WHITTIER – A Whittier Union Adult School (WUAS) program that streamlines the process for students looking to graduate into the local workforce has been recognized with the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Promising Practice Award, further establishing the school as a valuable resource for residents looking for industry certifications that lead to lucrative careers.

Whittier Union Adult School is one of two California adult schools to participate in the U.S Department of Education’s Integrated Education Training (IET) Advanced Design Camp program, which aims to align classroom instruction to better reflect the needs of local industry, based on three specific criteria: literacy, workforce preparation, and workforce training.

Adult School administrators and faculty reached out to a myriad of Whittier-based businesses to learn what they required of new hires, then significantly rewrote portions of classroom syllabi to ensure that when WUAS students graduate from their classes they will possess the training and skills to immediately join the workforce.

“Our goal is to build confidence among Whittier businesses so that they can count on a solid, well-trained local workforce emerging from Whittier Union Adult School, ready to be hired,” WUAS assistant principal Juan Anzaldo said. “Students can now look at their syllabus and know what to expect every week, on their way to learning industry standards. Potential employers can view the syllabus and be assured our students will be ready upon graduation.”

The affiliation with Advanced Design Camp is already paying dividends for WUAS students, with the school contracting with three Whittier-area doctor’s offices to provide a pipeline for employment. Additionally, students seeking externships with local medical facilities will now have more options beyond WUAS partner PIH Health Whittier, which is the city’s largest employer.

WUAS received its award at the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS) National 2024 Summer Institute, held June 17 to 20 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, where WUAS principal Dr. Margie Moriarty and Anzaldo discussed their program as part of a professional development presentation.

This is the second consecutive year that WUAS has received the Promising Practice Award from the CDE. In 2023, the school was cited for its program that merged English as a Second Language curriculum with career technical education.

Schools can self-nominate for the Promising Practice Award through CASAS by showcasing their programs, practices, or ideas that support students in achieving their goals and preparing for them.

“For an adult school to succeed, it is important for the classes it offers to accurately reflect what the needs of the local employment force are,” Moriarty said. “The knowledge that you can come to the adult school and leave with a job is a great recruitment tool and a great motivator for our students. Working with the Advanced Design Camp program has been a wonderful achievement for Whittier Union Adult School.”


WUHSD_PROMISINGPRACTICE: Whittier Union Adult School was recognized by the California Department of Education (CDE) with its Promising Practice Award for a program that streamlines the process for students looking to graduate into the local workforce, during a ceremony at the CASAS 2024 National Conference, held June 17. From left to right: Cory Rayala, CDE; Dr. Margie Moriarty, Principal, United Sierra Education Center; Dr. Carolyn Zachry, State Director of Adult Education; Patricia Rickard, Founder, CASAS Adult Education; Juan Anzaldo, Asst. Principal, Whittier Union Adult School.