“For the one million young men and women who are out of school and who are out of work, this program will permit us to take them off the streets, put them into work training programs, to prepare them for productive lives, not wasted lives […] It will help those small businessmen who live on the borderline of poverty. It will help the unemployed heads of families maintain their skills and learn new skills. ”These words were spoken by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 20, 1964 as he signed the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA), a keystone of the “War on Poverty.” The EOA created several programs across a number of federal agencies that aimed to “eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this Nation by opening to everyone the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work, and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity.” EOA was a legislative milestone that highlighted the need for investments in high quality education for youth as well as adults. In addition to programs like Head Start, Job Corps, and VISTA, EOA authorized federal grants for adult basic education, which marked the beginning of federal statutory involvement in adult literacy. This Law set the stage for other crucial adult education legislation to address the issue of illiteracy such as the Adult Education Act of 1966 and the National Literacy Act of 1991.
On Wednesday, June, 4, 2:00-3:00 pm ET, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) will host the latest event in its Eye on the Workforce Engagement Fund Stakeholder Engagement Series. Hosted by ETA Deputy Assistant Secretary Eric Seleznow, the webinar, Advancing System Alignment and Career Pathways Innovations, will feature Workforce Innovation Fund grantees from California, Rhode Island, and Washington State. Mr. Seleznow will lead the panel in a discussion of emerging innovations in creating effective, integrated, and sustainable career pathways systems.
Get engaged! Tweet questions for the panelists during the June 4 webinar to @USDOL using #workforceinnovation and post comments and questions about engaging business/industry and advancing career pathways on the bottom of the project web page.
If you missed the Department’s Innovating @ the Speed of Business live panel discussion in March, you can view it now.
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.)
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
Last week, the White House announced a new grant opportunity to build America’s next generation workforce. The grants require a local education agency and institution of higher education to partner with their local workforce investment system and an employer to improve and expand programs that enable high school students to gain an industry-relevant education while earning college credit. In addition, students will be able to participate in work based learning as well as receive individualized career and academic counseling.
The U.S. Department of Labor will make up to $100 million available from H-1B revenues for approximately 25 to 40 grants. The deadline for applications is January 27, 2014! You can find information about the Youth CareerConnect grant program and how to apply at http://www.doleta.gov/ycc.
The U.S. Department of Education announces Phase II of the Advancing Career and Technical Education (CTE) in State and Local Career Pathways Systems project.
The first phase enabled Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Oregon to receive targeted assistance to align their education, workforce, and economic development systems to better meet the need of employers and workers in their respective states.
Under Phase II, three new states will be selected through a competitive application process to participate in this two-year project. States are invited to create a cross-agency state team that would to drive its project. The technical assistance provided under the project is designed to assist states in the development of comprehensive Career Pathways in highway design and construction and transportation-related careers, by aligning a state’s On-the-Job Training Supportive Services (OJT/SS) activities, funded by the Federal Highway Administration, with CTE Programs of Study and Career Pathways System development efforts.
You can find more information about the competition that focuses on transportation-related careers including highway design and construction on the PCRN.
States should submit their proposals by November 5, 2013 to Jobs for the Future which is under contract to manage the national initiative for OVAE.
OVAE will be contributing insights and updates at the 2013 National Career Pathway Network conference in San Antonio, Texas on October 14 and 15, 2013. The event is hosted by the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD) and will feature speakers and sessions to help educators, workforce development professionals, business and industry experts, and economic development partners build and enhance career pathways in their communities.
The National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education (NCICTE) will be presenting the first webinar in a four-part series on Building a System of High-Quality Career Pathways: High School Transformation and District Supports, beginning tomorrow, July 10. Attendees will learn about college and career readiness and its significance for high school students. To register for the first webinar, which will take place on July 10, 2013 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. EDT, click here.
Participate in the live webcast on Adult Career Pathways in Correctional Education and Re-entry Programs by tuning in online and submitting questions via social media. The event will be held July 1, 2013 from 2:15 – 3:15pm EDT. Host Laura Lanier, Division Director, Kratos Learning, will lead a panel featuring:
- John Linton, Director, Office of Correctional Education, U.S. Department of Education, OVAE;
- Renee Collins, Program Administrator, Jail Program, Elk Grove Adult and Community Education, CA; and
- Brian Walsh, Corrections Education Director, Peninsula College, WA
The discussion will be broadcast live from the Correctional Education Association Conference, being held in Cleveland, OH.
To view the webcast online, click here to register.
Participate in the the live webcast on Applying Lessons Learned from Career Technical Education to Adult Career Pathways by tuning in online and submitting questions via social media. The event will be held tomorrow, June 11, 2013 from 8:45 – 9:45 AM CDT. On the panel will be:
Albert Palacios, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education
Blake Flanders, Vice President for Workforce Development, Kansas Board of Regents
Brian Durham, Senior Director for Academic Affairs and Career & Technical Education, Illinois Community College Board
Moderator, Hope Cotner, Vice President, U.S. Projects, Center for Occupational Research and Development
To view the webcast online, click on the following link to register: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07e7jr6i6z4388cb0e&oseq=&c=&ch=