Level 2 Infusion
Developing general job-seeking/job-keeping courses with a workforce orientation is a second type of school-work tie. These courses need to be based on a firm understanding of what employers generally want in terms of general skills. The Illinois listing of 90 workplace skills (Ethridge, 1997) suggests two possibilities: a basic job-preparedness course and a more advanced job-preparedness course.
A basic job-preparedness course might focus on developing an employment plan and seeking and applying for employment. Specific job-seeking activities might include setting work goals, determining an adult�s aptitude for and attitude toward various occupations, locating employment opportunities, understanding the steps of applying for a job, preparing a resume, writing an application letter, preparing for a job interview, and preparing an application form. Get adult learners online. One career exploration tool is Self-Directed Search (http://www.self-directed-search.com/). At this site you can investigate careers or educational programs that match your skills and interests. SDS is based on a theory that both people and work environments can be classified according to six different types: realistic, investigative, conventional, artistic, enterprising and social. Adults will also enjoy exploring the personal side of work (http://www.jobprofiles.com/) where workers share "the rewards of their job, stressful parts of the job, basic skills the job demands, challenges of the future, and advice on entering the field (p. 1)."
Adult learners can also explore careers via interactive software. The DISCOVER Career Guidance and Information Program (ACT, 1999) assesses interests, abilities, and job values; provides databases of occupations; and teaches adults how to develop resumes and cover letters, complete job applications and interview effectively. SIGI PLUS (Educational Testing Service, 1996) is another career guidance program that helps persons clarify work-related values, search and create a listing of relevant occupations, learn about a variety of occupations, and develop an occupational plan. The Insight Career Exploration Tool (Bytes of Learning, 1998) contains a database of over 750 blue- and white-collar occupations. Learners can view job descriptions and job requirements. The program allows the adult to ask "What if?" questions and see what effect an action would have on future job opportunities.
A more advanced job-preparedness course might focus on initial employee activities and job-keeping skills: considering issues related to accepting employment, demonstrating work ethics and positive work behaviors, maintaining a safe and healthy work environment, interpreting the economics of work, maintaining professionalism, and adapting and coping with change. In this advanced course, new employees would learn about applying for a social security number, completing tax forms, knowing rules and regulations, displaying initiative and willingness to learn, identifying health and safety procedures, acting during emergencies, understanding employee and employer responsibilities, knowing work-related terminology, treating people with respect, handling stress, and recognizing the need to change or quit a job (IOSSCC, 1997).
This more advanced job-preparedness might target three different populations. The first target group is adult learners who have secured a job and want to enhance their ability to keep it. For these adults, the course could be job-specific, dealing with experiences they are having and activities they need to complete. This course might also attract adult learners who do not yet have a job but who want to know generally what will be expected of them on the job. For this group, the learning would occur with simulated learning experiences. A third target group might be those who need to pair job skill learning with on-the-job experience, a type of internship. In this type of experiential program, the adults attend a job preparedness course part-time and work without pay for an employer part-time. The adult benefits from on-the-job training connected to a highly relevant job preparedness course and knows that an employment opportunity might be available upon completion of the course. The employer benefits from free employee hours.
Those learning English as a second language have specific needs regarding their success in the world of work. Grognet (1997) suggests that adult educators consider what is important to help second language learners get a job, survive on the job, and thrive on the job. To get a job, second language learners need to be able to orally provide personal information, discuss their abilities, express their likes and dislikes, and generally ask and answer questions. To survive on the job they need to be able to follow oral and written directions, understand and use safety-related language, ask for clarification when they don�t understand, provide reasons for their work actions, and engage in small talk. They may also need to locate written information in manuals, understand technical vocabulary, and read charts and graphs. To thrive on the job they need to be able to participate in group discussions, give and follow directions, teach others, predict outcomes, state their position/opinion and support it, negotiate, interrupt, and take turns. Grognet�s general framework of getting, surviving, and thriving is applicable beyond the second language learner.