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Community college leaders from 10 states endorse fundamentals of NSC’s Community College Compact in letters to Senate HELP Committee

On July 16, 2018, leaders of 10 community college systems across the country—including those in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Virginia—sent letters to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray, urging them to modernize federal higher education policy to better reflect the needs of today’s community college students. The letters emphasize the importance of adopting a job-driven Community College Compact—a set of policy proposals developed by National Skills Coalition with the input of a range of stakeholders; including academic institutions, employers, community-based organization and workforce development boards.

In today’s economy, 80 percent of all jobs require some form of postsecondary education or training—a reality that has led to an influx of individuals enrolling in the higher education system with a different set of objectives than first-time, full-time students. Community colleges serve approximately 9 million students every year of all ages and backgrounds; most of whom can be classified as non-traditional. These individuals often work full or part time, are parents to dependent children, and/or fall in the age range of 28-40.

Given the significant role they play in preparing students for the workforce, community college leaders took the opportunity to outline their shared priorities and urge federal lawmakers to:

Eliminate the bias against working learners in need of federal financial aid

As our economy continues to change, more skilled workers are needed today than ever before. Approximately 80 percent of all jobs require some form of education or training, and more than 50 percent of jobs can be classified as “middle-skill”—meaning they call for more than a high school diploma but not a four-year degree. As a result, many community colleges are aiming to increase access to high quality, short-term programs that lead to in-demand credentials. However, most federal financial aid available today is reserved for students who are enrolled in programs of study that are at least 600 clock hours over 15 weeks—an outdated policy that fails to account for the training needs of individuals in our 21st century economy.

Therefore, community college leaders urged lawmakers to consider legislation—such as the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S. 206) led by Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH)—that would expand Pell grant eligibility to students enrolled in employer-approved programs that are at least 150 clock hours of instruction over 8 weeks.

Make higher education and workforce outcomes data comprehensive and transparent

Since higher education is becoming more closely linked with finding success in the labor market, data about the outcomes of postsecondary programs should be available to students, parents, employers and policymakers. However, as community college leaders noted in their letters, existing legal restrictions on the collection of student-level data continue to hinder the accessibility of this important information.

To help provide consumers with better data and relieve institutions of duplicative reporting requirements, community college administrators called for action on the College Transparency Act (S. 1121, H.R. 2434). Introduced by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Warren (D-MA), Cassidy (R-LA) and Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representatives Mitchell (R-MI) and Polis (D-CO), this bipartisan bill aims to establish a secure, privacy-protected postsecondary student level data network administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), to which colleges would be able to safely and easily report their data. The data would then be available as a decision-making tool for current and prospective students—making it easier for individuals to improve their lives through education and training.

Ensure the success of today’s college students by strengthening support services

Due to the diversity of the student populations they serve, community college leaders recognize the growing importance of support services such as career counseling, childcare and transportation assistance. While states and higher education administrators across the country are working hard to implement career pathway models that provide nontraditional students with the services they need to succeed in the postsecondary education system, their efforts receive little support at the federal level.

To address this issue, community college leaders called for the consideration of the Gateway to Careers Act (S. 2407)—legislation introduced by Senator Hassan (D-NH), along with Senators Kaine (D-VA), Shaheen (D-NH) and Reed (D-RI). This bill would make federal funding available on a competitive basis to institutions that are working in partnership to serve students experiencing barriers to postsecondary access and completion.

Provide targeted funding for valuable partnerships between community colleges and businesses

Community college leaders work with industry stakeholders every day to provide high-quality training and academic instruction to future workers through sector partnerships. However, Congress has not invested in these partnerships partnerships at a scale that would sustain economic competitiveness since the expiration of the Trade Adjustment Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program in FY 2014. The purpose of the TAAACT grant program, which allocated $2 billion in funding to states from FY 2011-2014, was to increase the capacity of community colleges to address the challenges of today’s workforce through job training for adults and other nontraditional students.

