Describe how programming is developed and delivered in coordination and collaboration with other educational, training and employment resources
WEST ABE works closely with partners at all levels to provide responsive programming that meets the needs of the community it serves. The ABE program coordinator has developed new relationships with Monticello Area Schools staff in new ways to increase partnerships between the ALC (Alternative Learning Center) and ABE as well as with the local secondary school.
Eastview Education Center, the office where the ABE Manager works, recently became a birth – Kindergarten building and so the flow to many things was made easier, such as childcare, parenting classes, MFIP is housed here as well as Tri-Valley, a Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program where many of the non-native English speakers have found our ESL classes. Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) as well as Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) are based out of the school as well. Many of whom their parents take part in our educational services.
The ABE program coordinator has met with students and families at the ALC to talk about their education options and with the staff to coordinate services to help students transition into ABE programming once they complete their education goals. In March 2018, a class from the evening ABE program is attended a school board meeting to learn about local government. WEST ABE hosts regular staff meetings where experts from a variety of community organizations speak to the group. While these relationships are in their infancy we have an example of how this collaboration can become fruitful.
After a visit to a staff meeting, St. Michael ESL classes received an invitation for students to participate in the community garden program. Students were connected to the program, which provided adults in the community the opportunity to learn about gardening in Minnesota as well as grow and harvest vegetables at a nearby site. The governing committee was able to adjust the times of the horticulture education program times to meet the needs of ABE students who might be interested in participating.
ABE connects with local service providers to connect students to post-secondary options, career options and community resources through college visits to local campuses, guest speakers who come to class (a local police liaison held discussions in our ESL classrooms to teach new “snow” drivers how to handle the winter weather, what weather alerts mean, etc.) There have been field trips to local companies to learn about careers in those businesses. And the Day at the Capitol is well attended by ESL students, many of those seeking citizenship, to familiarize themselves with the process and to see the Capitol.
These partnerships are built on relationships where the ABE teachers and community organizations agree to mutual goals that can help improve connections for the ABE students.
At the local workforce center DEED and WEST ABE collaborate to provide computer literacy skills to meet the needs of the workforce center customers and to provide additional programming options for ABE students. The ABE staff and DEED met over several weeks to set a programming calendar, select class options and refine the titles and descriptions for the sessions. This level of partnership in developing the classes has created buy-in for front desk program staff, which has increased referrals to the program.
WEST collaborated with a local nursing home and held a grant-funded Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Program and used actual patients and rooms for their lessons and hands-on experience. The nursing home offered several students jobs after completion and an offer to pay for further training should they decide to stay on.
WEST classrooms: have taken students to the library to get library cards and show them how to check out books, taken a field trip to Itasca, the head of the Mississippi for a history lesson, gone to the grocery store to answer questions about types of foods, how to use coupons and look for sales and answer questions on money and how to pay for items.