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SEARK, Good Faith partner on project.

What began as a small partnership between Southeast Arkansas College at Pine Bluff and the Southern Good Faith Fund may soon spread throughout the state of Arkansas, according to Dr. Phil Shirley, president of SEARK College.

The Pathways project was collaboratively designed to help Good Faith Fund clients transition from underemployed or unemployed through a series of steps that not only raise the student's basic academic skills but also prepare the student to enter college with little or no academic remediation, he explained.

"The 'pathway' that students take is designed to evaluate incoming skills and career aspiration through a series of assessments and interviews," Shirley said. "The results of this data allow the student to choose a career that best fits their abilities and interests, thereby improving the match between the student and a productive and enjoyable career."

Once a career is chosen, the student begins by either obtaining a GED, improving basic learning skills or moving directly into the college's Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy (WAGE) pro-employment program. Once in the WAGE program, the student continues to improve skills using curriculum that comes from the chosen career field.

For example, a student who desires to become a child-care worker would read from child-care textbooks and child-care regulations to hone reading skilLs. The use of materials from the field of interest helps a student transition into the college-level courses much easier. Different career fields have different reading and comprehension levels and usually have vocabulary that is unique to the career field. By becoming familiar with these before entering the classroom, the student is able to excel.

When the skill levels are high enough, the student enters one of six certificate of proficiency programs at Southeast Arkansas College. Upon completion of these one-semester programs, the student continues on the chosen pathway to either gain employment in the field or continue on to a higher level of education.

Many of SEARK College's certificate of proficiency programs are stepping stones to technical certificates and associate degrees.
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Title Annotation:Inside Pine Bluff; Southeast Arkansas College
Comment:SEARK, Good Faith partner on project.(Inside Pine Bluff)(Southeast Arkansas College)
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Mar 28, 2005
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