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Promising Practices: Transitions

Pathways to Employment through the Parolee Education Program

Promising Practice: The Pathways to Employment project at Contra Costa COE’s Santa Fe Springs Parole Site is a shining example of the importance of comprehensive workforce transition programs that focus on both academic and soft skills. The project utilizes CASAS’ Workforce Skills Certification System (WSCS) to provide assessment, instruction and workplace connections for the parolee population.

Agency Awarded: Contra Costa County Office of Education, Parolee Project (Santa Fe Springs Site), 2010

Summary Description of Project:

Contra Costa County Office of Education’s (CCCOE) Santa Fe Springs Parole Site has created an innovative workforce transition program that effectively prepares parolees for employment.    CCCOE is participating in the Workforce Skills Certification System (WSCS) Pilot, one of CDE’s Adult Basic Education Initiatives. The Pathways to Employment Program was designed for students to receive focused workplace-related instruction and assessment, and to translate their new skills directly into job placement. Students assessed with both a standardized basic and soft skills assessment and receive a detailed skills profile.  This profile documents soft skills such as customer care and responsibility, as assessed by Learning Resources, Inc (LRI).  The profile also documents CASAS assessment results together with descriptors of the skills demonstrated, in language that employers understand. Implementing this WSCS project has changed the way students interact with one-stops and other employment agencies. A formal agreement between Santa Fe Springs and the vocational rehabilitation center ensures that students referred to the vocational center with the WSCS Profile are automatically qualified to receive job assistance and resources. Instructors report that students are more motivated and driven because they see that their hard work can translate into long-term employment.

Evaluation Process/Results:

Since Contra Costa COE Parolee Program implemented the WSCS in January 2010, 7 students have entered the vocational rehabilitation program, 3 students have gone on interviews after being referred to the one-stop center, and 4 students have obtained jobs (with numbers projected to increase). CCCOE has shown improvement in most of the NRS instructional levels from 2007-08 to 2008-09, as compared to the California state performance averages. In addition, students participating in the program have reported that feel more prepared for future interviews and jobs due to their workplace skills instruction and assessments.

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