The National Governors Association last week called for more flexibility with federal workforce programs,
as well as “substantial formula funding” and incentives for states to create a unified statewide longitudinal data system. The governors also asked for funding for employer-based short-term credential programs and for “innovative funding options” for learners to pay costs related to completing high-quality job training and work-based learning programs.
“Black workers need expanded access to high-quality training to quickly get back to work
and prepare for jobs that promote economic mobility,” said Spencer Overton
, president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, in a Q&A with the National Skills Coalition
about why the center—a think tank focused on Black Americans—endorsed short-term Pell. Overton said partnerships between training providers, employers, and unions that feature wraparound services are particularly effective.
“A major limitation of assessing the value of short-term credentials offered by community colleges is a lack of publicly available data
on students’ academic success and employment outcomes,” said
J. Noah Brown, president of the Association of Community College Trustees, which last week released an assessment of short-term programs
offered by community colleges in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Equity and Apprenticeships
JFF has received $13 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand equity and inclusion in registered apprenticeships.
The nonprofit said it will provide training and support to employers, providers, and community organizations. Women accounted for just 9.2 percent of all active apprentices last year, JFF said, also noting that Black and Latino apprentices have lower program completion rates than their white peers. Work Shift recently reported
on N.C.’s approach to apprenticeships.
Equity and Online Learning
A $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences will fund a new research center focused on inequities in online college learning.
SRI Education and the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College are creating the center, which will partner with Achieving the Dream and conduct experiments to determine the best approaches with online and hybrid learning, with a plan to create an instructional model and tool kit for colleges.
Hiring and Training
Johnson Controls is spending $15 million over five years to help community colleges expand associate degree and certificate programs
in HVAC, building fire and security, and digital building automation systems. The building technology company cited an increased need for skilled trades expertise in coming years. Its employees will volunteer to counsel students and provide real-world experiences.
U.S. Rubber Recycling Inc. cited its move to hire formerly incarcerated people as a competitive advantage.
The company, which converts used truck tires into rubber flooring, said its second-chance hiring program fueled a boost in sales and a doubling of its workforce in two years, reported Kevin Smith
of the Southern California News Group. “I’m proud of myself,” said Carlos Arceo, a shift supervisor at the company. “This is my first job ever.”
“Many of SkillUp’s users want a career but still feel as if college is the only way.
But given that, and the fact that many users need income now, they choose to forgo college to take suboptimal jobs with no career possibilities. It’s a vicious cycle,” said Steven Lee
, executive director of SkillUp
, a nonprofit coalition of 60 training and education providers, tech firms, employers, and philanthropies that formed last year to help laid-off and furloughed workers access training and employment.
Free Community College
The simplicity of the messaging of Tennessee’s free community college program
and the focus on mentorship for students have been key to its success,
experts told Jenny Gross
for The New York Times
’ “DealBook” newsletter, which recently looked
at whether free community college plans work. “All the different pieces make a student feel seen,” said Krissy DeAlejandro
, executive director of tnAchieves.
U.S. persistence rates for first-year college students dropped by two percentage points last fall
(to 73.9 percent), the lowest overall level since 2012, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found
. The persistence declines, which were the largest among Latino students, “will ripple through higher education for years,” said Doug Shapiro
, the center’s executive director.
Let me know what I missed. Catch you next week. —PF @paulfain