Adult Education News

KET crew hits the road for Workplace Essential Skills

KET crews have been on the road for the past few months shooting video at workplaces across the country, from steel pipe manufacturers in Alabama to a concrete company in Chicago to restaurants and medical offices in Las Vegas. They’ve also taken cameras to all kinds of Kentucky businesses, including a solar energy firm, a noodle restaurant, an upscale hotel and medical equipment suppliers.

These new videos are all for Workplace Essential Skills, KET’s online work-readiness courses for adult learners and job seekers.

Employees as well as their supervisors are interviewed about the skills they use every day.

Interviews are being edited into short videos—the average length is around two minutes—that put reading, writing and math lessons in the context of work in high-growth fields such as healthcare and manufacturing.

“Students can readily see why they need to learn the material and how it applies to the work they are or will be doing in jobs within these fields,” said Beth Gaunce, KET’s project director for Workplace Essential skills.

The camera crews spent three to five days at each location, interviewing staff members who are working at similar levels to the target audience for the courses: entry level and one step above entry level. “But we also interview administrators who speak to what they expect of their employees,” said Gaunce. “The focus is to get staff to describe what they read and write for work, and how they use math.”

Meeting people on the job is a pleasure for the KET crews. “I enjoy it because I’m getting to learn all the different jobs people do,” said Tom Bickel, producer for the project. “It’s seeing the lifeblood of your country rolling along.”

Reaction from businesses involved in the project has been good. “They’re all very supportive. We’re addressing a lot of issues they say they’re running into,” he said.

KET is working in collaboration with WCTE/PBS in Cookeville, Tenn., Alabama Public Television in Birmingham, Ala., and VegasPBS in Las Vegas, Nev., to record the videos. KET also plans to travel to Middlebury, Vermont, where they will visit workplaces related to hospitality, tourism, and marketing.

The Workplace Essential Skills project is funded by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Courses for manufacturing, healthcare and transportation/logistics course went live online this spring, along with a Soft Skills course designed to teach about the behaviors and communications skills needed in a professional work setting such as working with a team.

Videos and course content for the remaining high-growth sectors are coming in the next few months:

Available on Aug. 30, 2019:

  • Information Technology
  • Construction

Available on Feb. 28, 2020:

  • Marketing, Sales and Services
  • Hospitality and Tourism

To learn more, visit the website.