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New Texas and Arkansas Fact Sheets: Immigrants Can Help Meet Demand for Middle-Skill Workers

Two new fact sheets from National Skills Coalition highlight the important role that immigrant workers play in filling middle-skill jobs in Texas and Arkansas.

While immigration settlement patterns differ substantially between the two states, in both cases, immigrant workers will be vital to helping the states meet their ambitious goals for postsecondary credential attainment and respond to local industries’ talent needs.

To accomplish these goals, states will need to ensure that their talent-development pipelines are inclusive of the many immigrants who are poised to benefit from investments in their skills: More than half of adult immigrants in Arkansas (62 percent) and Texas (63 percent) have not gone beyond high school in their education.

Arkansas: A Quickly Growing Immigrant Population Meets Aging Workforce

Arkansas is one of the nation’s fastest-growing immigrant destinations. The state has seen its foreign-born population quintuple in recent years, rising from just 1 percent of the population in 1990 to 5 percent today.

Immigrants in Arkansas are much more likely to be of working age: Fully 83 percent are between the ages of 18-64, compared to just 59 percent of native-born Arkansas residents. The relatively high number of elders in the native-born population also contributes to another notable difference: 68 percent of adult immigrants in Arkansas are in the labor force, compared to 57% of native-born Arkansas adults.

The state has recently established a significant goal for middle-skill credential attainment: By 2025, Arkansas seeks to increase the percentage of state residents with a postsecondary credential to 60 percent. Immigrants are certain to be an important component of the state’s future workforce pipeline.

Learn more in our new fact sheet: Middle-Skill Credentials and Immigrant Workers: Arkansas’ Untapped Assets

Texas: A Big Population Meets an Ambitious Postsecondary Goal

As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas – and that is certainly true for immigration.  Texas has long been a magnet for newcomers from abroad, having been one of the “Big Six” destination states (along with California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York) for decades.

Today, Texas is home to more than 4.7 million immigrants, who comprise 1 in 6 state residents. The state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board has recently established an aggressive goal for postsecondary attainment. By 2030, the state aims to equip at least 60 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds with a certificate or degree.

In order to reach that goal, Texas will need to invest in skill-building for native-born and immigrant workers alike.

Learn more in our new fact sheet: Middle-Skill Credentials and Immigrant Workers: Texas’ Untapped Assets

Posted In: Adult Basic Education, Immigration, Arkansas, Texas
National Skills Coalition hosts first Southern States Convening on Skills Policies

On May 8, nearly 40 state and national workforce leaders gathered in Atlanta, GA to take part in National Skills Coalition’s southern states convening on skills policies. The event, co-hosted with Atlanta CareerRise, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, and Metro Atlanta Chamber, provided a forum for cross-state sharing on skills policies and practical strategies for moving them forward in southern states. The convening was made possible through the generous financial support of JPMorgan Chase & Co., The Annie E. Casey Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

While the South is a large region of the country with a growing population, many of our southern state partners have expressed concerns that too many people are left out of economic opportunity, in part because not everyone has the chance to get the education and training required to find a family-supporting job in today’s economy. This doesn’t just hurt workers and their families; it also hurts businesses that depend on a skilled workforce to grow.

That’s why we teamed up with our Georgia partners to host a day’s worth of cross-state discussions on advancing skills policies in southern states where partners are addressing similar regional issues. Partners from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee participated. Together, participants represented policy and research organizations, community colleges, funder collaboratives, business associations, and workforce practitioners, as well as national organizations and foundations working in the South.  

In addition to discussing common issues across the region, the convening featured existing examples of skills policies from southern states. Collin Callaway, Arkansas Community Colleges and Kenneth Wheatley, Mississippi Community College Board discussed their states’ policies that support career pathways at community colleges – the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative and Mississippi Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (MI-BEST). Brad Neese, Apprenticeship Carolina described how the program uses registered apprenticeship to help align the state’s workforce development and economic development strategies. And Laura Ward, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, discussed Tennessee Reconnect and why helping adults earn postsecondary credentials matters for businesses.

