Exemplary Program Award Winner: How Wayne Community College Serves ELA Students
Wayne Community College’s Quest Academy is designed to recruit higher level English Language Acquisition (ELA) students, emphasizing students who are professionally certified in their native country. Students co‐enroll in Workforce Continuing Education computer classes and upon completion of the Academy enroll in Workforce Continuing Education or Curriculum classes.
The Transitional Programs for College and Career (TPCC) department utilizes an orientation survey to identify eligible students for Quest Academy. Potential students are selected based on their ability to commit to 20 hours plus per week, their educational functioning level, and their overall interests identified on their survey. Seventy‐two students have been enrolled in the program in the last two years. Sixty‐two completed the program, while ten did not due to various reasons including moving to another state, returning to home country for family or work reasons, or being forced to depart from the USA due to their immigration status. Students are immersed in English Language Learning, technical and occupational instruction. The program has developed Business and Health Pathways along with soft skills lessons to incorporate in classroom instruction. Students study for and take the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) exam. Since the program began in 2016, twenty‐ nine students have earned their NCRC.
Quest Academy provides instruction in four distinct areas: reading comprehension, writing, listening, and speaking. Instruction in mathematics, civics and science is also provided. Students are required to research occupational clusters to help them make career choices. Students also participate in field trips to local businesses, industries, and agencies. All students are instructed in computer literacy and Microsoft Office software. Once certification is achieved, students are able to participate in job shadowing or career program internships.
Quest Academy offers a variety of activities for its students such as volunteering, peer tutoring, field trips to local government offices, presentations from local leaders, community job fairs, and community health fairs. An instructional goal is to assist learners in understanding how and why they should become informed participants in their communities. Students are also enrolled in EL Civics online modules. Citizenship classes are offered through the TPCC department for all ELA students.
Technology use is promoted and encouraged in Quest Academy classes. Students have access to desktop and laptop computers and the classroom is equipped with a 75” Smart TV. Career opportunities can be researched online as a class activity. Quest students take computer classes such as Basic Computer Literacy, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Keyboarding, and Computer Repair. The completion of these courses allows the students to be certified in Computer Repair, IC3, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Administrative Assistant.
The Quest Program has established connections with NC Works Career Center which helps guide the students to prepare themselves for job interviews, create resumes and cover letters, and informs them about possible job options within Wayne County and the surrounding counties. Quest students have completed the program and found employment in the community or volunteered with various businesses or agencies. Students have enrolled in Workforce Continuing Education and Curriculum courses and programs such as Dental Hygiene, phlebotomy, Microsoft Word Specialist, Residential and Commercial Wiring, and Cisco Academy Programs, among others. Quest Academy has been successful in helping students to complete a program and transition to either Workforce Continuing Education or Curriculum programs and then on to a career.
Check out The EvoLLLution’s interview with Wayne Community College below.
Author Perspective: Administrator