The Story of

A Career Pathway to Tech Sector Employment and Education

Richard Sebastian, PhD Virginia Literacy Institute Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia

What’s the Big Idea?

What’s the Big Idea?
Create a new educational program that incorporates 21 st Century Skills into a traditional GED curriculum to help adult high school non-completers quickly develop the technology and workplace skills they need to succeed in a fast-paced, global economy.

Virginia Secretary of Technologyr)
White ( y Office chnolog Chief Te House

Aneesh Chopra

“Identify potential entrepreneurs” “Create new tech assessment” “Fill available tech sector jobs at Northrop Grumman & CGI, Inc.”

“Through the building and use of wooden boats, the Alexandria Seaport Foundation helps at-risk youth turn their lives around and provides families, community groups, and schools with meaningful educational, social, and recreational experiences. Full-time apprentices earn their GED and prepare for a career in the building trades.”

Alexandria Seaport Foundation

Lebanon, VA
Southwest Technology Development Center



umm an

North r

op Gr


hw ut

tR es

gio e

al n

du A

du tE l

on ati c

25% : 18-24 : lack credential 39.5% : 25+ : lack credential Northrop Grumman : 100+ open positions


Adult Education Partner

Allen, L. SW VA Regional Adult Ed

Community College Partner

Fuller, B. SW VA Community College

Higher Education Partner

Blevins, S. UVA at Wise

Dept. of Education

Office of Adult Education & Literacy

Stamper, R.

Government Partner

Jackson, K.

Vice President, Broadband Programs Center for Innovative Technology


Project Manager Principal Investigator

Virginia Commonwealth University

Sebastian, R.

LEAD Curriculum Developer

Henry, L. University of Kentucky


Leander, K. Vanderbilt University

GED-CRC Professional Soft Skills

PlugGED In


GED-CRC Ne e ds As se ss men t Pa rt n e rs h ip fo 21C Skills Professional rSoftSkills
VA G ED C o nte nt st a n da rd s
M ic ro s oft IT Ac ade my & IC3 DIGITAL LITERACY


Partnership for

PlugGED In


GED credential
Career Readiness Certificate

Math & Writing

Professional Soft Skills
“7 Habits
of Highly Effective People”

Workplace/communication skills

Business etiquette

Microsoft IT Academy MS Digital Literacy IC3 Help Desk* MS Certified Application Specialist

Capstone Project
Teamwork/Collaboration Communication Skills Creativity/Innovation Research Applied Technology Skills


Proposed Curriculum Design

So far so Good?

5-9:30 p.m. Math 7 Habits Writing The Etiquette Advantage in Business Capstone project*

5-9:30 p.m. MS Digital Literacy IC3 prep Help Desk training Capstone project*

Kick-off Formal dinner Job fair Campus visits Capstone project presentation Graduation

Productivity Investment Fund $127,000
Chancellor’s E-learning Enhancement & Development Fund (CEED) $54,546

VA Department of Education $48,338


n Productivity&Investment Fund nt eva l u atio deve l op m e $127,000

Chancellor’s E-learning Enhancement & te c h n o lo g y in st r u cto rs /m ate r ia ls Development Fund (CEED) $54,546
h VA Department eof Education ED in st r u cto rs /o u t r a c G $48,338



(in-kind) CIT

MS IT Academy licenses

Southwest Technology Development Center UVA at Wise

Media & PR Charter Media, etc. Incentives Local businesses

17 students enrolled in Feb 2009 9 students completed the program 3 males/6 females 9 GEDs 9 CRCs (1 bronze/5 silver/3 gold) 4 IC3 certificates (5 passed at least 1 certification exam) 7 students enrolled at Southwest Virginia Community College (Fall 2009)

All students earned 24 college credits 7 students received Alcoa scholarships Completed capstone project Business attire Interview at Northrop Grumman*

So, what did you learn?

Classroom Observation Interviews Focus groups Artifact analysis Case studies


Difficulty creating an integrated curriculum
-Training issue -Class took on a “test prep” environment -Tension between certification focus & designers’ desire for integration & authentic workplace engagement -Class lacked programmatic coherence between Tues class & Wed/Thur class

Focus on discrete skills rather than conceptual frameworks
-Curricular materials used (MS, IC3) were not integrated -Instructors lacked integration experience/training

Program manager successfully created safety nets for students who dropped out Consistent student reports of increase in self-efficacy & self-esteem Capstone project became an agent of change for instructors & students

Capstone project
The development of a capstone project was intended to help learners integrate and apply knowledge and strategies learned from the PlugGED In core content.

Capstone project
The capstone project required learners to •identify a challenging issue within the community •locate information from multiple resources that relates to the challenge •critically evaluate information that is relevant to the challenge •create a solution to the challenge and, •present the solution in both oral and textual formats.

Capstone project
The challenge: Develop 3 eco-friendly outdoor activity areas for Lebanon Community Fellowship, a local church that was adding a building to its current facility.

Capstone project
•The class divided themselves into 3 groups. •Each group designated a group leader and
was responsible for designing one of the three lots. •One student served as overall project leader. •The class created a Ning site to communicate with each other outside of class and worked with instructors across all three nights of class to develop the project.

Capstone project
Capstone presentation July 23, 2009

• Robust pre-program training with regular
on-going instructor training throughout class • Reduce amount of curriculum content • Emphasis on capstone project earlier in curriculum • Involve a strong, hands-on manager with full buy-in • Forge strong local partnerships

Future plans
October 2009: Two additional PlugGED In classes funded -Lebanon, VA -Dickenson County, VA Pilot program in Southeastern KY PlugGED In included in 3 ARRA grant applications Session on PlugGED In at AERA 2010

Future plans


Image sources
1. Wall Plug Wire: Siddhartha 2. Phrenology: jwebb202 3. Boat Close-up: Nicolas Nova 4. Wedding Handshake: 376157228/ freakapotimus 5. Powerstrip Wires: 2661016046/sizes/l/ Jason Rogers 6. Pencil Test: mammal 7. Beinvenidos: National Acrobat 8. Antique PC: Mess of Pottage 9. Chart: Jude Hill 10. Roll of Bills: AMagill 11. Speed Knots: Chris Spurgeon 12. Seattle Woman: 3882187210/ Seattle Municipal Archives 13. Those Who Get It: dullhunk 14. Colored Cubes: jared 15.Moon: Todd Ryburn

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful