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Ohio budget bill includes provision to advance skills-based SNAP E&T

  ·   By Rachel Hirsch and Hannah Halbert
Ohio budget bill includes provision to advance skills-based SNAP E&T

In its 2018-19 budget, the Ohio legislature took an important step toward supporting quality skill-based training programs for Ohioans eligible for food assistance (SNAP). The new law requires that the Director of Job and Family Services, in collaboration with the Chancellor of Higher Education, convene a planning committee to expand a skills-based SNAP Employment & Training (E&T) program. Representatives of community colleges, local workforce development boards, and nonprofit organizations that provide training to low-income people must all be included. The committee will identify potential training partners and funding sources that could be used to leverage SNAP E&T’s 50 percent reimbursement grant (often times called “50-50 funds”). Through these funds, the federal government reimburses states for 50 percent of SNAP E&T program costs paid for with certain non-federal dollars. In addition to supporting education and training activities at community colleges and community-based organizations, 50-50 funds can also be spent on certain participant support services, such as transportation, books and supplies, and child care.

This provision is a win for Policy Matters Ohio and other Ohio advocates including the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, the Ohio Poverty Law Center, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, and the state’s health and human services coalition Advocates for Ohio’s Future, which have been advocating for the expansion of a skills-based SNAP E&T program in Ohio. Policy Matters recently found that more than 666,000 Ohioans between ages 18 and 64 did not have a high school diploma, and SNAP recipients are much more likely than average to lack this credential. To combat this and other barriers to attaining jobs with family-supporting wages, Policy Matters recommended that Ohio shift to a skills-based E&T model, with the first step being the formation of a planning committee and identification of potential education, training and support service partners and funding sources. Policy Matters supported this proposal through testimony to the Ohio House and Senate. Advocates were pleased these recommendations came to fruition in Ohio’s latest budget bill.

Washington State’s SNAP E&T program, which has grown into a $30 million effort helping roughly 28,000 students who need SNAP assistance attend education and training programs annually, continues to be a model for the Ohio advocates. Ohio is sixth in the nation for people skipping meals or going hungry because they do not have enough money to buy food. This program can help more people build marketable skills while protecting access to the assistance they need to buy food.

National Skills Coalition has long advocated for states to make skill-building an integral part of a state’s SNAP E&T mission. This includes utilizing 50-50 funds to expand quality skills-based education, training, and support services to SNAP recipients. When utilized in this way, SNAP E&T can help prepare recipients for middle-skill jobs with family-supporting wages. For more information on how to develop a skills-based SNAP E&T policy in your state, check out NSC’s Skills-Based SNAP E&T Policy Toolkit

Rachel Hirsch is State Network Manager at National Skills Coalition. Hanna Halbert is a researcher at Policy Matters Ohio which works to create a more vibrant, equitable, sustainable and inclusive Ohio through research, strategic communications, coalition building and policy advocacy.

Posted In: Skills Equity, Ohio

Ohio Updates Dashboard

  ·   By Jenna Leventoff,
Ohio Updates Dashboard

Ohio has recently completed its annual update of its Workforce Success Measures Dashboard, which evaluates the outcomes of the state’s largest workforce development programs. The tool was first built by the Ohio Education Research Center (OERC) in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) in 2014.

The tool is intended for use by policymakers to continually monitor progress across the state’s workforce development programs, as well as for program administrators to monitor their programs and compare them to similar programs across the state. It can help answer questions including:

  • Are participants finding and keeping employment?
  • How much do former participants earn? 
  • Are participants earning credentials?

The Workforce Success Measures Dashboard helps answer these questions about Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs, adult education programs, post-secondary career and technical education funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, state-funded financial aid and scholarships for the state’s public colleges, and vocational rehabilitation programs. The tool measures completers, employment and wage outcomes, and credential information, applying common measures across programs. Users can view data by program, county, the state as a whole.

 Ohio Dashboard Chart

Ohio is one of four states that National Skills Coalition (NSC) has provided technical assistance to as part of the State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP). SWEAP is helping states develop cross-program data tools that policy makers can use to align programs with employer skill needs. SWEAP has helped Ohio build a Workforce Supply Tool which provides information about Ohio’s talent supply in key occupations.

Moving forward, Workforce Data Quality Campaign will be providing technical assistance to states looking to create data tools for policymakers. If your state is interested in implementing SWEAP tools, please contact us at info@workforcedqc.org.   

