TRAIN Tex
Training, Resources and Innovation Network for Texas

Adult Education and Literacy Mission

To support increases in employment, postsecondary education and training transition,
skill gains, and secondary completion through demonstrated approaches that integrate system services and leverage community partnerships

The Training, Resource and Innovation Network for Texas (TRAIN Tex) strategy represents the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) significant investment in professional development (PD), relevant research, and capacity-building projects that can sustain and advance a robust system of Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) providers and workforce partners to accelerate the advancement of education and training priorities across the state. These priorities support successful education and workforce transitions for individuals, families, and communities in Texas.

The value of Adult Education and Literacy in Texas has never been greater.  Local AEL providers already implement innovative student service delivery options that include hallmark career pathways, workforce services and distance education models.  Texas has an unprecedented opportunity to fully deploy an Adult Education and Literacy system that transforms the limited legacy options of the past into a high quality, fully integrated network of AEL providers, workforce training systems, and the state’s Workforce Solutions services.

Purpose
This paper describes how strategic investments support the TRAIN Tex strategy and complement local efforts in support of TWC's goal of student success through increases in employment, postsecondary education and training transition, skill gains, and secondary completion.

Texas' highly integrated workforce development system leverages Texas Workforce Solutions, vocational rehabilitation, and various other state and federal workforce development programs to implement system enhancements. These enhancements are strategically designed to continue strengthening the state's workforce development system and put more Texans into living wage jobs and careers, to spur skills and credential attainment, employment retention, and career advancement, resulting in a higher quality workforce, reduced dependency on public assistance, increased productivity and competition across Texas.

The Context for Innovation
The transfer of the AEL program to TWC in 2013 ushered in a new era for AEL.  Following that shift, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 is driving an unprecedented alignment of program services and associated accountability measures that embrace new opportunities and drive increased success toward students’ career goals.  TRAIN Tex projects provide essential tools to ensure that Texas can fully transform the education-for-education’s sake models toward multifaceted, transition-focused models that further integrate workforce and postsecondary education and training system services and leverage community partnerships and resources.

AEL providers in Texas serve over 180,000 individuals annually through federally- funded, state-funded, and community-based nonprofit instructional providers.  Of these providers, TWC AEL Grantees serve over 100,000 students and provide a range of services from basic literacy through preparation for the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency.  Services have been expanded to include career pathways programs integrated with workforce training, programs at employer’s worksites, family literacy, and programs that prepare immigrants for work and civic life in America.  Other state-funded programs, including libraries and correctional institutions like the Windham School District and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, provide basic literacy services and English language instruction.  Community- and faith-based organizations also provide tutoring and basic literacy services, largely delivered by volunteers.

TWC has established a milestone of enrolling 20,000 adult learners in career pathways programs by the year 2020, and has placed a priority on programs that enroll participants in career pathways and workforce and college transition programs.  Local providers have eagerly embraced this bold career pathways milestone.  Preliminary enrollments for Program Year 2015–2016 indicate a 277 percent increase in career pathways and transitions program enrollments when compared to the same period in the last program year.  While enrollments are rapidly increasing, Texas has challenging work ahead to meet the milestone of 20,000 learners and to fully integrate Adult Education and Literacy into the workforce development system. Texas must continue to innovate, develop, and deliver professional development that will expand these quickly evolving models and support the integration of Workforce Solutions, developmental education, and workforce training partners, which are vital to successful career pathways.

The Future
Texas is moving quickly in new directions.  The enhanced framework of professional development, research, and capacity building projects that comprise TRAIN Tex will promote the implementation of a fully integrated system that delivers increased employment, postsecondary education and training transition, skill gains, and secondary completion for students and greater value for the public.

Under TWC leadership, a shared responsibility among AEL Grantees, capacity building projects, and the PD Center promises to deliver responsive, best-in-class program support through curriculum and standards development, cutting-edge professional development training, comprehensive resource development, and program mentoring.  Service delivery solutions are informed by performance data analysis and an understanding of local community and employer needs, and the leveraging of shared resources.  Related investments in the 28 Local Workforce Development Boards and local workforce planning requirements under WIOA are identifying additional areas where capacity- building, training, and integration strategies are needed.

