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Bridging Workforce Development and Higher Education Dr. Shelley B. Dixon Dr. Nan L. Travers Ms. Lisa Sax NYATEP-NYSDOL Workforce NY 2011 Fall Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "Bridging Workforce Development and Higher Education Dr. Shelley B. Dixon Dr. Nan L. Travers Ms. Lisa Sax NYATEP-NYSDOL Workforce NY 2011 Fall Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bridging Workforce Development and Higher Education Dr. Shelley B. Dixon Dr. Nan L. Travers Ms. Lisa Sax NYATEP-NYSDOL Workforce NY 2011 Fall Conference October 18-19, 2011 Albany, NY

2 2 Agenda Introductions Overview – SUNY Empire State College Higher Education Today Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) –What it means –Current trends –Implications from research Connecting the Dots for Workforce Development Q & A

3 3 SUNY Empire State College Largest college of arts and sciences in SUNY – 20,000 students 35 locations throughout New York and online Associate, bachelors and masters degrees Advanced graduate certificates Unique mission within SUNY 60,000 alumni since 1971

4 4 Higher Education in a Economic vitality and higher education are strongly linked. Demand for workers with college education will outpace supply by 300,000 per year in U.S. Less federal and state support for higher education, more financial burden on individuals. References: Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce; The Lumina Foundation; The Futures Forum: Exploring the Future of Higher Education, Harvard University Downturned Economy

5 5 US Department of Education College Completion Toolkit (2011) - strategies to help students complete college degrees. Included in the report: Prior Learning Assessment

6 6 Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Students articulate their college-level learning and use evidence to document that learning, usually in a portfolio format. Faculty and/or Content Experts assess the students learning and make college credit recommendations The college or university grants college credits based on the assessment

7 7 Historical Developments in PLA American Council on Education (ACE): Military experiences - 1945 Extra-institutional learning - 1974 College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB): College level exams – 1930s College Level Examination Program (CLEP) – 1967 The Educational Testing Services (ETS) College entrance exams - 1947

8 8 Historical Developments (cont.) Other Standardized college-level exams: The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Educational Support (DANTES) Thomas Edison College Examination Program (TECEP) The Cooperative Assessment of Experiential Learning (CAEL) -1974 - studied adult learner practices – created 10 principles for Prior Learning Assessment Between 1968-1974, 13 postsecondary institutions were developed to address the needs of adult learners, including PLA practices - including SUNY Empire State College (1971)

9 9 SUNY Empire State College Students self-design their own degree plans based on latest industry needs and personal and professional learning goals. Liberal transfer policies allow evaluated college- level learning to be applied toward degree. Students can be assessed for college-level learning acquired through workplace experiences – Prior Learning Assessment.

10 10 Current Trends in PLA Recognized as a valid process by: – U.S. Dept of Education –Accreditation Agencies –Many Ministry of Education in other countries US & Canadian Postsecondary Institutions: –Increase in PLA at undergraduate level –Beginning to be offered at graduate level Other Countries –Building practice in workforce development –Some postsecondary institutions

11 11 Current Trends in PLA (cont.) PLA Services outside of colleges or universities –Learning Counts (CAEL) –KNEXT (Kaplan) Development in Research –Prior Learning International Research Center ( –Prior Learning Assessment Inside Out: An International Journal on the Theory, Research and Practice in Prior Learning Assessment (

12 12 Research on PLA The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) study: –>62,000 students at 48 institutions –Compared PLA participants to non-PLA participants Results indicated PLA participation: –Increased participation rates –Completion rates (13% vs. 6% at Associate Level; 44% vs.15% at Bachelor level) –Took more credits at institution Klein-Collins, R. (2010). Fuelling the Race to Postsecondary Success: A 48- Institution Study of Prior Learning Assessment and Adult Student Outcomes.

13 13 Research on PLA (cont.) Other studies indicate that PLA participation increases: –Self-awareness and personal development –Problem-solving skills –Study skills –Reflection skills –Tacit knowledge –Self-regulated learning

14 14 Activity – Part 1 Take 5 minutes and jot down everything you know about: Finding Work for Unemployed Adults

15 15 What is College Level Learning? Theory: The application, demonstration and context within which the concepts are formed and function. Communication: The ability to engage in and use sources of communication to share a discourse of thoughts, opinions and information. Relationship Among Ideas: The ability to shape, engage and interpret ideas to provide analytical and critical perspectives, strategies, abstractions, and synthesis and to explore those ideas through focused questions and discourse. Utilization of Ideas: The ability to apply and demonstrate ideas and concepts within experiential contexts.

16 16 College Level Learning (cont.) Understanding of Self in Relation to Ideas and Learning: The ability to self-regulate and own ones learning through reflection, suspension of disbelief, intellectual honesty and goal setting and to use self-regulation to engage the learning process. Understanding of Self, Learning and Ideas in a Broader Context of the World: The ability to bring contextual awareness from an expanded viewpoint to the learning with the awareness of and appreciation for the perspectives of others. Relationship to the Field and Academe: The learning is related to historical and field relevant perspectives and is consistently viewed as college-level across experts within a field and/or multiple faculty members.

17 17 Activity – Part 2 Pick a partner Take turns (5 minutes each) Interview your partner on what he or she knows about Finding Work for Unemployed Adults.

18 18 Discussion on Activity What did you discover about your own knowledge? What did you discover about your partners knowledge? How did this impact your own knowledge? How can you determine if any of this knowledge is college-level?

19 19 Implications for Workforce Development Individuals Employers Workforce system Elimination of duplication of learning Ability to reach goals faster Increased access to education and better understanding of depth and application of knowledge Recognizable credentials expand employment opportunities Larger pool of skilled workers with valid credentials that meet job requirements Gives value to skills and knowledge acquired through work Reduction of costs Quicker ability to respond to industry needs Higher program retention and completion rates Aligns with Individual Development Plans PLA = a strategy to help adult learners transition toward re-employment

20 20 Questions? Thank You! Dr. Nan TraversDr. Shelley DixonLisa Sax Tel. 518.587.2100 ext. 2728Tel. 518.587.2100 ext. 2316518.587.2100 ext. 2851

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