WNC pilot program provides students with construction credential

CARSOIN CITY, Nev. — Adult Literacy & Language students at Western Nevada College have had the unique opportunity to participate in a new and innovative pilot program — NV-ACE — this spring.

The construction students are earning college credits toward a nationally recognized credential while improving their basic skills and achieving workforce training.

“Our adult basic education, high school equivalency and English Language Learning classes lay the groundwork to meet the basic skills required by employers,” said Angela Holt, WNC's Adult Literacy & Language program coordinator and High School Equivalency chief. “The NV-ACE pilot provides people with the opportunity to develop the skills required in the in-demand jobs in our area. Classes in AL&L, including the NV-ACE pilot classes, are free to qualified participants and the pilot will expand to include co-enrollment options for welding, automotive and machine tool technology in the future.”

An Integrated Education and Training (IET) model is used to deliver instruction because adult students involved in this type of instruction are more likely to earn college credit, postsecondary credentials and make greater gains on a skills test than those involved in more traditional education and training. The co-teaching model involves skills instruction in the content area — in this case, construction, along with basic skills instruction delivered in an integrated fashion.

“Aside from all the learning, we have the benefit of learning from an instructor who is working in the field,” said Jorge Mendez, a student in the program. “We are earning college credit quickly and the books are good quality.”

In this model, the adult education instructor and CTE instructor work together in the same classroom and students are enrolled into both adult education and CTE courses. Adult students are often busy with work and family commitments and lack the time necessary to achieve success given in a more traditional pathway, and this model accelerates them into their chosen pathway. During spring semester, six WNC AL&L students attend construction classes two evenings a week with CTE instructor Sofia Valenzuela and adult education instructor Jody Coxon.

“I didn't know much about construction when the classes started, but we have learned about building from the site layout and surveying, to actual construction,” said student Manuel Guerrero.

A third evening is devoted to supplemental instruction, where they meet with Coxon to work on skills learned in class, complete homework and other assignments, and discuss the week's learning. Students attend classes for three semesters and will complete the pilot program with an NCCER Craft Laborer Certification and 19 college credits. Members of the current NV ACE pilot course work full time and are extremely dedicated and eager learners.

“I have learned a lot that I have never encountered before,” said student Victor Robertson. “I like that we have a small group and are never lost in the crowd. We have two teachers to help us.”

Holt said she'd like to hear from local employers who are seeking trained, skilled employees, which could lead to partnerships with the program in the future. She also encourages anyone who's interested in participating in the program to contact the Adult Literacy & Language Office for more information at 775-445-4452.


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