Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

TITLE: Adult Basic Skills Specialist

CLASS: Classified




The Adult Basic Skills (ABS) Specialist is responsible for providing initial program orientation, determining the appropriate placement, and assisting students with initial goal setting and registration for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and/or Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes. The incumbent in this position has a lead role at each campus/site and fulfills responsibilities that connect intake, orientation, assessment, placement, and initial advising into the ABS programs.


  1. Provides program information to potential students, internal (PCC Student Services, adjacent academic programs, faculty and staff) and external stakeholders (community organizations) regarding ABS programs such as ESOL, ABE, and Volunteer Literacy Tutoring (VLT).
  2. Updates programs and facilitates scheduled orientation/educational planning sessions for potential ESOL and ABE students. Provides students with information about ABS programs, PCC policies and procedures and other related programs and services at the college. 
  3. Administers and interprets within standard guidelines, standardized tests. Ensures the proper placement of students into classes based on test results, educational goals and educational barriers.  Assists students with registration into classes.
  4. Assists students in removing educational barriers such as lack of transportation, childcare and/or conflicting work schedules by referring students to and connecting them with resources available at the college or in the community.
  5. Assists students in establishing educational and career goals; assists with navigating programs of study at PCC. Refers students to academic advising and career counseling as appropriate.
  6. Prepares and conducts educational mini workshops for ABE/ESOL students on various topics pertinent to academic success, retention, program completion and transition.
  7. Collects and reviews, as part of a team, data on students such as contact logs, placement test dates, scores and levels.  Utilizes this information to review the outcome of intake sessions and makes suggestions about recruitment methods, orientation schedules and placement.
  8. Attends ABS meetings to review and work on changes or improvements related to internal processes or program goals.
  9. Assigns and directs the work of student help, work-study students, and casual staff.
  10. Performs other related duties as assigned.


Work is performed in an office setting. Work pressure from deadlines and daily interruptions of workflow are expected and occur on a regular basis. Some evening hours are required. Some occasional weekend hours may be required. Learned physical skill is required to perform keyboarding functions. Occasional lifting of orientation or marketing materials and display units used for events is required. Occasional travel between campuses and sites is required with the ability to drive and use a personal vehicle.


Associate's degree in job-related area and three years of experience working with students in an educational setting who are at-risk, ethnically and culturally diverse. Experience performing the duties of the job may substitute for the Associate's degree on a year-for-year basis.


Knowledge of:

  • Policies and procedures related to admissions, registration, testing, and placement;
  • Assessment and the interpretation and application of test results;
  • Applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations;
  • Needs assessment and learning outcomes assessment;
  • Available college and community resources and/or programs

Skills in:

  • Project coordination and independent problem-solving;
  • Designing and conducting workshops and delivering public presentations;
  • Researching and locating information on college website or information at community-based organizations;
  • Interpreting and assessing data related to student progress persistence, retention, completion and transition.

Ability to:

  • Work independently and prioritize multiple tasks and adapt to needed changes;
  • Utilize computer technology and operate a variety of office equipment;
  • Work with adult learners of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds;
  • Remain calm in difficult situations and offer viable solutions;
  • Effectively communicate in oral and written form that meets program standards;
  • Manage and keep organized detailed information about the program and student progress;
  • Evaluate and update and/or revise program materials;
  • Identify student needs and match them with available resources.

REVISED: 02/2014

NEW: 2/27/03