Tuesday, December 1, 2015

BPPE ETPL Application Support

Hello Friends-
Hope your holiday was restful and enjoyable. I wanted to reach out to you because Pathways Consultants has decided to launch a new service. We are now supporting training programs in the completion of their applications to the Bureau of Private Post-Secondary Education (BPPE) so that you may continue to accept WIOA eligible participants from the Employment and Training Provider List (ETPL). 

If you don't know what any of that means, I don't blame you! Simply put, if you provide a technical skills training program and would like to be reimbursed for expenses providing training to low-income adults, let us know! We can make the process painless and straightforward. Here's a flyer to share with colleagues.

We are proposing to offer two tiers of services to agencies who would like to apply. 
Tier 1: Developmental Support and Consultation—This would involve advising you on the application process and providing consultation services to agencies who would like to create the submittal materials themselves. In your case you might need to modify most materials rather than re-create them. We also can submit the proposal in your stead, which because we have attended state approved course with the BPPE on completing the application properly, would get your application reviewed in about 2-3 months rather than 2 years.

Tier 2: Writing and Application Creation: We work with you to gather documents based on the application criteria and as needed create and modify documents to comply with the BPPE guidelines. We can also submit the proposal and expedite the review process. This takes approximately 25-40 hours to create/modify these documents to be ready for submittal depending on what you have readily available. 

Contact us for a free assessment to gauge your readiness both in terms of document preparation and the oversight that being BPPE approved brings once you're approved. 

Amanda Gerrie & Kim Coulthurst

Monday, October 5, 2015

Career Development Facilitator Training

Hello Friends and Colleagues-
We've been busy at Pathways Consultants cooking up a few new offerings and services this fall. We are very excited to be offering the nationally recognized Career Development Facilitator (CDF) certification. We are partnering with the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the San Francisco Department of Children Youth and their Families to bring the CDF training to their grantees. We have 3 additional slots for Bay Area youth and adult workforce development service providers who would like to pursue this valuable professional development opportunity independently.

The CDF Certification is widely recognized in the field of workforce development as the qualification for employment. It is also recognized in K-12, college and private industry workplaces. This in-depth training, offered via a blended learning platform, includes 120 combined classroom and elearning instructional hours.

The CDF training program was developed to provide standards, training specifications, and a certification for career services providers.  This title and certification is highly recognized and valued among professionals in the workforce development field internationally.

This Career Development Facilitator Certification cohort will include up to 17 participants from Bay Area-wide youth and adult workforce development programs. The program cost, which includes instructional materials and a manual is $1800. The meeting dates are as follows:

Workshop Dates - the following Thursdays 9am-5pm:

Approximately 8 hours of homework per month, including reading and useful projects you can apply to your job right away.

DOWNLOAD FLYER to learn more and apply online by October 19th. 

We have only 3 slots remaining!

Please don't hesitate to call or email us with questions:
Amanda Gerrie and Kim Coulthurst
Pathways Consultants

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

To ETPL or Not to ETPL?

Hi Everyone-
Hope your summer is going well. Last week Pathways Consultants attended the Application Workshop with the CA Bureau of Private Post-Secondary Education (BPPE). We wanted to learn more about the BPPE's Approval to Operate application process and the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL). For those of you who operate vocational training programs and were formerly on the ETPL, you may have some questions about how these two governmental departments work together. 

You also have probably been severely impacted by the requirement that all former programs on the ETPL must reapply for their status. For a few years the Bureau of Private Post-Secondary Vocational Education was disbanded under Governor Schwarzenegger. The Bureau of Private Post-Secondary (not vocational) Education is back with a vengeance. In order to be on the ETPL you MUST first be approved by the BPPE. So here's what I learned about the application process:
  1. The BPPE exists to protect consumers. It's sole purpose is to ensure that students who are paying fees are getting what they pay for. It's part of the Department of Consumer Affairs.  Think of what happened with Heald!
  2. You must be approved under the status "Approval to Operate an Institution Non-Accredited." Some people have suggested that they fall under the "Exempt" status which is a shorter and less expensive application process. When speaking with leadership at the BPPE they assured me that very few organizations will qualify and be approved under that category.
  3. The application review and approval process takes about 2 years! The BPPE is severely backlogged, as you can imagine. Those who take the Application Workshop will be fast-tracked and will be approved in months, rather than years, including consultants who are assisting organizations with their application. 
  4. Each application is reviewed and the organization will receive one deficiency letter outlining exactly what they need to do to successfully complete the application for approval. The BPPE recommends that you respond within 30 days. If you don't respond within a year of your application date, you forfeit your application and your $5,000 application fee.
  5. If the program you are applying for ALSO has a licensing requirement with the state, such as barbering or certified nursing assistant, you must also work with the BPPE's department of Quality of Education Unit to review and approve the educational program. Make sure you understand your licensing requirements as well.

