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Twelve community and technical college systems band together to call on Congress to adopt a job-driven Community College Compact for today’s students

Today, education leaders from twelve community and technical college systems across the country—including those in Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington—sent letters to federal policymakers, urging them to make higher education policy more responsive to the needs of today’s students.

The letters, which were sent to Senate HELP Committee and House Education and Labor Committee leadership, call for the adoption of a job-driven Community College Compact; a set of postsecondary policy proposals developed by National Skills Coalition (NSC) and vetted by a range of stakeholders, including academic institutions, employers, community-based organizations and workforce development boards. If adopted by Congress, these policies would increase access to high-quality education and training programs, crucial support services and transparent information regarding postsecondary programs for students of all ages and backgrounds. Likely 2020 voters and business leaders also strongly support the Compact policies, as demonstrated by recent polling conducted by ALG Research on behalf of NSC.

Community and technical college leaders are voicing their shared support for the Community College Compact in light of the impending reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The HEA, which is the most comprehensive federal law governing postsecondary institutions and programs, has been eligible for reauthorization by Congress since 2008. Senate HELP Committee Chairman, Lamar Alexander, and Ranking Member, Patty Murray, as well as House Education and Labor Committee Chairman, Bobby Scott, and Ranking Member, Virginia Foxx, have expressed interest in reauthorizing this sweeping legislation before the end of this Congress. Additionally, the White House has named the modernization of the Higher Education Act as one of its top priorities.

The letters urge federal policymakers to consider the following policy changes:

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

In today’s economy, 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, community and technical colleges are working 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 and technical college leaders are urging lawmakers to consider legislation—such as the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S. 839; H.R. 3497 ) led by Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH) and Representatives Richmond (D-LA-02), Levin (D-MI-09), Horsford (D-NV-04), Gonzalez (R-OH-16), Herrera-Beutler (R-WA-03) and Katko (R-NY-24)—that would expand Pell grant eligibility to students enrolled in high-quality education and training 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 and technical college leaders note 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 and technical college administrators called for action on the College Transparency Act (S.800; H.R. 1766). Introduced by Senators Warren (D-MA), Cassidy (R-LA), Whitehouse (D-RI) and Scott (R-SC) and Representatives Mitchell (R-MI-10), Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), Stefanik (R-NY-21) and Harder (D-CA-10), 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 and technical 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 and technical college leaders are calling for the consideration of the Gateway to Careers Act (S. 1117)—legislation introduced by Senators Hassan (D-NH), Young (R-IN), Kaine (D-VA) and Gardner (R-CO). This bipartisan 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 and technical 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 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 and technical college leaders are calling for the consideration of legislation that would expand and support these collaboratives, an example of which is the Community College to Career Fund in Higher Education Act (S. 1612; H.R. 2920). Introduced by Senators Duckworth (D-IL), Smith (D-MN), Feinstein (D-CA), Durbin (D-IL), Shaheen (D-NH), Van Hollen (D-MD) and Representative Kelly (D-IL-02), this legislation aims to provide academic institutions and businesses with competitive grant funding so that they can continue to work together to deliver valuable educational or career training programs to students and workers.

Read the letter to the Senate HELP Committee and House Education and Labor Committee, as well as letters of support from Arkansas and Washington.

Posted In: Transportation, Federal Funding, Career and Technical Education, Sector Partnerships, Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Virginia, Washington

NSC state partners winning on skills training policies

  ·   By Brooke DeRenzis
NSC state partners winning on skills training policies

Photo: Partners from Colorado Skills2Compete pictured with State Senator Rhonda Fields, State Representative James Coleman, and Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore.

As state sessions come to a close, NSC’s partners are stacking wins across the country with governors, legislatures, and state agencies. Partners in a dozen states are advancing policies that will make skills training more available to workers in their states.  

NSC has worked with these partners over the past year through key state initiatives including SkillSPAN – a first-ever nationwide network of coalitions working to advance skills policies that expand economic opportunities for workers and their families while boosting local businesses. Taken together, these partners are making college more available to working people, broadening the apprenticeship pipeline, and expanding support services to remove barriers to skills training. 

