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.