Posts Tagged ‘global competition’

Skills-, Workforce-Focused Groups Establish Business Leaders United Initiative

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Four major organizations that are dedicated to supporting the nation’s workforce this week committed to Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships; the new initiative aims to address clear, specific issues, and implement measurable plans to address the job creation challenges in the United States.
National Skills Coalition (NSC), Skills for America’s Future, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and Corporate Voices for Working Families announced the partnership at a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting June 30. In an NSC announcement, the organizations said they planned to “bring diverse business leaders together to help shape a national skills strategy that can address structural skill shortages that are putting the brakes on economic recovery and job creation.”

Measurable plans of Business Leaders United include:

• Expanding the number of these partnerships by more than 30 percent across 50 states.
• Facilitating conversations between local business leaders and federal policymakers about how private, philanthropic, and public dollars can be leveraged to replicate and sustain these partnerships nationally.

By Erin in News
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New Report Says Expand and Promote CTE

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Career Technical Education (CTE) should be expanded and promoted to address the skills gap and to staff the American workforce, according to a new report.

The HR Policy Association, an organization representing the chief human resource officers of major employers, produced the report to lay out specific changes to ensure the competitiveness of the American workforce and fulfilling careers for job seekers.

The organization’s members recommend the following changes that can be addressed through CTE:

The report states that “Americans are not being educated in sufficient numbers to meet the demands of today’s highly technical work processes and products.” Our country increasingly relies upon ever-changing technology, and workers need skills to develop, repair, and maintain it.

CTE provides a solution. Comprehensive CTE programs prepare students to be college and career ready and to effectively fill vacancies for skilled jobs.

By Kara in News, Resources
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State of the Union Focuses on Education, CTE Student Sits with First Lady

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

In his second State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama set a broad agenda for improving the economy and maintaining the United States’ status as a global super power. Calling this our “Sputnik moment,” the President urged Congress, private businesses and the American people to work together to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.

Recognizing that the world has changed and that a high degree is no longer sufficient to earn a family sustaining wage, Obama focused on the ways that education can help turn around the economy. First, he cautioned against “pour[ing] money into a system that’s not working” and highlighted the ways that his Race to the Top grants have reformed education through the adoption of new standards. He also stated that Race to the Top should be the foundation for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind this year. Among the other education priorities that he addressed were: raising the status of the teaching profession, increasing the number of STEM teachers, making postsecondary more accessible and affordable, and training individuals for new careers and new jobs.

He also stressed the importance of community colleges in meeting the demands of out fast-changing economy and singled out Kathy Proctor, a student at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina who is earning her degree in biotechnology at the age of 55 because the furniture factories in her town have disappeared.

However, despite the President’s call for greater investment in things like innovation, education and infrastructure, last night he proposed a five-year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending beginning this year. This comes after House Republicans have pledged to return appropriations levels to FY08 or FY06 levels. So while we don’t know what spending levels will look like after the CR expires in March, it seems certain that there not be any funding increases this year.

On a brighter note, Brandon Ford, a junior at the Academy of Automotive and Mechanical Engineering at West Philadelphia High School was invited to be a guest in First Lady Michelle Obama’s box last night. Brandon was recognized for his participation in the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE competition, in which teams from across the globe compete to create production-ready, highly fuel efficient vehicles. Brandon and his team went up against corporations, universities and other well-funded organizations from around the world, advancing all the way to the elimination round.  Congratulations, Brandon!

By Nancy in News, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Veterans’ Training Bill, Appropriations, America COMPETES

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Veterans’ Training Bill Passed; Expands Eligibility to Area CTE Centers

Late last week the House passed the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 by a vote of 409-3, after it was cleared by unanimous consent in the Senate earlier in the week. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature. This bill will allow veterans to use their benefits at educational institutions that do not award associate or higher degrees, such as area career technical schools, career schools, and apprenticeship programs. This would be a change from the current Post-9/11 GI Bill, which does not allow participants to use funds at a non-degree granting institution. The new eligibility provisions will go into effect on October 1, 2011. This is a tremendous victory for CTE and a recognition of the high quality programs that our area CTE centers offer!

Congress Passes Short-Term Continuing Resolution

The House on Tuesday passed a continuing resolution (CR) by a vote of 193 to 165 that would fund the government and all federal programs at FY10 levels through March 4. The Senate approved the bill earlier on Tuesday by a vote of 79-16. With the shift in power in the House, and the weakened Democratic hold over the Senate, there is sure to be a more partisan fight over spending as expiration of the CR draws near in March. Soon-to-be Speaker of the House John Boehner (Ohio) has already said that he wants to roll back federal spending to 2008 levels.

America COMPETES Act Passed by Congress

The House this week passed the America COMPETES Act by a vote of 228 to 130, after it was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate last week. The bill now heads to President Obama for his signature. The goal of the bill is to improve the competitiveness of the United States by investing in innovation through research and development. There are a variety of provisions in the bill that will impact STEM education, such as the coordination of federal STEM education efforts, grants to increase the number of STEM teachers, and other improvements in STEM education. Because Congress wanted to pass this bill before the current session of Congress ends, the House had little choice but to accept the Senate version of the bill which scales back funding from the original House bill and reauthorizes the bill for three years instead of five.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Gathering Storm Approaching Category 5, Report Warns

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Despite attempts to improve the United State’s position in the global economy, the nation has, over the last five years, worsened its ability to compete for quality jobs.  Further, if the United States does not implement a sustained investment in education and basic research soon, the nation will continue on its downward spiral, according to a follow up report to highly-regarded Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.

