The handbook provides an overview of practices specifically related to the work experience component of Adult Special Education (ASE) Employment Readiness (ER) programs in B.C. The handbook will also articulate promising and recommended practices and detail specific practical applications. It may also serve as a foundation to initiate further discussion regarding provincial articulation standards in relation to high-impact work experience practices in ASE. While other aspects of ASE programming have been more thoroughly addressed through provincial articulation exercises and meetings, there has been relatively little discussion at the provincial level around practices explicitly related to work experience activities. To aid in further articulation activities, a suggestion for the adoption of common language for use within BC’s ASE ER programs is presented. This resource was created based on findings related to experiential education practices in work-integrated education settings. In compiling this guide, an effort was made to gather information from each of the 15 ER programs in BC as well as from other ER-type programs in other parts of Canada and the United States. In the past, ASE ER programs have been often asked to justify their existence and to explain the impact and significance of accepted standard practices in ER programs, such as the focus on experiential education and work experience activities. To this end, a rationale for the importance of the Structured Work Experience component of these programs is also included. Finally, sample documents and a list of potentially useful resources for practitioners are included throughout the handbook as well as in the appendices.

 

This handbook includes both a summary of information gathered and outlines of promising and recommended practices in relation to the key areas below:

1.       The importance and value of structured work experience in ASE ER programming

2.       The rationale for including work experiences in employment readiness programs

3.       Definitions and common language related to work experiences

4.       Considerations and methods used to assess student interests, skills, aptitudes, abilities and preferences and matching them with suitable work experiences

5.       Support and monitoring of students on work experience

6.       Assessment and reflection as related to work experience

7.       Safety and risk management considerations

8.       Sample resources

 

The term “Adult Special Education” is specific to B.C. and is currently the official government designation in post-secondary programming, although discussions regarding a name update at the provincial level are underway. Many institutions have already made changes to this designation within their institutions. A similar discussion has been raised regarding the “Employment Readiness” categorization of these programs and courses due to the negative perceptions around “readiness” programs in general in the larger field of special education. This resource guide specifically focuses on those practices related to the work experience component of the BC Adult Special Education programs categorized as “Employment Readiness” programs (levels 1 &2), as designated in the recently updated 2018 Adult Special Education Program-Specific Transfer Guide Project. These programs/courses are offered at 15 post-secondary institutions in B.C. While content areas in these programs vary, the Transfer Guide states, “The topics in ASE programs and courses include, but are not limited to, skills that increase independence, literacy and numeracy, computer literacy, employment transition, employment readiness, and vocational skills training.” [1]


  1. Lowndes, D. (2018, May). Adult Special Education (ASE) Program-Specific Transfer Guide. Retrieved from British Columbia Council on Admissions and Transfer: http://www.bccat.ca/pubs/aseguide2018

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Introduction and Purpose by Nicola Soles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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