Participate as a City or County Govenment

Excel Together West Virginia is a community program

Instead of dealing with every education, workforce and economic development issue with a separate program, Excel Together West Virginia offers communities a way to address many issues with a single program that addresses common underlying causes. The initiative is largely free and easily implemented within programs currently running in your community or which can be quickly set up. And it has a place for local government to take a leading role.

Read below how to bring your community together in shared purpose, commitment, effort and accomplishment!

A unique community program

Every community deals with a host of issues in education (school, college, adult education) and workforce development (unemployment, workforce training for youth and adults, employee upskilling). These issues are often closely related to other key community issues: economic development, drug rehabilitation, disengaged / disconnected youth fueling a rise in crime, a health crisis of deaths of despair. For each of these problems, most communities have distinct, uncoordinated programs.

Excel Together West Virginia operates on the principle that most of these issues actually have a common underlying cause related to failures of the current educational and workforce systems. These issues leave people not only with poor academic skills, but also lacking the ability to learn new skills effectively, low persistence and attention to detail, and most importantly, low self-confidence that saps resilience and ambition.

Given a common underlying cause, there is a common remedy, which in this case is the online, self-paced CSM Course. CSM builds High Performance skills that encompass both key math and literacy skills, as well as personal characteristics: learning agility, attention to detail and persistence, intention to excel, and most importantly, self-efficacy -- a person's belief in their ability to success at what they try.

  • The CSM Course has been embraced by the WV Office of Adult Education and by Workforce West Virginia -- they provide CSM free to all adults in the state, along with a personal coach.
  • Industry organizations like the WV Manufacturers Association and the Gas & Oil Association of West Virginia have endorsed CSM.
  • CSM satisfies the general education math requirements for an associate degree at all colleges in the WV Community and Technical College System, as well as a bachelor's degree at West Virginia University (WVU).

No other curriculum in the state has this range of support, and CSM is designed for implementation across a wide range of programs -- for people of different ages, educational backgrounds, personal challenges, rural or urban location, varying access to technology, and more.

Furthermore, Excel Together West Virginia is not meant to replace any of the existing programs, but rather is a resource that can be used by those programs for improving their outcomes, and for deepening their coordination. This coordination occurs naturally through the CSM Certificate, which acts as a connector between programs, colleges and employers, indicating both college readiness and workforce readiness.

You can learn more about the general framework for Excel Together West Virginia and the CSM Course by clicking here.

Where city and county governments fit with the initiative

The Excel Together West Virginia initiative coordinates many entities within a community:

  • education and training providers (schools, adult education, workforce and various non-profit programs) offer the CSM Course
  • individuals take the CSM Course and earn their CSM Certificate
  • colleges deliver college math credit for the CSM Certificate
  • employers provide hiring preferences for those with a CSM Certificate

The initiative works far better with all four areas working in concert together, and especially to reach some of the more disconnected and disengaged individuals.

Excel Together West Virginia is working statewide on this coordination, but it will naturally progress faster in some communities than others, depending on the availability of local participating organizations and the characteristics of the community. We cannot say whether the initiative will -- on its own -- reach your community in force this year, or in 5 years or more as one of the last communities helped.  

How to make Excel Together WV happen NOW in your community

The key step is simply to bring together a range of civic leaders to learn about Excel Together West Virginia, and to gain consensus on moving forward. Convening and engaging in community discussion is a central government activity.

Colleges have already granted the CSM Certificate college math credit, and so the focus of the activity will be to gain endorsement by local employers, leading to hiring preferences and possibly upskilling with the existing population. In this regard, city and county governments are often among the largest local employers, and having local government participate as an employer is very useful.

Once the college credit and hiring preferences are in place, this provides significant incentive both to education and training programs to offer CSM, and individuals to take it. There are no needs for new city or county policy, or expenditure of public funds. However, there are additional activities that local government can take to improve outcomes, including:

  • to publicly acknowledge people who have earned their CSM Certificate
  • to monitor program activities over time
  • to offer public buildings like the library for CSM classes of for individuals to take CSM on public computers
  • to provide time during the work week for city/county employees to take CSM
  • to place flyers telling people of the benefits of taking CSM in public buildings
  • to use CSM as a part of summer youth programming

and more.

Excel Together West Virginia will be by your side providing assistance, including: training local coaches; compiling data on local use; reaching out to local businesses; helping local education and training programs implement CSM.

Let's talk!

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