HCC receives grant through Accelerate TEXAS program

Jan 14, 2015

The Houston Community College Adult Education program has been awarded a $425,000 Accelerate TEXAS grant intended to help adult learners start and complete training for new careers in a faster, more affordable way.

As part of its grant activities HCC will also be the fiscal agent and mentor for a consortium that includes Galveston and Del Mar Colleges, providing them with technical assistance in the design of the contextualized curricula and instructional strategies.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board funds Accelerate TEXAS and provides services at state community and technical college districts and campuses in partnership with federally-supported adult education and literacy programs funded by the Texas Workforce Commission. Accelerate TEXAS programs help underprepared adults to more quickly complete high-demand career training programs while they are concurrently enrolled in support classes that improve their reading and math skills. Students may work toward a GED while they are training or they may already have high school diploma, sometimes students are even other language speakers.

Concurrent enrollment shortens the time it takes for students to train, so more of them wind up completing certificates and other industry-recognized credentials. To improve student reading and math skills, ATX programs use contextualized curricula to make learning more relevant and engaging for students. Instead of learning concepts based in the abstract, students training to be welders for instance; read about welding, write about welding, and use math to solve welding-related problems.

"HCC was one of the first institutions that received Accelerate TEXAS funding in 2011. Since that time we have worked together to help prepare many adult Texas learners to enter college and succeed," said David Gardner, deputy commissioner for academic planning and policy for THECB.

The THECB, HCC and this program demonstrate how integrating basic skills and workforce training can help adult learners earn credentials, said Gardner.

HCC is the largest adult education provider in Texas and recognized for the expertise it has acquired regarding the operation and design of ATX programs.

David Joost, director of adult education at HCC, is a vocal advocate for ATX models and regularly states to anyone that will listen that, "In all of my experience as an educator, I can't think of a better strategy than Accelerate TEXAS for helping underprepared students to complete postsecondary certificates and degrees. Teachers recognize that it works; students recognize that it works, and employers recognize that it works. It's the best thing that's ever happened to adult education."

Go to www.hccs.edu/adult-education for more information on Accelerate TEXAS and the Adult Education Program at HCC.

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