Making college more available to working people

  • Expanding Georgia’s HOPE scholarship to more young adults: NSC teamed up with SkillSPAN partner Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Atlanta CareerRise, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, and the Atlanta Civic Site of The Annie E. Casey Foundation to call on Georgia’s policymakers to make the state’s scholarship program available to more adults in order to close the middle-skill gap. This session, Georgia’s General Assembly extended the time that college students can earn the HOPE scholarship from seven to 10 years after high school. 

  • Funding the Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship: SkillSPAN partner the United Way of Central Iowa successfully advocated for investments in Future Ready Iowa initiatives, including more investments in state tuition assistance. The Iowa legislature provided $13 million in funding for the Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship, which helps students –including adults –cover financial aid gaps as they earn credentials for high-demand jobs.  

  • Reconnecting adults to postsecondary education and training in Michigan: SkillSPAN partner the United Way for Southeast Michigan is supporting a bipartisan effort by Governor Whitmer and legislative leaders to launch Michigan Reconnect. The program, which is under consideration in both the Michigan House and Senate, would provide a tuition-free pathway to an in-demand industry certificate or associate degree for Michigan adults.  

  • Expanding resources to low-income community college students in Oregon: NSC and partners at Portland Community College testified to the legislature on Oregon’s new Pathways to Opportunity Initiative. The initiative expands federal, state, and local resources to provide supports like college success and career coaching and help cover costs like tuition, fees, books, bus passes, and food. The initiative builds on another Oregon policy win: the expansion of SNAP Employment & Training partnerships at all 17 of Oregon’s community colleges.  

  • Offering free community college training to SNAP students in Connecticut: Last fall, NSC partners at the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities expanded their partnership with the state’s Department of Social Services to offer free skills training at all 12 of the state’s community colleges for students receiving SNAP. This expansion reflects NSC’s prior technical assistance to help Connecticut shift to skills-based SNAP Employment & Training. 

Broadening the apprenticeship pipeline

  • Expanding apprenticeship in Illinois: Members of the Illinois team in NSC’s Work-Based Learning Academy, including Young Invincibles and SkillSPAN partner Chicago Jobs Council, successfully advocated for legislation that instructs the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to conduct a study on the potential expansion of apprenticeship programs in the state. The study must identify fields that support diverse and equitable apprenticeship growth and show how the state can better utilize different funding streams to support apprenticeship. The team also informed the Illinois Apprenticeship Expansion Program, a $2.5 million initiative to expand apprenticeship through regional intermediaries and navigators. 

  • Utilizing apprenticeship to shape the future of work in Texas: The Greater Houston Partnership, along with Educate Texas, supported the creation of the Commission on Texas Workforce of the Future. Codified by the Texas legislature, the Commission will develop recommendations to ensure Texas maintains its long-term global and economic competitiveness by ensuring the state is developing the qualified and skilled workforce. As part of its charge, the Commission must recommend ways to increase work-based learning, including opportunities for underrepresented workers and small and midsize companies.  

  • Raising awareness of work-based learning strategies in Oklahoma: Through our Work-Based Learning Academy, NSC is partnering with Oklahoma Works and others to host an Oklahoma Work-Based Learning Summit in June so that workforce and industry partners throughout the state can come together to learn about opportunities for expanding work-based learning. 

Expanding support services and removing barriers to skills training

  • Piloting an emergency support services fund in Colorado: The Colorado Skills2Compete Coalition successfully advocated for the state to create a fund to help cover the costs of support services like transportation, emergency child care, and work equipment for low-income people in skills training, job search, or at the start of employment. The Colorado legislature passed legislation to pilot the program with $250,000 in funding. 

  • Assessing workers’ childcare needs in Mississippi: NSC partners at the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative convened workforce development and human services leaders to discuss how childcare and skills training can grow the state’s skilled workforce. Following the discussion, Mississippi agencies are planning to ask workers about childcare needs when they’re pursuing training at the state’s American Jobs Centers.  

  • Expanding training opportunities for people who are incarcerated in Tennessee: SkillSPAN partner Complete Tennessee supported increased investment in the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative, which provides education opportunities to people who are incarcerated. The state quadrupled its investment in the initiative to $1 million, which among other changes, will expand career and technical education and postsecondary education in correctional facilities.   

