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Job training is key to growing California’s economy and closing the state’s economic divide

California’s economy is booming, yet one out of every four residents lives in or near poverty. That’s why 40 California groups including colleges, unions, philanthropy, and organizations representing businesses and workers have joined with National Skills Coalition to call on California’s next Governor to adopt a workforce development agenda that would connect more people to good jobs. This shared agenda, Securing a strong economic future for all Californians asserts that a world-class workforce development system can support the economic aspirations of Californians while boosting the capacity of the state’s businesses.

The report explains that California’s diversity provides the state’s communities and businesses with a big advantage, but racial disparities in education, employment, and earnings keep California’s economy from reaching its full potential. It calls on the state to adopt policies that create more opportunities for all Californians, including people of color, immigrants, and low-income Californians, to thrive in the workforce and share in the state’s prosperity.

While the report recognizes that workforce development cannot be the only lever for economic mobility, it explains how a world-class workforce development system that helps more workers build in-demand skills and connect to good jobs can support economic opportunity. It lays out guiding principles for a world-class workforce development system to increase equity, opportunity, innovation, and economic growth in the state:

  • Focus on removing barriers to training and good jobs so that all workers can participate and thrive in the labor force.
  • Ensure that public investments in job training put all workers on pathways to good jobs, are aligned with labor market demand, engage businesses as employer partners, and work in tandem with other economic mobility policies.
  • Engage industry leaders to shape training programs and create stronger connections among businesses, workers, organized labor, and training providers.
  • Support upskilling for California’s frontline workers who want additional training to move into better-paying careers.
  • Use data to set and measure progress toward goals for creating a skilled, inclusive, and competitive workforce.
  • Prepare California for the current realities of the changing labor market and the future of work by creating new opportunities for low-wage workers and businesses in the changing economy.
  • Align workforce, education, human services, and corrections systems to move state policy to regional implementation.

The report is clear that California has made significant strides in building a better workforce development system, which policymakers can build on, and recommends nine innovative policy strategies that the state’s leaders can deploy to take it to the next level.  Click here to read the full policy agenda, including specific recommendations.

The work doesn’t end here. In 2019, NSC and its state partners will offer opportunities for California stakeholders to help transform this agenda into action. If you are a California organization interested in working together to secure a strong economic future for all Californians, please click here to learn more and get involved.

Posted In: Sector Partnerships, Job-Driven Investments, Data and Credentials, Skills Equity, Work-Based Learning, California
Community college leaders from 10 states endorse fundamentals of NSC’s Community College Compact in letters to Senate HELP Committee

On July 16, 2018, leaders of 10 community college systems across the country—including those in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Virginia—sent letters to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray, urging them to modernize federal higher education policy to better reflect the needs of today’s community college students. The letters emphasize the importance of adopting a job-driven Community College Compact—a set of policy proposals developed by National Skills Coalition with the input of a range of stakeholders; including academic institutions, employers, community-based organization and workforce development boards.

In today’s economy, 80 percent of all jobs require some form of postsecondary education or training—a reality that has led to an influx of individuals enrolling in the higher education system with a different set of objectives than first-time, full-time students. Community colleges serve approximately 9 million students every year of all ages and backgrounds; most of whom can be classified as non-traditional. These individuals often work full or part time, are parents to dependent children, and/or fall in the age range of 28-40.

Given the significant role they play in preparing students for the workforce, community college leaders took the opportunity to outline their shared priorities and urge federal lawmakers to:

Eliminate the bias against working learners in need of federal financial aid

As our economy continues to change, more skilled workers are needed today than ever before. Approximately 80 percent of all jobs require some form of education or training, and more than 50 percent of jobs can be classified as “middle-skill”—meaning they call for more than a high school diploma but not a four-year degree. As a result, many community colleges are aiming to increase access to high quality, short-term programs that lead to in-demand credentials. However, most federal financial aid available today is reserved for students who are enrolled in programs of study that are at least 600 clock hours over 15 weeks—an outdated policy that fails to account for the training needs of individuals in our 21st century economy.