The TRAIN Tex strategy distributes responsibilities across three entities, each one directed and supported by TWC AEL staff:

  • AEL Grantees have a contractual responsibility to employ a PD Coordinator to deliver local day-to-day professional development training, continuous improvement strategies and training based on a local analysis of performance and staffing needs that effectively support the Agency’s strategic priorities.  In PY 2015–2016, a total of 3,577 AEL staff participated in PD activities across Texas.  Texas AEL educators were required to document a minimum of 12 hours of PD during the program year, but most staff exceeded the minimum requirement.  The average number of PD hours was 33, and the median number was 24.  Participating staff included full-time and part-time administrators, supervisors, teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals, and unpaid volunteers.  Of these, approximately 74 percent were teachers and 17 percent were administrators or supervisors. Current AEL Grantees can be found here: http://www-tcall.tamu.edu/twcael/AELGrantees.htm
  • Capacity Building Projects are initiatives that advance development and innovation and address TWC’s priorities.  Projects are explicitly designed to grow the capacity of AEL providers and, especially, to develop research-based curriculum and resources, expand educational technology, and enhance the integration of services with other education and workforce organizations, including Workforce Boards, colleges, libraries, non-profit and faith-based providers. For more on these projects: http://www-tcall.tamu.edu/twcael/capacityBuilding.htm
  • The Professional Development Center is responsible for delivering training, including training-of-trainer (TOT) events, informational resources, and other support to local programs, students, and stakeholders.  PD Center staff, including PD Specialists,  are responsible for deploying statewide PD activities, identifying and recruiting additional contract trainers, developing and delivering training throughout the state, including online accessibility, and assisting AEL Grantees and other providers with professional development planning and services provision.  Further information on the professional development roles and responsibilities of AEL Grantees and the PD Center can be found at: http://www-tcall.tamu.edu

As of January 2016, the PD Center has produced the following outcomes:
Table 1:  PD Center Outcomes

Training Events

Number

Year 1

363 training events

Year 2 (first 6 months)

442 training events

Projected PD event total by June 30, 2016

1,200 PD events

Training-of-Trainer (TOT) Events

Number

Year 1

35 TOT events by 138 staff

Year 2 (first 6 months)

29 TOT events by 104 staff

Projected Master Trainer events completed by
June 30, 2016

Completion of 90 TOT events resulting in certification of 340 staff

Curriculum and Resources

Number

Training Curriculum developed

18

Online courses developed

32

Publications

18

Support Conferences and Meetings

Number

Year 1 2
Year 2 8

Summary
The strategic collaboration and interplay across the respective entities that contribute to the TRAIN Tex strategy (Figure 1) are deliberate and intended to maximize Texas talent and strategic investments and reduce siloed efforts.  The objective is to leverage the research, analysis, and deployment of best-in-class practices with resource sharing and organizational leadership across the respective components (Table 2) to ensure that training services and support are:

  • customized to address local needs;
  • based on data-driven demands;
  • timely;
  • designed to balance costs with results;
  • delivered by best-in-class trainers delivering evidence-based models and approaches; and
  • responsive to state direction and varied expertise of local areas.

The resulting interconnected system is built on objectives derived from TWC direction, stakeholder feedback, and a continuous review of AEL system performance and research.

Table 2: Activities of TRAIN Tex Entities

PD CENTER
Investment – $4.6 million
(2 yrs)

AEL GRANTEES
Professional Development Investment - $3.3 million (2 yrs)

CAPACITY BUILDING PROJECTS
Investment - $2.9 million (2 yrs)

  • Manage PD Specialists
  • Manage Contract Trainer Database
  • Identify training needs
  • Develop PD content
  • House resources
  • Manage Learning Management System
  • Coordinate with AEL Grantees
  • Coordinate with Capacity Building Project Grantees
  • Provide Core Training
  • Manage PD Coordinators
  • Analyze local performance data
  • Address local PD needs
  • Support travel to PD events
  • Compensate teachers for PD activities
  • Coordinate with PD Center
  • Coordinate with Capacity Building Project Grantees
  • Pilot innovative models
  • Align closely with strategic plan
  • Integrate workforce system services
  • Mentor grantees
  • Utilize local talent and resources
  • Address specific needs for capacity building
  • Coordinate with PD Center
  • Coordinate with AEL Grantees

 

Figure 1


Links:

Capacity Building Projects

AEL Grantees, 2014-2015


Footnotes:

(1) Federal programs include:

  • Choices, the employment program for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training
  • Child Care and Development Block Grant Funds/Child Care Development Funds
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance

State-funded workforce development programs include:

  • Apprenticeship
  • Skills Development Fund training for businesses
  • Self-Sufficiency Fund training
  • Jobs and Education for Texans grants for community colleges, nonprofit organizations, and school districts that provide opportunities for students to pursue new career and technical education programs in high-growth industries