Mapping Upward Technical Assistance Institute

Mapping Upward Logo with an arrow made of dots

The Mapping Upward project, a national activity led by OCTAE’s Division of Academic and Technical Education, selected four sector-focused networks representing twelve colleges to receive technical assistance to support the embedding of stackable, industry-recognized credentials within technical associate degree programs. The four college networks selected to participate in the project include:

  • Bakersfield College, Shasta College, and Reedley College (California, Horticulture focus)
  • Forsyth Technical Community College, Catawba Valley Community College, Isothermal Community College, and Piedmont Community College (North Carolina, Advanced Manufacturing focus)
  • Luzerne County Community College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, and Northampton Community College (Pennsylvania, Advanced Manufacturing focus)
  • Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Mitchell Community College (North Carolina, Advanced Manufacturing focus)

Thirty-one individuals representing the college teams participated in the Mapping Upward Technical Assistance Institute, July 21-22 at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha/Racine, Wisconsin. The teams were immersed in sessions with content experts on topics ranging from employer engagement strategies and program design to credit issues and work-based learning experiences. Teams also met in small groups to work on action plans that will be the focus of their technical assistance activities for the next year. College teams will tackle institutional issues as well as collaborate with their in-state partners on the broader goals of their network. All twelve colleges are engaged in an online community of practice for resource sharing and exchange of promising practices. Each network is receiving dedicated technical assistance from a coach as well as support from subject matter experts on targeted topics.

For more information on the project, please visit the Mapping Upward: Stackable Credentials that Lead to Careers page on PCRN or email Erin Berg, erin.berg@ed.gov.

Performance Partnership Pilot Applications Invited

Federal agencies have released a third call for proposals to improve education, employment, and other key outcomes for disconnected youth.

While our nation has seen progress over the last few years, there still remain over five million 14-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. who are out of school and not working. In many cases, these youth face additional challenges including being low-income, homeless, in foster care, or involved in the justice system. In response, seven federal agencies are, for the third time, jointly inviting state, local, and tribal communities to apply to become a Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies to achieving better outcomes for these youth, as well as youth at risk of becoming disconnected from critical social institutions and supports.

The P3 initiative allows pilots to receive customized flexibility from the participating agencies—including the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, Health and Human Services, Justice, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and now also the Department of Housing and Urban Development—to overcome barriers and align program and reporting requirements across programs. This flexibility enables communities to pursue the most innovative and effective ways to use their existing funds that they already receive from the federal government to improve outcomes for the neediest youth.

This third round of pilots will build on innovative work underway by existing pilots. In October 2015, the Department of Education announced the first round of nine pilots on behalf of all the participating agencies. From supporting young moms and their young children with a two-generation approach to helping foster care youth transition successfully from high school to college and career, these pilots will serve a total of roughly 10,000 disconnected youth from urban, rural, and tribal communities around the country. Applications for the second round of pilots closed on June 27, 2016, and agencies expect to designate pilots by the end of the year.

Early pilots are seeing the value of the P3 model. “It takes more than a single agency or funding source to help young people in tough situations get back on track,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The Performance Partnership Pilot gives L.A. the flexibility to break down boundaries and test new ideas for putting kids on a path to success.”

This third round of pilots again offers up to 10 state, local or tribal communities the opportunity to propose bold new ideas for how they would use P3 flexibility to transform the way they deliver services and improve outcomes for their disconnected youth. Additionally, this round will newly permit communities to use their Continuum of Care and Emergency Solutions Grants Program funds, funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in the pilots.

Stakeholders on the front lines of service delivery have let us know that flexibility, such as better aligning the multiple systems that serve youth, is sometimes needed to achieve powerful outcomes. P3 responds directly to on-the-ground challenges by offering broad new flexibility in exchange for better outcomes. While this competition offers small start-up grants that can fund administrative expenses, data collection, evaluation or other activities that support effective implementation of a pilot, P3 primarily focuses on creating flexibility. Partner organizations already working together on the ground can propose true seamless service delivery systems that maximize outcomes for disconnected youth by seeking waivers across multiple funding streams that they already receive.

This round of P3 includes several priorities to test this authority in diverse environments across America and support broader learning in the field. For example, acknowledging the diverse needs of communities, the competition allows separate categories of consideration for applicants that propose to serve disconnected youth in rural communities, in tribal communities, or in communities that recently have experienced civil unrest. In addition, applicants can earn bonus points in the selection process by proposing to rigorously evaluate at least one component of their pilot, proposing to implement work-based learning opportunities, or proposing projects that would specifically serve youth who are neither employed nor in school.