Investing in strategies to secure a strong economic future for all Californians

With California’s policymakers in midst of budget negotiations, SkillSPAN partner California EDGE Coalition and other leaders in the Skills for California network are working to ensure that the state’s 2019-2020 budget invests in workforce development strategies that increase equity and economic opportunity. The Governor’s May budget revision included $10 million to plan and develop a data system that could work across the state’s education, workforce, and health and human services programs and be used to close equity gaps. It also included increased investment for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs and the state’s High Road Training Partnership program, a sector partnership initiative of the California Workforce Development Board.  


Posted In: SkillSPAN, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee
PCC is leading state project that gets low-income people the job training they need

This was originally posted in Portland Community College's blog


A growing group of institutions led by Portland Community College is helping Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients build a pathway to living-wage jobs.

PCC, Chemeketa, Klamath, Lane, Linn-Benton and Mt. Hood community colleges have established Oregon Community College SNAP 50/50 Consortia. It is a $2.4 million budgeted reimbursement, third-party match program, administered federally by Food and Nutrition Services and statewide by the Oregon Department of Human Services. The colleges are reimbursed for 50 percent of their expenses related to the project while the other half comes from existing college resources, like state, local grant or foundation funding.

“Based on a study, this strategy had a huge return of investment, not just in terms of the federal match generated to support Oregonians, but also in terms of getting people out of poverty so that they don’t need SNAP or other public assistance,” said Kate Kinder, Career Pathways and Skills Training director. “In times of tight budgets, this is a strategic way to maximize funding while still prioritizing student success, access, and equity.”

Opportunities to Advance

The goal of the project is to increase employment and training opportunities for individuals and families who are receiving SNAP, which offers food benefits to eligible, low-income individuals and families. Through the SNAP 50/50 Consortia, colleges will offer extra support and resources that can help students complete their GED, increase their English skills, earn a college credential, do an internship, and/or find a job that leads to a living-wage career.

From left to right, Maritime Welding Career Pathway students Jalie Sturgeon, Tyson Brown and Kiamana LoBue.

“In collaboration with DHS, the colleges came together to increase the resources for those who are food insecure, and often needing to juggle work, family, and school in order to increase their economic situation,” added Kinder. “I think it can be a really impactful program.”

The statewide project, which will serve 484 individuals in the first year, is using the community colleges’ nationally recognized Career Pathways framework and a skills-based approach to support SNAP recipients as they access education and training, and transition into employment. The colleges’ Career Pathways support students to advance in their education and career, and offer three- to nine-month stackable certificates that lead to a job and a degree. The Community College Consortia will collaborate and align with other 50/50 providers and workforce programs, like Central City Concern, New Avenues for Youth, Outside In, and Worksystems, Inc.’s Career Boost initiative in the Portland Metro area.

“The project is starting out slowly and colleges are being strategic and mindful with enrollment to ensure capacity, quality, and outcomes,” Kinder said. “The hope is to eventually have all 17 community colleges on board and part of the consortia.”

As an example of the 50/50 Consortia, students are getting extra coaching support in the Maritime Welding Career Pathway at PCC’s welding lab on Swan Island and in the Vigor Industrial’s shipyard. Thanks to a partnership between Vigor, PCC, and Worksystems Inc., students were able to receive WorkSource scholarships to pay for tuition, books, tools and equipment. Students can earn stackable credits, certificates, and industry recognized credentials that create an avenue to either employment with the likes of Vigor Industrial or into the college’s Welding Technology associate degree.

Modeled on Proven Program

Oregon DHS is on the cutting edge, and a national leader in how they are expanding SNAP 50/50 programming to align workforce systems and state resources, community based organizations, and community colleges. The Community College consortia was also fortunate to receive technical assistance from National Skills Coalition and the Seattle Jobs Initiative, to learn from Washington State’s successful SNAP 50/50 initiative called the Basic Food Employment and Training Program (BFET). In less than ten years, BFET grew from a project of one community college and four community-based organizations with a budget of $1.41 million to encompass 34 community colleges and professional technical colleges, 29 community-based organizations and a budget of $36.6 million.

“With DHS’s leadership and vision, and our experience learning from Washington community colleges and their data-driven model, we are positioned to create effective anti-poverty programs that can have a big impact in communities across the state,” Kinder said.

