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									    The Use of WORKKEYS at Jefferson College in Career and
                   Technical Education

                          Bryan Herrick – Director of Business &
                               Community Development

What is Work Keys?

The American Society for Training and Development and the United States Department
of Labor cooperated from 1986-1989 on a study, which identified 16 employability skills.
In 1991, the US Department of Labor “Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary
Skills” (SCANS) refined the original list into 13 foundational skills reported in America
2000. Working together, ACT partnered with the American Association of Community
Colleges, the National Association of State Directors of Vocational and Technical
Education, representatives from Federal Express, Ford, Honda, Proctor and Gamble, and
Saturn to develop the WORKKEYS system.

The American College Testing Program (ACT) developed WORKKEYS in the late
1980’s as a national measurement scale. Its purpose is to link education and business for
the development and improvement of employability and performance skills in the
workforce. WORKKEYS provides a common language for students, educators,
individual workers, business, labor and those involved in job training to discuss essential
foundation workplace skills. These skills include the following: Applied Mathematics,
Applied Technology, Listening, Locating Information, Observation, Reading for
Information, Teamwork, and Writing.
WORKKEYS is an integrated four-component system designed to:

Measure the foundation workplace skills (ASSESSMENT)

Identify the skills and the level of the respective skills required for specific jobs or
occupations (JOB/OCCUPATIONAL PROFILING)

Provide relevant information useful in making career decisions, planning and evaluating
training programs and identifying qualified employees (REPORTING)

Supplement workplace skill instruction (INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT)

Jefferson College had partnered with the St. Louis Regional Commerce and
Growth Association (RCGA), the Associated General Contractors Training
School, the Carpenters Apprenticeship Program, the Plumbers Union (Local
35), the St. Louis Labor Council, the St. Louis Economic Council, and several
other organizations and educational institutions to establish the St. Louis
WORKKEYS Alliance of Business, Labor & Education(WorkABLE). The
purpose of this partnership is to provide resources and support for the utilization
of WORKKEYS as part of a regional effort to attract 100,000 new jobs by the
year 2000, strengthen connections between employers, job seekers, and related
support systems, strengthen the school-to-work connections, provide a
consistent and measurable assessment system in education in accordance with
new skill standards, and bridge the skills gap and guide retraining for dislocated
workers.

The potential is here to use the WORKKEYS assessment system as a method of
outcomes measurement for the Vocational Technical programs at Jefferson College.
Since this system is linked to employability standards set by business and industry, it
provides an excellent means of assessing general education in the vocational technical
fields. This system can also provide faculty a framework to revise and/or build curricula
and instruction addressing workplace skills. In addition, vocational technical students
taking this measure of outcomes assessment will be more motivated to provide their best
effort on an exam that is directly linked to employment and which some companies
require as part of the application process. With this system, Jefferson College would
emerge as a leader in the utilization of assessment results for the improvement of student
learning with regard to the foundation skills required in vocational education.

The Plan

The development of a strategic plan to implement the WORKKEYS system is important
to the overall success of the project. This proposal identifies a 5- step process for the
utilization of the WORKKEYS system at Jefferson College:

1. Present benefits of the WORKKEYS system to Jefferson College Administration,
   faculty, and staff

2. Receive Input on the benefits of the WORKKEYS system from Administration,
   faculty, and staff.

3. If support is warranted, proceed with the development of a strategic plan for the
   implementation of the WORKKEYS system at Jefferson College

4. Implement the plan.

5. Evaluate the plan (make revisions and improvements as indicated)
Program Implementation:

Phase I: Establish WorkKeys outcome standards for Career Technical programs and
align curriculum with business and industry requirements

A presentation on the WORKKEYS system was provided to the following vocational
technical advisory boards during the month of September 1999:

Office Systems Technology
Computer Aided Drafting & Design Technology
Automotive Technology
Civil/Construction Technology
Early Childhood Technology
Emergency Medical Technology
Fire Science Technology
Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Technology
Industrial Automation Technology
Industrial Maintenance Technology
Machine Tool/CNC Technology
Telecommunications Technology
Welding Technology