Due to the proven impact of community college-business partnerships, community college leaders called on lawmakers to pass legislation that would increase the resources available for these collaboration models —such as the Community College to Career Fund Act (S. 2390). Introduced by Senators Duckworth (D-IL), Smith (D-MN), Kaine (D-VA) and Feinstein (D-CA), this bill would authorize competitive grant funding, allowing academic institutions and businesses to work together to deliver valuable educational or career training programs to students and workers.

The voices of these and other community college leaders across the country are undeniably important, as Congress looks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act for the first time since 2008. While the House and Senate have not passed Higher Education Act legislation this Congress, action is expected early next year. To view the letter, click here.

Posted In: Higher Education Access, Sector Partnerships, Adult Basic Education, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Virginia
Goodwill to Participate in Virginia Longitudinal Data System

In 2018, the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) will begin receiving individual-level data from the members of the Virginia Goodwill Network (VGN). VGN is a consortium of six regional Goodwill organizations, non-profit community-based organizations (CBO), providing collaborative workforce development programs and services to tens of thousands of Virginians each year, especially those with barriers to employment. The collaboration will enable VGN to better serve individuals and the state to better understand the full scope of workforce training activities within its borders.

A number of states, such as Washington and New Jersey, collect student-level information from CBOs and private institutions through state regulation, or the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) process. ETPL include all of the programs that are eligible to offer training to individuals receiving Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) aid. Virginia is one of the first states to collect this data outside of the ETPL process. If expanded to include other CBOs, this process could fill one of the most common gaps within state longitudinal data systems.

In order to share its data with VLDS, VGN will function like participating state agencies. As a federated data system, all data in VLDS is maintained within participating agencies and linked together pursuant to specific requests. In order to submit data to VLDS, Goodwill is planning to create its own database (at a total cost of approximately $20,000), containing individual-level information about program participants. VGN will occupy a seat on VLDS’s governing board, so that they can approve or deny requests to use their data.

Under the current agreement between Goodwill and VLDS, Goodwill will receive deidentified individual level information about participants’ outcomes, including whether they find employment within the state. Goodwill plans to partner with the University of Richmond to better analyze this data and utilize it for program improvement.

VLDS also will benefit from Goodwill’s data. The state plans to use the data to conduct comprehensive research about Virginia’s workforce education and training programs, and to better meet state and federal reporting requirements.

WDQC would like to congratulate VLDS and Goodwill on their innovative agreement. We hope that other states are soon able to do the same, so that all states can paint more complete pictures of their education and workforce systems. 

Posted In: Virginia, Workforce Data Quality Campaign

Governors unveil 2017 workforce proposals

  ·   By Sapna Mehta
Governors unveil 2017 workforce proposals

Governors across the nation are proposing new measures to increase middle-skill training.  Among the most common proposals are state support for apprenticeships and new investments in community college training, including free tuition. 

California Governor Jerry Brown proposed an additional $150 million for grants to support community colleges to develop and implement “guided pathways programs, an integrated, institution-wide approach” to improve student success.  The Governor also proposed utilizing $923,000 in federal funds to expand existing apprenticeship programs and create new programs in non-traditional and emerging industries.

Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan proposed $41 million for the Going Pro Program, a job training program that focuses on in-demand occupations in advanced manufacturing, construction, information technology and healthcare. The Governor also spoke of the need to work with legislators and the private sector to increase the number of registered apprenticeships in the state.

Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada proposed a $21 million investment in career and technical education programs at the state’s four community colleges. 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf requested $12 million in new funding to establish the Manufacturing PA initiative – a partnership between the Department of Community and Economic Development, research universities, community colleges, and other training providers to foster growth and innovation in manufacturing.  Of the $12 million, $5 million is for a manufacturing training-to-career grant program, which would facilitate partnerships between manufacturers and community colleges and technical providers, to link job training to career pathways through programs such as apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and paid internships. The Governor also proposed $4 million to expand apprenticeship opportunities, including grants for employers of up to $2,000 for each registered apprentice.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin proposed a $5 million increase in state funds and a new $5 million program for the Department of Workforce Development to make grants to the Wisconsin Technical College System for in-demand certification programs for high school students. The Governor also proposed $5 million for a registered apprenticeship program.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan proposed the Student Debt Relief Act, which would allow “Marylanders to deduct one hundred percent of the interest paid on their student loans from their state income tax return.” Additionally, as part of the Governor’s $5 million 2017 Maryland Jobs Initiative, he proposed opening six new P-TECH high schools, and funding to support students currently enrolled in existing schools.  P-TECH schools partner with employers and colleges to provide secondary to postsecondary pathways in STEM.   The Jobs Initiative also includes a $3 million investment in cyber job training grants, modeled after Maryland’s Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) workforce training program.  The Governor also announced a $1 million investment in Maryland Partnership for Workforce Quality, to encourage employers to invest in employee training.   

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposed the $4 million Learn to Earn program, which would offer scholarships for training and certificates in certain fields, as well as transportation and child care subsidies to make it easier for people to attend the trainings.

Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island proposed $2 million for the Community College of Rhode Island Westerly Job Skills Training Center, which prepare students for jobs in advanced manufacturing in partnership with employers, and $2 million for the state’s TechHire initiative for training in technology related fields.  The Governor also proposed free tuition for two years at the state’s public colleges: University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island.  Additionally, she proposed expanding P-TECH high schools.  

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb proposed investing $2 million to create regional Jobs Ready Grants to help incumbent workers earn in-demand credentials or certificates.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe proposed a budget enhancement of $1 million for the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program, which supports 124 different training programs at Virginia’s Community colleges.  The Governor also proposed requiring community colleges to award college credit for apprenticeships and other related programs, expanding access to in-demand credentials for non-traditional students. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the Excelsior Scholarship Program, a “last-dollar scholarship” to provide free tuition at the state’s public two- and four-year colleges to residents earning up to $125,000 annually.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam proposed tuition-free community college education for all adults without a post-secondary degree.  Currently, adults without post-secondary degrees can attend Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology tuition-free through Tennessee Reconnect, and only recent high school graduates can apply for “last-dollar scholarships” to attend the state’s community colleges through Tennessee Promise. Funding for the new adult scholarships would come from the state’s lottery proceeds.

Ohio Governor John Kasich proposed piloting the Accelerated Completion of Technical Studies program, which would provide financial support to low-income students pursuing associate degrees at community colleges for in-demand jobs.  This is modeled after a similar successful program at the City University of New York.

Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas proposed free tuition at two-year colleges and technical schools for high school students who enroll in high-demand fields, such as computer science or welding.  The grants, known as Arkansas Future Grants, would be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  They would be paid for by repurposing $8.2 million in general revenue funds from other workforce and higher education grants.

Posted In: Arkansas, California, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin
VLDS to Create Dashboards Depicting Virginia's Rural and Urban Divide

Late last month the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) announced that it would partner with the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) on the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative (RVHI) to create data visualizations using longitudinal data.

The RVHI aims to narrow the significant disparity between educational attainment rates in Virginia’s rural communities (which look like a horseshoe on the map), and its urban areas. The divide is so significant that if these two regions of Virginia were considered states in a national ranking of educational attainment, Virginia’s urban areas would rank second, while its rural areas would be tied for 50th place. To narrow this divide, the RVHI places community college employees into high schools to serve as career coaches, and provides funding to help students obtain a postsecondary credential.

The VLDS will further this mission by publishing online a variety of dashboards intended to provide stakeholders with a clear visualization of the rural/urban divide in Virginia. Some of the images will be used for RVHI program accountability. These dashboards will depict the outcomes of students served by the RVHI (such as GED attainment, enrollment in postsecondary education, and certificate attainment) or will compare those outcomes with students who weren’t served. Other dashboards will simply compare rural and urban areas on metrics including unemployment rates, median income, and median employment rates.