Posted In: Ohio, Workforce Data Quality Campaign

Ohio Policymakers Unveil SWEAP Data Tool

  ·   By Bryan Wilson,
Ohio Policymakers Unveil SWEAP Data Tool

On December 15 in Columbus Ohio state leaders held a press conference unveiling a new data tool that will provide employers and state policymakers with better information about the supply of education and training in Ohio.  Legislators and agency heads from the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and the Department of Job and Family Services, joined by National Skills Coalition State Policy Director Bryan Wilson, gathered for a live demonstration of the tool. 

The Workforce Supply Tool, was made possible by the NSC State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP), with the financial support of the JP Morgan Chase Foundation and USA Funds.

“Our universities and particularly our community colleges, are eager to provide real-time access to data about new graduates coming into the workforce,” said John Carey, Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.  “This tool reflects the number one need of Ohio’s businesses and that is finding the talent they need to grow and prosper,” said Ryan Burgess, Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.  Senator Bill Beagle and Representative Bill Reineke talked about the critical importance of a skilled workforce and their appreciation of better data. Bryan Wilson commented, “Ohio has built a state-of-the-art tool that will aid business and economic development leaders grow jobs in the state and help higher education leaders better align education and training with employer skill needs.”

The Workforce Supply Tool shows the number of graduates by occupation, with breakdowns by regions, levels of education, and institutions. The tool, which currently includes 20 in-demand occupations, will be expanded early next year to include 200 individual occupations and will be linked with demand information to enable comparisons between employer demand and the supply of trained and educated workers.

Posted In: State Workforce and Education Alignment Project, Ohio

WDQC infographic features states’ college scorecards

  ·   By Rachel Zinn
WDQC infographic features states’ college scorecards

While Congress debates the appropriate role for the federal government in helping students get information about college, states are stepping up to provide important data on postsecondary education outcomes.

A growing number of state websites show information about postsecondary program costs, graduation rates, average debt, and average post-program earnings. These websites are designed to help students, families, and workers make decisions about colleges and careers.

In some states, publicizing this information is required by law. A new infographic from Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC), a project of National Skills Coalition, highlights state legislative models.

Minnesota, for example, has a law that requires colleges to report data to the state. Using this data, state agencies created the Graduate Employment Outcomes tool. It shows hourly wages one, two, and four years after graduation, as well as industries and regions of employment for graduates by school, degree, and major. Agency leaders conduct outreach to high school to help counselors and students use the tool.

To get information about what happens to graduates in the labor market, states match student records reported by colleges with data about employment and wages collected as part of the Unemployment Insurance program. This data matching allows a more accurate picture of graduates’ employment than alumni surveys.

WDQC encourages states to develop scorecards showing postsecondary education program results in its State Blueprint. In addition, the State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP) at National Skills Coalition works intensively with selected states (California, Mississippi, Ohio, Rhode Island) to develop scorecards and other data tools.

The U.S. Department of Education currently provides a College Scorecard for all schools nationwide, and Congress is considering whether to require this type of effort in law. The bipartisan Student Right to Know Before You Go Act, proposed in both the House and Senate, would mandate federal student data system, data matching, and reporting on education and employment outcomes.

Posted In: Data and Credentials, State Workforce and Education Alignment Project, California, Mississippi, Ohio, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Workforce Data Quality Campaign

NSC holds 2015 SWEAP state forum

  ·   By Bryan Wilson,
NSC holds 2015 SWEAP state forum

On November 16 and 17 in Chicago, the National Skills Coalition held the 2015 State Forum of the State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP).  SWEAP is demonstrating how state policymakers can use information from cross-program data tools to better align workforce and education programs with one another and with employer skill needs. Attending the forum were teams of officials from the four states receiving SWEAP direct technical assistance: California, Mississippi, Ohio, and Rhode Island.   

The 2015 Forum, organized by Bryan Wilson, NSC State Policy Director and Director of SWEAP, provided a deep dive into the development of data tools. The Forum focused on peer learning and advice from national experts. Keith Ewald from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services demonstrated the Ohio Workforce Success Measures Dashboard that shows the performance results of major workforce and education programs at state and sub-state levels using metrics similar to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act common measures. 

