A Case Study in Developing Employability Skills for Adults with Cognitive Learning Disabilities
Updated: Dec 26, 2019
This case study discusses how 4SightGPS was used to support the development of a solution to a real problem in our community. In a paper written by University College London, it states that "up to 10 percent of the population are affected by specific learning disabilities (SLDs), such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and autism, translating to 2 or 3 pupils in every classroom." If developable independent living skills are not developed, these students can possibly become dependent on others as adults.
This case study illustrates what practitioners can accomplish when they are able to apply their knowledge, experience, education and ability to a complicated problem with the support of a holistic solution.
Parents should be able to get the best education for their kids despite their disability.
Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, started a vocational training program for adults with cognitive learning disabilities called Program for Successful Employment (PSE). The goal of this program was to develop students to obtain and maintain employment.
BRCC PSE Program Director, Derrick Wesley was brought onboard to develop and build this program for Baton Rouge Community College. Derrick is the practitioner in this case study because he possessed the education, experience, knowledge, intuition and resources necessary to deliver the results for this program.
One of the resources that Derrick did not have at the beginning of his tenure was the 4SightGPS framework and software technology. As our team began discussing 4SightGPS with Derrick, it was clear that he understood how it worked quite well. As a result, Derrick quickly integrated 4SightGPS into the design of his program and he immediately gained efficiencies in his operations. Moreover, Derrick was able to avoid the negative consequences associated with the inclusion of point solutions (quick fixes) which could have impeded his progress in the long run.
The hardest part of solving complicated problems is simplifying them for applicability.
Certification Program Approach
Derrick started out by first defining the overarching goal of his certification program, which was to help adults with cognitive learning disabilities obtain and maintain employment. Following the 4SightGPS philosophy and framework, Derrick created individual employability goals for his students and aligned those goals with customized plans. These tailored plans consisted of the courses and training that each student needed to successfully complete to attain their goals.
The next step for Derrick was to figure out how to measure student success. With this, Derrick developed knowledge tests and proficiency assessments that allowed him to understand how well, students understood the core concepts & fundamentals behind the courses, training and assessments in their plans. Knowledge tests & proficiency assessments were necessary and were brilliant ideas because they followed the natural way of modern academia and employer requirements. Further, employers required that students understand their job responsibilities and be capable of performing them under limited supervision prior to starting. As a result, Derrick made these requirements the cornerstones of his program.
It's important to start with the end in mind and work backwards to the starting point.
Derrick pursued an in depth understanding
of the effectiveness of the knowledge tests and proficiency assessments that he created in parallel. For example, with knowledge tests, students were expected to learn the core concepts behind what they were taught in the classroom and were later tested on their knowledge. And, with proficiency assessments, Derrick and his team worked with students (internally) on their behaviors and mannerisms before assessing them in external situations.
Derrick measured success by routinely evaluating how his students performed against the preestablished criteria that he created. This iterative method allowed Derrick to quickly understand how effective his approach was. It also allowed him to understand how well his students performed against their specific performance criteria. With this, Derrick was able to make the necessary adjustments to his approach and the development of his students to keep his program on track to reaching its goal of "developing students to obtain and maintain employment."
Derrick's approach was hugely successful and paid off greatly!
Derrick and his team were able to help 32 students develop employability skills, resulting in 25 internships and 7 permanent jobs, which came as a delightful surprise. Derrick knew that accomplishing the goals of his program would be a challenge. However, Derrick had the know how and drive necessary to make it happen. Additionally, Derrick understood the 4SightGPS philosophy, learned how to input his approach into the 4SightGPS framework and was ultimately able to use it as a holistic solution to run his program effectively and efficiently.
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