On Friday, August 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education issued a solicitation for companies to provide OCTAE subject matter expertise and assistance in advancing the use and development of emerging technologies to expand the capacity of Career and Technical Education (CTE). The five-year contract will enlist a contractor to design and administer public competitions and challenges for OCTAE. Included in the solicitation are task orders to organize and manage challenges for Career Counseling Apps and Education Simulations. Proposals are due not later than August 22, 2014 at 10:30am Eastern Time. You can view the full solicitation on FedBizOpps.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) invite you to submit comments and recommendations to help us implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed by President Obama on July 22. This new law seeks to maximize opportunities for youth and adults, with and without disabilities, to succeed in postsecondary education and in high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs in the 21st century economy. Specifically, we seek your comments to assist us as we begin the process of implementing the amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that were made by Title IV of WIOA and of the new version of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), in Title II of WIOA.
Your input can help us identify issues and concerns that we need to address in order to fulfill the expectations of WIOA, particularly as we develop draft regulations for public comment. While OSERS and OCTAE encourage you to respond to the specific questions that are set out below, we also encourage you to identify other issues that you believe are significant, and to provide your recommendations on how we should address them.
OSERS is particularly interested in comments on any or all of the following questions:
- What should OSERS consider in developing regulation or guidance for implementing performance measures in section 116 of WIOA with regard to the Vocational Rehabilitation Services program?
- In light of the new provisions in the Rehabilitation Act regarding competitive integrated employment in high-demand fields, what revisions should be made, if any, to the regulations related to the definition of employment outcome?
- What should OSERS consider in developing regulation or guidance related to transition services for students with disabilities, particularly the new provisions in section 113 of the Rehabilitation Act related to pre-employment transition services and transition services to groups in section 103(b) of the Rehabilitation Act?
- Section 109 of the Rehabilitation Act made significant changes regarding the provision of services to employers, including the requirement for performance measures related to the effectiveness of services to employers. How can OSERS best implement these new provisions?
- Subtitle G of WIOA made significant changes to the Rehabilitation Act related to supported employment. What should be considered in regulation or guidance on the new requirements specifically related to the provision of supported employment to youth with most significant disabilities?
OCTAE is particularly interested in comments on any or all of the following questions:
- In issuing definitions of performance indicators under Section 116, what should be considered in regulation or guidance when applying these indicators to adult education participants? How can the use of “measurable skill gain” best support services to low-skilled and limited English proficient individuals?
- WIOA emphasizes the importance of connecting job seekers and workers with the needs of employers and the regional economy. States will be required to report on their effectiveness in serving employers. What factors should OCTAE consider when defining how adult education and literacy programs may effectively serve employers?
- WIOA requires states to implement adult education content standards that are aligned to their standards under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. What are the timeline and implementation issues that should be considered in supporting this requirement?
- AEFLA adds new activities to adult education and literacy services, including integrated education and training and workforce preparation. What should be considered in regulation or guidance on these new activities?
The comment period has ended.
This is a cross-posted article from the SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership /SEIU Healthcare NW Health Benefits Trust in Seattle.
by Charissa Raynor and Johan E. Uvin
The U.S. workforce is in crisis. Today, 36 million adults in our country are considered low-skilled (OECD, 2013). This means about 1 in 6 American adults lack the ability to spell, read, and write and about 1 in 3 lack the ability to do basic math. These are the basic skills that 21st century employers need as they look to fill millions of current job vacancies. Meanwhile, the majority of working adults with low skills earn meager wages with little to no pathways for career advancement into the middle class. The skills gap also has serious social and economic implications for an individual’s overall quality of life. Adults with low skills are also four times more likely to report poor to fair health than those with higher skills. Needless to say, the economic consequences for our country are significant.
OCTAE is collaborating with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, specifically the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child and Human Development (NICHD) and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), to sponsor a call for research papers on the relationship of education and skills to public health for adults and their families, particularly for those most at risk for poor educational, economic, and health outcomes. This collaboration reflects a shared commitment to increasing the evidence base for the work that these agencies perform and to making that evidence freely available for all.
