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, see the WTCS Voices interview with Amber Stancher from Mid-State Technical College. discusses developing IET offerings, recruitment of students, and evaluation of program success.

Using A Career Pathways Approach

Development of any IET should be supported by employer needs and labor market data, and programming should prioritize IET pathway development to short-term WTCS credentials or industry certification to support quick entry to gainful employment. To accomplish this, providers may generate employer insights by reviewing regional workforce development plans, serving on Wisconsin Workforce Development Boards and industry trade groups, or through the analysis of Wisconsin labor market data. Providers of IET should also develop targeted recruitment strategies to build awareness of IET among the unemployed and underemployed. To support the development and tracking of Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) funded IET, the WTCS has created the Wisconsin AEFLA Integrated Education and Training Planning Tool.

Creating an Integrated Education and Training Experience

An important feature of WTCS-designed IETs is that the occupational credential is the existing standard one approved by the system.  Organizations are strongly encouraged not to create lower-expectation or “lite” credentials for students – research has shown that students will succeed in achieving the standard credentials as long as there is proper integration of basic skills instruction and student supports.

Note that the entire occupational credential does not need to be integrated.  Common practice includes integration of key courses (or portions of courses) that experience shows are particularly challenging for students.  A cohort of students might experience integration in the first half of an Introduction to Manufacturing course to support their initial transition into a postsecondary setting, as well as to build camaraderie as a cohort.  Then a challenging subsequent pair of courses might be integrated, such as the postsecondary Manufacturing Blueprint Reading course and the adult education Math for Blueprint Reading course.  In most cases the student does not even know they are actually enrolled in two separate courses – to them it is one multi-credit occupational course that is supported by two teachers.  However, in the WTCS, the two separate components of the integrated experience – one a postsecondary course and the other an adult education course – are reported following their individual reporting taxonomies.  The integrated experience does not result in inflation of credit value for the postsecondary course, but rather an appropriate reporting of the two separate types of courses.  Thus a 4-hour integrated student experience built on an existing 3-credit Introduction to Manufacturing course does not result in a “new” 4 credit Intro to Manufacturing course, but rather on the existing 3-credit course and a 1-credit adult education course.

Although IET programs exhibit variation from site to site based on local needs and conditions, the scheduling of instruction includes standard WTCS-approved occupational courses that are closely coordinated/integrated with supporting adult education coursework in skills such as occupationally-related mathematics, contextual reading/writing assignments, practice in correct usage of occupational terminology, and/or development of general workforce skills (such as review of work scheduling and time management practices, reviewing personal budgeting, workplace scenario planning, resume’ preparation, practicing employment interviews etc.). Three mornings per week a cohort of students might be in welding classes that include integrated math content, then they subsequently attend a co-requisite adult education class that reviews workforce-related content and reinforces key concepts from the integrated occupational class.  Some students might then attend other adult education classes that support their individual goals, such as leading toward achievement of a high school equivalency credential or building their English language fluency.

A key aspect of building successful IET programs is to institute standard shared planning time for the two teachers who are integrating their curriculum and instruction.  Experiences from Wisconsin and other states highlight the need for the teachers 1) to review the recent integrated instruction and make needed adjustments as they move forward, 2) to review their shared students’ progress during the past week and plan for necessary interventions with individual students if necessary, and 3) to preview the next week’s instructional content and plan how they will coordinate their instruction.  Among the resources that are available to help teachers plan and prepare for their roles in supporting and IET are the team-teaching toolkit models (Transformational Teaching: A Team Approach Jobs for the Future (JFF) toolkit).

Additional recommended resources for instructors and staff regarding 1) integrating basic skills into an occupational context and 2) building workforce readiness into curriculum and instruction are provided here:

Integrating Basic Skills

The links below include “how to” resources that will help educators design curriculum that integrates both basic skills and occupational content into contextualized coursework. There are also samples of syllabi and lesson plans for integrated courses.

Openly licensed content may be available for contextualized learning within various career areas. To find these resources, search OER Commons and Skills Commons. For example, within OER Commons, there is a ‘Math for Manufacturing: Student Workbook’ that includes information for decimals, fractions, etc. within the context of welding. To learn more about openly licensed content, see our Open Educational Resources page.

Building Workforce Readiness into Curriculum and Instruction

The resources below including materials from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education and from the national LINCS adult educator’s repository are among those that can be used in designing adult education curriculum and instruction that supports development of students’ workforce readiness skills. To identify the employability skills that are required for each occupational area, consult Data USA & O*Net.