SM

Confronting the Skills Crisis And Workforce
Challenges of the New World Economy

Newsletter

Volume 3, Number 3, April 2009

Please submit articles and news items to the NOCC office for inclusion in future newsletters and on the CRCC web site.

Previous NOCC newsletters are available at the NOCC web site.

In this issue:

  • Conference News
  • Workforce Development News
  • CRC Consortium News

CONFERENCE NEWS

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEWS

  • There is considerable nationwide interest in preparing the workforce beyond technical skill sets, and this approach is supported by the new federal funding streams that address economic stimulus. The topic of Life Skills is now being emphasized, and there are some terrific efforts to address this broader issue in workforce development. Many of you were introduced to Starting Out! at the recent Southeastern WorkKeys Conference in FL, and there was a positive response to state-specific materials for high school students, Navigating Life After Graduation and Building Essential Life Skills. These life skills materials include previously unaddressed topics such as housing; wellness; researching careers; interviews; employment rights and responsibilities; social security; workers' compensation; citiznship responsibilities and benefits; health care; the consumer role; insurance; saving and investing; emergency preparedness; volunteerism; conservation; social and peer issues; money, banking and credit; taxes; public service; etc.

    The NOCC has learned that the Starting Out! offerings have now been expanded significantly to include web-based offerings and assessments, and to address additional specific state information. Check out the web site for more information on materials for:

    • Potential employees (Starting Out--In the Workplace),
    • Veterans (--After Military Service),
    • Immigrants (--In America),
    • Bank employees (--In Banking),
    • Native Americans,
    • The previously incarcerated (--Re-entry)

    Several 2010 editions are already available.

If you know of any other particular need (your state-specific editions or professions such as health care, teaching, etc.), please contact Starting Out! directly because they are able to develop appropriate on-line and hard copy materials very quickly. Look for the Starting Out! display at the National WorkKeys Conference next month.

  • It is reported in the April 8 edition of Education Week that Martha J. Kanter, the chancellor of the Foothills-DeAnza Community College District in CA has been appointed to the third highest position in the US Department of Education. Ms. Kanter will oversee the higher education portfolio as an Under-Secretary of Education. This appointment emphasizes President Obama's commitment to and reliance on community colleges as a major component of the higher education system. Approximately half of the nation's undergraduates come out of community colleges, with an additional 5 million other adults attending to obtain job skills and GEDs.
  • Also reported in Education Week are the results of a survey conducted by the American Association of School Administrators. Superintendents were asked to prioritize projects in their districts that would be funded by federal stimulus funds. The following projects were allocated a High Priority rating:

    54% Modernization of schools and repairs

    57% Classroom technology

    40% Safety and security measures

    39% Connectivity (wiring, etc.)

    37% Professional development

    31% Machines (copiers, faxes, etc.)

    34% Textbooks

    with

    16% CTE instructional materials

    19% CTE equipment at the bottom of the list

    These results are very worrying to many people who see an old trend surfacing once again.

  • Prakash Nair raises his concerns about the trend above in "Don't Just Rebuild Schools--Reinvent Them", the Commentary section of the Education Week magazine. He states that "If we simply repair broken structures, we will ignore the real problems with American education while giving renewed life to a model of teaching and learning that has been obsolete since the end of the industrial era." Read the full commentary by clicking here.
  • The Obama Administration has outlined four education "reform assurances"--teacher quality, strengthening standards and assessments, turning around low-performing schools, and enhancing data systems. These are laudable goals but unfortunately, "teacher quality" has been translated into assessing teacher performance AFTER the teachers are in the classroom. It is disappointing to many who are involved in teacher preparation that more emphasis is not being placed on improved recruitment of more high quality students, higher selection standards, and better training BEFORE teachers are allowed into classrooms.
  • Social networking sites like Facebook, and MySpace, are very popular but they get mixed reviews. Some people see these applications as a curse on our society while others--including employers--see them as having a significant ROI for businesses. Now those employers are being asked to justify these ROI claims. In the March edition of Information Week, Andrew Conry-Murray makes the following claims about consumer social applications:

