CTE For Real

III. Partnership Development

Florida Eight Areas of Focus
  FL#1–Program Design
  FL#2–Curriculum and Instruction
  FL#3–Professional Development
  FL#4–Student Support

OVAE 10 Component Framework
  OVAE#1–Legislation and Policies
  OVAE#3–Professional Development
  OVAE#4–Accountability and Evaluation Systems
  OVAE#5–College and Career Readiness Standards
  OVAE#6–Course Sequences
  OVAE#7–Credit Transfer Agreements
  OVAE#8–Guidance Counseling and Academic Advisement
  OVAE#9–Teaching and Learning Strategies
  OVAE#10–Technical Skills Assessments
Adult Education Career Pathways (AECP) requires a systematic, communitywide approach in which key leaders come together with a shared purpose. It is part of the larger Career Pathways system and needs to be developed in partnership with local institutions and stakeholders.


As you develop your AECP partnership, you will need to connect to the larger Career Pathways system (pre-K through 16+ and beyond), which encompasses the following groups of leaders:



The relationships between Career Pathways and AECP will vary from region to region, depending on the work that has already been done in the larger scheme of Career Pathways. Shown below is a state-level Career Pathways system in which the regional steering committee includes an AECP task committee.

Career Pathways system with AECP as a subcomponent


Perhaps AECP implementation might be more effective in your region if the AECP steering committee is a stand-alone committee that links to the larger Career Pathways system (as in the following figure). Each region must decide what will work best for it.


AECP Steering Committee as a stand-alone committee


Connections to Existing Partnerships

If career and technical education program advisory committees already exist in your area, consider inviting them to join the partnership. (Some type of connection should be made.) At the very least, cross-representation for existing secondary and/or postsecondary program advisory committees should be explored.



As you can see, there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to how your AECP system fits into the larger system of workforce development. It may depend on what has already been developed in your region, who the economic drivers in the community are, or what structures are already in place.


  Use Resource 3.1 to identify connections between your AECP committee and existing committees.


Regardless of how AECP fits into your regional structure, employers should drive the system. In addition to helping to identify the skill requirements of high-demand jobs, employers can provide input on curriculum, internship opportunities for students, onsite training, and/or release time for employees. They can also participate in training delivery and provide instructors for technical training. At the same time, employers are not the only partners in the system. Providing a full range of support services for low-skill and career-limited adults requires a communitywide effort. Listed below are the partners who should be at the table to ensure a comprehensive system approach:



      It is imperative that your AECP connect with the regional workforce board, www.workforceflorida.com


  Use Resource 3.2 to begin the identification of agencies and entities that should be included in the partnership and possible representatives from those groups.



Being able to make a strong case for the value of the partnership and return-on-investment (ROI) will attract and sustain the involvement of partners. "What's in it for me?" is the first question that must be addressed to ensure involvement and sustainability.


Use the following discussion questions with potential stakeholders at the beginning of the partnership formation:



The discussion questions above can lead to a more in-depth discussion on the return on investment for each partner.


  Use Resource 3.3 to begin the discussion of "what's in it for me."


Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and corresponding responsibilities for each stakeholder in the partnership should be outlined. Listed below are potential roles for each broad group of stakeholders.



  The roles and responsibilities described above are generic and may not fit your particular circumstances. Use Resource 3.4 to begin drafting roles and responsibilities for your stakeholder groups.


Now that you have broad roles for stakeholder groups, you can begin to get more specific roles for the partners based on their agencies' and organizations' missions.


  Use Resource 3.5 to identify the specific roles and responsibilities of the participating agencies and entities.


   To set the right culture, show the following video before discussing roles and responsibilities: The Power of TeamWork inspired by the Blue Angels http://www.powerofteamworkmovie.com/.


Ground Rules

The partnership should establish meeting ground rules such as the following:
  • Encourage everyone to participate equally.
  • Share ideas freely.
  • Provide constructive suggestions rather than negative criticisms.
  • Stay on track and on time.
  • Be concise.
When ground rules are not understood and followed, mistakes happen. The table below shows mistakes that are common to partnerships in general and to AECP partnerships in particular.


Lessons Learned
Common Mistakes in Partnerships Common Mistakes from ADULT EDUCATION in Partnerships
Not having a convener or organizer Not identifying the talent pool that you bring to the table
Not convening employers first—Industry needs to drive the process Not being simple and straightforward—Employers want to know, in concrete terms, how adult program results can benefit their businesses, their employees, and the economy.
Not stating the ROI-Stakeholders not understanding how results from partnership programs can benefit businesses, individuals, and the economy. Overuse of the term "literacy"—Employers and other stakeholders do not understand the potential of adult education
Making the partnership itself the goal—There must be specific goals, objectives and timelines. Selling what you are already doing—Adult Education should not attempt to sell pre-existing programs, but should be sensitive to employers' needs.
Not targeting an industry sector(s) Not bringing the data—Partnership messages need to be compelling and grounded in data. If most AE don't transition to postsecondary education, that data needs to be brought to the table for discussion. Businesses will respond to clear data even when it shows things are not working.
Not doing a gap analysis (crosswalk programs with industry needs)
Not using data—Messages need to be compelling and grounded in data. Businesses will respond to good clear data.
Not letting ALL speak—Encourage champions because peer-to-peer (especially with employers) communication is very important


Early in the partnership formation, ground rules should be established to try to avoid these common mistakes.


  Use Resource 3.6 to brainstorm ground rules.


Where to Start

If there are no existing partnerships or the ones that exist are not applicable, you may be feeling overwhelmed on where to start. Possible beginning points are the community college president, the regional workforce investment board, and/or the local or regional economic development office. Let them know that adult education wants to make systemic changes based on what industry needs and that industry should lead the process. Any of these entities can reach out to business and industry to help identify the sector that has the most pressing needs.


Internet Resources

  • Social Service Agencies—The Literacy Resource Center's Social Services Directory is available online (http://www.floridaliteracy.org/listFSSD.asp). The site provides information about a variety of consumer and social services offered in Florida (primarily provides information about state and regional agencies and organizations).
  • Employers—The Florida Department of Education lists state business partners that have promised to initiate, develop, foster, and execute collaborative education/business partnerships that will substantively address Florida's current and future workforce needs (http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/industry_partners.asp).