Mimmo Parisi, Director of The National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University, demonstrated how their LifeTracks system can function as a pathway evaluator identifying outcomes associated with participation in multiple programs.  Jill Leufgen of the Chancellor’s Office of California Community Colleges presented California’s LaunchBoard, showing patterns of participation in community colleges and the associated labor market outcomes.

Guests from Florida and Colorado, Duane Whitfield and Lauren Victor, explained their state’s approaches to analyzing the supply, demand, and gaps for skilled and educated workers. Kevin Hollenbeck from the Upjohn Institute talked about measuring and reporting program net impacts on employment and earnings, and the return on investment for taxpayers—metrics that can be used as part of state dashboards.  Derek Redelman from USA Funds and Whitney Smith from JPMorgan Chase, Global Philanthropy, funders of SWEAP, spoke about why they are committed to improving the data available to policymakers.

The four SWEAP states will take lessons learned from the Forum as they continue to develop the three types of data tools. In 2016, as the tools are developed, SWEAP will further engage state policymakers. The purpose of SWEAP is not to develop data for data’s sake, but to provide information policymakers can use to better align workforce and education programs with the labor market and enable more individuals to attain postsecondary credentials and higher levels of employment.  As SWEAP continues, NSC will share the lessons learned with other states through webinars and reports. 

Posted In: State Workforce and Education Alignment Project, California, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Ohio
NSC partners host lawmakers at workforce development, training, and education facilities

Over the summer, while Congress was out of session, many NSC partners hosted site visits with their U.S. Senators and Representatives or State Legislators. Site visits are an opportunity for elected officials to visit workforce development, education, or training facilities and see programs in action. It is an excellent way to educate lawmakers and their staff and show them the importance of workforce development funding. Many of these site visits were follow-ups to the advocacy visits that NSC partners made during the 2015 Skills Summit last February.

Ohio: Towards Employment

Senator Sherrod Brown's Special Assistant Matthew Keyes visited Towards Employment in Cleveland OH. Towards Employment’s mission is to empower individuals to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through employment.  The group offers job-readiness training. Participants learn job search skills as well as the soft skills needed to succeed on the job. They also have access to legal services and vocational training. During their meeting they were able to showcase their programs and discuss workforce development policy.   

Virginia: Dan River Region Collaborative 

Senator Tim Kaine and his team met with members of the Dan River Region Collaborative and ABB employees to tour the facility and discuss economic development issues and career and technical training.  ABB is a global company which operates and manufactures power and automation technologies that enable utility, industry, and transport and infrastructure customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impacts. As co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, Senator Kaine recently introduced the JOBS Act to expand federal Pell Grants to students who enroll in short-term job training programs. The bill would help workers afford high-quality training in advanced manufacturing and other industries. (Click here to support this bill). The Dan River Region Collaborative was founded to address workforce development in the Dan River Region of Virginia. Utilizing a sector strategy approach, the Collaborative promotes regional partnerships of employers, educators, workforce developers and other stakeholders to address the skills needs of regional employers. Within the industry partnerships, the Collaborative’s efforts focus on capacity building, systems change and policy advocacy.

Pennsylvania: District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund 

Susan Thomas, Director of Industry Partnerships (IP) at District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund met with Pennsylvania State Representative Cherelle Parker and Pennsylvania State Senator Dominic Pileggi.  They spoke about the fund’s work on IPs and the need to add money to the IP budget at the state level. They also discussed the importance of pushing a sector skills policy agenda as well as making Pell grants available for occupational post-secondary programs. The District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund's mission is: (1) providing access to career pathways in healthcare and human services for incumbent workers and job seekers through education, training and work-based learning; and, (2) building the capacity of the Delaware Valley's healthcare industry to create a highly-skilled workforce through on-the-job training opportunities and the development of an education pipeline that aligns with career ladder steps. 

Iowa: Central Iowa works 

Representative David Young toured the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families in Des Moines, Iowa.  During his visit, he met with students enrolled in the Transportation/Distribution/Logistics program, which is funded by a grant from the Walmart Foundation and Jobs for the Future. The site visit was a community event which brought out a multitude of stakeholders:

  • Rob Denson, President of Des Moines Area Community College
  • Mary Sellers, President of United Way of Central Iowa
  • Sarah Ramsey, Advocacy Officer, United Way of Central Iowa
  • Angie Arthur, Central Iowa Workforce Investment Board
  • Marvin DeJear, Director, Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families
  • Pat Steele, Central Iowa Works

After the tour, Young participated in a discussion with all those in attendance regarding workforce issues.  Topics discussed included employment challenges for people with a criminal history, the utilization of Pell grants, youth unemployment, and the Direct Care Workforce. 

