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(May 31 2012)   National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Hold June 12 Meeting 
 
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(May 31 2012)   National League of Cities Releases New Resource – Strategies for Globally Competitive Cities 
 
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(May 31 2012)   Census Bureau Seeks Public Comment on 2012 Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons 
 
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(May 31 2012)   SSTI Invites Applications for the “2012 Excellence in TBED Awards” 
 
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(May 25 2012)   EPA Announces $69.3 Million to Clean Up Contaminated Sites and Revitalize Communities 
 
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(May 23 2012)   Corporation for National and Community Service Seeks Comments on Information Collection in Support of the Social Innovation Fund National Evaluation 
 
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(May 21 2012)   NASCAR and EPA Partner on Green Initiatives; “E3 Framework” to Assist Technical Assistance Effort  
 
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(May 21 2012)   National Economic Council Releases New Report -- 'Moving America's Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs Forward" 
 
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(May 21 2012)   Association of Energy Engineers Releases 2012 Green Jobs Report and Market Trends Survey Results 
 
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(May 18 2012)   National Labor Exchange and US.jobs Reach New Milestone in Job Listings 
 
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(May 15 2012)   EPA and Department of Commerce Announce New Effort to Boost U.S. Jobs, Environmental Tech Exports 
 
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(May 14 2012)   HHS/ACF Announces Cooperative Agreement Opportunities to Support (1) Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Intellectual and Development Disabilities and (2) Families 
 
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(May 9 2012)   Senior Community Service Employment Program: ETA Issues PY 2012 Planning Instructions and Allotments for State and Territorial Grant Applicants 
 
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(May 9 2012)   Revitalization of Manufacturing in the United States; Debut of Manufacturing.Data.Gov; Launch of Manufacturing Skills Training in Detroit 
 
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(May 8 2012)   Aspen Institute Issues New Report on Career Pathways; CLASP Releases New Credential ROI Dashboard 
 
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(May 8 2012)   USDA/RUS Outlines FY 2012 Funding Plan under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program 
 
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(May 8 2012)   Department of Education Outlines Funding Priority for Research on “Vocational Rehabilitation and Developing Strategies to Meet Employer Needs in Changing Economic Environments” 
 
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(May 8 2012)   OnTheMap Version 6 Downloadable Data Released  
 
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(May 7 2012)   Department of Education Releases 2008 – 2009 Report to Congress on the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act 
 
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(May 7 2012)   Department of Education Publishes Pell Grant Interim Final Rule; Outlines Pell Grant Expansion Demonstration Study 
 
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(May 3 2012)   Infrastructure and Broadband: USDA/RUS Announces Funding Opportunity under the Community Connect Grant Program 
 

 

Description

 

National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Hold June 12 Meeting


The National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship will hold a meeting on Tuesday, June 12, 2012.

The meeting will be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC.

The meeting (which begins at 10:00 a.m. and concludes at 2:00 p.m. EST) will be open to the public via teleconference.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the latest initiatives by the Administration and the Secretary of Commerce on the issues of innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization.

The meeting will also discuss efforts by the U.S. Department of Commerce around manufacturing, exports and investment. Specific topics for discussion include manufacturing, investment, exports, innovation commercialization, entrepreneurship, federal programs for commercialization and technology transfer.

The final agenda will be posted on the U.S. Department of Commerce Web site at www.commerce.gov.

Any member of the public may submit pertinent questions and comments concerning the Council's affairs at any time before or after the meeting.

Contact: Nish Acharya, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Room 7019, 1401 Constitution Avenue, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: 202-482-4068; fax: 202-273-4781. Please reference "NACIE June 12, 2012" in the subject line of your fax.

More ..

 

National League of Cities Releases New Resource – Strategies for Globally Competitive Cities


The National League of Cities has recently released a new resource -- Strategies for Globally Competitive Cities. The guide provides practical strategies, resources and promising practices to help local leaders and practitioners enhance the global competitiveness of their communities through foreign direct investment (FDI) and international trade.

Among the enumerated strategies:

  • Connecting with federal resources, namely SelectUSA, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Commerce to promote FDI to the United States. SelectUSA provides assistance to U.S. cities and states, at their request, to address federal "red tape" issues that may be hampering investment and to provide a one-stop Web portal for all information on federal programs and services available to companies that operate in the U.S. For more information, visit www.SelectUSA.gov,
  • Also see:
    www.export.gov

 

Census Bureau Seeks Public Comment on 2012 Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons


The Census Bureau has announced it is requesting comments on an information collection which will be distributed to approximately 1.75 million businesses across the U.S. -- 2012 Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons (SBO).

Comments are due by July 30.

In the SBO, businesses are asked several questions about their business as well as several questions about the gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status of the principal owner(s). This survey provides the only comprehensive, regularly collected source of information on the characteristics of U.S. businesses by ownership category, i.e., by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status.

Click here for full background, the summary of changes since the last SBO conducted in 2007, and the burden hour estimates.

Note these excerpts:

  • The veteran question has been revised and expanded to collect information on whether the veteran was service-disabled, served on active duty or as a reservist during the survey year, served on active duty at any time, and served on active duty after September 11, 2001. The revised and expanded wording for the veteran categories and the collection of the additional service characteristics reflects input received during consultations with many leaders in the veteran community. Input was received from, among others, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans'' Affairs, the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, the Small Business Administration, the American Legion, VET-Force, and AMVETS.
  • Interest from researchers on the possible correlation between intellectual property rights and business success led to the addition of a question on whether the business owned a copyright, trademark, granted patent, or pending patent.
 