The application process is insanely complicated and detailed. The questions are geared toward organizations that do not currently operate as a school but intend to. Meaning, you must prove that you have staffing, equipment, space, curriculum, facilities.  But according to the BPPE you can not operate as a school until you are approved, which can take up to 2 years. 

For those of us who are community based organizations providing training that is paid for with grant dollars, like WIA/WIOA  or private funders, this application process forces you to change your operations to conform with the organizational structures of a private post-secondary school. Think transcripts, financial aid and student catalogs. 

The process and the subsequent audits to comply with the BPPE post-secondary school model creates a parallel universe for community based organizations which are already working hard to comply with other federal, state and county requirements for funding, case files, student enrollment, etc. 

If you are interested in getting assistance from Pathways Consultants on your application, we are happy to serve as consultants/advisors or work to collect and create the required application materials on your behalf.

We also want to hear from you if you are interested in talking with our state representatives about reviewing/revising these policies for future ETPL applicants to increase the number of nonprofit training providers on the list. Please talk to us!

Amanda Gerrie and Kim Coulthurst
Pathways Consultants

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Universal Design for Learning-For Youth Development and Workforce Development

Greetings Everyone-
This spring we led a series of workshops on effective curriculum design for youth development and youth workforce agencies. We would like to share with you some of our thinking around how to make your curriculum and activities engaging. 

Most people are familiar with Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences which challenges the notion of intelligence based IQ testing. We all have different kinds of intelligences and we all need opportunities in our learning environments to shine and show what we know. We have applied this concept for years in youth development as a way to engage and support young people. 

This year with the introduction of the common core, the California Department of Education is working hard to create in-roads for all students to access the rigor of the common core standards. Universal Design for Learning has been the key to creating access and inclusivity for special education students to the common core.

What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)? 

UDL is an approach or framework for designing universally-accessible curriculum. It includes multiple means of representation (to allow various ways of acquiring information and knowledge), multiple means of expression (to allow alternatives for demonstrating knowledge), and multiple means of engagement (to challenge appropriately, to motivate, and to allow learners to express and participate in their interests). When UDL is done well, all students benefit--not just special education students.  In short, when applying UDL to teaching new concepts we need to give students lots of different ways to access the information: listening, reading, watching a video, observing an action etc. We also need to give students many ways to show what they know: making a presentation, writing, drawing a comic, rapping or singing, etc. This short video is a great entree to UDL from the Howard County Public Schools in Maryland.

UDL isn't just for the K-12 classroom environment. As providers who work with youth after school, disconnected youth, adults who have struggled with persisting in training or other post-secondary-- our curriculum design and our engagement strategies must be stellar. We are the providers of last resort for individuals who may feel that they have failed in other pathways to education and career. Here is a great resource on youth workforce development and UDL published by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability.

For those of you who are interested in aligning your work with the common core in California there is a symposium presented by CalSTAT and CDE on June 3rd on Creating Inclusive and Accessible Learning Environments taking place in Sacramento. If you are unable to attend you can participate virtually for free. The presentation from Kevin Schaefer on UDL will be good as will the presentation on Growth Mindset. You can see PowerPoints for these presentation online. The previous symposiums on Common Core State Standards and Special Education are also online.

If you are interested in reviewing your curriculum and getting feedback on how to better document what you are doing, map your work to specific competencies or make it more engaging and accessible using UDL and the theory of multiple intelligences--Pathways Consultants is available for consultation. Give us a call: 510-325-6959.

As always, we welcome dialogue with all of you.