Colorado: Skills2Compete Colorado coalition 

The Skills2Compete Colorado coalition met with Senator Michael Bennet’s State Policy Director, Becca Montgomery. In attendance were representatives from VocRehab and SNAP E&T providers, the Regional Representative from the Dept. of Labor, Colorado Center on Law and Policy and local CBOs: Mi Casa and CWEE (host). TANF and WIOA were the major topics of discussion for this diverse group of stakeholders.  The Skills2Compete-Colorado Coalition is a multi-sector coalition that includes representatives from adult education, post-secondary education, workforce development, business, and the advocacy arena

Let’s keep the momentum from this "summer of engagement" going! NSC facilitates regular calls with partners in the field and the staff of their members of Congress; if this is something in which you’d be interested, feel free to reach out to Ashley Shaw, Field Coordinator.


Posted In: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Sector Partnerships, Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Implementation, Sector Partnerships, Career Pathways, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia

NSC partner Literacy Cooperative celebrates International Literacy Day

  ·   By Amanda Bergson-Shilcock,
NSC partner Literacy Cooperative celebrates International Literacy Day

Adult education is taking center stage this month. In addition to the upcoming Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (September 21-26), last week saw the observance of International Literacy Day on September 8.

Numerous events were held around the United States. National Skills Coalition partner  Bob Paponetti, executive director of The Literacy Cooperative, shared some highlights from the International Literacy Day celebration in Cleveland, Ohio.

The day began with an editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that highlighted sobering statistics from the OECD "Time for the U.S. to Reskill?" report. As previously highlighted on NSC’s Skills Blog, there are a stunning 36 million American adults who need foundational skills in subjects such as English language, reading, and mathematics.

The Plain Dealer editorial highlighted literacy efforts underway in Cleveland and concluded with a call for better integration between adult education and job training programs:

[L]ocal job-training and literacy providers must do a better job of creating joint programs to increase people's skills.

Bob Paponetti, executive director of the Literacy Cooperative, says literacy-improvement classes and job training are "too fragmented" locally, discouraging people who might aspire to work in a machine shop by shuttling them off to literacy classes that don't focus on their interest.

Fixing that situation by creating more coordination between programs should be a high priority. It's worth a try.

Also that morning, the radio show "The Sound of Ideas" took up the topic of literacy, and interviewed several local guests.

At lunchtime, the Literacy Cooperative and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish brought together 125 key civic leaders for a literacy-focused event. Budish’s remarks focused on the importance of addressing low literacy, especially as a path to better job opportunities.

The event’s featured speaker was Jeff Conyers, Executive Director of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, who highlighted his organization’s work with families and children.

Throughout the day, social media participation was high. More than 400 Clevelanders – including basketball legend LeBron James -- posted pictures of themselves reading, tweeting, and sharing important information about literacy. The hashtag even trended locally.

Our thanks to Bob and The Literacy Cooperative for sharing this update. Watch for more from NSC on adult education next week!

Photo credit: International Literacy Day

Posted In: Adult Basic Education, Ohio

SWEAP launches projects in California and Ohio

  ·   By Bryan Wilson
SWEAP launches projects in California and Ohio

The State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP) held launch meetings in Columbus, Ohio and Sacramento, California over the past month. SWEAP, an initiative of the National Skills Coalition (NSC), supported by JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and USA Funds, is demonstrating how state policymakers can use information from cross-program data tools to better align workforce and education programs with one another and with employer skill needs.

In Columbus, Andy Van Kleunen, NSC CEO and Bryan Wilson, NSC State Policy Director and Director of SWEAP, spoke before a group of higher education and workforce leaders hosted by the Ohio Board of Regents. Andy and Bryan talked about the difficulties policymakers face in knowing how well workforce development programs perform as a system and how well low-skill individuals progress through the system and into higher levels of employment. Andy and Bryan explained three types of data tools—dashboards, pathway evaluators, and supply and demand reports – that can answer policymakers’ basic questions about system performance and guide the development of state policies. 

Ohio, which already has one of the strongest state dashboards, is focusing on the development of supply and demand reports and pathway evaluators. As part of the launch, Bryan and SWEAP consultant, Richard Froeschle, discussed supply and demand reports with a cross-agency group of leading researchers and data analysts.

