The San Diego/Imperial County Super Region - Collaboration Across Programs and Consortia

Submitted By: Crystal Robinson

South Bay Adult Education Consortium / Southwestern

Website: N/A

Type of Practice: Program Development / Curriculum / Classroom

Program Area(s): ABE / ASE, ESL / EL Civics / Citizenship, CTE / Workforce Prep / Pre-apprenticeship, Adults with Disabilities

Region: San Diego - Imperial

Consortia Involved: South Bay Adult Education Consortium/Southwestern

The Program of Practice

San Diego and Imperial Counties are home to six consortia that serve diverse rural, suburban, and urban areas and vary widely in representational framework (colleges, K-12 adult schools, etc.), institutional structures, and institutional funding models. In a geographic region that covers more than 8,743 square miles and has an adult population of more than 2,500,000 million, the impact of adult education programs and student success are directly related to a regional network of support and collaboration across consortia.

The Response

Since the inception of the Adult Education Block Grant and the California Adult Education Program, on a monthly basis, representatives from San Diego and Imperial Counties’ consortia meet together in what we call our “Super Region” to plan activities, discuss impacts, initiatives, and alignment, examine data, and share best practices to better serve our Adult Education students across the region.

Committed to collaboration and supportive cooperation, the Super Region strives to be the voice for adult education in Southern California’s border region. This region is well known for its strong collaborations and for decades has enjoyed many successful examples of collaborative partnerships to address the region’s education, training, and workforce development needs.

As a Super Region we advocate on behalf of our six consortia for structures that build collaborations between the K12 school district and community college systems in order to better serve Adult Education students. We present Adult Ed as a system that is necessary for a thriving border region and regularly communicate with the regional workforce board and Economic Development Council, the regional Strong Workforce Consortium, and industry associations. We honor the uniqueness of each system with a commitment to collaboration and supportive cooperation. By addressing programmatic challenges at the regional level and across consortia, we have built a robust network of communication and collaboration.

The Unique Features of the Program

As a network, the super region creates options and opportunities for students who need to be able to step in and out and back into programs across consortia boundaries in order to succeed in this border region’s shared labor market.
1. The Super Region shares a data repository that was initially established as a centralized location for Adult Education career training programs. Clarifying and refining programs, the Super Region created a common nomenclature for program offerings (using the Standard Occupational Classification code system as the common denominator) and greater visibility among adult education providers. The former provided opportunities for horizontal alignment, shared curriculum development, and sharing of programs across K-12 adult schools. It enables students to move more freely along coherent pathways and across the boundaries in which each consortium operates. The latter became a crucial stepping stone for vertical alignment of courses with non-credit and credit career education courses and toward inclusion of adult ed and non-credit courses in the regional Strong Workforce Consortium’s Program Finder tool.
2. The super region submitted a singular regional response to the six recommendations put forth in the December 2022 LAO Report, “Redesigning California’s Adult Education Funding Model”. Super Region representatives launched a survey to gather information from each member regarding the report's six recommendations, specifically what we liked, what we suggested, and what questions we still had. A sub-committee consisting of adult education and community college leaders met several times to digest the responses and to look for common themes and areas of agreement. Our goal was to create a collective response to the LAO’s recommendations.
Members of our region agreed that changes to the funding structure are needed in order to protect a system of Adult Education for our California adult learners. Members appreciated the thoughtful analysis of issues and generally supported the recommendations. Our suggestions and questions were intended to be constructive, so that the ultimate redesign is one that is student-centered, equitable, and sustainable. Overall, members recommended modeling of the recommendations prior to implementation, so that all understand the impact of the proposed new funding model.
3. The super region leverages monthly meetings to streamline regional communications. For example, we
a. include partners such as SANDAG, Goodwill, San Diego Workforce Partnership, and CASAS to align efforts
b. partner with SDICCC Strong Workforce Regional Consortium efforts and workgroups to ensure access and success for adult students
c. explore transitions to college through SB 554 conversations
d. spearhead the horizontal alignment efforts of career training programs across adult education providers
e. design opportunities for regional professional development

The Outcome

Supporting data for the following:
1. CTE Data Repository CCCAOE Presentation
2. CTE Data Repository CAEP Summit Presentation
3. Regional Response to 2022 LAO Report "Redesigning California's Adult Education Funding Model
4. SB554 Presentation
5. 2022 Counselor Conference with Adult Ed Strand