the Skills Crisis And Workforce
Challenges of the New World Economy
3, Number 5, November 2009
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assessments have long been a useful tool for HR professionals but
they are also invaluable to career seekers and employees seeking professional
development. Going beyond the basic knowledge, skills, and abilities
that educators and trainers focus on, competency assessment also includes
an analysis of values and behaviors. The benefits to individuals as
well as organizations is well covered in an article by Selena Rezvani
in the October
issue of the NCDA's Career Convergence.
grade math scores stagnated for the first time in two decades on a
prominent nationwide test, prompting calls for new efforts to improve
teacher content knowledge and stirring discussion of the potential
benefits of setting more-uniform academic standards across states.
The results on the National Assessment of Educational
Progress, released last week, marked the first time since 1990
that math scores at the elementary school level did not rise.
Scores among 8th graders on NAEP, sometimes referred to as “the
nation’s report card,” continued to climb, as they have
consistently over the past 20 years.
Since 1990, students’ NAEP performance in 4th and 8th grade
math has been a story of steady, if slow, progress. Policymakers have
been more puzzled and concerned by the leveling-off that occurs among
high school students, whose scores on a separate NAEP, designed to
measure long-term trends, have been nearly unchanged since the late
latest results show that 4th graders’ scores were the same in
2009 as they were in 2007. By comparison, those scores jumped from
2000 to 2003, and rose by at least 2 points in the two testing cycles
prior to the current one. At an event where the scores were officially
released, David Driscoll, the chairman
of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for
NAEP, drew a connection between the 4th grade scores and many elementary
teachers’ shaky knowledge of math content. Mr. Driscoll,
a former Massachusetts commissioner of education, backed up his argument
by pointing to NAEP data showing that 8th graders
taught by teachers with undergraduate math majors scored 9 points
better on average than those who were not.
He noted that Massachusetts has revamped its testing requirements
for teachers seeking certification to mandate that they receive a
separate passing score in math, as opposed to simply achieving an
overall passing score across subjects.
“Strong content knowledge needs attention,” Mr. Driscoll
said. Effective elementary and middle-grades math educators, he added,
“provide the building blocks for mathematics.”(Reprinted
from Education Week (online), October 23, 2009)
new term has arisen in the field of workforce development--the
working worried. It refers to those who have
not been laid off but who hold their breath every day, hoping that
it doesn't happen to them. Similar terms such as "the nervously
employed' and "those suffering from recession rumination"
are also being used to describe these survivors. While people who
are still working may not be in the forefront of your mind, try to
show compassion and avoid the following tendencies:
refrain from counseling that everything will soon get back
to "normal"; curb your tendency to remind these people how
lucky they are. Caitlin Willams has additional sound advice for career
couselors and others in her article The
Working Worried--How Career Development Practitioners Can Help".
are going well in Colorado. 1400 CRCs have been issued across the
state since October 1, and CRC promotional activities are being planned
by the Governor's office.
Swales reports from Golden, CO that the Jefferson County Workforce
Center has issued over 175 CRCs in the past 8 months and in addition,
they have been busy proctoring additional WorkKeys assessments at
the request of local employers. Increasingly, employers are asking
for the Listening and Fit assessments. Apparently, there is considerable
interest in the Performance, Talent, and Fit assessments and the 120
lessons in the Career Ready 101 tool.
from MI is that, although the manufacturing sector is extremely depressed,
employers there also continue to be demanding soft skill training
and assessment, and they are interested in the ACT offerings. Unfortunately,
they want this all to be completed before hiring.
There is no funding or will to do any training once hiring has occurred.
October 16, after a very short period of deployment in WY, the Governor's
Office, in partnership with the Department of Workforce Services celebrated
the issuance of the 1,000th Career Readiness
Certificate and its recipient, Tosha Cate of Rock Springs.
" I am extremely proud of the way our partners around the state
- from the community college system, the Department of Education,
the Governor's office, our local workforce centers, the Department
of Corrections - everyone has just come together to make this credential
possible for our jobseekers in Wyoming," said Joan Evans, Director
of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.
" The next phase of this initiative will be to further educate
employers on the value of hiring jobseekers that possess this credential
and the ability to demonstrate their foundational work readiness skills,"
Pat Brown, Center Supervisor for Rock Springs Workforce Center applauded
the recipient of this special certificate. " We are really pleased
with the recognition of Tosha as the 1,000th recipient of Wyoming's
Career Readiness Certificate. She is truly a remarkable young mom
who is taking positive steps to acquire the necessary job specific
skills to secure a career with a self-sufficient wage for her and
her family so she can continue to improve her life," said Brown.
"Obtaining the Career Readiness Certificate has been part of
that pathway for her and we want to congratulate her," Brown
said. Brown went on to recognize the positive partnership the center
has shared with the local college. "We want to congratulate and
thank Western Wyoming Community College as an enthusiastic, 'can-do'
partner in this Career Readiness Initiative. Their willingness to
handle the details of administering the WorkKeys?® Assessment,
to complete data transfer, and to accommodate the needs of our workforce,
our businesses and our industry has just been invaluable to success
of the entire initiative."
WY, the Career Readiness Certification Initiative is a joint partnership
between the following entities: The Governor's Office, Wyoming Community
Colleges, Wyoming Department of Education, Wyoming Department of
Corrections and the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.
Oregon comes news of a great start on the statewide CRC initiative.
830 certificates have already been issued.
Virginia also has made a great start. Gov. Joe Manchin III has issued
10, 306 CRCs since last October, with
an 85% cetification rate among job seekers. Of this total, 5787 certificates
(1104, Bronze, 3471 Silver, and 1212 Gold) have been issued through
the statewide program. The remaining 4519 CRCs have been awarded in
high schools and career/technical schools across the state. The statewide
effort has been supported financially by the Benedum Foundation. Workforce
West Virginia now has three authorized WorkKeys profilers who are
offering profiling services to employers across the state. Keytrain
training is being offered through a partnership between Workforce
West Virginia and the WV Department of Education.
October 2009, Wisconsin Job Service (part of the Department of Workforce
Development) launched a pilot program to Unemployment Insurance (UI)
claimants who attend Re-employment Services (RES) sessions. In order
to qualify to take each of the WorkKeys Assessments, participants
are required to earn 80% or higher on KeyTrain level 3. Job Service
has also initiated an innovative statewide call center to schedule
customers into WorkKeys assessments. Using ARRA funds, Job Service
is covering the costs for interested RES participants to take each
assessment up to two times. Job Service is also working on a cost
recovery model to open WorkKeys and the CRC to Job Center partners,
the general public, and employers.
more than two years of issuing more than 25,000 state CRCs, Tennessee
is now issuing NCRCs. No word on exact numbers or on whether there
has been resulting confusion among employers and job seekers. The
Department of Labor has formed a partnership with Technology Centers
so the CRC will now be offered in every Career Center and Technology
Center in the state.
is the current CRC Top 10 list of states
Carolina 105, 115
Carolina 35, 836
Lakeview College in TX is working on a grant extension that will allow
them to continue their work on deployment of the CRC. At this early
stage, Melissa Weathersby reports 53 completions--15 Gold, 32 Silver,
and 6 Bronze.
updated CRC numbers and other state news to the NOCC to ensure that
the web site (and the Top 10 list!) are current.
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).
Thought For The Day . . .
successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks
others have thrown at them.”
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NOCC, November, 2009