Choosing a career and related credentialing program can be an intimidating and overwhelming process for learners. While most of Florida’s public sector adult education providers have made real strides in integrating career pathways into their programs, volunteers remain a largely untapped resource for many of them. Conversely, most of Florida’s community-based literacy organizations have a rich history in using volunteers, but may have questions on how to best support and guide students when it comes to this area.
The Florida Adult and Family Literacy Resource Center is pleased to announce the launch of a new online course to prepare volunteers to help adult learners explore their education and career options. This three-module course provides an instructional framework with tools and resources for volunteers interested in doing this important work.
A recently released study, Student Voices on the Higher Education Pathway: Preliminary Insights & Stakeholder Engagement Considerations, reported on the opinions of current and former community college students about the expectations for and experiences in college. The study found that students wanted more exposure to career possibilities so that they could make better-informed decisions. Students were aware that colleges often offer a wide range of services, but they report that finding the specific information or services they need often required going on a “wild goose chase”.
One identified key to success was having access to someone who could offer support and guidance that is accurate and tailored to students’ education and career goals A number of students described positive one-on-one experiences with teachers or other personnel who played an important role in helping them stay motivated and connected to opportunities and their education goals.
Working with local programs, volunteers can be a wonderful resource to help fulfill this role, often bringing to the table relevant life experiences and industry expertise. Most adult educators know how a little one-on-one guidance, support and encouragement can go a long way in helping learners to succeed.
The Volunteer Education and Career Advocate Course is freely available to all Florida adult education, literacy and family literacy programs. Technical assistance in implementing the course and developing local career pathways volunteer projects is also available from the Florida Literacy Coalition.
Special thanks to our Career Pathways Advisory Committee the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education and AmeriCorps VISTA for making this course possible.