Posts Tagged ‘community colleges’

DC, Texas Improve Data Systems; Colorado, Ohio’s Community Colleges Offer Bachelor’s Degrees

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

As the legislative session moves forward, many states have passed bills that will help to improve data systems and expand opportunities for learners.

Data System Improvements

Recently, data system improvements have been a focus of policy efforts in order to better support and hold accountable districts, institutions and programs, as well as allow learners, employers and policymakers to stay informed.

In the District of Columbia, the Council of the District of Columbia passed the Workforce Development Systems Transparency Act, which requires the District’s Workforce Investment Council to detail the District’s spending on adult education programs and workforce development education programs, as well as the performance outcomes of those programs, in a public report. The performance outcomes information will include employment rates, median earnings, credential attainment, and completion rates. The first version of the report will include information about programs managed by seven DC entities, such as the Department of Employment Resources, and by 2020 programs administered by an additional 14 entities will be included in the report.

In Texas, the University of Texas System launched an updated version of the database Seek UT to include University of Texas graduates’ earnings in the hopes of showing the benefits of higher education. The database utilizes Census Bureau data and provides information on student’s median incomes for every program offered after one, five, and ten years after graduating, the percentage of students who went on to continue their education and the median loan debt for different programs. The database is viewed as a “work-around” of the current ban on a federal database that would link student-level education data to national employment data.

Community Colleges Offer Bachelor’s Degrees

Elsewhere, states are passing laws to expand community college offerings and to address the shortage of skilled employees.

In Colorado, a bill that allows Colorado’s community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing recently became law. The bill was passed without the governor’s signature or veto. In a letter explaining this decision, Governor Hickenlooper cited concerns over limited stakeholder engagement by the bill’s proponents and potential conflicts between the various agencies that oversee higher education in the state.

In response to these concerns, the letter directs the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to convene stakeholders to determine how to best align programs with industry trends. This law was allowed to pass in response to a severe shortage of nurses in Colorado and after reports that more nursing disciplines require a masters or doctoral degree than in previous years.

Similarly, in Ohio, three community colleges received state approval to offer bachelor’s degrees in microelectronic manufacturing, aviation, unmanned aerial systems, land surveying and culinary and food science. These programs still need to receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission before the community colleges can offer the degrees.

Once accredited, these programs will help to achieve Ohio Governor Kasich’s goal to have 65 percent of the state’s workforce earn an industry recognized credential or degree by 2025. Governor Kasich has already showcased his support for community colleges to offer baccalaureates through the introduction and passage of legislation that supports this.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Public Policy, Uncategorized
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Analysis Suggests Metrics for Measuring Impact of Community Colleges

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

March 9, 2017

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released a report in partnership with the Association of Community College Trustees examining which metrics best tell the story of the services community colleges provide and the supports they require. They determined that the three important indicators of community college progress are:

The report makes a distinction between measuring college retention and college persistence, as retention only measures how many students return for the following Fall semester at the same institution. Using persistence as a measure for community colleges captures the large number of students who transfer either to other community colleges or to four-year institutions. This requires a more systematic approach to tracking enrollment across different institutions and across state lines. When enrollment was tracked this way using Student Clearinghouse data, they found that almost half of all bachelor’s degree recipients were enrolled in a community college at one point before transferring to a four-year institution, a fact that demonstrates the clear role community colleges play in student success.

Study Finds Girls Turn Away from STEM Subjects Early

A new report published in Science found that girls tend to turn away from STEM subjects as early as first grade. The report attributes this partly to their findings that girls begin to associate boys as being smarter and therefore tend to shy away from subjects intended for more intelligent people. Boys around that age seem to also believe themselves to be inherently smarter. The findings in this study echo previous studies that correlated boys’ and girls’ performance in math and science with their self-reported levels of confidence and anxiety with the subjects.

The authors of the report suggest that schools must begin working to break down gender stereotypes far earlier than many might expect. They also recommend that families work to foster girls’ interest in STEM subjects as early as possible.

Odds and Ends

As you know, last month was CTE Month. To celebrate, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) launched a newly redesigned CTE statistics website, which provides national-level information on CTE at the secondary and postsecondary education levels, as well as information on occupational certification and licensure.