For more information, contact Kate Kinder at either skinder@pcc.edu, or (971) 722-6271.


Photos and Story by 

Posted In: SNAP Employment and Training, Oregon

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

NSC Releases Recommendations on Building Skills through SNAP E&T

  ·   By Brooke DeRenzis
NSC Releases Recommendations on Building Skills through SNAP E&T

After a year-long collaboration working to help four states expand their SNAP E&T programs, NSC and Seattle Jobs Initiative have released a policy brief with best practices for states. The policy brief, “Building Skills through SNAP Employment and Training: Recommendations from Lessons Learned in Four States” offers recommendations to states based on our work with Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon.

Specifically, the brief makes the following recommendations for states looking to expand skills-based SNAP E&T programs:

  • Staff and stakeholders should work with SNAP E&T agency leadership to develop a vision for a skills-focused program and implement a strategy to achieve that vision.
  • States should use pilot programs to test and refine strategies for expanding SNAP E&T programs.
  • SNAP E&T programs should build on the strengths and experience of existing workforce development efforts, and should align SNAP E&T with other programs, such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
  • SNAP E&T programs should use federal funding and administrative tools to partner with community colleges and community-based organizations as service providers.

The brief also identifies a set of common challenges in developing skills-based SNAP E&T programs and makes recommendations for how state SNAP E&T agencies can address them.

Click here to read the brief.

These recommendations are especially timely because states now have an opportunity to align SNAP E&T with WIOA implementation. Last week, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Labor urged State Workforce Administrators, Workforce Development Boards, and American Jobs Centers to do exactly that. (For more on aligning SNAP E&T with WIOA implementation read last week's blog)

This project was made possible through the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Posted In: SNAP Employment and Training, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Oregon

NSC and Seattle Jobs Initiative announce SNAP E&T projects in four states

  ·   By Brooke DeRenzis and David Kaz
NSC and Seattle Jobs Initiative announce SNAP E&T projects in four states

National Skills Coalition and Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI) have selected four states to receive technical assistance with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) programs. Starting this month, we will work with teams in Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon to help them advance skills-based SNAP E&T programs. These states are aiming to build the skills of SNAP participants through partnerships between state SNAP E&T agencies, community colleges, and other organizations.

The federal SNAP E&T program provides resources for employment, training, and support services for SNAP recipients. In addition to E&T formula funds, the federal government provides “50-50 reimbursement grants” that can reimburse states for up to 50 percent of E&T program costs such as those for adult education and training, as well as supportive services necessary for individuals to participate in SNAP E&T, such as child care, transportation, and supplies and books. Only expenditures covered by certain non-federal resources are eligible for reimbursement. SNAP E&T can build skills-based programs by leveraging the expertise and resources of third-party partners, such as community colleges and community-based organizations.

The four states participating in this project will benefit from SJI’s experience helping Washington State create, grow, and document its well-respected Basic Food Employment & Training (BFET) program. BFET is the only statewide “third-party match” program in the nation, utilizing 50-50 funds to partner with community colleges and community-based organizations in SNAP E&T service delivery. Just as importantly, NSC and SJI will work with participating states to identify opportunities to connect their SNAP E&T programs to broader state workforce development strategies.

NSC and SJI’s SNAP E&T partnership started in 2014, with generous support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Annie E. Casey Foundation. In 2014, the partnership produced a detailed toolkit to guide states through the process of establishing skills-based SNAP E&T programs using 50-50 funds and third-party partnerships. With the support of Kellogg and Casey Foundations, we also hosted a full-day training session to provide step-by-step guidance based on Washington State’s BFET program.

The NSC-SJI partnership will provide technical assistance to Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon through 2015 and will share key lessons learned in early 2016. For more information on this project, please contact Brooke DeRenzis, National Skills Coalition or David Kaz, Seattle Jobs Initiative.  

Posted In: SNAP Employment and Training, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Oregon

Governors propose new workforce initiatives.

  ·   By Bryan Wilson,

More than a dozen governors have announced new legislative and budget proposals to support workforce development efforts in their state. As state budgets recover from the recession, these governors are targeting middle-skill training for increased investments, including proposals to provide support for employer-led sector partnerships, to align the state’s workforce system, to make technical and community college affordable, and to assist the long-term unemployed back to work. Below are a few of these gubernatorial initiatives.