You can find more information about the third round of P3 application requirements and selection criteria in the Federal Register Notice Inviting Applications (NIA).

Photo of Johan Uvin
Posted by
Deputy Assistant Secretary, OCTAE

Supporting Student Success: Discussions about Adult Education and Developmental Education Reform in Community Colleges

Earning a postsecondary degree or credential has become a prerequisite for the growing jobs of the new economy.  President Obama has challenged every American to commit to at least one year of higher education or postsecondary training to better prepare themselves for the challenges they will face in the ever-evolving workforce.  OCTAE is committed to supporting community college students and, in turn, strengthening the coordination and alignment between adult education and developmental education programs at community college campuses to better prepare students for the 21st century job market.  The Supporting Student Success: Adult Education and Remedial Education Reform in Community Colleges initiative is a technical assistance activity, funded by OCTAE to support the President and the Department’s goals.

As part of Supporting Student Success, OCTAE, through the support of the Manhattan Strategy Group is hosting three Community of Practice (CoP) discussions this fall.  The CoPs will be hosted on the LINCS online platform.  To comment in the discussions, free membership to LINCS is required, but no membership is necessary to read the discussion. Make sure you are subscribed to Postsecondary Completion LINCS Community of Practice group for more information. Learn more about LINCS here. We highly encourage you to join the CoPs by signing up prior to the start of the discussion.

Get involved! The CoP discussion of best practices listed below will be led by current practitioners of adult education and developmental education programming.

  • Building Bridges Between Adult Basic Education and Developmental Education: October 17-21, 2016
    • This discussion is designed to present strategies and models for collaboration and communication between Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Developmental Education (Dev Ed) programs based on work being done at Amarillo (TX) College and Gateway (CT) Community College.
  • Intensive Skill and College Readiness Programs at Community Colleges: November 7-11, 2016
    • This discussion will lead with the presentation of two programs, St. Louis (MO) Community College’s Academic Academy and Gateway Community College’s Academic Bootcamp. They will provide information about their opportunities surrounding skill development, college and work readiness competency development, and career guidance.
  • Re-Visioning Student Instruction and Support: December 1-8, 2016
    • This discussion is designed to present national programming which incorporates intensive support services. Individuals from St. Louis Community College and Amarillo College will begin by sharing some of their practices which include, but is not limited to: face-to-face advising, online media instruction, and community based supports integrated into training.Erin Berg

Guest blogger: Erin Berg, OCTAE Community College Program Specialist

Equity in Apprenticeship Request for Proposals Announced

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced the Equity in Apprenticeship Request for Proposals (RFP) to increase apprenticeship opportunities for underrepresented populations.  This RFP seeks to award multiple contracts to national intermediaries to develop national or regional “Opportunity” partnerships.  These “Opportunity” partnerships will work to increase gender, racial, ethnic and other demographic diversity and inclusion in apprenticeships.

Links to the announcement and the DOL news release on this effort are below:

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The Promise of – and Need for – Pay for Success

New funding announcement released: Providing High-Quality Career and Technical Education Programs for Underserved, High-Need Youth Through a Pay for Success Model

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education allocates roughly $1.8 billion in funding to States and outlying areas for strategic investments in career, technical and adult education at local education agencies, community colleges, correctional institutions, libraries, housing authorities, and community-based, faith-based and other non-profit organizations. Together, States and outlying areas match federal adult education resources with State and local investments totaling between $1 and $1.5 billion annually. And, the State match for career and technical education is $116 million per year with additional State and local resources estimated to be eight to ten times the federal investment.

We have made significant improvements in the collection of performance data related to these investments over the last decade, but unfortunately we have limited evidence-based feedback at the national level on these investments. Given statutory performance accountability requirements, we have aggregate data from States and outlying areas on the number of people who participated in career, technical and adult education and their overall outcomes during a given reporting period. However, there are some significant limitations to these data that lead us to a troubling spot: we too often just don’t know if participation in our programs brought about positive outcomes. Furthermore, we don’t know what would have happened to these participants had they not participated. 