Participants also used small group discussions to continue to share across states on topics such as apprenticeship and work-based learning, sector partnerships and skills policies for states with rural communities, pathways to credentials for less-skilled workers, and skills policies as part of economic development strategies. Peer advisors from southern states led each of the small group discussions.   

At the end of the convening, National Skills Coalition committed to working with participants to identify opportunities to continue cross-state sharing and network-building among workforce development leaders in southern states. To learn more, please email Brooke DeRenzis, State Network Director.  

Posted In: Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee

Governors unveil 2017 workforce proposals

  ·   By Sapna Mehta
Governors unveil 2017 workforce proposals

Governors across the nation are proposing new measures to increase middle-skill training.  Among the most common proposals are state support for apprenticeships and new investments in community college training, including free tuition. 

California Governor Jerry Brown proposed an additional $150 million for grants to support community colleges to develop and implement “guided pathways programs, an integrated, institution-wide approach” to improve student success.  The Governor also proposed utilizing $923,000 in federal funds to expand existing apprenticeship programs and create new programs in non-traditional and emerging industries.

Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan proposed $41 million for the Going Pro Program, a job training program that focuses on in-demand occupations in advanced manufacturing, construction, information technology and healthcare. The Governor also spoke of the need to work with legislators and the private sector to increase the number of registered apprenticeships in the state.

Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada proposed a $21 million investment in career and technical education programs at the state’s four community colleges. 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf requested $12 million in new funding to establish the Manufacturing PA initiative – a partnership between the Department of Community and Economic Development, research universities, community colleges, and other training providers to foster growth and innovation in manufacturing.  Of the $12 million, $5 million is for a manufacturing training-to-career grant program, which would facilitate partnerships between manufacturers and community colleges and technical providers, to link job training to career pathways through programs such as apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and paid internships. The Governor also proposed $4 million to expand apprenticeship opportunities, including grants for employers of up to $2,000 for each registered apprentice.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin proposed a $5 million increase in state funds and a new $5 million program for the Department of Workforce Development to make grants to the Wisconsin Technical College System for in-demand certification programs for high school students. The Governor also proposed $5 million for a registered apprenticeship program.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan proposed the Student Debt Relief Act, which would allow “Marylanders to deduct one hundred percent of the interest paid on their student loans from their state income tax return.” Additionally, as part of the Governor’s $5 million 2017 Maryland Jobs Initiative, he proposed opening six new P-TECH high schools, and funding to support students currently enrolled in existing schools.  P-TECH schools partner with employers and colleges to provide secondary to postsecondary pathways in STEM.   The Jobs Initiative also includes a $3 million investment in cyber job training grants, modeled after Maryland’s Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) workforce training program.  The Governor also announced a $1 million investment in Maryland Partnership for Workforce Quality, to encourage employers to invest in employee training.   

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposed the $4 million Learn to Earn program, which would offer scholarships for training and certificates in certain fields, as well as transportation and child care subsidies to make it easier for people to attend the trainings.

Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island proposed $2 million for the Community College of Rhode Island Westerly Job Skills Training Center, which prepare students for jobs in advanced manufacturing in partnership with employers, and $2 million for the state’s TechHire initiative for training in technology related fields.  The Governor also proposed free tuition for two years at the state’s public colleges: University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island.  Additionally, she proposed expanding P-TECH high schools.  