The governors of Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin have requested funding for new or enhanced programs for middle-skill training. Florida Governor Rick Scott proposed $30 million to train incumbent and unemployed workers for middle-skill STEM (i.e., science, technology, engineering and math) and other high demand/high wage fields, and to provide scholarships for students. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker requested a $35 million enhancement for Wisconsin’s Fast Forward program to support dual enrollment programs between school districts and technical colleges that target high demand jobs; increase technical college capacity to eliminate waiting lists in high demand fields; and support programs helping people with disabilities enter the workforce.  

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett requested $5 million in additional funding for three middle-skill job training programs for employer-driven training, including services to people with disabilities. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon proposed a $4.5 million increase for the Missouri Works Training Program, a customized training program for employers. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad proposed tripling state funding for apprenticeships, and Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee requested a $500,000 enhancement from the state general fund for the state’s workforce investment system.  

Governors in Connecticut and Kentucky proposed new efforts to fill skill gaps in advanced manufacturing. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy proposed $25 million to create an advanced manufacturing fund to support workforce training and other assistance for employers. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear proposed $24 million in general fund-supported bonds to build an advanced manufacturing training center to serve as a direct pipeline for high demand workers. 

Malloy also proposed measures to assist the long-term unemployed (LTU). He requested $3.6 million to establish a program to replicate Platform to Employment. The program provides five weeks of intensive job readiness training, behavioral health services, financial coaching, and eight weeks of subsidized work experience. Malloy also proposed legislation to prevent employers from screening out LTU applicants merely because they are unemployed.  

The governors of Ohio and Oregon introduced proposals to increase the alignment of their workforce development systems. Ohio Governor John Kasich proposed a single integrated state plan for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Adult Basic Education. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber requested legislation authorizing the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) to assist the governor in approving the plans of local workforce investment boards (LWIBs) and in establishing criteria for LWIB membership. The bill also authorized the SWIB to hold workforce agencies and LWIBs accountable for meeting performance goals.

Finally, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proposed funding to cover the cost of tuition for technical college students in high demand fields, and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam proposed free tuition for high school graduates if they attend a community college or college of applied technology.

NSC will continue to monitor and provide updates as these proposals move forward.

Posted In: Sector Partnerships, Career Pathways, Job-Driven Investments, Kentucky, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Ohio, Oregon, Georgia

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

DOL awards WDQI grants.

  ·   By Angela Hanks,

This week, the Department of Labor announced $6.4 million in Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grants to 6 states to develop or improve their workforce data systems. 

The grants awarded to Kansas, Oregon, North Carolina, and Wyoming will help those states develop new longitudinal data systems, while the awards obtained by Ohio and Virginia will help them improve their existing data systems. Statewide longitudinal workforce systems established or expanded through these grants should collect individual-level data from Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records, UI benefit claims, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Titles I and II, Wagner-Peyser Employment Services (ES), Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), and other training and employment programs. 

During the three year grant period, grantees are expected to: 

  • Develop and improve state workforce longitudinal data systems with individual-level information; 
  • Enable workforce data to be matched with education data to create longitudinal data systems; 
  • Improve the quality and breadth of the data in the workforce data systems; 
  • Use longitudinal data to provide useful information about program operations; 
  • Analyze the performance of education and employment training programs; and 
  • Provide user-friendly information to consumers to help them select the training and education programs that best suit their needs.  

The WDQI grant program was created in 2010 to help states develop or improve their state workforce longitudinal data systems in an effort to make workforce education and training programs more effective. This is the third – and smallest – round of WDQI grants. The first two rounds disbursed a total of $24 million to 23 states. In his 2014 budget, President Obama requested just $6 million for WDQI grants. 

National Skills Coalition, as a member of the Workforce Data Quality Campaign has called on Congress to ensure state longitudinal data systems are inclusive, aligned and market relevant so they may provide useful information to the public, to the private-sector, and to policymakers about the skills, employment, and earning outcomes of our students and workers, and about the ability of U.S. businesses to fill skilled positions with our education and training programs’ graduates.

Posted In: Data and Credentials, Kansas, Oregon, North Carolina, Wyoming, Virginia, Ohio, Workforce Data Quality Campaign
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