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Career Planning Implementation

Career planning gives adults a motive to pursue further education. It is an important component of transition programming. Adult learners’ career awareness is typically informed by whatever exposure they have had to the world of work through personal experience, family, and friends. Many have a limited understanding of career possibilities—which careers are in high demand, what education and training these careers require, and what the wages and benefits are. It is in adult learners’ interest to align their experience, interests and aptitudes with educational and career goals that will lead them to decent jobs with opportunities for advancement. In addition, studies* show that clear goals improve learner persistence.

The Career Planning Implementation Project was a sustained professional development model that piloted in each of the six New England states by 60 ABE/ESOL instructors and counselors from 28 different programs. The overall project goal is to help adult education program staff incorporate career awareness and planning into their instructional and counseling activities throughout all levels of ESOL, ABE and Adult Secondary Education. The professional development model included the following steps:

  • Six hours of face-to-face introductory training on using the Integrating Career Awareness into the ABE/ESOL Classroom (ICA) curriculum.

  • An 18-hour online course for program staff teams (counselors and/or teachers) who pilot the ICA curriculum in their instructional and counseling activities. The online course acquaints staff with a variety of career planning concepts, curriculum materials and online resources. It guides them through a preparation process culminating in a completed lesson-planning template tailored to their instructional and/or counseling program design, class types, and student level.

  • The program staff incorporated the curriculum into classroom instruction and/or counseling activities during a defined pilot period, at the end of which participating students completed career plans. During this pilot period, we provided coaching and technical assistance to staff and facilitated an online discussion where participants shared ideas and materials.

  • Participating program staff attended a wrap-up meeting or phone conference call toward the end of the pilot period.

The National Career Awareness Project (2010-2011) builds on this earlier New England pilot.

*National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (2002). Learner Persistence Study. Focus on Basics(6)A, retrieved October 14, 2009 from Also see Jobs for the Future, Breaking Through: Helping Low-Skilled Adults Enter and Succeed in College and Careers, retrieved October 14, 2009 from


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