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb proposed investing $2 million to create regional Jobs Ready Grants to help incumbent workers earn in-demand credentials or certificates.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe proposed a budget enhancement of $1 million for the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program, which supports 124 different training programs at Virginia’s Community colleges.  The Governor also proposed requiring community colleges to award college credit for apprenticeships and other related programs, expanding access to in-demand credentials for non-traditional students. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the Excelsior Scholarship Program, a “last-dollar scholarship” to provide free tuition at the state’s public two- and four-year colleges to residents earning up to $125,000 annually.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam proposed tuition-free community college education for all adults without a post-secondary degree.  Currently, adults without post-secondary degrees can attend Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology tuition-free through Tennessee Reconnect, and only recent high school graduates can apply for “last-dollar scholarships” to attend the state’s community colleges through Tennessee Promise. Funding for the new adult scholarships would come from the state’s lottery proceeds.

Ohio Governor John Kasich proposed piloting the Accelerated Completion of Technical Studies program, which would provide financial support to low-income students pursuing associate degrees at community colleges for in-demand jobs.  This is modeled after a similar successful program at the City University of New York.

Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas proposed free tuition at two-year colleges and technical schools for high school students who enroll in high-demand fields, such as computer science or welding.  The grants, known as Arkansas Future Grants, would be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  They would be paid for by repurposing $8.2 million in general revenue funds from other workforce and higher education grants.

Posted In: Arkansas, California, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin
10 states to participate in “SNAP to Skills” technical assistance project

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that 10 states have been selected to receive in-depth technical assistance as part of a new U.S. Department of Agriculture “SNAP to Skills” project. The selected states include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee.

The effort, led by the Seattle Jobs Initiative, will help these states design job-driven Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T). States will participate in the project through September 2017. 

Over the past several years, National Skills Coalition has partnered with Seattle Jobs Initiative to promote skills-based SNAP E&T programs in the states. By combining education, training, and support services, SNAP E&T programs can expand opportunities for low-income people to move into family-supporting jobs.

With support from partners like the Annie E. Casey and W.K. Kellogg foundations, NSC has worked with SJI to share best practices and recommendations based on Washington State’s skills-based SNAP E&T programs. Together, we’ve produced numerous publications and webinars, hosted a meeting for 11 states interested in skills-based SNAP E&T, and provided technical assistance to four states looking to expand SNAP E&T partnerships with community colleges and community-based organizations. We’re now working together to identify opportunities for aligning SNAP E&T with broader state workforce development efforts under the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The SNAP to Skills Project is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s effort to help SNAP E&T programs become more job-driven. In December 2015, the agency’s Undersecretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon issued an official communication to state SNAP agencies promoting practices that help participants build the skills required by today’s job market.

NSC will continue to provide resources to partners in the field on how SNAP E&T programs can expand opportunities for low-income people to enhance their skills, credentials, careers, and ultimately, their families’ financial well-being. 

 
Posted In: SNAP Employment and Training, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee
NSC highlights skills policies adopted in states’ 2015 legislative sessions

In 2015, numerous states enacted legislation to address the needs of workers and employers and close the middle-skill gap. As highlighted in NSC’s 2015 state legislative round-up, states increased access to career pathways and set policies to support job-driven training.  They also took steps to implement the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which became effective on July 1, 2015.

To hear more about the actions governors and state legislatures took in 2015 to close the skills gap, register for our 2015 State Policy Legislative Round-Up, hosted on July 28 at 2pm ET.

Career Pathways 

At least nine states enacted legislation to support career pathways policies. Career pathways combine education, training, career counseling and support services that align with industry skill needs so participants can earn secondary school diplomas or their equivalent, postsecondary credentials, and get middle-skill jobs. In 2015, Colorado and Minnesota adopted legislation that will increase investments in career pathway strategies in their states.

 Career pathways include adult basic education, typically offered concurrently with and in the same context as general workforce preparation and training for an occupation. In 2015, Arkansas, California, Georgia, and Ohio increased investments in adult basic education.

Tuition assistance is also critical to ensuring that career pathways lead to postsecondary credentials, particularly for part-time, working students. In 2015, Indiana, Nebraska, and Oregon all passed legislation that expands tuition assistance.