The dashboards will be funded with money from the state’s Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grant, provided by the U.S. Department of Labor to enhance state workforce longitudinal databases. 

VLDS hopes to release the dashboards by June 2016. VLDS also plans to use its longitudinal data to create a handful of other dashboards, including one which would show the number of people in the state receiving workforce development services.

One of the key actions of WDQC’s policy agenda is to promote the development and use of dashboards in order to provide useful information to the public, program administrators, and policymakers. 


Posted In: Virginia, Workforce Data Quality Campaign

Governors propose workforce initiatives

  ·   By Bryan Wilson,
Governors propose workforce initiatives

Governors are unveiling their legislative proposals for 2016, including proposals to boost workforce skills. The governors of California, New York, Virginia, and Idaho are among those announcing new skill building proposals. 

California Governor Jerry Brown proposed $200 million to implement the recommendations of the California Community College Board of Governors’ Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation, and a Strong Economy. The funds would enable community colleges to expand access to additional career technical education courses and programs and to implement a regional accountability structure aligned with the Task Force’s recommendations.  Community colleges would be expected to collaborate regionally with their educational, workforce, labor, and civic partners to expand access to career technical education programs that meet each region’s workforce needs. In addition, Governor Brown proposed $48 million for California’s Career and Technical Education Pathways program, and proposed repealing the Program’s sunset in order to make it permanent. The Governor also proposed $1.8 million to enhance apprenticeship training.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced proposals focused on opportunity youth.  According to the Governor’s Office, New York will face a shortage of as many as 350,000 workers for jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. “This “skills gap” is one of the greatest challenges facing New York State’s economic development goals.” To respond to this challenge Governor Cuomo proposed an additional $31 million to enable another 19,000 youth to participate in the summer youth employment program. The Governor proposed “Apprentice SUNY,” a new $5 million program for 2,000 students to receive classroom and on-the-job training through new registered apprenticeships linked to degrees or certificates. The Governor proposed creating the state Pre-Apprenticeship Program. The Program would enroll young adults 18 to 24 years of age in pre-apprenticeships that would prepare them for direct entry into registered apprenticeships on public work projects. The Governor also proposed expanding the budget of the Urban Youth Jobs Program to $50 million to serve 10,000 young people. The Program provides tax credits for employers who hire unemployed, disadvantaged youth. 

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe requested an appropriation of $24.6 million to enhance noncredit workforce programs at Virginia’s community colleges. Of that amount, $12 million is to increase the capacity of existing noncredit workforce programs for occupations with the greatest need for workers, $6 million is to increase student interest in these programs, and $6.6 million is to incentivize those programs that are most successful, using the funding to reduce course costs and allow for further increases in the system's noncredit workforce programs' capacity.

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter proposed a budget enhancement of $3.8 million to expand postsecondary training in fields experiencing skill gaps. The initiative would build training capacity at six post‐secondary institutions to produce more graduates for high‐demand jobs in health care, information technology, mechatronics, and transportation. According to the Governor’s Office, there is an average of 2,180 annual job openings across these four occupational areas. However, capacity in the programs that train in these four areas is limited, with only 542 graduates per year, and an average wait list of 825. The additional funding would expand capacity by 410 seats for jobs that have a median hourly wage of $19.10 per hour

As more governors announce their proposals for 2016, National Skills Coalition will keep you abreast of the developments.

*This blog is part of series on governors proposed state plans for 2016. You can read the second blog post here.

Posted In: Career Pathways, Virginia, New York, Idaho, California

Virginia Governor expands apprenticeships

  ·   By Brooke DeRenzis
Virginia Governor expands apprenticeships

It’s National Apprenticeship Week, and those looking to learn what states are doing to expand registered apprenticeship may be interested in an Executive Order recently issued by Virginia Governor Terence McAuliffe. Signed last month, Executive Order 49 authorizes new resources to increase registered apprenticeships in Virginia – lifting up the training practice as a key strategy for closing the state’s middle-skill gap.

