ADULT AND WORKFORCE EDUCATION: A COLLABORATIVE WORKFORCE MODEL
City University of New York, Lehman College (UNITED STATES)
According to the University Continuing Education Association, continuing education, in its most general definition, is education intended for adult learners who participate part-time. Lehman College of the City of University of New York offers one of the largest Continuing Education programs in the Bronx located in the Northeast of New York City. Since its inception in 1978, the Lehman College Continuing Education (LCCE) functions as the college’s outreach to the community, offering programs to populations who would not otherwise be served by the University. Today, LCCE enrolls 8200 students a year of which 75 percent are working adults (25 years and older) with family responsibilities.
As a Collaborative Workforce Model, the LCCE’s model is to address the needs of the marketplace in a timely manner without burdening the permanent curriculum of the college or university with courses and programs that may have a temporary appeal. In a sense, its programs by fostering partnerships with academic departments, government, unions, and industries function as a testing ground for curriculum and pedagogy, examining the viability of programs geared to lifelong learning and career development. This collaboration allows for flexible programming that meets the needs of the employers by aligning course planning and content. With input from the community, employers, labor unions, government, and education, we are able to meet multiple needs that impact quality of life.
In this model, we can offer a continuum of courses, certificates, and programs that could move students from preparation for entry level job-skills, to college prep, and, finally, to admission to college, the earning of a degree, and advancement on a career ladder. First, by packaging existing courses into certificates or custom course packages, they are able expeditiously to meet the economic, workforce, or educational needs of the marketplace. For example, when programs such as Youth Studies, Foreign-Trained MD to RN, or Healthcare Core Certificates are required by labor unions, or City agencies, this model can help create these programs and have them up and running on campus, or on-site (e.g. hospitals), or just about wherever the demand is (e.g. international programs). Secondly, all of these programs are made up of College-approved courses that carry college credit, the desired currency of the educational marketplace. These credits can be applied towards a degree, the goal of many of the people who register for these programs.
Important characteristics of this model are: one-stop philosophy, bridge concept (career and educational ladder), bridge assumptions (pre or contextualized), an extension of the community, consortium (college, industry partners, community-based organizations, and city agencies), assess participant learning needs, establish group as a learning community, curriculum is related to field, early intervention, counseling and advisement, its cohort structure allows case management, and an ability for performance measurement.