Several pieces related to equity have been released lately. CCSSO and the Aspen Institute released a report on the role SEA chiefs can and should play in defining and promoting equity in schools. Chiefs For Change also released a report on equity, with a focus on using ESSA and financial transparency to improve equity.

The U.S. Departments of Labor and Education recently released a technical assistance document to support communities working with in-school youth in accordance with WIOA. Additionally, the National Conference of State Legislatures launched a database that tracks state legislation related to WIOA implementation.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Research
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CTE Research Review: Making Sense of Credentials

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

The number of high-demand jobs requiring an occupational license has grown over the past several years. This shift requires changes from the education community when considering the requisite training and preparation that students will need to enter these careers.

A new report from the White House offers policymakers a framework for the growing field of occupational licensing as well some best practices to consider.

Some interesting facts:

Also, licenses are just one type of credential that students can obtain in their educational journey, and with states working to meet the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), understanding the different types is more important than ever.

The Association of Career and Technical Education recently published a primer on credentials, in particular the postsecondary space between high school and a two-year degree. Check out the full brief here.

Finally, the two-year degree attracts students of all ages, but which of those age groups are most likely to continue on to earn their bachelor’s degree? A quick fact sheet from the American Association of Community Colleges’ “Data Points” series has the answer.

certs

Source: Association of Career and Technical Education

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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CTE Research Review: Manufacturing Edition

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Mind the Gender Gap

It’s no secret that the manufacturing industry faces a serious recruiting problems in recent years – with a predicted shortfall of 2 million workers by 2025 and an ever-increasing skills gap.

A new study from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute takes a closer look at the industry’s gender gap. Only 26 percent of the U.S. manufacturing workforce is female. Meanwhile, nationally, women make up nearly 50 percent of the workforce. The study found that by overlooking or under-recruiting women into the field, manufacturers are missing an important pool of talent that could help them close the skills gap.

Compared to other sectors, the above reasons contribute to the manufacturing gender gap, according to the study.

Compared to other sectors, the above reasons contribute to the manufacturing gender gap, according to the study.

Study: Parents still don’t understand STEM jobs

Women aren’t the only group that manufacturers need to continue targeting. A new survey from the Alcoa Foundation and SkillsUSA found 87 percent of parents believe STEM education is important for their children, yet there remains a clear disconnect between STEM education and its related careers, particularly in manufacturing.

Preparing the next generation of manufacturers

The Brookings Institute has also weighed in on the state of the manufacturing industry. During a recent forum focusing on preparing the next generation of manufacturers through community colleges, panelists called for new more technical training in new manufacturing technologies.

Be sure to check out three excerpted videos of the daylong discussion, as well as two blog posts: “Preparing the Next Generation of Manufacturers through Community Colleges” and “New Skills Needed for New Manufacturing Technology”.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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Legislative Update: President Obama Announces Final Round of TAACCCT Grants and an Apprenticeship Program, DOL Unveils WIA Incentive Grant Awards

Friday, April 18th, 2014

CapitolEarlier this week, President Obama and Vice President Biden traveled to the Community College of Allegheny County in Oakdale, Pennsylvania to announce two initiatives related to job training as part of the President’s larger job-driven training agenda outlined in his State of the Union address earlier this year. Both of these initiatives— one relatively new and the other part a larger existing program— are administered and funded by the Department of Labor (DoL).

The fourth and final round of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program was the first of these initiatives to be announced. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Obama Administration designated approximately $2 billion to provide community colleges and other eligible postsecondary institutions with funds to expand career training programs that can be completed in two years or less. Intended to nurture partnerships between these institutions and employers, funding has been targeted for programs that prepare students for high-skill, high-growth careers. Funds have been distributed on a competitive basis among eligible institutions and have gone out in three separate installments, each with their own overarching areas of focus.

This fourth and final round of TAACCCT grants, worth a total of $450 million, will focus on three priorities outlined by the Administration:

The Obama Administration plans to award at least one grant in every state and applications which emphasize the above priorities may be eligible for larger award amounts. DoL’s full announcement can be found here. Applications are due by July 7th and detailed instructions for applying can be found here.