Amanda Gerrie
Kim Coulthurst
Pathways Consultants

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What HR Wants Youth Workforce Development to Know

Greetings Friends and Colleagues-

Please accept our apologies for the hiatus in blogging. We have been rapidly moving forward with the launch of our web app, CareerHub. If you are interested in learning more about the app or our work with the Workforce Innovation Accelerator project that is funding our pilot, give us a call. We are happy to give a demo of the app to your staff. We plan to launch the app officially for public use this spring. 

This month we are focusing on understanding college and career readiness in the context of what today's business leaders are looking for in entry-level employees. Pathways Consultants is leading a peer learning community with 12 youth workforce development agencies who are grantees of the San Francisco Department of Children Youth and Their Families. The peer learning community is focusing on understanding the San Francisco business community. As such we are speaking with human resources managers, observing workplaces and visiting career and technical education training programs. Last month we met representatives from Whole Foods, Sephora, Levi's, Starbucks, the Intercontinental Hotel and UC Berkeley who gave our group advice they would give to entry-level job applicants. Here are highlights of the themes we heard.

  • Apply Apply and Apply: It's OK to apply for the same company multiple times. Human resources looks at each application uniquely and when an applicant applies to a business or organization multiple times, it shows perseverance, tenacity and passion for the mission of the organization.
  • Be Specific About Availability: Make sure to list the specific hour you are available to work when applying. When applicants say that they are available any hours it doesn't help the human resources department to determine where a candidate would best fit. Be specific!
  • Attention to Detail: One of the biggest reasons an applicant fails to make the first cut in a screening process is that the application materials have errors or are missing key pieces of information. Applications must be flawless. Human resources screens fast and if you don't quickly demonstrate your skills and attention to detail you don't proceed to the interview stage.
  • Tell Your Story: If you are changing careers, sectors or are an entry-level worker, tell your story in your application. Use the cover letter and the entire online application to highlight your transferable skills. 
  • Give Examples of Your Skills: If you're going to list a skill, tell them how you used it and in what setting. For example don't just list Excel but tell how you have used it, in what settings and for what kinds of projects.
  • Overlooked Skills: Skills that people often overlook are their language skills. If you speak another language, make sure to mention it.
  • Change in Requirement to Report Convictions During Application: One of the most exciting developments is that San Francisco and many other counties in the Bay Area have banned employers from asking about criminal convictions until after a conditional employment offer or finalists are selected. Check out the National Employment Law Project for more info. If youth are completing applications that still ask this, advise them to not disclose this information until they are a finalist.
  • LinkedIn Matters: For nonprofit agencies seeking to partner with businesses, LinkedIn really matters. It is a source for informational interviews, researching companies, professions and a place to build community. Reach out to business partners and build relationships first, not only when you are helping a young person submit an application. Many of the recruiters and human resources representatives recruit for hundreds of positions over large regions for multiple stores or sites. They don't have the time to respond when you reach out on behalf of an applicant but they are interested in building lasting linkages with organizations that provide pipelines of quality workers. 

Have comments, want to connect or hear more about CareerHub? Call or email!

Amanda Gerrie and Kim Coulthurst
(510) 325-6959

Thursday, October 23, 2014

M-Learning Through CareerHub: Moving Workforce Light Years Ahead

Greetings Everyone-
We have been VERY busy the last few months at Pathways Consultants. One of the things that really troubles us in the field of workforce development is how little we use technology to effectively engage our clients, and we lack a smart solution to verifying employment. Introducing CareerHub, our brand new web app! CareerHub texts, emails, and calls our clients to:

  1. get employment data;
  2. keep them engaged and provide coaching, reminders for events and mobile learning.

CareerHub is also a platform to deliver digital gift cards, called eBoosts, sent via email and text for top brands (Starbucks, Walmart, Staples, Dominos Pizza, and Best Buy) to reward and encourage participation. 

We have been lucky to be part of the California Workforce Investment Board Accelerator Pilot Projects to determine effective strategies for virtual service delivery. We are partnering with Opportunity Junction and Bay Area Community Resources to design and pilot a number of virtual services, including M-Learning (mobile learning) strategies delivered via CareerHub. We thought we'd share some of initial learnings on global M-Learning efforts. Follow our progress on Twitter and watch for our upcoming crowd-funding campaign.

