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Workforce Education Resources
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Foundation Skills Tools

Foundation Skills Wheel (pdf) and Triangle (pdf). Two graphic representations of the work-based foundation skills.

Foundation Skills Framework Resources (pdf). This recently revised booklet contains the Foundation Skills Wheel, Learner Self-Appraisal, and Competency Lists.

Foundation Skills Competency Lists (pdf). Detailed lists of competencies were identified for each foundation skill to provide a structure to 1) identify specific areas to target in programs, 2) help students set realistic and measurable goals, and 3) record and document progress and achievement.

Foundation Skills Self-Appraisal (pdf). Students self-assess their foundation skills and competencies to identify specific areas of strength and need. The results can be used to set learning goals, guide instruction, and informally assess progress.

Foundation Skills Rubric-original (Word), Foundation Skills Rubric-revised (Word). A guide to help ABLE practitioners develop and use a scoring guide (rubric) for describing, observing, and documenting performance of the foundation skills and competencies on a continuum from “beginner” to “competent.”

Employer Questions (pdf). A guide to help ABLE practitioners work with employers to determine a company’s specific foundation skills training needs.

Exploring Work-Based Foundation Skills in the ABLE Classroom (pdf). This guide contains activities and resources to help adult learners develop the work-based foundation skills and knowledge areas included in the Foundation Skills Framework. The guide can be used to supplement or expand the work-related components of an adult education program. The guide is divided into two main parts: Practitioner Section and Learner Guide.

Goal Setting and Instructional Planning Chart (pdf)

Innovative Strategies (pdf) Articles included from practitioners about how they using the Foundation Skills Framework to guide instruction.

Teaching Tips & Classroom Clips: One-pagers describing important workforce development concepts that may be new or unfamiliar to ABLE providers.

Top 12 Reasons to Use the Framework (pdf)

Using the Foundation Skills Framework for Documenting Progress (pdf)

Using the Foundation Skills Framework for Goal Setting (pdf)

Using the Foundation Skills Framework for Instruction (pdf)

WERC Lesson Plan Template (Word)

WES Crosswalk (pdf) - The contents of the Workplace Essential Skills (WES) video programs, online units, and workbooks were analyzed to identify the specific Foundation Skills Framework skills and competencies they addressed. This crosswalk helps ABLE practitioners as they incorporate and integrate the framework and WES curriculum into their instructional programs.


Regional Employment Information

The Pennsylvania Workforce Development website includes quick links to High Priority Occupations, PA Competitive Industries (Targeted Industry Cluster information), and Careers in Demand, as well as other employment and workforce resources.

The Center for Workforce Information and Analysis (home of PA Work Stats) is Pennsylvania's leading source of innovative workforce information. This site contains wages, state and county economic and labor force summaries, industry data, occupation information and career information.

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry

The Labor Market Information System website offers a full range of features and services to assist labor market analysts, job seekers, and employers in their workforce development needs. This site has a Job Spidering feature that grabs job postings from various sites and lists them to a common job board that can be used to find a job or analyze labor market trends.


Useful National Links

Career Infonet Resource Library This site links you to other resources you can use to find ideas and answers. Information is grouped into four main areas: Occupational Information, Job Search Aids, Job and Resume Banks, and Relocation Information.

CASAS - The Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System The Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) is a non-profit organization that provides competency-based curriculum management, assessment and evaluation systems to education and training programs. These systems are learner-centered and designed to meet the needs of today's multi-cultural society.

Center for Occupational Research and Development - CORD. The Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD) is a nonprofit public-service organization, dedicated to providing educational leadership in developing a more productive, competitive workforce. Links to hot topics, articles, and technology related information.

Community Partnerships for Adult Learning is a site dedicated to encouraging the creation of partnerships to improve the quality of adult education in the United States. With the help of experts across the country, they have selected a broad range of high-quality community building and adult education resources including how-to’s, research reports, and links to relevant websites.