American Apprenticeship Grants

President Obama and Vice President Biden also announced a new American Apprenticeship Grants competition which is set to begin in the fall of 2014. Funded through H1-B visa applications fees, $100 million in grants will be used to incentivize partnerships between employers, labor organizations, training providers, community colleges, local and state governments, the workforce system, non-profits and faith-based organizations. Priority will be given to applications that meet three criteria laid out by the Administration:

This announcement looks to strengthen Vice President Biden’s other recent effort  named the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium (RACC), an initiative that seeks to allow graduates to use their apprenticeship experience for postsecondary credit. More information on RACC can be found here. Application information for American Apprenticeship Grants is forthcoming.

2014 WIA Incentive Grant Awards

The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (DOLETA), in conjunction with the Department of Education (ED), recently announced a list of eight states which are eligible to apply for approximately $9.9 million in incentive grant awards created under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). To have qualified, states must have exceeded performance levels under WIA Title IB and Title II during the 2012 program year. These incentive grants can be used to fund specific programs under the aegis of WIA or programs funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

To receive funds, a state must submit its application for an incentive grant award to DOLETA no later than May 30, 2014. Eligible states include Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas. More information can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

By Steve Voytek in News, Public Policy
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CTE Research Review, Community College Edition

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) released “Where Value Meets Values: The Economic Impact of Community Colleges,” quantifying the value of community colleges in terms of economic impact (i.e., to the national economy) and return on investment (i.e., to individuals and society).

Specifically, AACC found that, in 2012 alone, former American community college students generated $806.4 billion in added income, based on increased productivity and wages. Foreign community college graduates added another $1.5 billion in new income. AACC also found a 4.8 benefit-cost ratio for students based on the return to their investment into the community colleges (or $4.8 dollars in higher future wages for every dollar invested in their education). In total, AACC estimates $371.8 billion as the net present value of community colleges in terms of increased wages for individuals, after accounting for the money invested in the education.

At the societal level, AACC finds a benefit-cost ratio of 25.9 and a net present value at nearly $1.2 trillion, based on added income and social savings (i.e., lower health care costs, reduced crime rates, etc.) which are associated with more education and employment.

In addition to the report, AACC has created four fact sheets breaking down the data.

The Community College Research Center (CCRC) released a two-page policy brief on “Performance Funding: Impacts, Obstacles, and Other Intended Outcomes.” To date, 32 states have implemented some form of performance funding, with mixed results. The brief delineates performance funding 1.0 (where institutions receive a bonus over and above regular state funding) and performance funding 2.0 (where performance is built into the state allocations for institutions), and provides an overview of research-based lessons learned about performance 1.0. The CCRC is currently exploring the 2.0 model, as discussed in this working paper, “The Political Origins of Performance Funding 2.0 in Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee: Theoretical Perspectives and Comparisons with Performance Funding 1.0,” also released this month.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Research, Uncategorized
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CTE Research Review

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Research Image_6.2013Over the past few weeks, a number of new reports and research papers came out with with implications for Career Technical Education and state leaders. Below are summaries of a few of particular use.

The National Center for Education Statistics released a two-pager, Trends in CTE Coursetaking, showing a decline over the past 19 years in CTE enrollment at the secondary level, from about 4.2 credits earned by public high school graduates to 3.6 credits in 2009. In part this is due to higher enrollments in core academic courses, such as science, foreign languages, and mathematics, and it is also due to a change in NCES data collection and coding for CTE enrollment. Importantly, this NCES dataset does not take into account any CTE credits earned by high school graduates at the 1,200 area technical centers across the country.

Achieve released Closing the Expectations Gap: The 2013 Annual Report on the Alignment of State K-12 Policies and Practice with the Demands of College and Careers, its 8th report in this series. The report, based on surveys of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, notes significant progress on the adoption of college- and career-ready (CCR) standards (in English and mathematics), with every state having met that milestone, largely driven by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It also finds that progress on adopting graduation requirements and assessments aligned to those CCR standards has slowed, although the two consortia developing assessments aligned to the CCSS should accelerate progress over the next few years.

Finally, Achieve finds that no state has a reporting and accountability system that fully values (academic) college and career readiness for all students, as defined by the collection and use of a number of key indicators (e.g., percent of students completing a CCR curriculum, percent of students scoring at the CCR level on a high school assessment, percent of students earning college credit in high school, and the percent of graduates enrolling in remedial coursework upon entrance to a postsecondary institution). Achieve also surveyed states about their use of “career-ready” indicators, although this research was not reported out (NASDCTEc will follow up!).

