Posts Tagged ‘skills training’

Research Round-up: State and local government leaders should look to the “STARs” to address hiring woes.

Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Advance CTE’s “Research Round-Up” blog series features summaries of relevant research reports and studies to elevate evidence-backed Career Technical Educational (CTE) policies and practices and topics related to college and career readiness. This month’s blog highlights the benefits of skills-based hiring that closely aligns with Advance CTE’s vision for the future of CTE where statewide systems and institutions effectively support each learner to earn credentials that are counted, valued, and portable.

Public sector jobs are necessary for the continued function of our society, but they are struggling to maintain staffing. The Center for American Progress’s report, The Benefits of Skills-Based Hiring for the State and Local Government Workforce, recommends that “state and local government shift to using skills-based hiring practices to expand and diversify the hiring pool and meet the sector’s skills needs.” This shift would be a departure from the present trend of state and local agencies requiring degrees that act as a proxy for skills. Skills-based hiring is gaining momentum and early implementation has shown promise. Adopting a skills-based approach for employees can be accomplished through initiatives that are already established in many states such as upskilling, teaching an employee new skills at any point in their tenure, or registered apprenticeships, a formal model that combines on-the-job training, classroom instruction and wage progression. 

The Center for American Progress defines skills-based hiring as the practice of describing a job by the technical skills required to perform it. Employers use skills-based hiring practices to fill vacancies by assessing whether a candidate’s skillset aligns with those needed. This report suggests that skills-based hiring is mutually beneficial for institutions and job candidates. Removing the bachelor’s degree requirement on job listings has the potential to increase the talent pool of potential candidates for open public sector positions and position government institutions as more competitive employers.

 

Talent Pool Demographics

More than 70 million Americans are skilled through alternative routes (STARs), a term coined by Opportunity@Work in their report, Reach for the STARs: Realizing the Potential of America’s Hidden Talent Pool. These individuals have either a high school diploma, some college, an associate’s degree or other credentials, but they do not hold a bachelor’s degree, which is the typical educational screen employers put on job postings. This requirement acts as a barrier for workers who are skilled through alternative routes ineligible for public sector jobs.

*Opportunity@Work excludes 20 million workers under age 25 from its analysis of the labor force to ensure that the majority of the population studied has completed their education. **STARs are workers who have attained a high school diploma but not a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. Chart: Center for American Progress  Source: Opportunity@Work, “Rise with the STARs,” available at https://opportunityatwork.org/our-solutions/stars-insights/rise-with-the-stars-report/ (last accessed October 2022).

By reconsidering degree requirements, public sector jobs can again be the engines of mobility they once were and reflect the demographics of the constituents they serve. The skills that STARs have built through alternative routes and pathways can be transferable from one job to another. 

*The proportion of Hispanic workers who are STARs is lower because Hispanic workers are less likely to have obtained a high school diploma. Source: Opportunity@Work, “STARsInsights,” available at https://opportunityatwork.org/our-solutions/stars-insights/hispanic-stars/ (last accessed October 2022); Opportunity@Work calculations based on U.S. Census Bureau, “ACS 1-Year Estimates Public Use Microdata Sample: YEAR 2021 ANALYZED,” available at https://data.census.gov/mdat/#/ (last accessed October 2022).

 

Skills-based hiring practices can make governments more competitive employers

State and local governments are facing a significant labor shortage as their workforce comes closer to retirement. Retiring workers (currently comprising twenty-eight percent of state and local government workforce) are far less likely to have a bachelor’s degree than younger workers. This suggests that the barrier to entry to these positions has increased over time and is not mandatory for these positions.

This report recommends the following five principles to make a skills-based hiring policy successful in state and local governments:

Additional resources about skills-based hiring can be found in Advance CTE’s Resource Center.

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate

By Jodi Langellotti in Research
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Education Not Working For All

Monday, July 29th, 2019

The national postsecondary attainment rate across all groups of students has steadily increased over the past decade. Despite this positive trend, a recent research paper by the Center for American Progress found persisting gaps in students’ access to higher education. 

Using nationally representative data to investigate how degree attainment rates for adults compare in the U.S., the report looked at how geography and socioeconomic factors continue to impact students’ access to the postsecondary level. In the report, researchers found that despite an overall 20 percent increase in attainment in the last decade, the distribution of growth is uneven across the country. National patterns reflect lower attainment rates in rural areas and highly stratified rates – with the largest attainment gaps between racial and ethnic groups – in urban areas. This pattern highlights two significant insights:

Earlier this year, researchers at Brookings explored the landscape of the millions of young adults who are out of work. In their study, researchers used cluster analysis to segment out-of-work young adults into five groups, including:

Clusters were categorized based on similarities in students’ work history, educational attainment, school enrollment, English language proficiency and family status. Specific policy recommendations were provided for each group, such as utilizing re-engagement centers with  those who have a high school diploma or less. Work-based learning and certification attainment were the only recommendations consistent across all five clusters.

Meeting the Needs of Those Left Behind 

Community colleges have traditionally worked to meet the needs of underserved students and dislocated workers. With skills-training and work-based learning gaining popularity, these institutions are also increasingly strained for resources, especially since they are in the midst of a historic funding disadvantage. The Community College Research Center (CCRC) highlights this challenge in their report on The Evolving Mission of Workforce Development in the Community College.

Today, over two-thirds of states’ accountability and funding measures are tied to completed degrees or certificates. This has led to many community colleges integrating guided pathway programs into their systems as a means to improve attainment rates. 

The CCRC research points out that noncredit programs are also increasing in popularity, as they are often shorter, more flexible and responsive to industry needs. While for-credit programs may take up to two years to launch a new program in response to student and local market needs, noncredit programs can do so in a matter of weeks or months. Because they are also shorter and tend to target specific skills needed in an industry, students often see them as a more affordable investment in their time, education and career development.

However, according to a recent report by Opportunity America, these programs can come with disadvantages, namely, they do not provide college credit or financial aid to their students. 

Given that the majority of students who are enrolling in these programs are out-of-work and/or low-income, many advocates are calling for legislation like the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS Act), which would extend eligibility for Pell Grant funding to short term credit and noncredit programs that meet several key criteria. Proponents also argue that federal education policies need to keep pace with the changing dynamics of the workforce and postsecondary systems, to support life-long learners by aligning credited and non-credited programs.

 

Jade Richards, Policy Fellow 

By admin in News, Public Policy, Research, Resources
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New Campaign Calls for Greater Investment in Skills Training

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Last week the National Skills Coalition launched Voices for Skills, a campaign to raise the voices of working people to educate policymakers and candidates running for office in 2020
about how critical skills training is to 21st century jobs. The campaign collectively amplifies the voices of working
people, students, teachers and business leaders by calling for a national commitment to significantly increase the investment in skills training. During the launch, personal stories were shared by those who have completed a skills training program, including:

Voices for Skills also presented a discussion between representatives from both sides of the aisle in Michigan – a state that is expected to be highly contested in the 2020 election – on why they continue to be leading champions for skills policy in Congress. Representatives Andy Levin (D-MI) and Paul Mitchell (R-MI) reiterated their commitment to skills training to meet the needs of a 21st century economy, and called upon members of the community (such as businesses, advocacy groups and teachers) to further educate, collaborate and communicate the importance of skills education. Both members also stressed that talks around infrastructure development should increasingly highlight a workforce development component, with congressman Mitchell pointing to his BUILDS ACT — which Advance CTE supports — as a needed step in the right direction.

Jade Richards, Policy Fellow 

By admin in News, Public Policy
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