What is M-Learning? M-learning refers to the use of mobile devices such as tablets, mobile phones and smart phones for pedagogical purposes. Phrases such as “handheld learning” and “handheld technology” are also encountered; their semantic focus on the hand stresses the shift from traditional e-learning which focuses more on desktop or laptop computing.
Types of M-Learning
Contact and Communication: Reminders, rescheduling, updates, late or missing students
Direct Teaching: Asking questions, sharing, quizzes, tasks
Teaching Related: Personalized support, motivational messages, feedback on lectures, alerts

Mobil Skole: Olso, Norway

Contact and Communication
SMS messages are used to provide a secure channel for communication between the school and parents, particularly in relation to truancy and other behavioral issues. The school uses a positive approach to communication, providing parents with supportive messages and positive reinforcement about their children’s performance and behavior, rather than negative feedback. The school has reported that using Mobil Skole has had a positive impact on attendance in all grades. Approximately 200 schools in Norway are currently using the Mobil Skole system to streamline communication in a variety of ways. The schools have noted that parental cooperation has improved since the Mobil Skole system was implemented, and attendance at parent evenings has risen from around 60% to over 80%.  

Student Messenger: University of Ulster, Ireland
Contact and Communication; 
Teaching Related
Student messenger, a computer program that allows university staff to contact students via SMS text messaging. Student Messenger was used to send administrative and ‘supportive’ text messages to a cohort of first year students. 

Poll Everywhere
Direct Teaching Interactions
Faculty in large university classrooms can set up instant and polls to question their class. Students can respond to polls via a web browser, text and twitter. Professors can ask both open and closed questions and get instant student feedback to check for understanding or engage reluctant learners.

Grassroots Soccer, Generation Skillz, South Africa
Direct Teaching Interactions
Grassroot Soccer uses SMS technology to reach students with HIV prevention messaging. In collaboration with Witwatersrand’s Reproduction Health and HIV Institute and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. GRS is studying the uses of SMS texting as a way to reinforce key themes in a health education curriculum for girls.

Mobile-Based Post Literacy Programme, Pakistan
Direct Teaching Interactions
The main objective of the project is to develop a mobile-based literacy programme where the newly literates receive literacy materials as programme is designed not only to provide appropriate reading materials to learners in order to maintain and develop their literacy skills through a messages on a mobile phone, which they read and then respond to. This medium which has become an indispensable means of communication among youths today, but also to promote knowledge concerning many aspects of life and to teach learners about and familiarize them with technological advancements. Messages containing pedagogically correct, but fun and interesting, topics will be sent to post-literates. Girls receive up to 6 messages in Urdu per day.

Youth Empowerment Through Mobile Learning, Thailand
Teaching Related
More than 1,600 young Thais have been receiving short messages from UNESCO Bangkok every day through Facebook and telephone SMS. The messages contain quotes from well-known people around the world from successful business executives and movie stars to scientists.  Translated into Thai, the messages focus on three elements: mental skills (life and happiness, attitude, work and learning); cognitive skills (our own strength and weakness, personal values, goals and leadership); and technical skills (communication and relationship).  UNESCO Bangkok has been implementing “Youth Empowerment through Mobile Learning Project” in collaboration with the Office of the Non-Formal and Informal Education, Ministry of Education, Thailand to encourage youth, especially students in Non-Formal Education to build self-motivation and essential life skills, find competencies, purpose in life and internal peace, and to introduce to them the concept of lifelong learning. 

Presemo, University of Helsinki Pilot
All categories
Presemo is an easy-to-use tool that allows university faculty to activate the audience at various eventsPresemon allows faculty to create surveys, collect feedback, to test the level of expertise, to create polls or organize community-based chat conversations.  Presemo is suitable for use in teaching, for example, mass lectures, teaching sessions, group meetings, conferences, functions and events.  The system works using keywords. Students send a text message to the college’s SMS number, which triggers an email to the appropriate person or department depending on the keywords used. For example, a text message from a student containing the word ‘safe’ will automatically generate an email to the college welfare team, which enables the welfare team to contact the student quickly and directly. Teachers can use the system to set up class mailing lists that distribute information to students on their mobile phones. The system is synchronized with the college’s information management system, so that teachers can send text messages to students without having to log in separately to the SMS system. The timing of texts can be set in advance, so that reminders about homework and exams can be sent to students automatically. Messages from students are sent as both emails and texts, so teachers can receive and access messages from their personal computer as well as their mobile device.