The Executive Order explains that registered apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with apprenticeship-related instruction, which Virginia’s community colleges or career and technical education centers usually provide. It also underscores the fact that the U.S. Department of Labor recognizes over 900 occupations as appropriate for registered apprenticeship. Some of these occupations are in fields experiencing skill gaps in the state.

The Executive Order seeks to expand the use of apprenticeship by state government agencies and key private sector industries, such as Information Technology, Cybersecurity, and Professional and Business Services. It dedicates $400,000 in fiscal year 2016 to help cover the costs of apprenticeship-related instruction for state agencies ($120,000) and private companies in key industries ($280,000). It also requires the state to develop a process for businesses that sponsor registered apprenticeship to apply for federal or state training funds available through Virginia’s workforce system. 

The responsible state agencies must have the programs authorized by the Executive Order in place by January 1, 2016.

Posted In: Virginia
NSC partners host lawmakers at workforce development, training, and education facilities

Over the summer, while Congress was out of session, many NSC partners hosted site visits with their U.S. Senators and Representatives or State Legislators. Site visits are an opportunity for elected officials to visit workforce development, education, or training facilities and see programs in action. It is an excellent way to educate lawmakers and their staff and show them the importance of workforce development funding. Many of these site visits were follow-ups to the advocacy visits that NSC partners made during the 2015 Skills Summit last February.

Ohio: Towards Employment

Senator Sherrod Brown's Special Assistant Matthew Keyes visited Towards Employment in Cleveland OH. Towards Employment’s mission is to empower individuals to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through employment.  The group offers job-readiness training. Participants learn job search skills as well as the soft skills needed to succeed on the job. They also have access to legal services and vocational training. During their meeting they were able to showcase their programs and discuss workforce development policy.   

Virginia: Dan River Region Collaborative 

Senator Tim Kaine and his team met with members of the Dan River Region Collaborative and ABB employees to tour the facility and discuss economic development issues and career and technical training.  ABB is a global company which operates and manufactures power and automation technologies that enable utility, industry, and transport and infrastructure customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impacts. As co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, Senator Kaine recently introduced the JOBS Act to expand federal Pell Grants to students who enroll in short-term job training programs. The bill would help workers afford high-quality training in advanced manufacturing and other industries. (Click here to support this bill). The Dan River Region Collaborative was founded to address workforce development in the Dan River Region of Virginia. Utilizing a sector strategy approach, the Collaborative promotes regional partnerships of employers, educators, workforce developers and other stakeholders to address the skills needs of regional employers. Within the industry partnerships, the Collaborative’s efforts focus on capacity building, systems change and policy advocacy.

Pennsylvania: District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund 

Susan Thomas, Director of Industry Partnerships (IP) at District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund met with Pennsylvania State Representative Cherelle Parker and Pennsylvania State Senator Dominic Pileggi.  They spoke about the fund’s work on IPs and the need to add money to the IP budget at the state level. They also discussed the importance of pushing a sector skills policy agenda as well as making Pell grants available for occupational post-secondary programs. The District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund's mission is: (1) providing access to career pathways in healthcare and human services for incumbent workers and job seekers through education, training and work-based learning; and, (2) building the capacity of the Delaware Valley's healthcare industry to create a highly-skilled workforce through on-the-job training opportunities and the development of an education pipeline that aligns with career ladder steps. 

Iowa: Central Iowa works 

Representative David Young toured the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families in Des Moines, Iowa.  During his visit, he met with students enrolled in the Transportation/Distribution/Logistics program, which is funded by a grant from the Walmart Foundation and Jobs for the Future. The site visit was a community event which brought out a multitude of stakeholders:

  • Rob Denson, President of Des Moines Area Community College
  • Mary Sellers, President of United Way of Central Iowa
  • Sarah Ramsey, Advocacy Officer, United Way of Central Iowa
  • Angie Arthur, Central Iowa Workforce Investment Board
  • Marvin DeJear, Director, Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families
  • Pat Steele, Central Iowa Works

After the tour, Young participated in a discussion with all those in attendance regarding workforce issues.  Topics discussed included employment challenges for people with a criminal history, the utilization of Pell grants, youth unemployment, and the Direct Care Workforce. 