Therefore, community college leaders urged lawmakers to consider legislation—such as the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S. 206) led by Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH)—that would expand Pell grant eligibility to students enrolled in employer-approved programs that are at least 150 clock hours of instruction over 8 weeks.

Make higher education and workforce outcomes data comprehensive and transparent

Since higher education is becoming more closely linked with finding success in the labor market, data about the outcomes of postsecondary programs should be available to students, parents, employers and policymakers. However, as community college leaders noted in their letters, existing legal restrictions on the collection of student-level data continue to hinder the accessibility of this important information.

To help provide consumers with better data and relieve institutions of duplicative reporting requirements, community college administrators called for action on the College Transparency Act (S. 1121, H.R. 2434). Introduced by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Warren (D-MA), Cassidy (R-LA) and Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representatives Mitchell (R-MI) and Polis (D-CO), this bipartisan bill aims to establish a secure, privacy-protected postsecondary student level data network administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), to which colleges would be able to safely and easily report their data. The data would then be available as a decision-making tool for current and prospective students—making it easier for individuals to improve their lives through education and training.

Ensure the success of today’s college students by strengthening support services

Due to the diversity of the student populations they serve, community college leaders recognize the growing importance of support services such as career counseling, childcare and transportation assistance. While states and higher education administrators across the country are working hard to implement career pathway models that provide nontraditional students with the services they need to succeed in the postsecondary education system, their efforts receive little support at the federal level.

To address this issue, community college leaders called for the consideration of the Gateway to Careers Act (S. 2407)—legislation introduced by Senator Hassan (D-NH), along with Senators Kaine (D-VA), Shaheen (D-NH) and Reed (D-RI). This bill would make federal funding available on a competitive basis to institutions that are working in partnership to serve students experiencing barriers to postsecondary access and completion.

Provide targeted funding for valuable partnerships between community colleges and businesses

Community college leaders work with industry stakeholders every day to provide high-quality training and academic instruction to future workers through sector partnerships. However, Congress has not invested in these partnerships partnerships at a scale that would sustain economic competitiveness since the expiration of the Trade Adjustment Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program in FY 2014. The purpose of the TAAACT grant program, which allocated $2 billion in funding to states from FY 2011-2014, was to increase the capacity of community colleges to address the challenges of today’s workforce through job training for adults and other nontraditional students.

Due to the proven impact of community college-business partnerships, community college leaders called on lawmakers to pass legislation that would increase the resources available for these collaboration models —such as the Community College to Career Fund Act (S. 2390). Introduced by Senators Duckworth (D-IL), Smith (D-MN), Kaine (D-VA) and Feinstein (D-CA), this bill would authorize competitive grant funding, allowing academic institutions and businesses to work together to deliver valuable educational or career training programs to students and workers.

The voices of these and other community college leaders across the country are undeniably important, as Congress looks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act for the first time since 2008. While the House and Senate have not passed Higher Education Act legislation this Congress, action is expected early next year. To view the letter, click here.

Posted In: Higher Education Access, Sector Partnerships, Adult Basic Education, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Virginia
California uses $2.5 million in WIOA discretionary funds to support “Workforce Navigation” for immigrants

More than 1 in 3 Californians was born in another country, and the state’s workforce system is moving to address systems-alignment and coordination issues to improve services to immigrants and English Language Learners.  On May 1, the California Workforce Development Board and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency announced the award of five grants to local workforce boards to support pilot “Workforce Navigator” programs over the next 18 months.

A major impetus for the project was the state’s recognition of a disconnect between the high number of immigrant and English Language Learner workers in California and the relatively low number being served by the workforce system. In particular, just 3.7 percent of individuals exiting from the state’s WIOA Title I intensive services in Program Year 2014 had limited English skills.