In Sacramento, Andy and Bryan spoke before the California Workforce Investment Board’s Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Implementation Work Group. The Work Group is chaired by Van Ton-Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor, Chancellor’s Office, California Community Colleges. SWEAP will be assisting California policymakers with the implementation of Assembly Bill 2148 (Mullin) that directs the Board to establish a state dashboard, and with Senate Bill 118 (Lieu) that authorizes supply and demand reports. SWEAP will also assist with the build-out of California’s Launchboard as a pathway evaluator tool.  Bryan and SWEAP consultant Heath Prince, Director of the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas, also talked with California’s WIOA Data Workgroup about workforce dashboards.

In addition to Ohio and California, SWEAP is providing technical assistance in Mississippi and Rhode Island. The assistance will continues until the end of 2016, and will also include the sharing of lessons learned among the four states, and with others as well.   

Posted In: State Workforce and Education Alignment Project, California, Ohio

Closing the manufacturing skill gap: A Q&A with Cheryl Neiheisel of Richards Industries

  ·   By Yuri Chang
Closing the manufacturing skill gap: A Q&A with Cheryl Neiheisel of Richards Industries

Cheryl Neiheisel, Vice President of Human Resources at Richards Industries located in Cincinnati, Ohio, spoke with BLU about the critical role sector partnerships play in meeting the workforce needs of the manufacturing industry. Cheryl is currently serving as the Employer Chair for the PCW Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership Team and is a member of the Partners for a Competitive Workforce Partners Council.

Can you tell me a little bit about your company and its work? 

Richards Industries has approximately 150 employees. We are a leading provider of a variety of industrial valves for the chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and food processing industries. Other sectors include paper products, tire and rubber, machinery and electrical equipment, transportation equipment, and energy industries. We're dedicated to finding new ways to improve our manufacturing processes, our existing products, creating new products, reaching new markets, and responding faster to our customers' needs. We’re also known for our company culture. Our employees really enjoy working here, which has helped with recruiting qualified workers. Still, we have trouble finding workers who are skilled in manufacturing.

What positions was Richards Industries struggling to fill? Is there a particular credential you wanted your workers to obtain?

We've had difficulty finding skilled machine operators. In the past we've hired people with no skills and trained them internally with job shadowing, on-the-job training, and some in-house classroom work. The learning curve can be several years. It has become more and more difficult to find machine operators and we have to do something about this because a significant percentage of our workforce will be nearing or at retirement age in the near future.

How did Richards Industries get involved with Cincinnati State and the Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership? Can you describe the apprenticeship program?

I was introduced to Partners for a Competitive Workforce—a partnership in the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana tristate region focused on closing the skill gap—a few years ago and joined their Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership team. This team meets with educational providers, workforce investment boards, and other companies to help build a skilled manufacturing workforce, and through that relationship I was introduced to Jim Bax, a business manager at Cincinnati State’s Workforce Development Center. Cincinnati State was in process of developing a Machine Operator Level 1 (MO1) program at that time and the companies who are active with the Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership were heavily involved with design of the curriculum. We met with Cincinnati State on a regular basis to help design a program that was general enough to apply to most manufacturing companies and meet basic qualifications.

When the MO1 class was developed, Richards sent 10 incumbent workers (and myself!) through that class. Since that time we have had several incumbent workers go through the MO Level 2 course as well. We also hired two students who were enrolled in the class at Cincinnati State on their own.

The Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership then created a year-long apprenticeship program that includes MO1 and MO2 curriculum at Cincinnati State as well as ongoing on-the-job training. Students work four, ten-hour days and then attend classes on Fridays or in the evenings. When they complete the program, students receive NIMS certifications as well as college credit. At Richards, a trainee moves up from a classification 1 to a machinist classification 3 within 12-18 months of being hired when going through the apprenticeship program. The move to classification 3 includes significant pay increase as well.

How were you able to pay to enroll your workers in the program? Would you have been able to send them without this funding? 

At the time we sent our first 10 workers through the program, we would not have been able to do it without outside help to fund the program, namely from Partners for a Competitive Workforce and Hamilton County. The cost at that time was $2,800 per person for just MO1. The cost is currently around $4,000 for MO1 and another $4,000 for MO2. We were able to send two of the original 10 back to MO2, but without additional funding, we weren’t in a position to send the additional eight folks through MO2, so we have had to rely solely on on-the-job training.

