Updated Features in the LINCS Community

The LINCS Community has brand-new features we think you will really like. Check out the recent upgrades and interact with fellow adult education practitioners in the 16 discussion groups.

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LINCS Community Home Page

The community’s refreshed design allows you to quickly reach featured events and resources from the home page. The new look also makes it easier to follow and participate in discussions.

On Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 2 PM ET, the LINCS Community team will host a user training webinar to introduce all of its upgrades. Save the date/time and keep an eye out for registration details, coming soon.

 

Here’s a sneak peek of a few additional new features:

  • Like Button: Use the like button to show enthusiasm for your favorite content. Just look for the thumbs up button throughout the community to like something.Like thumb
  • Polls: Contribute your thoughts to the latest poll; the polls section is located on the menu bar of each group.
  • Simplified Email Notifications: Set your email preferences from the new dedicated space in each group, or from the My LINCS tab.
  •  Group Quick Links: Navigate to different sections of each group from the icons on the updated Groups page.

 

The OMB “Super Circular” is now the Omni Circular

As part of an effort to reform and strengthen Federal grant making, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published new guidance for the Federal award programs, OMB Uniform Guidance: Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, commonly referred to as the Omni Circular. The new guidance is a key component of a larger Federal effort to more effectively focus Federal grant resources on improving performance and outcomes while ensuring the financial integrity of taxpayer dollars. By streamlining eight Federal regulations into a single, comprehensive policy guide, the government can better administer grants and other types of financial assistance by decreasing the administrative burden for recipients and reducing the risk of waste, fraud and abuse.

The new guidance, published on December 26, 2013, will be implemented on December 26, 2014. In the interim, OMB and the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) will continue to engage stakeholders to facilitate a smooth implementation process. To assist in the implementation of the new guidance, the Department of Education (ED) has plans to train ED staff and grantees on the new requirements. You can find an announcement from the Department and more information on ED grant policies on the Grant Policy Memos page.

You can email questions related to the Omni Circular to: UniformGrantGuidanceImplementation@ed.gov.

Building Strategic Partnerships for Immigrant and Refugee Integration

A number of communities at the local and state level have been forward thinking about the ways to incorporate and integrate immigrants into civic and economic life. These states and localities have recognized that creating a welcoming environment, coupled with policy and programmatic reforms that provide access to immigrants and English learners is a win for everyone in the community.

Cities like Atlanta, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Dayton, Philadelphia and Nashville to name a few, have developed strategies on various aspects of immigrant integration integral to the success of their cities. Many of these municipalities have created strategies to compete globally for talent and as well as in the arena of economic development. 

In New York City, the New York Department of Youth and Community Development has engaged in an intentional plan to create educational opportunities for youth that could qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The New York Department of Consumer Affairs, Office of Financial Empowerment recently came out with a study of Immigrants’ use of financial services.

County governments like Montgomery County, Maryland and Santa Clara and San Mateo in California have partnered with philanthropy and the federal government to rethink systems for improving service delivery and policies that benefit the entire community.

In New York State, the New York State Office of New Americans has taken the significant step of creating a system of 27 neighborhood based Opportunity Centers throughout the state. The initiative seeks to increase access to English-for-Speakers-of-other-Languages (ESOL) training, preparing New Americans for the naturalization process, connecting New Americans to business resources to harness their entrepreneurial spirit, developing and leveraging the professional skills of New Americans, and reducing exploitation of New Americans by scammers and con artists through consumer protection initiatives. Below is one story about how the Opportunity Centers are being utilized.

Omar Omar
Last year, Omar Omar came to Syracuse as a refugee. Originally from Eritrea, a small country in the horn of Africa, he was forced to flee everything he knew due to the war and internal conflicts.
The first thing Omar did when he resettled was to go to the ONA Opportunity Center in Onondaga County to work on his English. Hosted by partners Catholic Charities Diocese of Syracuse, the ONA Opportunity Center provides immigrants English-for-Speakers-of-Other-Languages (ESOL) training, naturalization and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) assistance, and entrepreneurial assistance. While Omar knew some English, he was seeking to improve his skills. Omar took advantage of the ONA Opportunity Centers unique blend of expert teachers, technology and volunteers in its ESOL training. Omar followed up his training by obtaining a library card so he could continue learning.
Omar was seeking a job, so he began working with the ONA Opportunity Center staff, asked for help from the volunteers, and applied for many jobs. When he found out that a new hotel was hiring, Omar asked an ONA Opportunity Center volunteer to help him with the on-line application, an application that took well over an hour to complete. Omar was given an interview and hired for a full time position in the housekeeping department. While Omar continues to study nursing, he must first obtain his high school equivalency diploma. Omar’s goal is to help people and he does so whether at the hotel, in the Eritrean community, his neighborhood, or ultimately in the health care field.