The report also delves deeply into a number of policies and practices to support the implementation of the CCR standards and aligned assessments, including the state role in developing and/or supporting professional development and instructional materials, and provides a handy CCSS implementation timeline for all 46 states.

The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) obtained a comprehensive dataset detailing school district revenues and expenditures for every school district in the nation for federal fiscal year 2011  to determine the impact of sequestration and other budget cuts on school districts. The result of this analysis – Unequal Pain: Federal Public Education Revenues, Federal Education Cuts and the Impact on Public Schools – was released in November 2013.

Briefly, the report finds that about 12% of school funding comes from the federal level but that the distribution is unequal across the country:

Cut another way, over a third of schools received a federal share of 12% or more, about a quarter of schools had operating budgets in which federal revenues represented more than 15% of total budget revenues, and about 6% of schools had operating budgets in which federal funds represented 25% or more of total budget revenues. All of this is to say, sequestration and budget cuts will disproportionally impact schools and districts educating large number of high-need students. AASA partnered with ProximityOne to create a map where users can examine school district revenue and expenditure patterns.

Weighing in on the very real debate over whether states should primarily support credit-bearing postsecondary programs that lead to a degree, Learning Works in California offers a new brief urging a deep look at what the authors identify as “skills-builders,” or students taking (and passing) community college courses without earning a degree or certificate.  The Missing Piece: Quantifying Non-Completion Pathways to Success cites research showing that about a third of all students  in the California Community College system meet this construct of “skills-builders,” many of whom took courses in high-skilled areas and enjoyed a salary bump as a result. The brief encourages states to reconsider the ways they measure a community college’s success to not limit the full range of community colleges’ benefits.

Finally, the National Center for Education Statistics recently updated its State Education Reforms webpage, which compiles research from a wide range of organizations to provide a one-stop site for information on states’ accountability systems; standards, assessments and graduation requirements; staff qualifications and development; school choice policies; and students’ readiness and progress through school.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Research
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New Tool Available for State Higher Education Leaders: Structured Pathways and Completion Policy Self-Assessment

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The Postsecondary State Policy Network, led by Jobs for the Future (JFF), has released a new tool to find out how well your state is implementing evidence-based policies to build structured pathways and encourage community college completion.
 
State higher education leaders can assess their state’s existing policies and compare them to those advocated by state and national reform leaders with the Structured Pathways and Completion Policy Self-Assessment Tool.

Since 2004, JFF and policy partners across 15 states have developed and codified policies that empower college leaders, enable useful data gathering and analysis, provide students with financial aid access and other non-academic supports, and reward institutions for student outcomes. This tool aims to help higher education leaders facilitate college completion discussions, prioritize needed policy changes, and track policy changes over time.

The Postsecondary State Policy Network is a multistate collaboration committed to advancing state policies that accelerate community college student success and completion.  Also available: you can also sign up to receive Achieving Success, the Network’s newsletter on postsecondary state policy.

For more information about the Structured Pathways and Completion Policy Self-Assessment Tool, please contact Lindsay Devilbiss, Project Associate, Jobs for the Future at ldevilbiss@jff.org.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in News, Research, Resources
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Legislative Update: Senate Releases WIA Discussion Draft

Friday, June 28th, 2013

CapitolClarification on ESEA Title I Supplement Not Supplant

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) sent a letter to Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) state Title I directors to clarify concerns around funding with regards to sequestration. ED noted that beginning July 1, 2013, many states and local education agencies (LEAs) will experience funding decreases due to sequestration and other budgetary factors.

The letter stated that, “ED understands that some LEAs have indicated a willingness to make up the difference in whole or in part with local funds in order to continue to provide a high-quality Title I program. However, many LEAs are concerned that they might violate the prohibition against supplanting if they replace the local contribution with Title I, Part A funds in a subsequent year.”

ED confirmed that LEAs taking this approach will not be considered in violation of the “Supplement Not Supplant” requirement.  The acceptance of this approach is relevant for Career Technical Education (CTE) because it could set a precedent for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) as states and locals seek to continue funding CTE programs despite any decreases in federal funding.

Senate WIA Discussion Draft

After holding a hearing on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) last week, the Senate released this week its first discussion draft for reauthorization of the legislation. While NASDCTEc was pleased with many components of the draft, such as its inclusion of career pathways throughout the bill and the removal of the sequence of services provision, we were concerned with a proposal to fund One Stop infrastructure and other activites directly from the state allocations of One Stop partner programs.