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Work-based Learning: We Need An Ecosystem

OCTAE is pleased to host this blog post by guest blogger: David Etzwiler, CEO, Siemens Foundation

David Etzwiler, CEO, Siemens Foundation, speaking at a podium with American flag in background

David Etzwiler, CEO, Siemens Foundation

It was an honor to take part in yesterday’s workshop on “Strengthening Work-Based Learning in Education and Transition to Career.”  For the Siemens Foundation, this is an extremely important topic, and one that we’ve recently chosen to focus on as part of our STEM Middle-Skill Initiative program.

For students, work-based learning is an underutilized method that holds the promise of opportunity and is ripe for growth.  It can help students develop essential employability skills and build a strong, positive work history.  It can also help them build an important network of peers and employers that often connect the dots between job seeker and the right position.

Companies win, too.  They have the opportunity to shape the next generation of skilled workers from an early stage and engage directly with the local education system in a meaningful way.  These experiences can also help build a positive culture in the workplace as current workers see their employer’s commitment to training and giving back to the community.

As a German company, Siemens’ roots run deep in apprenticeships, and the company has thrived from its access to the strong, skilled pipeline of workers that come from these work-based learning programs in Germany.

In the U.S., Siemens has worked to develop apprenticeships, but it’s an effort that needs a much more broad-based approach if the U.S. is going to successfully scale the model.   Like so many other efforts worth the outcome, work-based learning can require a lot of time, commitment and resources.

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Call to Action: Make Disability Visible in Everything We Do

Today, July 26, is the anniversary of the signing in 1990 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In recognition of the spirit of the Act, we are pleased to recommit to the important work of making our programs inclusive and accessible to all.

Disability is part of the human experience, and one of the variables that contribute to the rich diversity of our nation.  Disability is not a static condition—people can experience a disability from birth, or develop a disability as a result of genetics, aging, or trauma.  Disability does not discriminate—anyone can acquire a disability, at any time.  Individuals with disabilities are neighbors, teachers, community leaders, and parents. They are workers, managers, corporate CEOs, and healthcare providers. Individuals with disabilities can and do participate in all realms of work, and their strong participation is vital to our economic growth.

According to the American Community Survey, in 2014, the resident population in the United States was estimated to be approximately 319.9 million individuals; and of this, approximately 31.9 million individuals have some kind of disability, including both apparent and non-apparent disabilities. Yet individuals with disabilities still face barriers to full, family-sustaining employment.

On June 21, 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics. The data on persons with a disability are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides statistics on employment and unemployment in the United States.  Based on this report, in 2015, 17.5 percent of persons with a disability were employed. The unemployment rate for persons with a disability was 10.7 percent in 2015, compared to 5.1 percent for those without a disability. Some key findings (and where to find them in the report) include:

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Minority-Serving Community Colleges Virtual Convening

Increasing cooperation among community colleges that serve a large minority population or populations is widely viewed among community college faculty and leaders and policymakers as an integral element in ensuring that these institutions improve their capacities to serve their varied student populations.  In furtherance of this collaborative effort, OCTAE, on Thursday, May 19, hosted an all-day virtual event to build upon the efforts begun during its Minority-Serving Community College convening at the Department of Education last fall. Approximately 70 individuals or groups joined to hear updates on a variety of topics and concerns for minority-serving community colleges.  Future content and events will be announced through the OCTAE newsletter, OCTAE Connection, the OCTAE Community Colleges website, as well as the Minority-Serving Community Colleges and Affiliates LINCS group, which can be joined here.

The first topical session was hosted by Amy Firestone of the U.S. Department of Labor on the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium.  Registered Apprenticeships and the College Consortium will be considered in more detail in a future issue of OCTAE Connection. The second presentation focused on White House initiatives that support each of the designated categories of minority-serving institutions.  Each of these initiatives undertakes activities designed to support their particular constituencies.  The third presentation by OCTAE Policy Analyst Kiawanta Hunter-Keiser focused on the Department’s initiatives to support equity in career and technical education, both internally and externally. The fourth session, hosted by Luke Wood and Marissa Vasquez Urias of San Diego State University, discussed the role of faculty in supporting men of color at community colleges with a special emphasis on the need for research, training, and assessment. Drs. Wood and Vasquez Urias invited convening attendees to join the National Consortium on College Men of Color and attend the June 9-10, 2016 working group meeting in San Diego, CA.  The topic of the final session was a presentation by some of the lead institutions for the Minority-Serving Community Colleges Communities of Practice initiative regarding a research conference for minority-serving institutions, an Asian American and Pacific Islander initiative, and on middle-college pathways.

