Last week the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a special OVAE- and NCES-funded report on the state of postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) in the United States at an event hosted by the New America Foundation.
REMINDER: The New America Foundation will be streaming the release event of the OECD’s U.S. country report on postsecondary CTE tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET. Click here to access the live stream. If you’re not available to watch the event live, it will be recorded and archived on the New America Foundation’s website afterward.”
The Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) of the U.S. Department of Education is pleased to announce the upcoming release of a special OVAE- and NCES-funded report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the state of postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) in the United States.
Johan Uvin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for OVAE, was a featured panelist at the 2013 U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference in Austin, TX on June 18. The session, which focused on “Transforming Career and Technical Education for the Global Economy,” was moderated by Mimi Lufkin, the CEO for the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE).
Since 2007, LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC) has worked to redesign its approach to high school equivalency preparation by providing contextualized, career-focused GED bridge classes that integrate basic skills instruction with occupational content to prepare adult learners to pass the GED exam and transition more effectively to postsecondary education and training or the workforce.
MDRC conducted a random assignment evaluation of LAGCC’s GED Bridge to College and Careers programs, the results of which were released last week. Preliminary evidence strongly supports LAGCC’s redesigned, contextualized approach.
The first day of the 2013 National Meeting for Adult Education State Directors largely focused on what is needed to achieve truly transformational change in adult education. The case for transforming our adult education system was made clear during the afternoon panel discussion, moderated by OVAE Deputy Assistant Secretary Johan, that included OVAE Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier; Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education; and Mona Mourshed, Director for McKinsey & Company.
All three panelists emphasized the moral imperative and economic necessity of this work. As Roberto Rodriguez noted, “Our efforts to build a strong economic engine that can drive our economy moving forward really depends on our work to build stronger education and training pathways for individuals to develop the skills and levels of literacy that they need to be successful in our economy…we cannot afford to leave any adult learners behind.”
Assistant Secretary Dann-Messier emphasized the dire consequences our society will face if we do not achieve this kind of transformational change to serve more adult learners: “I am afraid we will have a permanent underclass in our society that is more or less permanently disconnected from the labor market, which will have tremendous social and economic costs for our society.”
Mona Mourshed noted the challenge of educating young adults to transition successfully to the workforce is an acute one felt in many education systems around the world, evidenced by the fact that more than 75 million young people globally are unemployed and more than twice that number are underemployed. McKinsey & Company recently completed a multi-country research project examining the often weak connection between employment and education. The McKinsey & Company study focused on youth and young adults aged 15-29, which includes a significant part of the adult learner population targeted by AEFLA-funded programs. Mona Mourshed summarized a number of the key findings of this research during the panel discussion:
- First, educators and employers often operate in parallel universes, and there is very little agreement between them on the work readiness of graduates.
- Second, many young adults (over 40% of those surveyed by McKinsey & Company) feel they lack sufficient information to make an informed decision regarding what they should study and where they should study.
- Third, many young adults and employers are relatively disappointed in how well postsecondary education has prepared individuals to succeed in the labor market.
- Fourth, not all young adults are in the same position when it comes to work readiness skills, and the interventions required to increase the employability skills of different subgroups of students are often very different. Likewise, some employers are already meaningfully engaged with education institutions in designing education and training programs, while others are not.
All three panelists agreed education and training programs, those aimed at youth as well as adults, need to more fully engage employers and other key partners to transform the learning experience for their students and provide them with opportunities to earn credentials with real labor market value that lead to careers in high-demand fields and provide family-sustaining wages.
Last week OVAE hosted several visitors from the 12 for Life program to learn more about their innovative education, training and employment program aimed at vulnerable youth in Carrollton, GA and Florence, AL. The program, which was developed by Southwire in 2007 to address the interrelated dropout and skills crises among youth in Georgia, targets many of the most vulnerable youth who are at the greatest risk of not completing high school.
Last month OVAE hosted a webinar on emerging community college correctional and reentry education models and the many contributions community colleges can make to promote more effective reentry of incarcerated individuals. During that event, Brian Walsh from Peninsula College in Port Angeles, WA discussed the many innovations his institution has implemented to strengthen the education and training programs offered at Clallam Bay Corrections Center and Olympia Corrections Center. There was a lot of interest in particular in the way Brian’s programs have been able to use technology inside the prison. Brian has shared with us a list of many of the technology resources his institution utilizes, which you can find here.
In case you missed the live event, you can watch the full webinar and download a copy of the presentation slides here.
The Institute for Education Science (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education released FY 2014 funding announcements for five grant competitions in education and training research last week. There are three opportunities in particular that may help advance research and evaluation on postsecondary and adult education:
Update: Registration is now open for the webinar. Click here to register.
The third event in OVAE’s 2013 community college webinar series will be held on Tuesday, May 14 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. EDT. Building on the National Dialogue on Career Pathways held last October, this event will bring together foundation, state, and local community college representatives to discuss the central role of community colleges in career pathways systems. Whitney Smith from the Joyce Foundation will discuss the importance of career pathways systems and the Joyce Foundation’s work to expand the development of these efforts in the Great Lakes region. Dr. Jay Box, Chancellor of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, will present on the numerous statewide initiatives underway in Kentucky to ease postsecondary access and transitions for youth and adults. The webinar will also highlight two promising local career pathways programs. Deborah Davidson, Vice President for Workforce and Economic Development at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wisconsin will discuss the work of her institution to provide on-ramps for low-skill adults to access postsecondary education and training. Lupe Chavez, Director of High School Programs at South Texas College in McAllen, Texas will also present on South Texas’ efforts to expand partnerships with local high schools to increase dual enrollment and promote postsecondary transitions for young adults.
OVAE hosted the second event in its 2013 Community College Webinar Series on Wednesday, April 10 in collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). This event focused on emerging community college correctional and reentry education models and the many contributions community colleges can make to promoting more effective reentry of incarcerated individuals.