Council on Adult Experiential Learning (CAEL). CAEL is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to make the benefits of learning accessible to adults throughout their lives. CAEL has launched a project to assist colleges and universities to better meet the needs of the growing number of adults returning to learning and the expanding numbers of employers who seek academic programs for their employees. Through collaboration with educational institutions, industry, government, and labor, CAEL promotes learning as a tool to empower people and organizations.

Developing A Curriculum (DACUM)
Attention: Dr. Robert Norton
Center on Education and Training for Employment

Families and Work Institute. Families and Work Institute is a nonprofit organization that addresses the changing nature of work and family life. They are committed to finding research-based strategies that foster mutually supportive connections among workplaces, families, and communities. They strive to identify emerging work-life issues, benchmark solutions to work-life problems across all sectors of society and evaluate the impact of solutions on employees, their families, their communities, and on the productivity of employers.

LINCS. The Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS), disseminates information through OVAE on a wide variety of literacy relevant topics, issues, and resources.

Literacy Link. This site is a combined effort of PBS, National Center on Adult Literacy, Kentucky Net, University of Pennsylvania, and the Kentucky Department of Education. This site provides two types of service. The first is for the learner. At this site, a learner can access a program that would assist them in attaining their GED or Workplace Essential Skills. The second is for the literacy instructor. This site provides instructors with professional development opportunities that they can receive college credit for. This site is very user-friendly and supportive.

National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP). Website features the article, “Employment Alone is Not Enough for America ’s Low-Income Children and Families.” It focuses on the limits of low-wage employment, which by itself is insufficient to move families from poverty to economic self-sufficiency, and highlights public policies that can make a difference, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and a decreased payroll tax burden in the lower brackets.

National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS). The NRS is an outcomes-based reporting system for the state-administered, federally funded adult education program. Developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Education's Division of Adult Education and Literacy (DAEL), the NRS continues a cooperative process by state adult education directors and DAEL to identify appropriate learner outcomes for adult education. This site provides information on NRS activities, technical assistance, software, publications, board of directors, contacts, and links.

Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). OVAE supports a wide range of programs and activities that help young people and adults obtain the knowledge and skills they need for successful careers and productive lives. Website features useful information about: programs, grants, and events related to adult education and vocational education; school-to-work; high school reform; community colleges; correctional education; tribal colleges and universities; community technology centers; and empowerment zones and enterprise communities.

O*NET - The Occupational Information Network. A comprehensive database system for collecting, organizing, describing and disseminating data on job characteristics and worker attributes. O*NET provides a new conceptual framework that reflects the advanced technologies, adaptable workplace structures and wide-ranging skills required by today's changing workplace.

ScorecardforSkills.com is a website and tool developed by The Conference Board with funding from OVAE. This site can help adult education programs and their employer partners measure - and demonstrate - the relationship between workplace education investments and measures of organizational performance. ScorecardforSkills.com includes analytical tools that provide action-oriented information to owners and employers about workplace education programs. Included are information and advice to:

  • improve workplace education evaluation,
  • understand the Balanced Scorecard, and
  • create their own Balanced Scorecard.

Workplace Educator Training Manual has been developed by the Massachusetts Worker Education Roundtable. Included are activities, over 100 handouts, and a Readings Collection. The manual focuses on basic skills workplace education (ESOL and ABE), but many activities can be adapted for pre-employment programs or higher education preparation. The five-section manual includes an Overview, Workplace Needs Analysis, Labor-Management Setting, Classrooms and Curriculum, and Assessment and Evaluation. Available on this site is a description of Workplace Educator Training, sample activities and handouts, and an order form. The Workplace Educator Training Manual is available for $60.


For additional information, please contact:

Barbara Van Horn | Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy
The Pennsylvania State Unversity - College of Education
405 Keller Building | University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814.865.5876
blv1@psu.edu | www.education.state.pa.us