 

At the federal level, the Department of Education, the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, through a contract with World Education, Inc. and its three partner organizations (National Partnership for New Americans, IMPRINT, and Welcoming America) is identifying innovative immigrant integration models that will help us understand how adult education can 1) improve immigrants’ access to effective and innovative English language programs, 2) support immigrants on the path to citizenship, and 3) support immigrants’ career development through training and education. The project has  produced a descriptive framework on theoretically-sound immigrant integration practices. Place based initiatives will grow from this partnership in 2014 in several locations across the country that will benefit from the technical assistance on the creation of networks for immigrant integration.

These and other game changing initiatives take into consideration the circumstances of immigrant newcomers. As the debate on immigration reform continues at the federal level, states and localities are forging ahead, creating opportunities for immigrants to contribute and to help build their communities.

Johan Uvin is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education

Finding Funds for Technology

The following appeared in the Teachers Edition on February 13 and could be helpful for High School CTE programs.

As the administration works to connect students to high-speed Internet through the E-Rate program, ED wants states and districts to remember they can use federal professional development dollars to support technology use. While ESEA and IDEA might not spell it out, states and districts can use some of the money to support “innovative technology-based strategies to personalize learning,” the Department says in a new Dear Colleague letter. For example, Title II funds can be used to help teachers improve their teaching through effective blended-learning practices.

Weekly OVAE Connection Recap

This week’s issue of OVAE Connection was devoted entirely to the release by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of the Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies, (PIAAC) results. PIAAC, also called Survey of Adult Skills, was conducted with nationally representative samples from 23 countries from adults ages 16 through 65. It assessed the cognitive and workplace skills needed for success in the 21st-century global economy. The results are designed to help public, private, educational, and philanthropic sectors work with a shared language and set of benchmarks to enhance cooperation around the development and implementation of economic, education, and social policies that strengthen adult skills. The results in literacy showed the U.S. to be somewhat below the international average. In numeracy, the U.S. scored well below the international level. To view the full article click here.

Sign up for OVAE Connection and other U.S. Department of Education newsletters here and access archived versions of OVAE Connection here.

Webinar Tomorrow on Career Pathways

Tomorrow the National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education (NCICTE) will host its second series of training on transforming high schools. The first of the five part series is a live webinar tomorrow, Friday, September 20th, from 12-1:30 PM EDT on Making Career Pathways Work: Curricular Design and Instructional Practice. Presenters will offer approaches to help strengthen educators’ capacity to design and deliver standards-based, integrated curriculum and improve instructional practice in career pathways. Register for the webinar here. If you are unable to attend the live webinar, an archived version will be available in the NCICTE Training Center.

Weekly OVAE Connection Recap

Did you catch this week’s edition of OVAE Connection, OVAE’s electronic newsletter?  This week’s edition discusses President Obama’s plan to address the rising cost of higher education in the U.S. and improve the value of a college education for students and families. Also featured this week is the Urban Institute‘s recently released report, Innovations and Future Directions for Workforce Development in the Post-Recession Era, which highlights workforce innovations and practices with both the most promise and the most challenges for ensuring a more effective U.S. workforce system. Read more of these articles in this week’s OVAE Connection here.

Sign up for OVAE Connection and other U.S. Department of Education newsletters here and access archived versions of OVAE Connection here.

Reminder! Open Comment Period on E-Rate

The open comment period ends September 16. However, until October 16, consumers are able to read and comment on others’ submissions during what is called a ‘reply period.’ This Notice of Proposed Rule Making is to inform the FCC on how to modernize the E-rate program. The FCC has published three main goals for the modernization effort:

  1. Ensuring schools and libraries have affordable access to high-speed broadband
  2. Maximizing the cost-effectiveness of E-rate purchases
  3. Streamlining E-rate program administration

In addition, there are other issues on which the FCC is seeking input, such as whether and how the FCC can permit schools to provide wireless hotspots using E-rate supported services.

“Strong Start, Bright Future” Back-to-School Bus Tour

It’s back-to-school time, which means that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and senior ED officials are hitting the road once again for the Department’s annual back-to-school bus tour. Visit the Department’s Homeroom blog to get more information on how to (digitally) join the bus tour, which begins today and continues through Friday. OVAE’s Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier and Sharon Miller, Director of the Division of Academic and Technical Education, are on the road as well, visiting sites in Texas and Arizona. We’ll be posting updates from them throughout the week so stay tuned!

Weekly OVAE Connection Recap

Did you catch this week’s edition of OVAE Connection, OVAE’s electronic newsletter?  This week’s edition includes articles on two new resources: the first is the release of an annual report on how children are faring in the U.S.. The second article explains a new initiative by NGA to assist States in improving education and workforce training. Check out this week’s OVAE Connection here.

Sign up for OVAE Connection and other U.S. Department of Education newsletters here and access archived versions of OVAE Connection here.