Colorado: Skills2Compete Colorado coalition 

The Skills2Compete Colorado coalition met with Senator Michael Bennet’s State Policy Director, Becca Montgomery. In attendance were representatives from VocRehab and SNAP E&T providers, the Regional Representative from the Dept. of Labor, Colorado Center on Law and Policy and local CBOs: Mi Casa and CWEE (host). TANF and WIOA were the major topics of discussion for this diverse group of stakeholders.  The Skills2Compete-Colorado Coalition is a multi-sector coalition that includes representatives from adult education, post-secondary education, workforce development, business, and the advocacy arena

Let’s keep the momentum from this "summer of engagement" going! NSC facilitates regular calls with partners in the field and the staff of their members of Congress; if this is something in which you’d be interested, feel free to reach out to Ashley Shaw, Field Coordinator.


Posted In: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Sector Partnerships, Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Implementation, Sector Partnerships, Career Pathways, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia
NSC highlights skills policies adopted in states’ 2015 legislative sessions

In 2015, numerous states enacted legislation to address the needs of workers and employers and close the middle-skill gap. As highlighted in NSC’s 2015 state legislative round-up, states increased access to career pathways and set policies to support job-driven training.  They also took steps to implement the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which became effective on July 1, 2015.

To hear more about the actions governors and state legislatures took in 2015 to close the skills gap, register for our 2015 State Policy Legislative Round-Up, hosted on July 28 at 2pm ET.

Career Pathways 

At least nine states enacted legislation to support career pathways policies. Career pathways combine education, training, career counseling and support services that align with industry skill needs so participants can earn secondary school diplomas or their equivalent, postsecondary credentials, and get middle-skill jobs. In 2015, Colorado and Minnesota adopted legislation that will increase investments in career pathway strategies in their states.

 Career pathways include adult basic education, typically offered concurrently with and in the same context as general workforce preparation and training for an occupation. In 2015, Arkansas, California, Georgia, and Ohio increased investments in adult basic education.

Tuition assistance is also critical to ensuring that career pathways lead to postsecondary credentials, particularly for part-time, working students. In 2015, Indiana, Nebraska, and Oregon all passed legislation that expands tuition assistance.

Job-Driven Training 

Job-driven training prepares workers for jobs available in the economy. In 2015, a handful of states passed legislation to advance job-driven training.

California, Colorado, and Washington enacted legislation to expand work-based learning in their states by making investments in apprenticeship programs, paid internships in key industries, and apprenticeship preparation and supportive services respectively.

Hawaii and Oklahoma both passed legislation establishing bodies to advise the state on healthcare workforce policy.

Arkansas and Maine passed legislation to support employer-driven training programs developed through partnerships between employers and educational institutions.

WIOA Implementation

In 2015, Arkansas and Louisiana were among states that enacted WIOA implementation legislation specifying the type of workforce plan the state should submit to the federal government under the new federal law. 

In 2015, California, Florida, and Virginia all enacted legislation that emphasizes skills strategies, such as sector partnerships and career pathways, as part of WIOA implementation.

Posted In: Job-Driven Investments, Career Pathways, Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, Maine, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Colorado, Washington, Nebraska, Indiana, Minnesota, Georgia

Virginia enacts WIOA-related legislation

  ·   By Brooke DeRenzis
Virginia enacts WIOA-related legislation

As states get ready for WIOA to take effect this July, some are adopting state legislation to drive implementation of the new federal workforce law. Virginia got an early start by enacting House Bill (HB) 1986 and Senate Bill (SB) 1372 in March. Virginia’s new laws demonstrate the opportunity that WIOA provides for states to pursue job-driven training, sector strategies, career pathways, and cross-program information.

