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Posts Tagged ‘business and industry’

Friends of CTE Blog Series: PG&E Uses Public-Private Partnerships to Address Skilled Candidate Shortage

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

John R. Simon is Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, one of the largest combination natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. PG&E has 22,000 employees who serve 15 million people throughout a 70,000-square-mile service area in California.

John R. Simon, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Pacific Gas and Electric Company

John R. Simon, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Our customers rely on us to provide safe, reliable and affordable gas and electricity across Northern and Central California. Our workforce is the key to making that happen. Unfortunately, our company is faced with two converging workforce issues: 1) a significant number of employees will need to be replaced due to retirement or attrition over the next five years, and 2) we have a shortage of skilled candidates for our skilled craft jobs. Without a qualified pipeline of candidates ready to join the ranks of PG&E, it will be extremely difficult for us to do our job.

A Unique Model

PG&E has taken this matter into our own hands by creating PowerPathway a collaborative workforce development model built upon the public-private partnerships between PG&E, California community colleges and universities, community-based training organizations, the public workforce development system, unions and other industry employers. At the heart of this model is the need to support the development of Career Technical Education (CTE) programs that meet the workforce needs of PG&E and the utilities industry.

CTE’s Role

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium’s (NASDCTEc) vision for CTE is partially based on the principal that CTE must actively partner with employers to design and provide high-quality, dynamic programs. With the guidance and partnership of business and industry professionals, CTE can help students understand the realities of the workforce and economy while preparing them to be college and career ready.

In the case of PG&E’s PowerPathway, candidates participate in a 240-hour utilities-industry CTE program. Coursework for the training program includes basic gas and electricity, safety, physical conditioning, math, reading and other employability subjects vital to workplace success. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates receive a certificate of completion from the community college and PG&E’s PowerPathway. These certificates demonstrate that the graduate is a work-ready and competitive candidate for employment within the energy and utilities sector. Note: Some community colleges also offer credit for successful completion of the program.

Successes – The Numbers

PowerPathway started in 2008, graduating about 75 students the first year. Fast forward five years, and we’ll be graduating more than 250 students in 2013. Not only are we scaling our programs, we are consistently placing PowerPathway graduates into industry positions. As of the first quarter of 2012, 71 percent of graduates have been hired into industry positions, a majority with PG&E. The top five jobs in which students have found employment at PG&E are utility worker, apprentice electrician, gas service rep, materials handler and nuclear security guard.

Seventy percent of those hired from the PowerPathway candidate pool progress into apprenticeships or higher job classifications within one year of hire. The rate of retention after six months is also significantly higher for those who have graduated from PowerPathway – 98 percent versus 88 percent for the same skilled craft classifications. In addition, nearly 90 percent of PG&E supervisors who have hired PowerPathway graduates said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their performance.

A Win-Win for All 

By collaborating with CTE and local partners in the community, PG&E has been able to grow a more qualified and career-ready pool of candidates to join our workforce. In addition, building a strong internal brand for PowerPathway programs as a trusted source of quality candidates has been a huge component of sustainability and scalability for our programs. PG&E is a strong proponent of investing in its future workforce, and we’ve found a model that works. You can learn more about PowerPathway at www.pge.com/powerpathway. We encourage all companies to consider leveraging the power of public-private partnerships to advance CTE and strengthen their future pipeline of talent.

 

The Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series provides advocates – from business and industry, researchers and organizations – an opportunity to articulate their support for Career Technical Education. The monthly series features a guest blogger who provides their perspective on and experience with CTE as it relates to policy, the economy and education.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Melinda Findley Lloyd, Communications Consultant, at [email protected].

By Melinda in CTE: Learning that works for America, News
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CTE in the News: AL CTE State Director Encourages Greater Collaboration to Improve CTE and Workforce Development

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Dr. Philip Cleveland, Career Technical Education (CTE) State Director in Alabama, met recently with Walker County, Alabama business and education leaders seeking to improve their CTE and workforce development systems.