Grant Recipients

Each of the five local boards received a $500,000 grant. The grantees are:

  • Madera County Workforce Investment Corporation
  • Orange County Development Board
  • Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network
  • Sacramento Employment and Training Agency
  • San Diego Workforce Partnership, Inc.

Notably, the grantees represent a wide range of geographic, economic, and demographic diversity. Workforce navigators will likely face location-specific opportunities and challenges given settings as diverse as the sprawling Los Angeles metropolitan area (for the Pacific Gateway project), and the substantially less-dense Fresno area (in the Madera County project).

Project Goals

As outlined in the project’s Request for Applications, a primary goal is to improve systems coordination to allow individual jobseekers to more smoothly navigate through adult education, job training, and other workforce services. In particular, grantees are being asked to improve coordination between Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I (workforce) and Title II (adult education) services.

Required activities for each grantee include:

  • Leveraging and coordinating a network of wrap-around services (childcare, transportation, etc.) offered through the workforce system and other partners to help individual participants successfully complete workforce programs. 
  • Partnering with nonprofit community-based organizations, particularly in cases when these organizations have established relationships or expertise in serving immigrant communities that local boards do not.
  • Improving alignment with WIOA Title II adult education programs, including co-enrolling participants as appropriate.
  • Establishment of a Workforce Navigator position, designating a specific staff member to help individual immigrant participants navigate the workforce and adult education systems.

Project Funding Source and Key Partners

Key partners in the effort include the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and the California Department of Education, which oversees the state’s adult education programs. The state workforce board is also funding third-party technical assistance and evaluation components of the project.

Funds for the project come from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act through a provision known colloquially as the “governor’s reserve.” Every state is permitted to use up to 15 percent of its WIOA Title I funds for specific statewide projects at the governor’s discretion, provided the activities meet statutory requirements. All individuals participating in WIOA Title I-funded services must be legally authorized to work in the United States. 

More information about the California effort can be found on the project website.

Posted In: Adult Basic Education, Immigration, California

Upcoming webinar will explore WIOA’s role in supporting corrections and re-entry services

  ·   By Amanda Bergson-Shilcock,
Upcoming webinar will explore WIOA’s role in supporting corrections and re-entry services

Services for people who are currently incarcerated or who have criminal records are an important element of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. An upcoming webinar from National Skills Coalition will explore policy avenues for improving adult education and workforce services for people who are incarcerated or who are returning to their communities after incarceration.

Featured Speakers

  • Sherri Moses, Council of State Governments Justice Center. Sherri will discuss opportunities under WIOA for better serving people with criminal records.
  • Will Heaton, Center for Employment Opportunities. Will will share examples of how two states – Pennsylvania and California – have used WIOA planning processes and funding mechanisms to address the needs of formerly incarcerated individuals.
  • Gillian Gabelmann, Washburn Tech University. Gillian will provide a case study highlighting adult education and workforce-preparation services in a Kansas correctional facility for women, using an Integrated Education and Training (IET) model.

The webinar will be moderated by NSC’s Director of Upskilling Policy, Amanda Bergson-Shilcock. It will be held on May 18, 2017 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Register now to ensure your place.

Background: How Widespread are WIOA-Funded Re-Entry Services?

A 2015 survey by the National Association of Counties (NACo) found that nearly half (47%) of local workforce boards reported that they were providing re-entry services for people returning to the community after incarceration. More specifically, 44% of workforce boards were providing re-entry services to adults, and 30% were providing such services to youth.

Many workforce boards fund re-entry services using WIOA Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker, or Youth dollars. NACo’s report Second Chances, Safer Counties includes several short case studies of how boards are using such funding as well as other federal and state sources. They include:

In addition to WIOA formula funds to the states, additional funding for services to formerly incarcerated people is available through the WIOA Sec. 169 Re-Entry Employment Opportunities (REO) program. REO is administered by the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The most recent round of REO grants was awarded in June 2016 and totaled $64.5 million.

