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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Trudie Giordano, Contra Costa County Adult Education Consortium

New career pathway merges English acquisition and early childhood credential

The Challenge

Within the region served by the Contra Costa County Adult Education Consortium (CCCAEC), approximately 10 percent of adults do not possess a high school diploma or its equivalent and about 7 percent have a limited English-speaking ability. Both of these factors present challenges for those individuals looking to build upon their education and improve their socioeconomic status. Also, consortium members have found that these individuals tend to face considerable barriers to changing their situations, and the consortium wanted to find a way to help remove some of the obstacles to create a smoother path to employability, which, in turn, would have a positive impact on the community as a whole.

The Solution

The solution was Project ACCESS (Advancing Childcare Education and Student Success), a collaborative effort that involved creating a career pathway that allowed students to simultaneously learn English and progress toward an early child education credential while receiving wraparound services to support their success. The participants began the program at Mt. Diablo Adult Education, the adult school, and then bridged to Diablo Valley College, the local community college. The pathway culminated in a minimum of 12 early childhood education college credits and an associate teacher permit.


The new pathway has allowed students to improve their English; build confidence and self-esteem; develop important college skills (time management, study skills, writing skills etc.); transition to college; earn college credits and earn an associate teacher’s permit. These achievements empower them to earn an income and contribute to the local economy, enabling them to become contributing members of the community and within their families. They also can apply their knowledge to their children’s development.

Project ACCESS, which began pre-Assembly Bill 86, will serve its eighth cohort of students in fall 2017 thanks to AEBG funding.

The Data

Project ACCESS has been highly successful:

• The data show that between fall 2010 and spring 2015, 80 percent of the students (84 of the 105 students who participated from fall 2010-May 2015) earned 12 college credits in early childhood education, along with 12 ESL units, making them eligible for the Associate Teacher Certificate of Accomplishment in early childhood education.

• 68 percent of the students (57 of the 84 completers) continued education in early childhood education college coursework after completing Project ACCESS, surpassing minimum employment requirements and making progress toward higher certificates and the AS degree.

• In a spring 2015 survey of 25 students, 91 percent said ESL support encouraged them to complete the program, while 87 percent said that computer support encouraged them to complete the program – and 100 percent said that early childhood education textbook-based contextualized learning made a great difference in having an ESL class that supported their ECE courses.

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