The new report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5, warns that the nation has not improved despite the warnings and recommendations made since the original congressionally-commissioned report was released in 2005.

“The Gathering Storm is looking ominously like a Category 5,” according to the report, “and, as the  nation has so vividly observed, rebuilding from such an event is far more difficult  than preparing in advance to withstand it.”

The report does praise Congress for passing the America COMPETES Act and implementing several funding initiatives to support the improvement of K-12 and STEM education, but warns that funding for American COMPETES is scheduled to expire in Fiscal Year 2010 and stimulus funding for education is nearly depleted amidst the nation’s growing debt.

“The Gathering Storm effort once again finds itself at a tipping point,” said Norman R. Augustine, coauthor of a new report and chair  of the original Gathering Storm committee. “Addressing America’s competitiveness challenge is an undertaking that will require many years, if not decades.”

By Erin in Research
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United States Drops in Global Ranking

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Global Competitiveness ReportThe United States fell two spots to fourth position in The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011. The shortcoming brings the United States behind Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore; and places further pressure on the nation to recover from its downward trend.

While there are a range of components that allow the United States economy to remain “extremely productive, a number of escalating weaknesses have lowered the U.S. ranking over the past two years,” according to the report. Growing public debt, lack of trust in politicians, and diminished corporate ethics were among the weaknesses of the United States.

Rankings 2010-11
1   Switzerland
2   Sweden
3   Singapore
4   United States
5   Germany
6   Japan
7   Finland
8   Netherlands
9   Denmark
10 Canada

The report provides a range of assessments and recommendations, including a Global Competitiveness Index that ranks 139 countries on 12 pillars of competitiveness:

The report did credit U.S. companies for “being highly sophisticated and innovative, supported by an excellent university system that collaborates strongly with the business sector in R&D.” The size of the U.S. domestic economy – the largest in the world – still allows the nation to remain competitive, the report added.

How the nation will respond to its strengths and leverage its weaknesses will be seen in the future.

By Erin in News, Publications, Research
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WSJ Highlights Growing, Well-Paying Career Paths

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Engineering, product management, government and health care are among 12 burgeoning, well-paying career paths of our economy, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The publication highlights the 12 career paths and indicates the “personality fit” an individual would need to succeed in that career.

By Erin in News

White House to Host Community College Summit

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

jillbiden_portrait_full (2)

On October 5, 2010 Dr. Jill Biden will host a White House Summit on Community Colleges. The summit will bring together community colleges, business, philanthropy, federal and state policy leaders, and students to discuss how community colleges can help meet the job training and education needs of the nation’s workforce, as well as the critical role community colleges play in achieving the President’s goal to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.

The White House is inviting the public to submit their thoughts, questions and challenges for discussion as part of the summit dialogue:

By Nancy in News, Public Policy
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Alaska Develops Action Plan for New CTE

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Recognizing the link between education and career readiness, heads of Alaska’s education and workforce development systems published in August a joint call to action report that pledges their intent to improve CTE.

Alaska’s Education & Early Development, and Labor and Workforce Development departments, and the University of Alaska teamed to develop the Alaska Career and Technical Education Plan, their strategy to prepare students to be lifelong learners who can contribute to and succeed in their economy. Most significant is the plan’s assertion that it proposes a CTE system that is not a separate ‘track’ designed for students who are not college bound. “The CTE system described in the plan ensures that all students – whatever their ultimate career goals – have the employability skills that are necessary for success in life as well as employment.”

Alaska’s plan consists of a set of strategies and action statements, which include:

By Erin in News, Public Policy
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Race to the Top Assessment Winners Announced

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Today, the Department of Education announced more than $330 million in Race to the Top assessment grant awards to the consortia of states that submitted applications. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) will receive $170 million and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) will receive $160 million. The goal of these two consortia is to develop a “new generation” of math and English language arts assessments for third grade through high school that will be aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The assessments will be put into place by the 2014-2015 school year.

PARCC is a coalition of 26 states and will test students’ ability to read complex text, complete research projects, excel at classroom speaking and listening assignments, and work with digital media. The consortia will replace the single year-end high stakes test with a series of assessments given throughout the year. PARCC’s application stated that its assessment system “will provide the tools needed to identify whether students—from grade 3 through high school—are on a trajectory for postsecondary success and, critically, where gaps may exist and how they can be remediated well before students enter college or the workforce.”

SBAC is comprised of 31 states that will test students using computer adaptive technology that will ask students tailored questions based on their previous answers. The consortia will still use a single test at the end of the year for accountability purposes, but will create a series of interim tests throughout the year to let students, parents, and teachers know whether students are on track. You can see which states are included in both of the consortia here.

In a speech this morning at Achieve, Inc. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that states in both consortia have agreed to set the same achievement levels or cut‐scores on their  assessments and that the Department will ask them to collaborate to make sure student test results are comparable across participating states. Duncan also laid out how these assessments differ from existing state tests, including the use of smart technology, immediate feedback, accommodations, and the use of formative assessments that document student growth. Finally he said that “for the first time, the new assessments will better measure the higher‐order thinking skills so vital to success in the global economy of the 21st century and the future of American prosperity. To be on track today for college and careers, students need to show that they can analyze and solve complex problems, communicate clearly, synthesize information, apply knowledge, and generalize learning to other settings.”

As you may be aware, there was a third group of states, the State Consortium on Board Examination Systems, that applied for $30 million in funding under the competition to support assessments at the high school level. However, this group did not win an award.

By Nancy in News, Public Policy
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