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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Seeking Contract Curriculum Developer

Central States SER, Jobs for Progress, Inc.
Dental Assistant Bridge Program Curriculum Development


Central States SER, Jobs for Progress, Inc. is a not-for-profit employment and training organization. Its mission is to promote economic self-sufficiency and upward mobility among low-income community residents through employment and training services. SER is headquartered in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, with two other locations in near-West Chicago and suburban Chicago. SER operates multiple healthcare programs that seek to meet the needs of both job seekers and employers.
This includes a newly developed Dental Assistant Bridge program that seeks to assist low-skilled, low-income community residents in improving their basic literacy and numeracy skills so they may access a college-level occupational training program to become employed as a Dental Assistant.
SER is in the process of developing a Bridge program in the dental sector. Bridge programs are defined as those that include the following key elements: contextualized instruction (basic reading, math, and language skills and industry/occupation knowledge); career development (career exploration and planning; understanding the world of work); and transition services (case management, financial and personal supports, tutoring). These programs have been proven successful in breaking down the obstacles that have long kept low-literacy adults from getting ahead economically. They are more effective than traditional adult education programs in quickly improving the basic skill levels of adults and assisting learners in transitioning to occupational training and employment along a career pathway.
SER is seeking the services of a contractor to develop a contextualized basic skills curriculum by February 15th, 2013. This curriculum will be taught in the context of careers in the dental field. It should assist students in improving reading comprehension, writing and math skills while exposing them to concepts, practices and knowledge of the dental field in an integrated fashion. The ultimate goal of the curriculum is to prepare students to achieve the college entrance exam scores they need to place into occupational training programs; the contextualized basic skills training will “bridge” them into college.
Contextualized teaching and learning integrates several key instruction techniques; “according to contextualized learning theory, learning occurs only when students (learners) process new information or knowledge in such a way that it makes sense to them in their own frames of reference (their own inner worlds of memory, experience, and response).”[1] Contextualized instruction uses the following approaches:[2]
  • New concepts are presented in real-life situations;
  • Concepts are presented in the context of their use;
  • New concepts are presented in the context of what the student already knows;
  • Examples and exercises include many real, believable problem-solving situations that students can recognize as being important to their current or possible future lives;
  • Lessons and activities encourage the student to apply concepts and information in useful contexts, projecting the student into imagined futures (e.g., possible careers) and unfamiliar locations (e.g., workplaces);
  • Students are expected to participate regularly in interactive groups where sharing, communicating, and responding to the important concepts and decision-making occur;
  • Lessons, exercises, and labs improve students’ written and oral communication skills in addition to reading and mathematical achievement.
SER is seeking a contractor who can develop this curriculum. Specifically, the Contractor will:
  • Create a contextualized basic skills curriculum that:
    • Integrates knowledge of the dental field into lesson plans and also utilizes the teaching approaches summarized above.
    • Targets learners below the 9th grade level in reading and/or math and effectively prepares them to enroll into an occupational training program that requires a 10th grade level in reading and/or math (TABE scores of 10.0)
    • Can be taught in an intensive, full-time schedule over the course of 8 to 10 weeks, not exceeding 275 hours of instruction.
  • Work with instructors or professionals from the dental field to develop the industry content of the curriculum, or possess that knowledge themselves.
  • Prepare a curriculum that includes a syllabus, proposed class schedule, daily lesson plans, exercises and worksheets for students, and other learning materials.
Goals of SER’s Dental Assistant Bridge program:
  • To improve the employment prospects of low-skilled, low-income job seekers
  • To equip individuals with the basic literacy and math skills they need to achieve college entrance exam scores that are required to access occupational training at the college level
  • To assist job seekers in completing an occupational training program that leads to a credential or certificate recognized by employers
  • To maintain high rates of retention and completion through the program, which is far likelier with a contextualized basic skills curriculum
  • To expand SER’s successful Nursing Bridge program to other occupations and sectors

Eligibility Requirements for Facilitator:

  • Ability to make the commitment to the timeframe identified above.
  • Ability to receive and respond to email and to access the Internet through a reliable means.

Required Qualifications for Facilitator:

1) In-depth knowledge of curriculum development
2) Familiarity with and experience in developing a contextualized curriculum
3) Experience developing curricula for low-skilled, low-income populations
4) Strong writing and communication skills
5) Strong time management skills; ability to meet deadlines
6) Master’s degree in Education or a related field, or bachelor’s degree combined with significant experience

Preferred Qualifications for Facilitator:

1) Knowledge of workforce development issues, trends, needs, etc.
2) Knowledge of the dental field
3) Past experience developing curricula that have been used successfully by other organizations and ability to document this success.

Submission Requirements:

Applicants must submit the items listed below via email to Elizabeth Masching, Coordinator of Healthcare Employment at Central States SER at by Friday, December 28th, 2012 at 5p CST.
1. Proposal addressing the following (three-page limit):
o Why are you interested in this project?
o What in your background makes you a strong candidate for this position?
o Summary of your experience as related to the list of qualifications for the position and the scope of services (please address all qualifications listed)
2. Current resume.
3. A budget for this work.
4. Three (3) references from individuals who can attest to your suitability for the tasks.
5. A sample curriculum outline developed by the applicant that is similar to that required for this project.
This request for qualifications does not commit Central States SER, Jobs for Progress, Inc. to award a contract or to pay costs incurred in the preparation of a proposal in response to this request. SER reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals received as a result of this request, or to cancel any or all of this Request for Qualifications, if it is considered in the best interest of SER. SER may require the proposer selected for various projects to participate in negotiations, and to submit to such price, technical or other information as may be needed to finalize a particular engagement for services.
For further information about this RFQ, contact Michelle Rafferty, Director of Research and Development, Central States SER, Jobs for Progress, Inc., at

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