director, English Language Learning Programs

[i] Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (2014) §463.36

[ii] Shore, M., Shore, J., & Boggs, S. (2004). Allied health applications integrated into developmental mathematics using problem-based learning. Mathematics and Computer Education, 38(2), 183–189.

[iii] Wang, X., Sun, N., & Wickersham, K. (2017). Turning math remediation into “homeroom:” contextualization as a motivational environment for community college students in remedial math. Review of Higher Education, 40(3), 427-464.

[iv] Konruff, Ben. (2020). Understanding measurable skill gains: Identifying factors associated with student success. WTCS Action Research Brief.