the Skills Crisis And Workforce
Challenges of the New World Economy
4, Number 4, December 2011
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Development and Education News
DEVELOPMENT and EDUCATION NEWS
November 2011, an important white paper was released by the McGraw-Hill
Research Foundation. Developing
Human Capital: Meeting the Growing Global Need for a Skilled and
Educated Workforce was co-authored by Janet
Bray, Executive Director of ACTE, Ron
Painter, CEO, National Association of Workforce Boards, and
Mitch Rosin, Director, Adult Education
& Workforce Initiatives at McGraw-Hill. Subtitled Business
and Education Working Together Can Reduce Barriers to Employment
and Create New Pathways to Career Development and Job Growth, this
paper is a timely reminder that partnerships are at the heart of
our education and workforce development systems and can result in
creative solutions to current and emerging issues.
the following: "If
we want a different, richer, better, deeper, more sustainable future
we will have to choose it and pursue it with vigour. Humility overcomes
hubris. Generosity triumphs. And the only place to start is in our
classrooms. Are you ready for this?"
this: Do you know what this equation means:
= K + T + L
you are intrigued and would like to know more about these two things,
here for the complete text of Impossible
and Necessary: Are You Ready For This?
by Sir Michael Barber, former
Director of Education and Skills Development (aka Secretary of Education)
in the Blair administration in the UK. The paper is from a speech
he made in 2009 but it is still incredibly relevant to on-going discussions
on education in this country and around the world. It will give you
a lot to think about!
we don't address this skills problem, American businesses will lack
the world-class work force needed to compete at a global level, and
many Americans will remain out of work instead of accessing the high
quality jobs of today and tomorrow". Workforce
development professionals and educators have been making this sort
of comment for many years with only moderate success in effecting
change in their systems. This latest quote comes from Penny
Pritzker, a Chicago business executive who is advisory board
chair of the Aspen Institute's skills
gap campaign. She was one of several private sector representatives
who were quoted in the Associated Press in June of this year in the
Skills Gap Leaves Firms Without a Worker Pipeline.
the 1990s, the British government decreed that Technology Education
become part of the K-12 curriculum in the UK. This meant that students
were able to engage in hands-on learning that combined math, science,
engineering, and technology. For example, kindergarten students were
able to design castles on a computer and then recreate them in cardboard
on the floor of the classroom, and older students became engaged in
real-world exercises connected with business, architecture, and marketing.
Now, in the US, the acronym STEM is everywhere
in education. There's nothing like a catchy acronym and grants from
the NSF to energize educators but the difference between (US) STEM
initiatives and (UK) Technology Education is that the UK curriculum
is based on a generations-old emphasis and concern about art and design.
In fact, the UK course was labeled Design and
Technology. This arts component was deemed a requirement not
only because packaging and architecture etc have a very artistic and
literary component. (Have you ever purchased an item because of its
color or cute presentation, or have you ever been frustrated with
poorly written directions on a product purchase?) but
also because of the recognition that students often learn better when
they APPLY theoretical material.
at last, in the US, there is concern that the arts have been left
behind in the rush to embrace STEM projects . Steve
Jobs raised the issue of the arts in education when he said
“It is an innovation strategy for America.” Coming from
the creator of the Macintosh computer, iPhone and all the rest,
this is a powerful statement.
Wilson, the creator of If
I Had a Hammer has
been promoting the same message for many years as he teaches 5th
graders to build a small house while considering what goes into
a project like that. Design, color, and architecture axioms interweave
with the math and science required to complete the house. And of
has promoted both STEM and the arts for two decades. Anyone
who has ever attended a FIRST Robotics,
VEX Challenge, or LEGO League competition
will agree that art, writing, and other communication skills feature
largely in preparations for and judging of those competitions.
now there is a move to expand the acronym from STEM
to STEAM so that Arts will be
more about the change from STEM
to STEAM, published this week in Education
his Washington Examiner article The
Higher Ed Bubble is Bursting (12/3/2011),
Glenn Harlan Reynolds reiterated his
claim of two years ago that higher education is "an overpriced
good, propped up by cheap government-subsidized credit". This
is a definition of inflation that he believes has lured both borrowers
and lenders into a mess. Reynolds claims that a bachelor's degree
on its own no longer conveys intelligence and capability. He lists
self-discipline and the ability to defer gratification as examples
of traits that allow us to enter and stay in the middle class, and
he cites the markers for possessing those traits as things like
homeownership and a college degree. The mistake, he says, is identifying
the markers as being the causes of middle-class
Reynolds says, has already faced its higher ed. bubble and consequently,
programs there that produce unempoyable graduates are being shut down.
is a provocative article, as is Adam Davidson's
article in the New
York Times last week, The
Dwindling Power of a College Degree" in which the author
warned that the only thing young people and other potential workers
can do in this rapidly changing world is to "go to school, learn
some skills and prepare for a rocky road".
reading: That Used To Be Us: How
America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back,
Thomas L. Friedman & Michael Mandelbaum, (Farrar, Straus
& Giroux, 2011)
Fall issue of Techniques
magazine from ACTE was devoted entirely to credentialing efforts.
