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Posts Tagged ‘workforce’

Senate Hearing Focuses on College Affordability; Witness Calls for Streamlining Federal Reporting Requirements

Friday, September 14th, 2012

At a hearing this week — Improving College Affordability: A View From the States – members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee heard from higher education stakeholders about the obstacles that keep postsecondary education out of reach for many students. Dr. Camille Preus, Commissioner of the Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, spoke about how the Federal government can encourage and support states in making postsecondary education more affordable:

The federal government also could help states in their efforts to be more efficient by aligning the various reporting requirements that it imposes on institutions of higher education. These requirements differ for various programs, such as the HEA and the Workforce Investment and the Carl D. Perkins Act, and these in turn differ from information that states themselves require. A concerted effort needs to be undertaken to eliminate these inefficiencies. Many community colleges have only one individual who is responsible for meeting all reporting requirements. Sometimes states becoming directly involved in providing needed information. In addition, the federal government needs to be much more aggressive in ensuring that appropriate state educational entities have access to data that will enable them, in concert with institutions, to identify the earnings of students after they have left institutions. These data in turn will help colleges to maximize resource allocation.

In the context of better aligning workforce and training programs, NASDCTEc has also recommended that common measures across programs such as WIA, Perkins, Trade Adjustment Assistance, and Adult Education would provide more interconnectivity in the workforce system as programs collaborate and work together to ensure the alignment of goals. Our recommendaitons also call for data sharing across federal programs in order to ease the burden that programs and providers face in collecting accountability information, and foster an environment of collaboration and efficiency in the workforce and education systems.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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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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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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Workforce Wednesdays: Get Involved!

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Join NASDCTEc and the more than 40 other national organizations that make up the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce for “Workforce Wednesdays,” each Wednesday in August.

CTE and workforce development programs are an important part of the nation’s economic recovery and job creation effort, yet our nation’s investments in the skills of its people are at risk. Non-defense discretionary programs—including education and workforce programs—face at least $55 billion in funding cuts as of January 2013 due to the Budget Control Act, and efforts to protect funding for defense programs could double the size of these cuts. Key policymakers have even proposed eliminating dozens of federal workforce programs. It is critically important that we help policymakers understand why investments in CTE and workforce development programs are important and how these investments impact their local communities.

Participate in Workforce Wednesdays by taking action—it can be as simple as calling your Senators or Representative or, even better, arranging a site visit  — but just take action on one or more Wednesdays during the month of August. Stand united with NASDCTEc and the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce in support of adequate funding for CTE, adult education and workforce training programs!

Members of Congress will be in their home districts during the month of August.  Contact your Senators and Representative today to arrange an in-district meeting, a site visit, or engage in a direct conversation with in-district staff to let them know where you stand on funding for CTE and training programs. Or let your local community know why these investments matter by submitting an op-ed or letter to the Editor to your local paper. What you do isn’t as important as that you do something, so take action as part of Workforce Wednesdays in August!


RESOURCES

Find Your Members of Congress

Advocacy Tip Sheet

FY13 Funding Request Sheet

Leave Behinds and One-Pagers

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Friends of CTE Blog Series: Competitive Advantage Comes from CTE

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

John McGlade is the Chairman, President and CEO of the global gases and chemicals company, Air Products. Previously, he was named the CEO Champion of the Year by SkillsUSA for his leadership in supporting America’s highly-skilled workforce and promoting Career Technical Education. John also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Chemistry Council and the Executive Committee of the Council on Competitiveness.

Growing up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, I spent a good amount of my formative high school years at my local Career Technical Education (CTE) – then called vocational education — school. Now, as president and CEO of a global company, I can testify first hand to how CTE can help equip students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in their careers. Moreover, CTE has since evolved, proving to be as dynamic and innovative as the economy for which it is preparing students.

In fact, I believe that CTE can be a source of competitive advantage for the United States, by rebuilding a skilled workforce better trained than ever to compete in the global marketplace.

Demand and supply gap

We know that more scientists and engineers are needed to support the United States economy, but a broader look must be given to the overall demand for skilled workers.

Air Products employs about 7,500 people in the United States.

There is a mismatch between the demand and supply of skilled workers. Work opportunities exist, but sometimes it is difficult to find people to fill those jobs.  Air Products has openings, but we can’t always find people with the right skills in the right locations.  This situation contributes to the national unemployment rate of over 8 percent.

Creating a new technology workforce

Filling the skills gap will require higher expectations and greater investment in education and job training. Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. We need technicians that are not just mechanically trained, but who can operate electronic control systems and sophisticated, predictive maintenance technologies.

That means government must provide more support for CTE, directing additional funding so that schools, community colleges and technical schools can continue their great work and strengthen and expand quality CTE programs.

Our nation’s future

I cannot stress enough the importance of CTE to the U.S. economy. Not only do CTE programs help the new generation of workers with developing technical skills, they create well-rounded employees with 21st century employability skills — problem-solving, teamwork and leadership — to help them grow and succeed throughout the lifetime of their entire career.

Industries are eager to collaborate with schools and colleges that help foster the workforce of our next generation. We realize that we must develop strategic partnerships between industry and education to bring the best thinking and most current learning experiences to schools and colleges. In doing so, we can create future career opportunities for millions of Americans.

How Can You Get Involved?

The Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series provides advocates – from business and industry, to 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 News
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, SLDS Grants

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

House Labor-HHS-Education Mark Up Pushed to July

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education had intended to mark up its FY13 appropriations bill this week. However, the markup has been postponed until after the July 4th recess.  We will keep you posted on the new date. In the meantime, please see last week’s blog post about the importance of contacting your Representative about the critical need to maintain Perkins funding. There is still time!

Latest Round of SLDS Grant Winners Announced

The Institute for Education Sciences recently announced the list of 24 states that were awarded the latest round of State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grants. The grants were awarded in three priority areas:

  1. The design, development, and implementation of a statewide, longitudinal kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) data system;
  2. The development and linking of early childhood data with the State’s K-12 data system; or
  3. The development and linking of postsecondary and/or workforce data with the State’s K-12 data system.

Nine states received grants under Priority 1 (K-12); one state received a Priority 2 (early childhood) grant, and fourteen states were awarded Priority 3 (postsecondary/workforce) grants. The winners of the grants to link K-12 data with postsecondary and/or workforce data, which may be of most interest to you, are:

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Committee Passes WIA Reauth Bill

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a markup of H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 yesterday. The bill represents large scale changes to the current WIA program. The bill was approved by a party line vote of 23 to 15. There is no word on when the bill will go to the floor.

The bill proposes to consolidate approximately 30 existing workforce and training programs into a single, flexible Workforce Investment Fund, and it would give Governors the power to consolidate even more programs under a unified state plan. The bill would also require states and locals to use common performance measures for all workforce development programs.

As we previously reported, an earlier bill introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC), which was merged into H.R. 4297, allowed states to submit a unified state plan encompassing two or more job training and related programs, including both Perkins secondary and postsecondary programs. Under Foxx’s bill, Perkins funds would have been eligible to be consolidated into a Workforce Investment Fund and used for workforce activities. After hearing from the CTE community, new language was added to the Workforce Investment Improvement Act that singles out Perkins as one program whose funds cannot be consolidated into the Workforce Investment Fund.

The Workforce Investment Improvement Act also proposes changes to the Job Corps program to ensure that CTE and job training offered under that program is focused on in-demand occupations and that disadvantaged youth receive a regular high school diploma and/or a postsecondary credential that prepares them for employment.

Democrats on the Committee are not supportive of the bill, and offered a substitute bill as an amendment. Their bill focused on career pathways in high demand industries that lead to industry recognized credentials and postsecondary attainment. It would also expand the role of community colleges in job training. The Democrats’ amendment was voted down along party lines.

A summary of H.R. 4297 can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Grant Competition Focused on Advanced Manufacturing Now Open

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Last week the Obama administration announced a new $26 million grant competition – the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge – designed to support advanced manufacturing and stimulate economic growth. Proposals should show how applicants “will help grow a region’s industry clusters by strengthening connections to regional economic development opportunities and advanced manufacturing assets, enhance a region’s capacity to create high-quality sustainable jobs, develop a skilled and diverse advanced manufacturing workforce, increase exports, encourage the development of small businesses and accelerate technological innovation.”

The initiative is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the National Science Foundation. It will also be supported by eight other federal agencies, including the Department of Education. According to OVAE, one goal of the competition is to engage education and training providers, such as community colleges, to ensure that individuals are prepared for new jobs in the manufacturing industry.

Twelve projects are expected to be awarded the competitive grants. The deadline to submit applications for the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is July 9th. Guidelines for submissions are available at http://www.manufacturing.gov.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, WIA, Career Pathways

Friday, April 20th, 2012

The Department of Education released their Perkins reauthorization blueprint yesterday. See our previous blog entry and statement here.

Senate Sets Spending Levels for Subcommittees

This week the Senate Appropriations Committee released their 302(b) allocations, or spending levels, for each of the 12 subcommittees. In the Senate, they are using as their top line number the cap set by the Budget Control Act — $1.047 trillion. The Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee would receive $157.722 billion to divide up among its programs, including the Perkins Act. The House is expected to release its 302(b) allocations next.

House Holds WIA Hearing

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a legislative hearing this week on H.R. 4297, the “Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012.” The hearing provided members an opportunity to discuss and gather expert feedback on the legislation. Among other things, this bill would consolidate 27existing workforce related programs into one flexible job training program, require the makeup of WIBs to be two-thirds employers, and require States to adopt common performance measures.

DOL Releases Career Pathways Resources

The Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor released technical assistance resources for the Career Pathways Initiative. The Career Pathways Initiative was launched in June 2010 to increase credential attainment and improve access to training opportunities for disadvantaged individuals. The new resources can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Governors to Focus on Education and Job Creation in 2012

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

During their State of the State addresses earlier this year, the majority of governors cited education and job creation as top priorities. A summary released by the National Governors Association, The Governors Speak: A Summary of the 2012 State of the State Addresses, found that nearly every governor that gave a State of the State speech this year said that job creation would be a major focus in 2012.

Among the strategies for job creation were changes to tax codes, government processes, and regulations, and im­provements to workforce training and education. College and career readiness was also mentioned by many governors as an education goal that is also tied to job creation. Other education priorities included accountability, local control and flexibility, and STEM education. More specifically, seven governors stated that they wanted to increase the focus on STEM to ensure that schools are providing skills relevant to careers. Additionally, 17 governors are proposing to either increase or maintain funding for education despite tight budgets.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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