The new laws underscore sector strategies and career pathways as key local workforce development approaches. Under HB 1986 and SB 1372, workforce development boards must develop and execute strategic plans that support these two strategies. In addition to meeting the skill needs of workers and employers, sector partnerships and career pathways are two strategies that the state can use to advance the Governor’s goal of helping more Virginians earn industry-recognized postsecondary credentials.

HB 1986 and SB 1372 support job-driven training that leads to industry-recognized postsecondary credentials. Specifically, the laws require each local workforce board to allocate a minimum of 40 percent of WIOA adult and dislocated worker funds to training that leads to such credentials. They also require that 30 percent of WIOA’s statewide set-aside funds be used to incent postsecondary institutions to more quickly increase the number of people earning workforce credentials.

HB 1986 and SB 1372 also include a provision that supports the collection of information across different programs and agencies. The laws require each agency administering publicly-funded career and technical education and workforce development programs to submit an annual performance report to the Governor and state board, starting November 1, 2016. Program performance will be measured against state metrics developed by the state board and Chief Workforce Development Advisor.

While the new laws set out specific requirements for WIOA implementation in Virginia, the Commonwealth will take additional steps to fully execute WIOA. Virginia is currently in the process of developing a state plan that will detail the workforce development strategies the state will pursue under WIOA. 

Posted In: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Implementation, Virginia

Skills investments featured in governors’ budget proposals

  ·   By Brooke DeRenzis
Skills investments featured in governors’ budget proposals

Several governors have proposed investments in skills strategies as part of their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. Proposals include continued funding for existing skills programs, investments that would better link adult education and workforce training, and strategies for spending statewide discretionary funds under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Budgets proposed by governors in Iowa and Idaho renew commitments to their states’ existing skills strategy.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s Fiscal Years 2016-2017 budget maintains funding levels for the state’s Pathways for Academic Career and Employment (PACE) and Gap Tuition Assistance programs. PACE funds sector-specific career pathway projects provided through partnerships between community colleges, industry, and nonprofits. The Gap Tuition Assistance program helps community colleges provide need-based tuition assistance to students in certificate training programs for in-demand occupations. Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal provides $5 million for the state’s Sector Grant program. The grants support sector-specific training developed by partnerships between employers and Idaho’s postsecondary institutions.

Governors in California and Ohio proposed investments aimed at coordinating adult education with workforce training.

In 2014, Ohio piloted a program to help adults earn a high school diploma while participating in training leading to an industry-recognized credential. Governor Kasich’s Fiscal Years 2016-2017 budget includes funding to expand the program to as many as five additional sites.

California Governor Jerry Brown’s 2015-2016 budget proposal includes $500 million for the Adult Education Block Grant to increase adult education capacity and support collaboration between adult education, workforce development, and social service providers. The grants will be planned and allocated by committees representing community colleges, K‑12 districts, other adult education providers, local workforce investment boards, county social services departments, correctional rehabilitation programs, and one public member with relevant expertise.

Both Governor Brown and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe used their budget proposals to highlight skills strategies they will promote with discretionary funds available to governors under WIOA.

Governor Brown will use WIOA discretionary funds to support two initiatives in California:  SlingShot, which gives grants to develop innovative workforce development, training, employer engagement, and career education approaches at the regional level, and Regional Workforce Accelerator Program Grants, which provide job training, support services, and job placement assistance to jobseekers who may have barriers to employment. In presenting his budget to the state legislature, Governor McAuliffe announced that he would direct $1.1 million in WIOA discretionary dollars toward credential attainment.

Continue to check out our blog for analysis as more governors and legislatures roll out their budget proposals.

Posted In: Adult Basic Education, Sector Partnerships, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Career Pathways, Sector Partnerships, California, Ohio, Iowa, Idaho, Virginia
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