THECB Contact: Linda Munoz, Linda.Munoz@thecb.state.tx.us
The Accelerate TEXAS (Accelerate TX) programs require institutions to establish interagency partnerships in order to establish career pathways for lower skilled adults and youth who score at the high intermediate ESL level (literacy/reading) or low intermediate basic education level (reading/numeracy). The Accelerate TX programs directly target out-of-school adults and youth without a high school diploma or GED who are interested in a career/technical education in a target or high-demand occupation in their region. The program also targets underprepared adults who may have graduated from high school three or more years prior to enrollment in the program but who test into basic skills levels (below 8.9 grade level).
Integrated or Concurrent Enrollment Program Design: Under the programs, adult education students take career/technical training courses concurrently with adult education support courses that support the content of the workforce course through a contextualized, relevant curriculum (e.g. Math for CNC machinists). The support classes are taught by adult basic education faculty, by developmental education faculty, or by the certificate instructor AND an ABE or DE faculty member. At the completion of a program, successful students earn both a GED and a work training certificate that is of value in their regional labor market and that leads to further credentials along a specified career path or program of study.
Since 2010, THECB has funded 21 colleges under the Accelerate TX initiative. Even though some of these colleges have cycled off grant funding, the success of these models in building the basic skills of students in workforce training programs has driven colleges to identify strategies to sustain their integrated programs without grant funds. Accelerate TX colleges align their adult education programs with Developmental Education in that the two programs work together to identify the similarities of the student populations in both programs, and to begin to appropriately advise lower-level students found in DE courses into alternative DE programs (e.g. non-course based interventions, ESL), adult education programs (on the campus), or established integrated basic education skills training pathways such as Accelerate TX.
Initial Outcomes: Eight Colleges began enrolling students in integrated programs in January 2011; Six colleges began programs in January 2012. As of April 2013, among these 14 colleges, over 3,000 students had enrolled in programs with 1925 having received workforce training certificates. Of the 1175 who had received a certificate by December 2012, 71% were employed and 12% were enrolled in higher education/training in spring 2013. Jobs for the Future is a national organization that partners with THECB and Texas colleges to support the design, implementation, and scaling of career pathways programs that lead to credentials of value in local/regional labor markets.
Accelerate TEXAS Mentor Colleges: THECB identified five Accelerate TX college districts with exemplar programs to act as mentors to other colleges in the in the state that are interested in designing and implementing an integrated program model at their college. These mentor college districts are: Alamo Colleges, Amarillo College, Houston Community College, Lone Star College, and South Texas College. The mentee colleges are Alamo: Laredo Community College, Victoria College, SW TX Jr. College, Coastal Bend College; Amarillo: Frank Phillips College and Clarendon College; Houston Community College: College of the Mainland, Alvin College, and Lee College; Lone Star College: Texarkana College and Blinn College; and South Texas College: Texas Southmost College
Colleges under the Accelerate TX Family: Colleges that have cycled off grant funds, but have built and are sustaining integrated basic education workforce training program at a single college in their district or at multiple colleges include: Austin Community College, Dallas County Community College District-El Centro College, El Paso Community College, Hill College, San Jacinto College-North, Tarrant County College-South, Texas State Technical College-Harlingen, Tyler Junior College, Wharton Co. Jr. College.