The NOCC was asked to submit an article on the evolution and current
status of the CRC around the country. For a copy of this article,
November, the Consortium and the exciting CRC evolution and expansion
that is going on across the country were both on display through two
presentations at national conferences.
in Chicago, "Adult Learners in a Changing Lanscape"
was very well-attended, and "The
Career Readiness Certificate in a Sustematic Approach to Building
Careers" created considerable interest.
Slides used are available
at the ACTE
Conference in St. Louis was also high with an audience
consisting mainly of high school CTE educators. It was gratifying
to have an enthusiastic audience of 25 at 8 a.m. on Saturday, the
last day of the conference! Slides from this presentation are available
Consortium will again be represented at the Careers Conference
presented by the University of WI-Madison, in Madison, February 1,
you visit the CRC
Consortium web site, you will notice a significant change
to the numbers matrix.
to a new web site from ACT, (www.workreadycommunities.org)
we have been able to update CRC numbers from states whose
numbers were very old or non-existent, and to add states that were
previously not listed. All 50 states are now represented in the
matrix. Please note: This
new web site ONLY reports the numbers of NCRCs issued in each state.
the numbers of NCRCs has been obtained from the web site, those
states are marked with an asterisk and the web site is cited.
states that are issuing their own CRCs (e.g. MS, VA, AR), the chart
reflects those numbers as submitted to the NOCC by a CRC professional.
cases where a state is issuing BOTH certificates, we have included
the highest total we have, whether it has been submitted or obtained
from the web site.
would be most helpful
if you would check out the entries for your state and report any problems
or discrepancies to the NOCC
a result of the update to CRC numbers, here is the current Top
news from Mississippi. The CRC initiative
is now being led by the College Board and they report that more than
28,000 state CRCs have been issued so far. Our new contact in the
state is Rodney
Hodges and the state web site is www.mccb.edu
Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development
(CCWD) is the lead agency for the administration
of Oregon’s National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). Below
is news from Katelyn
Roberts about the remarkable growth of the CRC program in her
In 2009, the NCRC was piloted in 13 sites
across the state, which provided valuable feedback to CCWD for statewide
implementation and delivery. Governor Kitzhaber officially launched
Oregon’s NCRC statewide in January 2011,
with Oregon’s One-Stop Centers, WorkSource Oregon (WSO) designated
as the primary “front door” to the NCRC for employers
and job seekers.
To date, 9,538 [updated
by NOCC August 2011] certificates have been issued and 312
employers have signed a letter of commitment, stating they would
prefer the NCRC in their hiring practices.
Arkansas, comes news on the evolution and growth of the CRC initiative,
together with testimonials from employers in the state. Some key employer
comments from the report are reproduced below:
WorkKeys approach, through the Career Readiness Certificate, provides
us with a validated process for selecting those applicants for initial
interviews. This assessment reduces the time and effort required
to identify a candidate with basics skills needed for the job. An
additional benefit is knowing that the applicant has a strong desire
to improve their skills thus providing a valuable asset to our company.
Human Resources Representative
the past we needed many, many persons to attend our orientations
and to then decide to accept employment with us to help us build
the best railcars in the country. At the time we selected individuals
for employment in the traditional way, that is, we sat with each
prospective employee in an interview setting and attempted to solicit
relevant information from him/her about job history, work habits,
strengths and weaknesses. We were quite successful in finding the
number of individuals we needed. But did we really know much about
each person’s basic abilities? The answer is a resounding
believe that . . . we are now orienting only individuals who have
the basic abilities to read, to do basic math, and to read and interpret
charts and graphs and who are likely to be able to learn our jobs.
We also believe that these individuals will make for a better overall
work force and that they will perform better and stay on the job
longer, thus reducing turnover.
Human Resources Director
American Railcar Industries, Inc
business is becoming more and more complex with new technology and
customer standards certifications. As a result; the skill level
required of employees has increased. The CRC program has given us
a way to verify applicants have the prerequisite skills to be successful
on the job in a relatively short period of time. It has also helped
DWS and Human Resources to match employee skill sets with the right
the recent economic down turn, we have been one of the few employers
growing and adding employees. People in the community realize in
order to work at Anchor Packaging they will have to obtain the CRC.
So; there has been more emphasis placed on the value of education.
years there has been a need for high schools and other educational
institutions to prepare non-college bound students for other careers.
The CRC has met that need as a way for educators and businesses
to prepare students for transition from school to the workplace.
Blake, Human Resources Manager
Anchor Packaging, Inc
Career Readiness Certification program has added tremendous value
to our company by eliminating our need for internal new employee
testing. We are adding money back to the bottom line without sacrificing
the quality of our applicant pool. We are excited about this partnership
and have been thrilled with the results.
Director, Human Resources
FutureFuel Chemical Company
CRC process has helped us better understand the skill level upon
hire. We are able to attract a more prepared and qualified applicant
base which has increased our employee retention rate.
Human Resources Manager
For the Day
the human brain was so simple that we could understand it, we would
be so simple that we couldn't.
wishes for a happy holiday season and a successful, healthy 2012.
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NOCC, November 2011