1. They can "bridge geographical and organizational information divisions by moving conversations out of e-mail and hallways and into shared spaces" (blogs, etc.);

2. Conversations "become searchable and serendipitous connections" are often made;

3. Communities of interest spring up around subject matter rather than organizational hierarchies;

4. Social apps. let people "add context to informational stores which helps others identify what's useful to them and can make search results more relevant";

5. People can share links to a content source;

6. Enterprise social networking helps people to find and connect with co-workers who may have useful information or previous experience with a client or branch of research;

7. Customers and employees can share information and ideas on how to improve products and services;

8. Employers do not need to buy additional software or hardware to improve IT performance to provide connectivity.

TransUnion, one of the big three credit report companies that runs on a lot of custom software code, has released ROI data that show an estimated $2.5 million in savings after spending about $50,000 on a social networking platform. These savings come from buying less "stuff" to improve IT performance.

Now the company is studying usage data to learn who is best at solving business problems that have been raised in the social network. As a consequence, TransUnion is experimenting with new job descriptions to emphasize the problem-solving component of jobs.

CRC CONSORTIUM NEWS

  • The CRC Consortium now includes 47 states! The NOCC has added Hawaii to the CRC Consortium. Stay tuned for more details on CRC deployment in that state. Click here for the revised Consortium matrix. Contact the NOCC if your state is not placed correctly.
  • Wyoming is making great progress with 45 sites now issuing the CRC. The state total reported last week is 562 certificates but that number will be increasing quickly now that the ground work has been done and efforts are truly underway. Visit the state web site at http://wyomingworkforce.org/crc/
  • Very exciting news from Oregon! Elaine Crawley, the CRC Coordinator for the state reports that on April 9 Gov. Kulongoski signed the first Oregon Career Readiness Certificates and these were awarded to 256 Oregonians. He also announced that 31 businesses in the state have signed on as champions of the OCRC and will use the OCRC in their hiring practices.
  • An excerpt from the Governor's press release follows:
    “This certificate is designed to further develop an Oregon workforce ready to meet the needs of the changing global economy and workplace,” Governor Kulongoski said. “During this difficult economic time, this program will also serve as a tool to help connect Oregonians looking for work with employers looking for a skilled workforce.”
    “Oregon needs to ensure we have the best trained and a highly qualified workforce if we want to compete in a global marketplace,” the Governor continued. “This program will help us measure the skills of Oregon’s workforce while also helping Oregonians obtain the further education and training they need to obtain higher wage jobs.”

    The Oregon Career Readiness Certificate was initiated with the Governor’s Workforce Investment Act funds and will continue to be funded through workforce dollars provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  • If you have not done so, please join the CRC User's group on Yahoo. If you have already joined, please remember to bookmark/check the site for information and to address issues posted there. This forum will be ineffective as a communication tool unless the majority of consortium states are represented.
  • Several states were recently moved from the middle column to the first column in the matrix of states as deployment of the CRC has progressed dramatically. There are now 22 states in the full deployment column.
  • The NOCC is anxious to receive updates from many states, but the currently available numbers of CRCs issued may be viewed at the CRC web site.

    From these numbers, here is the current Top 10 list:

        1. South Carolina 80,657
        2. Indiana 66,023
        3. Georgia 47,792
        4. Michigan 44,764
        5. Ohio 37,000
        6. Oklahoma 28,322
        7. North Carolina 25,915
        8. Virginia 20,193
        9. Alabama 17,961
        10. Louisiana 17, 566
  • If you are planning to attend the National WorkKeys Conference next month, be sure to correct anyone who asserts that the NCRC is the only portable CRC being issued. As we all know, hundreds of thousands of state and local CRCs have been issued since 2004 with no portability problems being reported by the recipients.
  • If you have not yet done so, please download the NOCC logo to your state web site and create a link to the site. Please also add a link to the CRC Consortium site (www.crcconsortium.org). Thank you.
To subscribe to free newsletters from the NOCC, click here and write Newsletter in the subject line. To unsubscribe, write Unsubscribe in the message line.

The NOCC is a 501(c)(3) organization supported by public donations. To make a contribution to the NOCC, click here, or call 804-310-2552.

© NOCC, April 2009