Family Support & Well-being

Partnering with Families to Pursue Education and Training Goals

Families’ education and training goals may change during emergencies. For example, some families may have unexpected time available to enroll in online courses to advance their education. Some will need a referral for a community-based program. Head Start and Early Head Start family services staff and home visitors can help families access key resources and take steps to achieve their immediate and long-term education, employment, and career goals.

You can partner with families to:

  • Identify their immediate education and training goals and revisit their long-term education and training goals
  • Plan concrete actions
  • Track progress and celebrate successes

Identify Families’ Immediate Education and Training Goals

As you check in with families about how they are doing, let them know that Head Start and Early Head Start staff are available to assist with their immediate and long-term education and training goals.

  • Ask families what method of communication works best for them. Then set up a time to talk.
    • You can connect with families remotely by phone, email, video conference, text, or social media. If families prefer printed information, you can send it by regular mail. Families can pick up materials if your program offers drive-up services.
  • Review Family Partnership Process: Engaging and Goal-Setting with Families. This guide recommends seven steps you can take to help families set financial, employment, and education goals.
  • Use the “Seven Steps Worksheet Template” in the Family Partnership Process guide to ask questions focused on the family’s current situation, strengths, and goals.
  • Connect with families individually to assess where they are and what they would like to accomplish. Remember, every family is different.
    • Some families may want to work toward taking the General Educational Development (GED) test. Others will be interested in learning a second language. Some will want to develop a skill related to their long-term education or career goals.

Seven Steps for Setting and Reaching Goals with Families

Step 1: Set a Goal

Step 2: Identify Skills

Step 3: Assess Strengths

Step 4: Examine Stressors

Step 5: Explore Strategies

Step 6: Determine Support

Step 7: Track Progress and Celebrate Successes

Plan Concrete Actions

When you know what goals families are interested in, you can research options and provide them with tools.

  • Job training. Connect families to the CareerOneStop website to find job training resources.
  • GED Classes. Connect families to local libraries, community colleges, or technical colleges for information about GED preparation classes and the exam.
  • Online courses. Contact local two-year and four-year colleges or use the Community College Finder on the American Association of Community Colleges website to explore options for online coursework that could help families advance their education and training goals.
  • Find a school. Connect families to the online College Navigator tool or the Community College Finder to explore college options. They can search by state, type of school, major, and other criteria.
  • Check a school’s accreditation. Use the Look Up a School online tool from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to find out if a college or university is accredited. Accreditation is an indication that an institution meets standards of quality. Attending an accredited two-year or four-year college is important because employers often require applicants to have attended an accredited school or program.
    • Using the ED College Scorecard, families can also learn about colleges’ graduation rates, average annual costs, and the salary ranges of their graduates. Families can access the College Scorecard on the ED website.
  • Costs. Remind families to think about finances when looking for a school. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has online tools that can help families choose a school that is financially right for them.
  • Internet access. If families do not have access to the internet, you can help them connect to Lifeline. It is a federal program that helps make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. Lifeline gives subscribers a discount on monthly telephone service, broadband internet service, or voice-broadband bundled service purchased from participating companies.

Track Progress and Celebrate Successes

Follow up with families to see how they are meeting their education and training goals. Celebrate successes!