Job-Driven Training 

Job-driven training prepares workers for jobs available in the economy. In 2015, a handful of states passed legislation to advance job-driven training.

California, Colorado, and Washington enacted legislation to expand work-based learning in their states by making investments in apprenticeship programs, paid internships in key industries, and apprenticeship preparation and supportive services respectively.

Hawaii and Oklahoma both passed legislation establishing bodies to advise the state on healthcare workforce policy.

Arkansas and Maine passed legislation to support employer-driven training programs developed through partnerships between employers and educational institutions.

WIOA Implementation

In 2015, Arkansas and Louisiana were among states that enacted WIOA implementation legislation specifying the type of workforce plan the state should submit to the federal government under the new federal law. 

In 2015, California, Florida, and Virginia all enacted legislation that emphasizes skills strategies, such as sector partnerships and career pathways, as part of WIOA implementation.

Posted In: Job-Driven Investments, Career Pathways, Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, Maine, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Colorado, Washington, Nebraska, Indiana, Minnesota, Georgia

Workforce data explained

  ·   By Christina Pena
Workforce data explained

This post originally appears on Workforce Data Quality Campaign's blog. 

WDQC is launching a series of short videos that highlight how states are using education and workforce data to advance their skilled workforce and better align with industry demand. 

In this first video, Neal Gibson, Director of the Arkansas Research Center, explains his state's Career Pathways Initiative and the vital role administrative data play in improving the career prospects of Arkansans. Additional videos featuring officials from other states will be released about once a month through WDQC's website and e-news.

Neal Gibson of the Arkansas Research Center talks to WDQC

Background information and resources:

  • Since 2005, the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative has aimed to provide low-income individuals with the higher education skills and credentials they need to gain immediate entry into targeted occupations and eventually achieve economic self-sufficiency. 
  • In Arkansas, legislators are recognizing the power of the state's data to aid in decisionmaking. A new law requires the state to prepare brief regular reports, targeted at parents and prospective students, showing employment and earnings outcomes for graduates of public colleges.
  • Arkansas is one of seven states that has partnered with College Measures to publicize average earnings for graduates of education and training programs, available at Economic Success Measures - Arkansas.
  • WDQC's survey of Arkansas in 2014: Mastering the Blueprint.   
Posted In: Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Implementation, Arkansas

New NDD United Report: Faces of Austerity.

  ·   By Josh Spaulding,


Today, NDD United, an alliance co-convened by National Skills Coalition (NSC) that includes more than 3,200 national, state and local organizations working to stop needless cuts to core government functions, released “Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Safe.” The report is the first comprehensive look at the impact of sequestration across several sectors, including workforce development, telling the stories of those who have been impacted most by Washington’s failure to protect the programs that keep us healthy, safe, educated and ready to work. 

Federal funding for discretionary programs is severely restricted over the next decade as a result of the budget caps and mandatory spending cuts (known as sequestration) created under the Budget Control Act. By 2023, funding for discretionary programs will be cut by more than $2 trillion relative to the inflation-adjusted 2010 funding levels. As a result, NDD spending will equal a smaller percentage of our economy than ever before—with data going back to 1962—if lawmakers do not act to replace sequestration with a more meaningful and comprehensive deficit reduction strategy. 

Employment and job training programs have been particularly hard hit by sequestration. Since 2010, funding has been cut by more than $1 billion. Education and training providers have had to reduce services, fewer workers have been served, and fewer employers have the skilled workers they need to grow their businesses. NDD programs have borne more than their fair share of funding cuts. 

At the release event, Ryan Dinkgrave, government affairs manager at Focus: HOPE which is one of the featured organizations in the report, talked about how the cuts have impacted jobseekers and employers in Detroit. One of those employers, Rosemary Brewer of Detroit Manufacturing System (DMS), was looking for new, skilled employees when DMS started operations in spring 2012. She was able to turn to organizations like Focus: HOPE to find workers with the skills DMS needed to fill 800 open positions. Under sequestration, programs like Focus: HOPE will be less able to fill this need.

