What Is The Adkins Career Program?
It is an innovative multimedia, video-based, group counseling program designed to help unemployed, underemployed and economically disadvantaged adults and youth learn how to make and carry out important personal, career and educational decisions that will dramatically affect their future. Its formal title is the Adkins Life Skills Program: Career Development Series. It is called the Adkins Program for short.
The program, now in its third edition, was developed at Teachers College, Columbia University and is based on years of research. The 10 multimedia units and 265 video, audio and print-based learning activities represent a comprehensive set of resources and well developed learning tools for helping agencies serving the disadvantaged to deliver a high quality, structured counseling program to their clients/students. An intensive 3-5 day staff training program for counselors, teachers and administrators accompanies the student program.
The Adkins Life Skills Program makes use of a unique four-stage learning model which integrates counseling and teaching methods and structures the sessions to maximize learning power. It makes use of proven learning principles and adapts them specifically for educationally disadvantaged learners. Video, a powerful learning tool, is used to pose problems, model solutions, present emotionally laden material, track new behaviors and provide feedback. Audio CDs are provided for most written material for the client with limited reading ability. The small group is used effectively to provide a dynamic learning environment where students can share ideas and doubts without fear of ridicule or punishment. The many learning activities--modeling tapes, role-plays, games, simulations, guides to inquiry--are used in a sequence that maximize learning.
Who Is The Program For?
It was specifically designed for educationally and economically disadvantaged adults and youths who share many of the following characteristics: interrupted schooling, poor work history, illiteracy, social problems, various disabilities, lack of marketable vocational skills, poor motivation and low self esteem, one-parent families, and impoverished communities. These individuals also often possess many strengths of which they are unaware, including hopes that lie dormant but which have enormous motivational value, and abilities that have marketable value if developed.
Will The Adkins Life Skills Program Help Clients Get Immediate Jobs?
Yes, in "work first" programs, the Adkins Program helps clients to get jobs quickly. Staff using the program have a rich array of learning resources and techniques for helping clients choose, find, and get jobs. It helps staff assist clients with tough internal and external barriers to employment.
But also, the Adkins Program helps clients develop enduring career choices and educational plans for the long haul. The comprehensive curriculum, intensive staff training and rich structured learning resources with lesson plans and multimedia activities enable staff to be much more effective and efficient with tough motivational and learning problems.
- In the Short Term--clients get immediate jobs.
- In the Long Term--clients make sound occupational choices, and educational plans which are essential for long-term career success.
Where Is It Used?
The Adkins Program is currently used in 20 different kinds of institutions which serve such populations as: cyclically and chronically unemployed and under-employed workers, displaced homemakers, high school dropouts, welfare mothers, immigrants, substance (drug and alcohol) abusers, prisoners, persons with disabilities, special education students, adult education students and the homeless. Over 1700 agencies, schools, community colleges and community-based organizations in 43 states have delivered the Adkins Program to these populations.
Several of these kinds of institutions use the program in multiple locations as a counseling system. This permits institutions to have a counseling program of high quality in all its sites using common concepts, common learning activities, common benchmarks for staff and client progress, common evaluation and monitoring procedures, common staff training and common management procedures.
How Is It Used?
Institutions serving the above groups, purchase the program and send two staff members for training to the Institute (the Institute sometimes will train on their premises). After training, the agency or school will install the program in a room on its premises, designated as a Life Skills/Career Development Center. Agency or school staff will then deliver the program in small groups of 10-15 students.
The program can be delivered in many ways--intense 10 days full time, weekend workshops, mini-units, half-day sessions. Some groups meet for two hours, twice per week for 16-20 weeks, while students are simultaneously receiving academic or vocational skills training or parent training (in the case of welfare or Head Start) or detoxification (in the case of substance abuse groups) and so forth. The Life Skills group provides emotional support while the student is going through the rigors of training and is an arena for discussing issues, crises, opportunities that arise from time to time.
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