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|FISPE Grant - Building a Better Workforce|
In November 2009, San Joaquin Delta College was awarded a grant by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to implement the project titled Building a Better Workforce through Contextualized Learning. The project will implement innovative strategies in educating Working Adults & Displaced Workers in a community college environment. In addition to the information below about activities and resources related to the grant, please see the logic model. Information about other projects funded by FIPSE is available at http://fipsedatabase.ed.gov
The following Activities are all important aspects of how we are Building a Better Workforce through Contextualized Learning:
Contextualized Learning, Embedded Faculty, & Learning Communities
A key component of the grant is the concept of “embedding” faculty from the English Language and Math programs in career technical programs. Willing faculty in Math and English Language Arts will be selectively recruited and provided with release time from their normal course load in order to immerse themselves in career course offerings to learn about trades in the local region. This release time will allow them the opportunity to interact with students and faculty in these new instructional environments with the ultimate goal of developing greater faculty collaboration, reading, writing and math assignments that provide career technical students with “real world” approaches in Math, English and Reading classes, and ultimately linked instruction in Learning Communities across two disciplines.
Peer Led Team Learning
One of the most successful ways for enhancing learning among students is to establish communities of learning within their own ranks, through study groups and peer-led learning sessions. The grant would fund four students in the Math and Science Learning Center to provide tutoring and supplemental instruction to students simultaneously enrolled in career tech classes and core Science or Math classes. Evaluation studies will help determine if students receiving services from this program component perform better than similar career students who do not receive peer learning services.
Dedicated Counseling Visits with Students in Career Tech Programs
Establishing an early connection with a counselor can help solidify a connection between students’ coursework and career paths. The grant seeks to ensure that contact with counselors will be initiated through the career technical program, helping to enhance the successful completion of courses that lead to a certificate or degree. These counselor contacts are expected to generate higher rates of program completion, making adult re-entry into the workforce a timelier outcome.
Job Shadowing Experiences for Students and English/Math Faculty
A key component of the program will be establishing linkages with local employers to allow students and faculty the opportunity to tour local manufacturing and production facilities in order to learn about job-specific skills necessary to succeed in the local workforce. The grant seeks to improve the knowledge of both the students and English and Math faculty about local employer expectations. To facilitate these employer connections, the Project Coordinator will establish relationships with local employers to set up job-site visits that provide meaningful job shadowing experiences.
Textbook Support for Career Tech Students
The grant project proposes to use a small amount of funds to help defray the cost of purchasing textbooks in career tech offerings that are relevant to a program participant’s desired certificate or degree program. The specific terms of the proposal are to fund the purchase of two books per academic year for 150 eligible students, with eligibility defined as participation in any of the College’s low-income or displaced worker programs (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services [EOPS], CalWORKs, WorkNet, or Board of Governors Eligibility for a fee waiver).
Professional Development for Faculty to Sustain a Culture of Contextualized Learning
Grant funds will be used to finance professional development of faculty in the use and implementation of learning community frameworks and contextualized learning. Some of the grant funds will be used as seed money for the creation of a “Women in Technology” Club and for faculty training to improve recruiting and retention of women in nontraditional careers like electrical technology, HVAC, automotive repair, and welding. The main goal of these travel and development funds is to promote a culture of contextualized learning at the campus that can be sustained over a number of years.
Innovative Methods of Program Dissemination
The grant will help the College’s Office of Public Information and Marketing and the Office of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness develop a series of media releases and web-based reports on program successes. After the first year, a web page will be developed by one of the career re-entry students, helping to expose them to early “on-the-job” experiences with their new skills. The web page will subsequently serve as a vehicle for posting research studies that are a component of the program evaluation of the grant, along with media releases on student success, job shadowing events, and employees hired after earning certificates or degrees.
Linkages with Other Support Programs
The College will be partnering with the San Joaquin County Employment and Economic Development Department to help identify eligible students for the particularized programs mentioned above. Fliers and marketing materials will be distributed to relevant agencies to promote enrollment in SJDC career tech programs.
Rigorous Program Evaluation and Research
The project evaluation plan is centered on the use of logistic regression techniques to examine a number of program interventions in the context of other rival variables. Staff will seek to present their findings in a variety of national and regional settings, and submit results to appropriate research journals.
Funded by a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE)
Office of Post Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education. The contents of this web page were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
San Joaquin Delta College