The theme of the call is: Improving the Lives of Adults and Families: Identifying Individual and Systems-level Factors Relating Education, Health, Civic Engagement, and Economic Well-being. This effort leverages and extends the recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on U.S. Health in International Perspective as well as the recently released Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) cross-national, population-representative dataset, the Survey of Adult Skills, part of the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), to hone in on issues specific to the U.S. and allow for rich international comparisons.
Note that the U.S. PIAAC Background Questionnaire includes questions on health status, health insurance coverage, sources of information about health issues, and preventive health practices (based on age and gender).
OCTAE, NICHD, and OBSSR plan to cover the publication fees associated with a select number of initial publications for this Collection. Authors interested in applying for financial consideration by these groups should submit a preliminary draft paper for funding consideration by January 30, 2015 to email@example.com.
See the full Call for Papers on the Public Library of Science (PLOS) blog site. PLOS is a peer-reviewed, highly competitive, open source journal that publishes online, freely-available articles related to science, medicine, and health. The Collection is essentially an open-ended special issue where related articles can be easily grouped. The Collection will stay open for additional articles past the initial deadline for consideration.
Providing access to foundation skills for the 24 million working Americans who have low skills is acknowledged as a cornerstone in the Vice President’s Ready to Work report, issued on July 22, 2014. Jeffery Zients, Director of the National Economic Council, and Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, co-authored a blog highlighting the importance of on ramps, career pathways, and on the job training for this population. The article is posted on the White House site and ED’s Homeroom site.
The recent passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act along with the executive actions in the Vice President’s report include significant changes and lay the foundation for the transformation of adult learning in our country.
Please see the article and share it through your networks to raise awareness and urgency of the importance of ensuring all Americans are ready to work.
On July 22, President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law. The signing ceremony was a showcase for the importance of national workforce education and development to economic recovery. It included the release of Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity, a federal-wide effort to ensure “that federally funded training programs are singularly focused on getting more Americans ready to work with marketable skills.”
WIOA will become effective on July 1, 2015, the first full program year (PY) after its enactment. However, the act includes several provisions that become effective on other dates. For example, Governors must submit Unified State Plans pertaining to workforce investment programs, adult education and vocational rehabilitation to the Secretary of Labor on March 1, 2016. In addition, the WIA performance accountability section remains in effect for PY 2015, with the new WIOA performance accountability provisions taking effect at the start of PY 2016 on July 1, 2016.
Following the signing, both the departments of Labor and Education announced WIOA implementation resources and outreach efforts to their stakeholders. Bookmark the OCTAE WIOA Reauthorization website of resources for information on the act and links to the resource websites of the department of Labor and vocational rehabilitation.
An historic bipartisan, bicameral bill that amends and reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) through fiscal year 2020, has been passed by both the Senate and House and is headed to President Obama for signature. H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which first passed in the Senate on June 25, cleared the House on July 9. The bill makes key improvements to the nation’s workforce development system, helps workers attain the foundation skills necessary for 21st century jobs, and fosters a modern workforce to help make American companies be competitive. The bill emphasizes the creation of career pathway programs, improved integration and coordination of education and training services, development of sector based strategies, and streamlined service delivery to individuals, especially for underprepared youth and adults.
Key provisions include:
- requiring states to develop unified plans and to use common accountability measures
- eliminating the “sequence of services” provisions of WIA
- providing the ability to fund training services through contractual arrangements, opening expanded opportunities for community colleges to participate in the federal workforce program
- emphasizing regional planning and service delivery and sector based strategies
Stay tuned to the OCTAE Connection newsletter and the OCTAE blog for more information on how this new legislation will impact adult education, community colleges, and career and technical education programs.
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and the National Center for Education Research (NCES) awarded eighteen new research grants under the Partnerships and Collaborations Focused on Problems of Practice or Policy program (CFDA 84.305h). In FY 2014, the Institute competed three topics under this program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research, Continuous Improvement Research in Education, and Evaluation of State and Local Education Programs and Policies. The topics support collaborations between research institutions and state or local education agencies on education issues of high priority for the education agency. Total spending for these awards is approximately $18.6 million. Click on the grant titles below to learn more:
Awarded in the Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research Topic