Background: Understanding the Demand for WIOA Adult Education Services in Corrections

Under WIOA Sec. 225, states may use up to 20% of their WIOA Title II funds to provide adult education programs for individuals who are currently incarcerated. This is an increase from the earlier Workforce Investment Act, which had allowed states to use up to 10% of their funds for corrections education.

The increase reflects a growing understanding of the deep need for adult education programs serving people who are incarcerated. Data from the rigorous international assessment known as the PIAAC show that a substantial percentage of incarcerated individuals in the United States have basic skills gaps.

In particular, a full 30% of incarcerated adults lack a high school diploma. People who are incarcerated are also more likely to have low literacy levels, with 29% scoring below Level 2 on the PIAAC, compared to 19% of those in US households.  Incarcerated individuals are even more likely to have low numeracy scores, with 52% scoring below Level 2 compared to 29% of adults in US households.

Many people in prison have a strong interest in continuing their education: A full 70% of incarcerated individuals who were not currently enrolled in an education program said that they wanted to pursue one.

More information is available in the publication Highlights from the US PIAAC Survey of Incarcerated Adults: Their Skills, Work Experience, Education and Training, published by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2016.


Learn more about these important issues in NSC’s May 18 webinar

Posted In: Adult Basic Education, California, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Oregon, West Virginia, Wisconsin

California releases policy brief on serving English learners in the workforce system

  ·   By Amanda Bergson-Shilcock,
California releases policy brief on serving English learners in the workforce system

A recent brief from the California Workforce Development Board and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency is providing guidance for the state’s local workforce agencies on improving services to English language learners (ELLs).

The brief, released in January, provides local workforce stakeholders with detailed examples and resources to inform their development and implementation of local/regional WIOA plans.  While focused on California, many of the recommendations in the brief are equally applicable to other states and localities.

These recommendations are especially important given the relatively low number of ELLs who participate in WIOA-funded training services. Just 1.5 percent of such participants nationwide are ELLs, and the number rises only slightly to 4 percent for California. In comparison, ELLs comprise a full 10 percent of the US workforce.*

Of special note to immigrant workforce advocates are three items:

First, the brief includes a recommendation from the State Board that local boards work with WIOA Title II and California Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG) providers to convene an ad hoc committee on immigrant and ELL workforce issues, noting:

These ad hoc committees can help strategize how to better serve local and regional ELL individuals and identify ways adult education partners and community-based organizations (CBOs) can braid resources to provide supportive services to program participants.

The State Board further recommends that ad hoc committees build on existing organizational structures, as appropriate, to avoid duplication of effort.  

This recommendation is significant because it acknowledges the importance of collaborative planning and braiding resources across the adult education and workforce development worlds, factors that are crucial to ensuring that jobseekers and adult learners get access to the full range of support services needed to successfully achieve their goals.

Second, the brief emphasizes the importance of demand-driven employer engagement, particularly with regard to identifying businesses whose need for bilingual employees or workers with international trade experience can be met by qualified immigrant jobseekers.

This recommendation is particularly relevant because it helps stakeholders to flip the conversation from a deficit-oriented model into one that recognizes the assets that many immigrant jobseekers bring to the table.

Finally, the brief urges workforce boards to consider the pipeline that brings ELL participants to job training programs and “examine [their] recruitment and intake processes to ensure that ELL individuals are able to get the information and tools needed to learn about their educational and vocational options and start them on a career pathway.”

This recommendation is especially valuable because it addresses a common concern among immigrant and adult education advocates: that entrance requirements for job-training programs may unnecessarily exclude or screen out qualified immigrant or ELL applicants.

