Join the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) Thursday May 22, 2014 at 2pm (EDT) for a webinar to learn about strategies for integrating employability skills into high quality CTE programs. The webinar will address why employability skills matter from the federal and state policy and employer perspectives and demonstrate the potential uses of OCTAE’s newly updated Employability Skills Framework website. Implementation strategies for workforce systems, student organizations, and community colleges will also be shared.
OCTAE, in partnership with World Education, Inc., was pleased to welcome the leadership teams from the five selected networks in the national initiative, “Networks for Integrating New Americans.” Network leaders convened in Washington, DC on April 10th and 11th for the coordination of the project’s technical assistance.
A highlight of their visit was a meeting with members of the White House Domestic Policy Council and other federal partners to discuss relevant federal programs and challenges the community sites face.
See the White House blog post for more information about the networks and the convening.
The five sites include:
- White Center Promise in King County, WA
- We Rhode Island Network in Metropolitan Providence, RI
- Lancaster Refugee Coalition in Lancaster City and County, PA
- Idaho Refugee Community Plan in Boise, ID
- Networks for Integrating New Americans of the Central Valley in Fresno, CA
(Front row from left to right) Cheryl Hiester, Karisa Tashjian, Susan Finn Miller, Sophie Tan, Jesus Martinez, Liset Caudillo, Susan Mann, Silja Kallenbach, Tara Wolfson, Lisa Cooper, Mina Amin, Laurie Bohm-Gibson, Andy Nash, Araceli Méndez. (Back row from left to right) Tim Shenk, Gary Hobday, Kimberly Kohler, Brady Dunklee, Jennifer Brennan, Lisa Agao, Fern VanMaren, Steve Daschel, Madeleine Beaubien Taylor, Susan Downs-Karkos, Linda Faaren, Kien Lee, Kara Fink. (Not pictured: Eva Millona)
Add your voice! Tell us what works and where states need help to develop career pathways systems. The response period begins April 23 and will be open for 45 days. Save the date May 1 from 2 to 3:15 p.m. EDT for a webinar for Q & A on this topic.
The departments of Education (ED), Labor (DOL), and Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the release of a Request for Information (RFI) to support the development of high-quality career pathways systems. The RFI solicits information and recommendations from a broad array of stakeholders—those in the public and private sectors, as well as in state, regional, tribal, and local areas.
The RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the participating federal agencies.
As detailed in the RFI, “… ensuring robust economic growth, a thriving middle class, and broadly shared prosperity will require a significant expansion of the skills and knowledge of American workers over the next few decades.” To that end, ED, HHS, and DOL are exploring opportunities to improve the alignment of their programs at the state, tribal, and local levels so as to support robust career pathways systems. The three agencies will analyze the information collected through the RFI to inform and coordinate their policy development, strategic investments, and technical assistance activities and to improve the coordination of federal policy development with investments at the state, tribal, and local levels.
This RFI marks the first time that the three departments are jointly collecting and analyzing information on “…the benefits of and challenges to aligning diverse funding streams, programs, and stakeholders around career pathway systems; and the current and potential future use of career pathways systems to help at-risk populations gain skills and access the middle class.” At-risk populations identified in the RFI include low-income youths and adults, out-of-school youths, individuals with disabilities, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients, tribal communities, English learners, immigrants, rural populations, veterans, currently and formerly incarcerated individuals, dislocated workers, and trade-affected workers.
Career pathways systems are seen as a promising strategy for meeting the skills challenge by offering distinct but complementary workforce, education, and support services that are aligned with the needs of business and industry. These systems have also demonstrated promise for meeting the individual—and complementary—goals of the three federal agencies. This RFI builds on the 2012 joint letter to promote interdepartmental career pathways approaches and on related efforts across the federal government to improve the coordination and cost effectiveness of workforce investments and economic development.
As stated in the RFI, it is expected that the analysis period will not only deepen the departments’ shared vision and understanding of career pathways systems, but will also generate essential information that can “inform policy development and the next generation of investments and technical assistance by providing us with greater clarity on the facilitators and obstacles to career pathways systems development.”
RSVP for a webinar about the RFI will be held May 1 from 2 to 3:15 p.m. EDT. (Must be logged into Workforce3One to register.)
62 million Americans are not online. Millions of families do not have home Internet access for learning, civic engagement, connecting with family, or employment searches. Read on to learn how OCTAE’s coordination with national partners is creating solutions.
Everyone On (www.everyoneon.org) is a national non-profit that aims to eliminate the digital divide. Through Everyone On, individuals are able to find Internet service as low as $10 a month, low-cost computers, and free digital literacy courses. In 2013, Everyone On launched a three-year, multimedia, bilingual Ad Council campaign to “help motivate the millions of Americans who do not have the digital literacy skills they need to succeed become connected and take advantage of free digital literacy training in their communities.”
The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) has entered an agreement with Everyone On to pre-qualify enrolled students, teachers, and programs for its computer and Internet offers through a unique hub located at EveryoneOn.org/adulted. This allows students to take full advantage of the opportunity to get Internet access in their homes, while assisting programs to create hot spots of wireless connectivity in classrooms on a flexible and portable basis.