Guest blogger: Erin Berg, OCTAE Community College Program SpecialistErin Berg

Strengthening the Link Between Upskill America and WIOA

Last month, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of Upskill America. There was a lot to celebrate. The employers who made commitments last year at the Upskill America Summit created training for approximately 200,000 frontline workers that could lead to higher-skill jobs. Over 10,000 workers have earned degrees and credentials, and nearly 5,000 workers have already been promoted into higher-paying positions. Over the same period, 532,150 frontline workers participated in adult education programs funded by Title II of WIOA to strengthen their math, reading, writing, or English skills.

This is great progress. An analysis of recent data on frontline workers, however, shows we must do more. See a fact sheet created by OCTAE for the 2016 Upskill celebration, based on the updated Survey of Adult Skills data. The good news is that WIOA creates opportunities to further extend upskilling efforts for the benefit of America’s workforce.

Let’s look at the data first. There are between 20 and 24 million workers who lack foundation skills for getting ahead, with literacy proficiency below Level 2 on the Survey of Adult Skills. Who are they and where do they work?

  • 60% hold one or more jobs in the following industries: retail, health, hospitality/food, manufacturing, and construction

    A circle graph depicts the race and ethinicity of low-skilled frontline workers as listed in the text; a bar chart shows the first language of frontline workers is English (58.2%), Spanish (33.6%) and Other (8.2).

    Low-skilled frontline workers have different backgrounds and have different language proficiencies and needs.

  • 57% are men
  • 50% are younger than age 45
  • Nearly 80% are parents
  • 20% are Black
  • Nearly 40% are Hispanic
  • Nearly 70% have at least a high school diploma
  • 60% make less than $20,000 a year, which is much less than the median earnings for all workers with a high school diploma, not just lower-skilled workers.[1]

These workers have different backgrounds and bring diverse views to their work and workplaces, and a significant number of frontline workers are bilingual or multi-lingual.

It is very encouraging that many frontline workers have taken steps to improve their skills.  Fifty percent participated in formal or non-formal education in the year leading up to the Survey and 10 percent participated in distance education. Employers were more likely to have paid for non-formal education and training, in 40 percent of the cases, than formal education, in only 10 percent.

If half of these frontline workers do participate in education and training, then half – or roughly between 10 and 12 million workers – do not. So how do we change that? And specifically, what can the public and private sectors do together to give more frontline workers access to education and training opportunities that will allow them to move up?

WIOA offers specific opportunities to expand access. As States are preparing to compete their WIOA Title II funding, for instance, partnerships between employers and eligible providers can apply for funding to support learning opportunities for frontline workers. Here you can find an example of how Alexandria City Public Schools are working with Dominion Services–Virginia Power to create a powerful upskilling program for work in the electrical and utility industry. But, WIOA can do much more for employers and their employees.  See a guide compiled by the Department of Labor on how businesses can engage in the workforce development system.

Employers, WIOA service providers, and partners can collaborate to create that first job opportunity for many of our vulnerable subpopulations, particularly those individuals with significant barriers to employment including job seekers with disabilities, foster youth, returning citizens, and others. This type of upskill-backfill partnership creates a pipeline for firms and pathways for workers. There are no losers in this. Only winners.

 

[1]Median annual earnings for all workers with a high school diploma for all skill levels are approximately $30,000 based on 2012 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies data.

Engaging in STEM Where We Live

Some public housing authorities (PHAs) are at the forefront of communities that are adopting place-based STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives, involving family members from preschoolers to adults, and creating opportunities to learn that are life-wide and lifelong.

Increasing exposure to and engagement in STEM learning outside of formal classroom settings is increasingly viewed as key to turning on more young people to STEM studies, and to addressing the equity gaps between high- and low-resourced families, schools, and communities. Recently the Department of Education released a Dear Colleague Letter to help state and local education agencies and their partners better understand how to use Federal funds to support innovative STEM education strategies to address equity goals.

The PHAs featured here, representing over 31,091 residents, with an average household income of $11,109, are part of communities participating in the SEED (STEM, Energy and Economic Development) initiative, supported in part by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Education (ED), and Energy (DOE). See a previous blog on the SEED sites.  In a three month period last fall, these PHAs have documented 138 STEM-related activities and training that have reached over 1,200 residents.

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