Zaman’s adult vocational and literacy program ranked No. 1 in Michigan based on educational performance outcomes during the 2021-2022 program year, reflecting the resilience of more than 70 women who are pursuing literacy, vocational, and entrepreneurship training.
“The growth of our students has been amazing to watch,” said Gigi Salka, Zaman’s chief workforce officer. “This achievement speaks to their resilience and hard work, but also validates our holistic, client-centric approach, We provide everything conveniently onsite where we can provide our clients integrated training and education with wraparound services that support their success.”
The vocational and literacy program teaches English as a Second Language, from basic reading to grammar skills to more advance levels needed to pursue postsecondary education or employment. Literacy students often also receive life skills, vocational training, and career navigator support through culturally competent programs designed for mothers facing additional barriers to employment such as low literacy, lack of English proficiency, childcare, and transportation.
The program ranking is annually determined by the state based on adult learner outcomes – known as measurable skill gains. These include educational attainment and academic gains, high school credential completions, employment after program exit and media wage earnings if employed.
Zaman’s students notched an 81.69% measurable skills gain, surpassing the state’s target of by more than 30%.
“This is a tremendous achievement on many levels, one being the ongoing implications from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, what it more greatly reflects is the dedication, passion and determination of Zaman’s program staff, partners, and most its importantly learners,” said Patrick Brown, executive director, Michigan Adult, Community and Alternative Education (MACAE) Association, the state’s largest advocacy organization for adult education.
Zaman’s vocational and literacy work is part of its workforce development and vocational training program known as BOOST (Building Ongoing Opportunities through Skills Training) . Its literacy efforts are funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult Program through the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.
“Zaman has found a niche and now we’re working to perfect and scale it,” said Zaman CEO and Founder Najah Bazzy. “One-size-fits-all doesn’t work, and it certainly doesn’t maximize resources. We’ve focused on the intersection of poverty and workforce development and developed specific programming tailored to the needs of our client communities. It’s really a model that can be emulated and customized.”
WIOA provides participants with workforce investment activities that increase employment, retention, earnings and occupational skill attainment which improves the quality of the workforce, reduces welfare dependency, and enhances the productivity and competitiveness of the economy.