While only postsecondary Perkins programs offer training services as partners in the One Stop system under WIA, Perkins funding supports both secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, with the decision of how to split overall funding between secondary and postsecondary CTE made by each individual state. The 1.5 percent contribution proposed in the WIA draft would mean a loss of nearly $17 million overall that would then come from Perkins’ administrative funds, resulting in a 30 percent cut to the administrative funds that are available to most states.

This issue has been a longstanding one within WIA legislation and will likely continue to be a sticking point as Congress proceeds with WIA reauthorization. The Senate WIA proposal is only currently in draft form, and staff provided comments on the draft legislation and will continue to work with Senate staff on this issue.

Bill for Grant to Address Skills Gap Through Community Colleges and Businesses

Yesterday, Representative George Miller (D-CA) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) announced that they will soon introduce legislation intended to close the skills gap by developing and strengthening partnerships between community and technical colleges and business and industry.

The Community College to Career Fund Act would create a competitive grant program to encourage partnerships between two-year postsecondary institutions and business and industry. Partnerships would focus on creating job experiences, such as apprenticeships and on-the-job training, that allow participants to receive college credit while gaining hands-on experience. By preparing individuals with high-demand skills, the bill aims for businesses to locate and invest in the U.S. and for communities to maintain their local talent. Additional highlights of the Community College to Career Fund include:

Representative Miller stated that, “Community colleges are essential in today’s economy to educate the workforce of the future – the registered nurses; the experts in the alternative energy sector; and the IT and cyber-security workers. This legislation will make critical investments in community colleges that will strengthen the middle class and enable America’s workforce to better compete in the global economy.” This bill appears to be similar to an initiative proposed by the Obama Administration early last year.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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Community Colleges in the Spotlight

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

This week, the National Center for Education and the Economy released a new report at a day-long event in Washington, DC. The report – “What Does It Mean to Be College and Work Ready?” –  explores the first-year expectations for students across nine different disciplines (Accounting, Automotive Technology, Biotech/Electrical Technology, Business, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Information Technology/Computer Programming, Nursing, and General Studies) in mathematics and English Language Arts, and finds that there is a misalignment between what students learn in high school and what they need to know for success in their first year at community college.

Specifically in mathematics, the report finds that the first-year expectations are rarely above the Algebra I bar and largely focus on mathematics taught in middle school. The report identifies some key content areas that are typically untaught in high school, namely schematics, geometric visualization, and complex applications of measurement. One recommendation is to refocus K-12 mathematics instruction so students can gain a deeper conceptual understanding of the foundational knowledge and skills in elementary and middle school mathematics rather than rushing them to, and through, advanced course-taking in high school.

In English, the report finds that while the texts assigned in the first-year of community college programs are at the 11th and 12th grade level, the assignments and tests demand little from students by way of reading comprehension or writing – or, in other words, there is high text complexity but low test rigor. The Common Core State Standards’ focus on discipline-specific literacy, reading informational texts, and writing from evidence should help shore up students’ abilities in these areas, but community colleges will need to adjust their instruction in kind.

Over the course of six panel discussions, a number of topics were explored, but two themes came up time and again, the first being the tradeoff between community colleges shifting their mission away from providing open access to all students to the accountability-driven goal of retaining students. The question was raised, but largely unanswered, of whether this shift has led community colleges to lower their expectations and standards for incoming students to ensure more stay enrolled and complete. On the other hand, remediation has long been an issue among community colleges and hasn’t dramatically improved since institutions have begun to focus on completion.

The other major theme discussed was the need for more curricular pathways for students in high school, particularly in mathematics. While the report recommends that Algebra II no longer be required for all students, most of the panelists agreed that Algebra II still had value to students, but that there need to be more contextualized learning opportunities for students, based on their learning styles and post-high school interests.

What struck me about the event is that Career Technical Education (CTE) has long been tackling the challenges and opportunities raised in the report and event including building partnerships between K-12 and community college and between community colleges and employers, and offering contextualized learning pathways to students. While CTE was barely mentioned (explicitly) over the course of the day – and is not mentioned at all in the report – it is a major component of any strategy to address students’ readiness for college and careers.

Click here to read the report and watch video from the release event.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Meetings and Events, Public Policy, Research
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