Alabama State Representative Bill Roberts invited Cleveland to attend the meeting – a testament to Roberts’ commitment to improving CTE in his district. Cleveland primarily discussed the state’s 21st Century Workforce Act which issues $50 million for Alabama’s public schools to purchase CTE equipment.

Cleveland also encouraged stakeholders to open communication and strengthen collaboration among education institutions and businesses. He urged the groups to improve the area’s CTE system by avoiding duplicative programming and addressing any gaps impeding students and the community.

Read more in an article from the Daily Mountain Eagle.

Has your CTE State Director made the news of recent? We would like to hear your story. Please e-mail [email protected] to share.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in News
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Friends of CTE Blog: CTE, Quality Workforce are Needed for Stronger American Businesses

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Roy Schroer is Assistant Vice-President of Human Resources at Union Pacific Railroad, North America’s premier railroad franchise, covering 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States.

Roy Schroer, Assistant Vice-President of Human Resources, Union Pacific Railroad

Strengthening the Labor Pool

One of America’s most successful and iconic companies, Union Pacific Railroad delivers the goods families and businesses use daily.  Celebrating our 150th anniversary in 2012, we recognize that one of the most vital elements to our success is a quality workforce. The foundation of our workforce has been our ability to recruit top-tier students when they complete their education.

Union Pacific hires college graduates who possess the necessary skill sets to quickly become an asset to the company.  The learning curve is limited for graduates who have the fundamental knowledge needed for their respective positions.  However, we are experiencing a shortage of employees skilled in important trades and crafts taught in Career Technical Education (CTE).

Offer earlier opportunities

High school students – or even younger students – need more opportunities to learn the necessary trade skills to become the next generation of diesel mechanics, industrial engineers and electricians.  Today, students complete high school and face one of two choices: go to college or start looking for a job.  But how do we expect someone with a high school education and no workforce experience to compete in the job market?  It is likely that students with just a high school degree or less will only be able to obtain a low-skilled, and thus low-wage position, to support themselves or their families.

Business and industry recognize that CTE can play a critical role in helping to maintain a pipeline of potential employees for businesses across the nation. CTE options are key to preparing our young students to learn skilled trades, gain valuable work experience and discover what path is most suitable for them.  These education options are beneficial to the future employees, help education systems achieve the goal of producing graduates who will be productive citizens, and will ultimately benefit employers as well.

Win-win solutions      

Companies dedicate significant resources to recruiting, hiring and training new employees, however we experience loss when employees do not enjoy their new job or are not adequately prepared; they leave the position and company.  If students had opportunities to learn about various jobs, trades and crafts during their formal education experience, schools could produce employee candidates who have explored their interests and are better prepared to enter the workforce and succeed. Collaboration between schools and businesses to develop quality CTE programs could address such issues.

For example, Union Pacific Railroad works with local schools through our Direction Recruitment Education and Mentoring (DREAM) program in which employees provide students with career, educational and social guidance.  The mentoring program serves as a vehicle to develop students’ self-esteem and confidence in their personal and career ambitions as they explore the business world.

Providing CTE options to students as early as possible will provide a new stream of job candidates who have a much better understanding of their desired career, which makes for happier, more productive and efficient employees, as well as a deeper and stronger workforce for American businesses.

How can you get involved?

The Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series provides advocates – from business and industry, researchers and organizations – an opportunity to articulate their support for Career Technical Education. The monthly series features a guest blogger who provides their perspective on and experience with CTE as it relates to policy, the economy and education.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager at [email protected].

By Erin in CTE: Learning that works for America, News
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CTE in the News: If You’ve Got the Skills, She’s Got the Job

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The skills gap — the lack of workers qualified to fill open high-skilled jobs – will only continue to widen and threaten the future of our nation if policymakers, industries and education leaders do not address the issue of equipping students (of all ages) with the skills demanded by the economy, according to a recent New York Times op-ed.

