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West Virginia Planning Initiative

 

Background:

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 boards, etc.

 

Process:

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.

 

Questions:

Below is the list of questions that survey participants were asked to address.

1.                  How familiar are you with the overall ABE organization, programs, and services?

2.                  What is important to you or your organization in terms of adult basic education programs and services?

3.                  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?

4.                  What are the most valuable services ABE offers for you, for your organization, or for another organization that ABE serves?

5.                  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 serves?

6.                  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?

7.                  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?

8.                  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 planning process?

9.                  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?

10.              What other comments would you make regarding ABE that should be considered in its planning process?