How can you get involved?
See what offers are in your area! At EveryoneOn.org/adulted, enter local zip codes in the search box and answer the question that pops up. This information about whether there are children in the household on National School Lunch Program determines whether you will be eligible for cable Internet deals from companies like Comcast and Cox.
Adult education students, teachers, and programs are pre-qualified for wireless deals from Mobile Beacon, Mobile Citizen, and FreedomPop, regardless of family status. To see only the wireless deals, reply No to the question.
In addition to viewing the Internet service offers, EveryoneOn.org will present offers for affordable, refurbished devices and information about digital literacy training sites – including adult education sites, American Job Centers, and local libraries.
Help is also available at a call center, 1-855-EVRY1ON.
Note: Due to the regional nature of cellular and cable service markets, there is not full-country coverage of these offers. Rural areas in particularly have sparse coverage. Everyone On continues to expand the offers to new areas and new providers. To view all of the Internet service offers, search the eligibility page at http://www.everyoneon.org/offer-and-eligibility-overview/.
Who is eligible?
- Students: Adult education students and their families can purchase a router for home use (either one that connects a single device or one that connects up to 8 devices), sign up for unlimited Internet service for $10 a month with no long-term obligation, and purchase devices such as high-end Android tablets for as little as $150.
- Teachers: Adult education teachers and their families can also take advantage of this offer, so that more teachers can integrate technology into their teaching.
- Programs:The purchase routers, service, and devices through this offer, so that more classrooms and learning spaces can become “hot spots” to support the integration of technology into adult education programming, is an allowable use of AEFLA funds. Programs are also strongly encouraged to update their contact information in America’s Literacy Directory (https://www.literacydirectory.org/), which coordinates with the Everyone On Locator Tool.
While this offer is unique to adult education students, teachers, and programs, Everyone On serves all low-income families and adults. Residents of local housing authorities have a similar arrangement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For blog readers who are not attached to adult education or housing programs, you can learn more about Everyone On and how to partner with them by visiting EveryoneOn.org/partner.
Students (juniors and seniors) are dually enrolled in high school and SUNY Adirondack as non-matriculated students. They spend half of their day attending classes that are co-led by college faculty and BOCES instructors, and the other half of their day taking Regents-level courses at their home school. Their work is largely project-based, requiring them to solve real-world problems generated by the program’s extensive group of business partners. A current project involves the students developing an MRI cooling system for Queensbury-based Philips Health Care.
As part of the visit, we received a student-led overview of the program, a brief tour of an advanced manufacturing lab, and then conducted two round tables–one with administrators, teachers, faculty, and employers, and a second with teachers, parents, and students. What stood out among the comments, one employer said, “The wonderful thing about this program is that it helps students ‘get to yes!'” By this, the employer stated that many of today’s new and current employees see only challenges and barriers to their work. They lack the problem-solving skills to analyze data, synthesize information, work through failure, and persist to resolution. This program is helping students to gain these and other essential skills to help them prepare for college and careers!
Indeed, our nation needs many more high schools and CTE programs like this across the nation. In so doing, we’d be helping many more students “get to yes!”
Sharon Miller is the Director of the Division of Academic and Technical Education in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
Department of Labor to Host Live Stream Talk on Workforce System Innovations
Department of Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez invites education stakeholders to a live stream talk on exciting and impactful workforce system innovations being implemented by DOL’s Workforce Innovation Fund grantees. Secretary Perez will kick off this first event in the Eye on the Workforce Innovation Fund Stakeholder Engagement Series, providing opening remarks on the impacts that these innovations will have on our nation’s workforce system. He will be joined by Kate McAdams, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Acting Assistant Secretary Eric Seleznow.
Register now to participate in Innovating @ the Speed of Business on March 27, 2014 at 2:15 PM ET. Workforce Innovation Fund grantees in Ohio and Pennsylvania will share their strategies for engaging businesses and creating viable pathways.
During the event, everyone is welcome to post questions on Twitter using the hash tag #workforceinnovation. The project team will monitor questions on Twitter and answer them from the Labor Department Twitter account (@USDOL) during and after the event.
This stakeholder engagement series is designed to provide a national forum for the public workforce system to discuss the power and promise of innovation. It will afford ETA the opportunity to engage with its valued stakeholders and to learn about promising practices that can successfully help businesses thrive and Americans get good jobs.
Clara Knipp from Tipton, Missouri, and Brackston McKnight from Jacksonville, Texas were selected as the 2014 National Ag Day Essay Winners.
Clara’s essay entitled “Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths To Feed” compares the seemingly daunting challenge of feeding the world to the moon landing and encourages farmers, researchers, and educators to take “one small step” to meet that challenge. Clara is an Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) student and member of the Tipton, Missouri FFA chapter.
Brackston used still frame animation to win the top prize in the Video Essay category. Brackston is President of his FFA chapter and is planning to continue his education at Sam Houston State or Texas A & M University in his pursuit of a career in agribusiness.
Clara is scheduled to be recognized by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on March 25 at the Celebration of Agriculture Dinner where Brackston’s video will also be shown.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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