“We’re in the midst of a perfect storm: a Great Recession that has caused a sharp increase in unemployment and a Great Inflection — a merger of the information technology revolution and globalization that is simultaneously wiping out many decent-wage, middle-skilled jobs, which were the foundation of our middle class, and replacing them with decent-wage, high-skilled jobs. Every decent-paying job today takes more skill and more education, but too many Americans aren’t ready,” says Thomas L. Friedman, author of the op-ed.

The nation has three million open jobs around the country but an 8 percent unemployment rate, he notes.

Friedman calls for reform with a focus on assisting community colleges and universities to keep pace with the changes in the economy so courses reflect industry demands and students are prepared for the jobs of today and the future. Further, he suggests a type of Race to the Top initiative to incentivize businesses to embed workers in universities and universities to embed professors inside businesses “so we get a much better match between schooling and the job markets.”

Friedman goes on to close his op-ed with insight from Eduardo Padrón, the president of Miami Dade College: “The skill shortage is real… The big issue in America is not the fiscal deficit, but the deficit in understanding about education and the role it plays in the knowledge economy.”

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By Erin in Uncategorized
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New NASDCTEc Brief: Promoting Work-Based Learning: Efforts in Connecticut and Kentucky

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

NASDCTEc has partnered with the Alliance for Excellent Education to co-author Promoting Work-Based Learning: Efforts in Connecticut and Kentucky, which details what work-based learning looks like at different learner levels, and the benefits that students gain from their participation in work-based learning opportunities. The brief also highlights the potential obstacles facing states that can limit both the access to and quality of work-based learning opportunities, and looks at efforts from two states to define work-based learning opportunities for students, educators, and employers, and to create policies that provide greater access to these opportunities.

Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

By Nancy in Public Policy, Publications
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First Presidential Debate Addresses Economy, Education and Deficit

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Last night President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney met in Denver for the first of three presidential debates. This debate, moderated by Jim Lehrer, focused on domestic issues, with both candidates frequently citing the need to improve public education in order to prepare students with the skills they need to succeed. When asked about how he would go about creating new jobs, President Obama stated that we have improve our education system, hire more math and science teachers, keep college affordable, and create two million more openings at community colleges so that people can get trained for the jobs that exist today.

Governor Romney explained that his plan for economic recovery would include streamlining workforce training programs. He referenced the finding from a GAO report that there are 47 job training programs (including Perkins, according to GAO) reporting to eight different federal agencies. Romney suggested that these programs would be better managed at the state level, saying, “Overhead is overwhelming. We’ve got to get those dollars back to the states and go to the workers so they can create their own pathways to get in the training they need for jobs that will really help them.”

Lehrer then moved on to how each candidate would tackle the growing deficit. Romney said that, firstly, he would apply the following test to all federal programs: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, he would eliminate it. Second, he would move programs that he believes could be run more efficiently at the state level and send them to the state. Finally, he would increase government efficiency by reducing the number of employees, and combining some agencies and departments. President Obama stated that, in addition to raising revenues, he would cut programs that are not helping the economy grow. He pointed out his Administration has already eliminated a number of federal programs, including 18 ineffective education programs.

In response to a question about the role of the federal government in public education, Governor Romney said that he thinks that federal education funds should follow the student, allowing parents to decide where to send their child to school. President Obama stated that the great work being done by community colleges with business support to train people for jobs, also requires some federal support.

Obama and Romney then sparred over budget proposals and how they can impact choices about support for federal education programs. Obama questioned how Romney would be able to pay for his support of education programs when his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan’s, budget proposal would cut federal education spending by 20 percent. Romney countered by saying, “I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding and—and grants that go to people going to college…I don’t want to cut our commitment to education. I want to make it more effective and efficient.” However, if Romney were to implement Ryan’s budget plan, and keeps his promise to not cut education that would mean deeper cuts for other areas of the federal government.

The next Presidential debate will take place on October 16, 2012 and will focus on foreign and domestic policy. Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Ryan will meet for their only debate next Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST and will also cover foreign and domestic policy.

Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Administration announces $500 million in community college grants to expand job training

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor this week announced $500 million in community college grants to develop and expand innovative training programs through local employer partnerships. The Labor Department is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which is intended to promote skills development and employment opportunities in fields including advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care. All states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will receive at least $2.5 million in funding for community college career training programs, according to the Labor Department.

The grants are the second installment of a $2 billion, four-year initiative. In total, 297 schools will receive grants as individual applicants or as members of a consortium. The grants include awards to community college and university consortia totaling $359,237,048 and awards to individual institutions totaling $78,262,952.

Learn more about the grant program at http://www.doleta.gov/taaccct.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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State-Level Community College Leaders Voice Concern Over Higher Expectations, Less Funding

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Community colleges are widely recognized for their distinct position within the postsecondary education system; two-year colleges offer accessible options for certificate and degree attainment to a diverse population. As the economy continues to recover, many employers embrace high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) and training opportunities that community colleges provide for a relatively low cost. Meanwhile, community college leaders struggle to meet employers’ rising expectations with stagnant or decreasing community college budgets.

A new report from the Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama analyzes survey results from 49 state-level community college leaders, and examines the role of community colleges in developing the workforce.

The authors specify that community colleges are different than many other postsecondary institutions because they are “place-based” – that is, their service delivery areas are determined by law. This causes community colleges to be especially committed to developing their state and local economies, and makes partnerships with business and industry critical. Partnerships with employers are common – 92 percent of those surveyed said that employers are increasingly leaning on community colleges to train their employees –- but one-third of respondents reported that training funds, such as those from the Workforce Investment Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, are decreasing or have been depleted.

Further, over 60 percent of respondents said they are pressured by businesses to offer more short-term job training programs in non-credit areas. Though short-term certificates can be valuable, research shows that longer-term certificates and training programs are more lucrative for students. Moreover, the many job vacancies currently contributing to the “skills gap” would require applicants to have advanced training in highly-skilled areas. The authors note that an investment in these long-term education and training opportunities will be beneficial to both students and employers. They also suggest continued funding of Pell Grants at the current level.

Read the full report here.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Publications
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Democrats Support Career Academies and Technical Training in Party Platform

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

This week in Charlotte, the Democrats released their party’s platform which outlines how their policies will help America out-education, out-innovate and out-build the rest of the world. As we reported last week, the Republican party’s platform included their support for CTE at the secondary and postsecondary levels. The Democrats also voiced their support for secondary CTE, saying that they would “continue to strengthen all our schools and work to expand public school options for low-income youth, including magnet schools, charter schools, teacher-led schools, and career academies.”

At the postsecondary level, Democrats called for greater access to higher education and technical training. To that end, the party supports the following proposals that would improve the skills of students and adult workers:

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Republican Platform Highlights CTE

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

With the presidential election just around the corner, convention season is upon us. Republicans are meeting in Tampa this week to formally nominate Governor Mitt Romney as the party’s candidate for President. Part of the convention process includes releasing the party’s “platform” or statement of principles. The Republican party’s platform covers a broad swath of issues, including education, jobs and the economy, agriculture, and government reform. The party’s education plank underscores the value of CTE in preparing students for the workplace:

School choice—whether through charter schools, open enrollment requests, college lab schools, virtual schools, career and technical education programs, vouchers, or tax credits—is important for all children, especially for families with children trapped in failing schools…We support the promotion of local career and technical educational programs and entrepreneurial programs that have been supported by leaders in industry and will retrain and retool the American workforce, which is the best in the world.

The platform also states the party’s belief that the status quo is not working for the higher education system, and calls for “new systems of learning” that can compete with traditional four-year institutions, including community and technical colleges, private training schools, and work-based learning in the private sector. The party also believes that the acquisition of advanced skills is necessary for the 21st century economy, and should focus on STEM fields.

Democrats will convene in Charlotte next week to officially nominate President Obama as their candidate, at which time they are expected to release their party’s platform.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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