The presentation consisted of a short introduction to the WORKKEYS system, which
was followed by a video overview of WORKKEYS. Each advisory board member
received a comprehensive packet of information on WORKKEYS and was asked to
complete a survey stating their recommendation to Jefferson College regarding the use of
WORKKEYS. Each career technical program established WorkKeys outcome standards
based on input from faculty, administration, students, and program specific advisory
boards.
                        Jefferson College Vocational Technical Program
                            WorkKeys Occupational Skill Standards

                  PROGRAM                               AM       AT      LI   RI

            Automotive Technology                       5         5      5    5

         Civil/Construction Technology                  6         -      5    5

Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Technology           6         -      5    5

            Electronics Technology                      6         5      5    5

        Emergency Medical Technology                    5         4      4    5

            Fire Science Technology                     4         5      5    5
  Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning
                                                        5         5      4    5
                  Technology
       Industrial Automation Technology                 6         5      5    5

      Industrial Maintenance Technology                 5         4      5    5

        Telecommunications Technology                   6         5      5    5

        Machine Tool/CNC Technology                     5         4      5    4

             Welding Technology                         4         3      4    5

                Police Officer I                        4         -      3    -

             Veterinary Technician                      4         -      4    -

           Nurse, Licensed Practical                    3         -      3    4

                                                        AM       TW      W

             Nurse, General Duty                        5         5      4

                                          Rev.8/18/03


AM = Applied Mathematics
AT – Applied Technology
LI = Locating Information
RI = Reading for Information
Phase II: Implementation of Assessment Instruments
All graduating vocational education students (Certificate/AAS) would be required to take
the three foundation WorkKeys exams (Reading for Information, Locating Information,
Applied Mathematics) the last semester of their academic program. This “exit exam”
would be a mandatory requirement for graduation. Each program could also add
additional WorkKeys exams to the foundation test package based on specific program
need. Testing would be conducted at the conclusion of the fall, spring, and summer
semesters. Student test score data will be given to the Institutional Research Department
and uploaded to BANNER. Individual student score reports will be mailed to students
with a letter explaining the WorkKeys system and how the test scores can be used as a
value added component in the job search process. Institutional data gathered would be
used for generating student outcomes reporting and given to technical programs to be
used in the program review process.

Phase III: State Work Readiness Certificate

The state of Missouri has approved a Career Readiness Certificate utilizing the
WorkKeys Assessment System. The Career Readiness Certificate will be awarded to
individuals achieving a specific assessment score in three critical areas: reading for
information, applied mathematics and locating information. The state will begin issuing
the Work Readiness Certificate in spring 2006 through the Missouri Career Centers.
Three certificate levels:

      Gold Certificate: Demonstrates the foundation skills required for 80% of the job
       profiled in the ACT WorkKeys national database.

      Silver Certificate: Demonstrates the foundation skills required for 65% of the job
       profiled in the ACT WorkKeys national database.

      Bronze Certificate: Demonstrates the Demonstrates the foundation skills required
       for 30% of the job profiled in the ACT WorkKeys national database.


Students taking the WorkKeys as an exit exam will be registered in Great Hires (Missouri
Career Source) and given the MOCRC DVD to watch prior to the exam. Each student
will be given their test results and issued a letter with their score report promoting the
State Work Readiness Certificate and explaining the process of obtaining the certificate
through the local career centers. This phase also includes developing partnerships with
local employers to market and provide educational information explaining the benefits of
using WorkKeys to improve business productivity.
Phase IV: Implementation of WorkKeys Learning Resource Center

The state of Missouri has signed a ten year contract with WIN Inc. to provide on-line
computer based instruction for all eight WorkKeys skill areas in addition to a career
exploration resource center for clients of the Missouri Career Centers and their partners.
Jefferson College has partnered with the Jefferson-Franklin Career Centers to deliver
WorkKeys testing and instruction as a pilot program for the state. Since the college
would be considered a “partner” in this state initiative, our institution would have access
to the WIN instructional program. Students that do not meet the basic skill standards of
their program would be referred to an AEL/GED Learning Resource Center for
academic assistance.

								
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