As Congress continues working toward a budget agreement that is due by mid-December, they must find a balanced approach that ends sequestration before more damage is done to programs millions of people rely upon, including in:

  • Detroit, Michigan. Since fiscal year 2012, federal employment and job training funds for Focus: HOPE have been cut by more than $5 million, reducing the number of people trained and increasing waiting lists.
  • Northern New England. Due to reduction in funding for On-the-Job Training (OJT), local businesses on the cusp of expanding their workforce instead have been forced to leave jobs unfilled because Goodwill NNE does not have the funding to place clients into jobs.
  • Lane County, Oregon. Over the past three years, the number of vouchers available to jobseekers for skills training has fallen from 160 to 43, and OJT opportunities are down from 101 to 63.
  • Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) has seen a more than 50 percent increase in demand, but the program is no longer able to accept new students due to funding cuts.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio. As a result of sequestration, the SuperJobs Center’s budget will be cut 26 percent.

Many of these stories were also included in “Undoing Success: The Real Impact of Federal Workforce Development Funding Cuts on Jobseekers and Employers,” a NSC report that  included an analysis of a national survey NSC conducted to better understand the impact of federal funding cuts. Survey respondents reported that they have been forced to lay off and/or furlough staff, reduce employment services to jobseekers and employers, close career centers, delay purchasing essential equipment, and reduce or completely eliminate job training programs.

“Faces of Austerity”, “Undoing Success”, and other information about federal funding cuts impact on workforce development programs can be found at www.nationalskillscoalition.org/ShareTheImpact. There you will also have the opportunity to share with NSC how your organization has been impacted by cuts to federal workforce development funding. 

Posted In: Federal Funding, Arkansas, Michigan, Oregon, Ohio, NDD United

NSC report shows impact of federal funding cuts.

  ·   By Josh Spaulding,
Today, National Skills Coalition released its new report, Undoing Success: The Real Impact of Federal Workforce Development Funding Cuts on Jobseekers and Employers. The report examines Congress’ un-balanced approach to deficit reduction that has led to massive cuts to federal workforce development funding, and highlights the real consequences of these cuts on jobseekers and employers told through survey results and local impact stories.

Over the past three years, Congress has cut funding to employment and job training programs by over $1 billion. Sequestration and spending caps will result in further cuts for the next decade. In addition, some in Congress are proposing additional, even deeper cuts that will worsen the existing skills gap and make it difficult for businesses to grow and compete globally.

To understand the impact these cuts will have on our workforce, National Skills Coalition surveyed its members in June and collected stories of how previous cuts to federal workforce funding have impacted their ability to provide employment and job training services to jobseekers and employers, and how additional cuts under sequestration will further impact these programs. According to the report:

  • Ninety-three percent of survey respondents saw federal funding cuts to their programs over the past three years, even though 75 percent reported an increase in workers seeking employment and job training assistance; 
  • Sixty-seven percent of respondents reduced the number of clients they have enrolled in job training programs; 
  • Over 20 percent of respondents have eliminated job training programs; 
  • Many have reduced or eliminated employer services including On-The-Job Training (OJT) (40 percent), candidate screening (30 percent), and Incumbent Worker Training (35 percent).

The report also tells the stories of workers and employers in six states—Arkansas, California, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Oregon—and how the programs that have helped them compete have been affected by federal funding cuts.

Unless Congress replaces sequestration with a more balanced approach to deficit reduction, these programs will face further cuts for the next decade under statutory budget caps and sequestration. As a result, workers like Deangelo in Detroit, highlighted in this report, will not be able to get the skills and employment services they need for the jobs employers will need to fill.

The full report is available on National Skills Coalition’s website at: http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/assets/reports-/undoing-success.pdf

 

Posted In: Federal Funding, California, Arkansas, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Massachusetts