Other resources provided in the brief include:

  • Statistical information on the demographics of immigrant and ELL jobseekers and workers in California, and links to resources on how many immigrants and ELLs may qualify for WIOA-funded services
  • Affirmation of work-authorized immigrants’ eligibility for WIOA Title I services, including young immigrants who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Links to relevant federal policy guidance are provided. (NSC has written frequently about this issue, including in our policy Q&A on Dreamers and WIOA.)
  • Resources and program models that can ensure that immigrants with credentials from abroad can access English language instruction and find skill-appropriate employment.
  • Reminders on CA state requirements for addressing ELL needs and incorporating partners from immigrant-serving organizations and the adult education field as part of local WIOA planning.
  • Examples of partnerships between immigrant and/or adult education service providers with local workforce systems, such as this one in Lancaster, PA. The brief also encourages partnerships with public libraries, labor-management partnerships, and other stakeholders.

Among the program models featured in the brief are several that have been previously spotlighted by National Skills Coalition, including Building Skills Partnership and the Seattle Ready to Work program.


*Source: NSC analysis of data from the WIASRD Data Book and US Census Bureau/American Community Survey. 

Posted In: Immigration, California

California sees worrying drop in immigrant “Dreamers” applying for financial aid

  ·   By Amanda Bergson-Shilcock,
California sees worrying drop in immigrant “Dreamers” applying for financial aid

New figures from California show a stark drop in the number of students applying for new or continuing financial aid under the so-called “California Dream Act.” The legislation allows eligible undocumented individuals who have graduated from a California high school or meet other requirements to apply for state financial aid to help them access higher education.

The drop in applications was steep enough to concern the California Department of Education and California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), which have issued a joint letter urging school officials to encourage eligible students to apply before the March 2 deadline.

The letter acknowledges that undocumented individuals may be confused by recent events regarding immigration at the federal level, and emphasizes that the California Dream Act is state legislation and entirely separate from the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The letter also addresses fears that students may have about their safety of their own or their family’s personally identifying information. It details the privacy protections in place in California, stating that “[t]he information provided via the California Dream Act Application is used solely to determine eligibility for state financial aid and is not shared with any other governmental agency,” and emphasizing that “students need to be reassured that the CSAC will take all available legal precautions to protect this information.”

The Los Angeles Times highlighted the dropping numbers in a February 23 article:

The drop in applications is even more striking considering that the [California Student Aid Commission] recently made changes to give students more time to apply. Last year, students only had from January through March 2 to submit requests for college aid. During that period, 13,200 students filed for first-time Dream Act grants, and 20,962 asked to renew their funding.

This year, officials opened up applications for Dream Act and other scholarships in October. But as of Feb. 17, only 8,668 students had applied for new grants, and 11,429 had applied for renewals.

California is one of a number of states that have passed such “state-level Dream Acts,” also referred to as “tuition equity” legislation. These laws do not allow an undocumented person to change his or her immigration status. Rather, they allow undocumented youth who have graduated from high school in a specific state to be eligible for in-state tuition rates at that state’s colleges and universities. (In states without such policies, undocumented students typically pay more expensive out-of-state or international student rates.)

In some cases, these state tuition equity policies also allow undocumented youth to receive state-funded financial aid. Such financial aid plays an important role in equipping young students to pursue their educational ambitions, because undocumented youth are not eligible for federal financial aid.

The National Immigration Law Center tracks the current status of tuition equity legislation and access to student financial aid across different states. 

Posted In: Immigration, California

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

Workforce Data Explained: Using Data to Narrow California Skills Gaps

  ·   By Christina Pena,
Workforce Data Explained: Using Data to Narrow California Skills Gaps

WDQC interviewed Jillian Leufgen, Program Analyst with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy, about the strides made toward understanding student success in California’s labor market.

California Community Colleges is the largest system of postsecondary education in the United States. The system uses LaunchBoard to link education data and wage records to provide community college employees with information about outcomes of career and technical education programs, and Salary Surfer provides similar information for the public.

