Paving the Way for Your Career Success

There are those who take a highway straight from high school to college and career. For those who take a detour, finding the right onramp to get back on their way can require some guidance. The Contra Costa County Adult Education Consortium plays a big role in helping students get where they want to go. Consortium members — seven school districts, a county office of education and three community colleges — work together to help students prepare for college or gain skills for career advancement. Created by Assembly Bill 86, the consortium is tasked with developing a regional plan to improve the delivery of adult education and address existing gaps in programs and services. Consortium members work closely with employment organizations to make sure students receive appropriate training for in-demand careers, like solar energy.

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Trudie Giordano
Consortium Manager

“As we focus on answering the need for better wages, more fulfilling work and a
skilled workforce, it’s important to acknowledge the collaborations that make this possible.”

By providing a way for programs and schools to work together, the consortium seeks to make transitions more seamless for students. Registration can be simplified, student records can travel more easily across campuses and students can avoid duplication of classes, saving time and money.

Transition Specialists like Nick Morgan help students navigate this complicated system by helping them apply for financial aid, hosting job search workshops and other tasks. “One of the advantages of the consortium approach is you get schools talking to each other and they can then institute best practices,” he says. “One of the things we’re trying to do is create a culture of making students future-oriented.”

“One of the things we’re trying to do is create a culture of making students future-oriented.”
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Nick Morgan
Adult Transition Specialist

As far as the future of the consortium, Giordano hopes more students will find it easier to access an adult education thanks to the efforts of the consortium.

Some of the consortium’s goals include transitioning ESL students more seamlessly into career training and developing agreements with local colleges to convert adult education study into
college credits.

Beyond that, the consortium’s mission is simply to attract more students. Approximately 82,000 adults in Contra Costa County don’t have a high school diploma and 60,000 don't speak fluent English. While 18,000 are enrolled in basic skills programs, and 9,000 in ESL programs, Giordano says there are many more to be served.