It is worth noting, however, that when we did a cost-return on investment analysis on the 10 trainees we sent through the program and they were able to reach the minimum qualifications for a machine operation at Richards are more productive in a quicker amount of time. But with the increase in cost for the apprenticeship program, we have to evaluate sending additional new hires through the program on a case by case basis, depending on budget, how business is doing, etc. The availability of training grant funds significantly increases the potential for us to send folks through the program. We need funding to help companies—especially smaller companies who don’t have a big training budget—to get workers without a manufacturing background through some kind of schooling and technical training.

How will you meet your future workforce needs in manufacturing?

We will definitely need additional people in the future. The skill gap is the biggest obstacle that we see in the future of manufacturing. A large number of folks in manufacturing are nearing retirement age and there just aren’t very many skilled workers available in the market anymore. We are going to have to rely on training of some kind to help shorten the learning curve so people are up to speed and productive as quickly as possible.

We’ve been working to fill that gap and to educate schools, counselors, parents, and kids that manufacturing is a great opportunity. Manufacturing needs a face-lift when it comes to image. It isn’t the dirty unstable industry previous generations thought it was. There are very good careers available for those who are skilled in machining and programming. The jobs are stable and the atmosphere is clean and safe. For example, Richards Industries recently celebrated 4 million hours without a lost time accident/injury! And we have never had a layoff or a short work week in the history of our company. The pay is good. For someone with the very basic Machining qualifications (where they would be at the end of the Apprenticeship program) is approximately $32,000 start, and goes up from there based on skill, performance, etc. Some of our long term machinists who are qualified at programming, etc., are making approximately $50,000 and more with overtime. If you have the skills and you’re a hard worker, a career is there for you.

Posted In: Sector Partnerships, Ohio, Business Leaders United

Skills investments featured in governors’ budget proposals

  ·   By Brooke DeRenzis
Skills investments featured in governors’ budget proposals

Several governors have proposed investments in skills strategies as part of their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. Proposals include continued funding for existing skills programs, investments that would better link adult education and workforce training, and strategies for spending statewide discretionary funds under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Budgets proposed by governors in Iowa and Idaho renew commitments to their states’ existing skills strategy.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s Fiscal Years 2016-2017 budget maintains funding levels for the state’s Pathways for Academic Career and Employment (PACE) and Gap Tuition Assistance programs. PACE funds sector-specific career pathway projects provided through partnerships between community colleges, industry, and nonprofits. The Gap Tuition Assistance program helps community colleges provide need-based tuition assistance to students in certificate training programs for in-demand occupations. Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal provides $5 million for the state’s Sector Grant program. The grants support sector-specific training developed by partnerships between employers and Idaho’s postsecondary institutions.

Governors in California and Ohio proposed investments aimed at coordinating adult education with workforce training.

In 2014, Ohio piloted a program to help adults earn a high school diploma while participating in training leading to an industry-recognized credential. Governor Kasich’s Fiscal Years 2016-2017 budget includes funding to expand the program to as many as five additional sites.

California Governor Jerry Brown’s 2015-2016 budget proposal includes $500 million for the Adult Education Block Grant to increase adult education capacity and support collaboration between adult education, workforce development, and social service providers. The grants will be planned and allocated by committees representing community colleges, K‑12 districts, other adult education providers, local workforce investment boards, county social services departments, correctional rehabilitation programs, and one public member with relevant expertise.

Both Governor Brown and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe used their budget proposals to highlight skills strategies they will promote with discretionary funds available to governors under WIOA.

Governor Brown will use WIOA discretionary funds to support two initiatives in California:  SlingShot, which gives grants to develop innovative workforce development, training, employer engagement, and career education approaches at the regional level, and Regional Workforce Accelerator Program Grants, which provide job training, support services, and job placement assistance to jobseekers who may have barriers to employment. In presenting his budget to the state legislature, Governor McAuliffe announced that he would direct $1.1 million in WIOA discretionary dollars toward credential attainment.

Continue to check out our blog for analysis as more governors and legislatures roll out their budget proposals.

Posted In: Adult Basic Education, Sector Partnerships, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Career Pathways, Sector Partnerships, California, Ohio, Iowa, Idaho, Virginia
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