Additional Resources:

  • AB 1417 (2004): legislation that led the Chancellor’s Office to design and implement a performance measurement system
  • Since the video was produced, a flurry of activity has happened in California. The state legislature passed SB 66 (2016) to allow sharing of data on licenses to track impact on employment and wages. California Community Colleges also aligned performance data with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
Posted In: California, Workforce Data Quality Campaign, Scorecards for students, Labor Market Information, Dashboard, Skills gap, Count more students, Graduate employment outcomes, State funding

California Bill Requires Sharing of Licensing Data

  ·   By Jenna Leventoff,
California Bill Requires Sharing of Licensing Data

Last week, California's Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 66 into law. The bill will improve California’s career and technical education by sharing licensing data to allow for better program evaluation and by streamlining reporting requirements for workforce training programs.

Once California Community College (CCC) students graduate career and technical education programs, it’s difficult to determine if they go on to obtain a license awarded by a third-party. SB 66 would remedy this by requiring the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to share licensing data for career and technical education students with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) for program evaluation. Data to be shared with the CCCCO includes the recipient’s identifying information (such as social security number or taxpayer identification number), the type of license, and the effective date of the license. This data will help CCCCO gauge the success of its programs by seeing whether graduates are prepared to pass licensure exams, and if obtaining the licensure makes a difference in students' employment and earnings. Ultimatly, this information can serve as the basis for program improvements. 

In addition, SB 66 reduces reporting burdens for institutions by replacing existing accountability metrics for one workforce development program with the metrics from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

This bill was created to implement two of the recommendations to close the skills gap made by the CCCCO’s Taskforce on Workforce, Job Creation, and the Economy. The task forces’ recommendations were based on input from over 1,200 stakeholders, including community college staff, employers, labor organizations, and workforce training entities.

SB 66 received near unanimous support, outlining the importance of data to improving our nation’s education and training programs. The bill will take effect January 1, 2017. 

Posted In: California, Workforce Data Quality Campaign, Capture diverse credentials

California legislative analyst calls for workforce data improvements

  ·   By Jenna Leventoff and Bryan Wilson
California legislative analyst calls for workforce data improvements

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), which provides non-partisan policy advice to California’s legislature, recently released a report evaluating the state’s data collection processes and providing suggestions for making the state’s workforce data more useful.

In California, eight different state agencies administer workforce programs, at a cost of over $6 billion. Despite this investment, California’s policymakers struggle to assess whether the state’s workforce training and education system is effective. According to the report, the state lacks standardized performance measures and coordinated data-linking. Because of the workforce system’s fragmented administration, workforce program data is housed in a number of different agency systems, and is only linked when two agencies have a specific agreement to do so. Furthermore, because many programs have laws or grants holding them responsible for meeting certain performance measures, data collection across programs can be inconsistent. These hurdles make it difficult for policymakers to answer basic questions about the state’s workforce system, including, how many people use it, how participants transition between programs, and which programs are working well.

In order to help policymakers answer these questions, the LAO suggests that the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) convene a task force to create common performance measures for the state’s workforce programs, and then the legislature should amend state law to align data reporting with those measures. Moreover, the LAO recommends that the CWDB research ways to develop “a statewide, streamlined data-linking approach for all workforce programs.” In order to create a truly comprehensive system that allows for useful research, the LAO also suggests the legislature pass a mandate that all workforce training providers supply performance data to that system as a condition of state funding. This will enable the state to do what few states currently can: analyze the outcomes of programs administered by public andprivate training providers. Together, these strategies would “provide more useful information to help guide state policy and funding decisions and ultimately result in better workforce education outcomes for participants and the state,” according to the report.

California is one of four states that National Skills Coalition (NSC) is providing technical assistance to as part of the State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP). SWEAP is assisting states develop cross-program data tools that policy makers can use to better align programs with employer skill needs. SWEAP has helped California make progress towards the use of common performance measures and has brought attention to challenges resulting from California’s lack of a comprehensive data-linking system.

To learn more about California’s data-related efforts, please visit California’s state page. To learn more about how states can create strong statewide data systems, please refer to WDQC’s 13-Point State Blueprint.

This blog was originally posted on Workforce Data Quality Campaign's website

Posted In: Data and Credentials, California, Workforce Data Quality Campaign
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