In fall 2002, West
Virginia’s Office of Adult Education and Workforce Development asked the
Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CESD) to assist with a planning effort
that would gain input from a variety of key stakeholders, such as teachers,
learners, program directors, partnering agencies, workforce development
CESD began by
identifying different stakeholders who could provide insights regarding the
organization from how it operates to how it delivers its programs and
services. Rather than using a quantitative survey process, CESD collected a
lot of open-ended responses around a strategic planning survey framework.
CESD used a combination
of an internet-based survey and individual in-person or telephone interviews.
Survey information was sent to a random sampling of 100 ABE teachers, in
addition to state and regional staff, county directors, and other literacy
providers and partners. The participants received a first-class mailing with a
survey and a postage paid return envelope. Some surveys were returned by mail
and others by fax. A good portion of the surveys was completed on-line.
Follow-up calls and reminder emails were sent to encourage participation.
In addition, interviews
were conducted with a number of different people including business
representatives, ABE staff with specific responsibilities (e.g., workplace,
technology), community college chancellors, state economic development
officials, and Workforce Investment Board directors.
All submitted written
assessment responses, together with key comments from interviews, were woven
into an assessment report. CESD helped state staff examine the responses to
identify overarching themes including overall impressions, surfacing
strengths, suggested concerns or development needs, and areas of planning
focus. The information gathered formed the basis of their subsequent planning
and visioning initiative.
Below is the list of
questions that survey participants were asked to address.
How familiar are you with the overall ABE organization, programs, and
What is important to you or your organization in terms of adult basic
education programs and services?
What are the most positive points or strengths that come to mind about
the current ABE organization in West Virginia, its programs, services or
activities, both as to what ABE does and how ABE does it?
What are the most valuable services ABE offers for you, for your
organization, or for another organization that ABE serves?
In what ways can ABE improve or change in order to be a more effective
organization and to better meet the needs/expectations of the customers it
Based on your present knowledge, what trends or changes should be
considered and incorporated into the ABE planning process for adult basic
education, workforce development or related areas?
What specific programs, services, or activities should ABE consider
doing in the future that would best serve you or your organization? What are
the educational or workforce development needs that ABE might address in the
future that they are not addressing today?
What are the external factors that you feel could threaten the future
success of adult basic education in West Virginia? What are some
issues/concerns external to ABE that you think should be considered in the
Based on what you think is important for the ABE organization to do or
accomplish over the next one to two years, what are the top one or two
priority goals it should focus on that would best advance its work?
What other comments would you make regarding ABE that should be
considered in its planning process?