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

Newsletter

Volume 2, Number 4, 2008

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

 

In this issue:

  • Conference News
  • Workforce Development News
  • CRC Consortium News

CONFERENCE NEWS

  • Southeastern Employment and Training Conferences: Spring, March 9-12 in Myrtle Beach, SC; Fall, September 14-17 in Biloxi, MS
  • National WorkKeys Conference, Indianapolis, April 29-May 2, 2008. Register now!
  • NC Workforce Development Partnership Conference, October 22-24 in Greensboro, NC
  • National Workforce Association Annual Legislative Conference, Tampa, FL, November 29-December 2, 2008 at the Waterside Marriott. This conference, the major event of USWorks!, brings you up close and personal with members of Congress who are key to the reauthorization of WIA and upon whom we rely for support in DC. Registrations are now open

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEWS

  • At a time when the economy of our country is experiencing some difficulties, it is pertinent to think about how we can do better in the future. If you interact frequently with youngsters, you might agree that we need to do a better job of educating many of them in terms of financial matters. The National Endowment for Financial Education offers a High School Financial Planning Program that has been successfully evaluated as improving the understanding of graduates. They offer free curriculum and advice on this very important topic, and you might want to share the url below with educators who may be looking for resources.

    http://www.nefe.org/HighSchoolProgram/tabid/146/Default.aspx

  • It’s no great surprise to anyone who works in education that high-quality teachers lead to successful students. According to the Finnish Ministry of Education, all teachers there must have master’s degrees, and only 10 percent of undergraduates, the cream of the crop, are accepted into the teacher-training program. It turns out that, as is true with this country’s Teach For America (which routinely attracts five times more applicants than it accepts), restricted access to a program increases its attraction. In Finland, it’s not the money, but the status and prestige of teaching that attracts the best !
  • The following is reprinted from the March 7 edition of Education Week, . . .

    By next fall—only months before she leaves office—U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings plans to have five teachers on her staff and set up a group of 20 ad hoc advisers still working in classrooms.

    “It’ll be very useful in both directions for teachers to understand what the issues are at the macro level,” she said in a recent interview. “But it’s also hugely beneficial for us to make sure we know: Is this policy implementable, doable, realistic, and righteous by the classroom teacher?”

Better late than never?

  • A coalition of education groups came together in the mid-1990s to draft model standards for school leaders that would refocus the profession on student learning. Since then, the resulting Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards have been used or adapted by more than 40 states to guide thier own preparation, licensure, and evaluation programs for principals and superintendents. The standards have recently been revised and interestingly, they have been changed very little. The revision work was undertaken because of what has been learned over the last ten years from research into how leaders impact teaching and learning. This data has now been embedded in the standards. The challenge for states is still how to prioritize inside the standards to drive change. More information is available from the National Policy Board for Educational Administration.

CRC CONSORTIUM NEWS

  • I have heard recently from a number of people who have given me updates on activities in their states. I am delighted to be able to update both our CRC matrix and the contacts page on the CRC web site, and it is gratifying to be able to add new names to the NOCC newletter mailing list. Please look at the web site to make sure that your state is accurately represented.
  • Good news from Central Texas this week! Alamo Community College's Northeast Lakeview College has received a grant from Alamo Worksource, their local WIB, to pilot the CRC in the region this year. This means that the CRC is now being supported in two parts of Texas--Houston being the other--so perhaps this will encourage other parts of the Lone Start State to grab the bull by the (long-) horns and join the effort.
  • It is hard to keep up with the rapid deployment of the CRC in many states. New Mexico reports that it has passed the 5000 mark and is issuing CRC's at about 500 per month! And there is news from Iowa that the governor has recently provided $500,000 for the CRC initiative to go statewide. Then, in TN, they reset the counter when the pilots were concluded and statewide deployment was initiated in October 2007, and they have issued 1805 CRCs since then. This makes a grand total of 6196 from the beginning of the pilot period during the preceding year.
  • Marcia Olsen in Alaska has written to bring good news from that state. Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, 6th & 8th graders must take benchmark assessments in Applied Math, Reading for Information, and Locating Information by using WIN courseware placement tests, and 11th graders must take the ACT WorkKeys® assessments in Applied Math, Reading for Information, and Locating Information.
    The initiative is a partnership between two state agencies--the Department of Education & Early Development in K-12 public schools; and the Department of Labor & Workforce Development at the Job Centers.The first year is being funded through Department of Labor money but it is hoped that over the next few years state money will be used.

    They are making the rounds of employers to get support for the CRC. BP (British Petroleum) has used WorkKeys for several years already in hiring some of their process technicians on the North Slope oil fields. Dorothy Hanson at the University of Alaska does the testing for them.

    NANA Management, which is a large Alaska Native Corporation is getting ready to use WorkKeys. Several other large employers have expressed their support. The State of Alaska is looking into using WorkKeys in their hiring process for a few state government jobs. Also, they issued their first 3 CRCs last week! They were presented to 3 adult job-seekers at a public ceremony by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and the "First Dude" (Governor Sarah Palin's husband, Todd Palin).
  • From NC comes news of two major employers, Kimberly-Clark and Curtiss Wright Controls, Inc. who are posting job ads. that include the North Carolina CRC as a preferred qualification. This is a great advancement, and testifies to the hard work that Stephanie, Pam and so many others do in this leading state.
  • When SC initiated its statewide CRC effort, they worked with ACT to identify ALL South Carolinians who were eligible to receive the certificate. While not all of these CRCs have been awarded (people are sometimes hard to find!), the result is that the numbers from SC have taken a dramatic jump. Below is information from Melinda Eagle Peterson who leads the statewide effort in SC:
  • Status as of February 5, 2008
    62,000 Certificates have been earned (identified) from 2002 through October 2007. Over half have been requested by partner sites, printed, and mailed.
    The number of Certificates earned in 2007 was 73% greater than Certificates earned in 2006.
    1,000 (WorkKeys) Profiles have been completed, involving at least 250 employers.
    The number of Profilers has increased from 36 to 54.
    Progress has been made with ACT on employing simpler and less-expensive methods to obtain Certificate data and build a statewide database of scores.
    Return on Investment
    If WorkReady SC reduced turnover costs by only 15% for the current employers that use WorkKeys, their collective annual savings would be $2.92 million, a 177% return on the SWIB’s investment ($1.65M). When using inputs exclusively for the manufacturing sector, the results show a turnover savings of $3.2 million and a return on investment of 195%.

  • It is disturbing to many CRC Consortium members that there appears to be a growing attempt to ignore or at least to denigrate the enormous amount of hard work and expenditure of public funds (begun in 2003) by governors, state agencies, and local organizations that resulted in the rapid deployment and widespread acceptance of the CRC as a local and regional skills credential. The CRC was intended to be, and it is being used as a truly portable credential that crosses state and regional lines. This fact is guaranteed by the standard use of the three WorkKeys assessments and attainment levels. There has never been an example of non-acceptance of a state-issued CRC in a different state. It is surprising and disappointing therefore that the National CRC (developed in 2006 by ACT, Inc) is being touted by some as the only CRC that is guaranteed to be accepted anywhere and everywhere.

Hundreds of people worked long and hard on the CRC initiative before the NCRC was ever conceived to ensure that every CRC certifies the same skills EVERYWHERE.

It just doesn't matter to employers and career seekers what the "first name" of the CRC is-- it can be Florida, North Carolina, New Mexico, or National! It is portable, well-recognized, and accepted all over the country, and hundreds of thousands of Americans, both employers and career seekers, have been helped by our collective efforts.

 

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© NOCC, March 2008