SSTI Invites Applications for the “2012 Excellence in TBED Awards”


The State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) has passed along the following advisory/invitation to the public workforce system, emphasizing and commending the relevance of the "Improving Competitiveness of Existing Industries," "Most promising Technology-Based Economic Development (TBED) Initiative" and "Building Entrepreneurial Capacity" categories to the public workforce system.

Now is the time to highlight your organization's impact and gain high-profile exposure as a recipient of SSTI's national award for excellence in technology-based economic development (TBED).

Recipients of this coveted award are showcased as best practices throughout the TBED community and recognized for their exceptional achievements in approaches to building tech-based economies and demonstration of outstanding results.

SSTI invites applications for the 2012 Excellence in TBED Awards in the following categories:
  • Expanding the Research Capacity
  • Commercializing Research
  • Building Entrepreneurial Capacity
  • Increasing Access to Capital
  • Improving Competitiveness of Existing Industries
  • Most Promising TBED Initiative

Award Selection Criteria:

The initiative must:
  • Have specific and measurable outcomes;
  • Serve as a model that can be replicated;
  • Demonstrate effective partnerships and leadership; and,
  • Illustrate a clear path to achieving program goals.

Awards are presented during SSTI's 16th Annual Conference, Oct. 29-30 in Atlanta. Winners are invited to attend the conference as guests of SSTI (a $595 value) and are provided a forum to showcase their accomplishments during a dedicated breakout session.

Applications are due by July 17, 2012

To learn more about the application process, please visit: http://www.sstiawards.org/.

 

EPA Announces $69.3 Million to Clean Up Contaminated Sites and Revitalize Communities


The Environmental Protection Agency has announced $69.3 million in grants for new investments to provide communities with funding necessary to clean and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and create jobs while protecting public health.

The 245 grantees include tribes and communities in 39 states across the country, funded by EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) grants, and Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental grants. The grants awarded will assess and clean up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Nearly half of the grantees this year are new awardees who demonstrate a high level of commitment for undertaking specific projects and leveraging the funding to move those projects forward.

News Release

Listing of Grantees

 

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Corporation for National and Community Service Seeks Comments on Information Collection in Support of the Social Innovation Fund National Evaluation


The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today has announced a proposed new information collection in support of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) National Evaluation.

The evaluation seeks to understand whether and how the SIF has met its intended goals by assessing the extent to which:

  1. Outcomes for those in need have improved;
  2. The evidence base has been strengthened;
  3. Nonprofit capacity to implement and expand programs has increased; and,
  4. SIF has influenced the use of evidence, the flow of capital and the scaling of promising program models within the public, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.

The evaluation will focus on the initial group of 11 intermediaries (grantees) and 138 community nonprofits (subgrantees) funded by the SIF in 2010. These intermediaries and their subgrantees will be providing information for the SIF National Evaluation.

Comments are due by July 23. Click here for full background, methodologies, burden hour estimates and instructions for obtaining a copy of the collection and submitting comments.

 

NASCAR and EPA Partner on Green Initiatives; “E3 Framework” to Assist Technical Assistance Effort


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) signed an agreement to raise awareness of environmentally friendly products and solutions to address America's environmental challenges. Today's memorandum of understanding provides NASCAR with EPA technical assistance and environmental expertise, using EPA programs like Design for the Environment and the Economy, Energy and Environment (E3) framework, to help protect Americans' health and the environment.

"Because NASCAR is followed by millions of passionate fans and many businesses, it can be a powerful platform to raise environmental awareness, drive the adoption of safer products by more Americans, and support the growing green economy," said Jim Jones, EPA's acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). "The EPA and NASCAR partnership attests to the progress NASCAR has already made on environmental stewardship through greener fuel choices and multiple recycling initiatives for waste and automotive fluids, and highlights opportunities to further these efforts."

"This MOU is a great example of NASCAR's commitment to green innovation and our role as a leader in sustainability," said Steve Phelps, Chief Marketing Officer of NASCAR. "Even with the largest sustainability program in sports, NASCAR -- along with our teams, tracks and partners -- continues to create innovative platforms to help reduce the environmental impact of our sport."

One of the areas of focus for the partnership is promoting safer products that have earned EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) label. The Design for the Environment label helps consumers and businesses identify products that perform well, are cost-effective, and are safer for the environment. NASCAR can make a difference by using DfE products at racing events and conveying to fans that choosing DfE products is an easy choice they can make to protect the health of their families and the planet.

Another example is NASCAR's offer to encourage its suppliers to get an "E3 tuneup"-- to increase productivity, reduce the use of energy and materials, lessen environmental impacts and be better positioned to compete in the global marketplace. The E3 initiative – Economy, Energy and the Environment -- helps promote sustainable manufacturing and economic growth throughout the United States. E3 can help improve the profitability and competitiveness of these businesses, which can help create higher-paying skilled manufacturing jobs.

This MOU will pave the way for other opportunities and areas of focus for EPA and NASCAR such as sourcing more sustainable concessions at NASCAR events, expanding the use of safer chemical products, conserving water, reducing waste and promoting recycling. By working together to foster more sustainable behavior, addressing sustainability challenges and seizing on E3 opportunities, a greener NASCAR and NASCAR supplier network will have positive economic and environmental impacts that extend far beyond the racetrack.

 

National Economic Council Releases New Report -- 'Moving America's Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs Forward"


The National Economic Council has recently released report that details Administration investments, programs and initiatives to "keep America's small businesses moving forward."

The report notes Department of Labor activities on pages 20, 21, 43 and 70.

Also see:

www.business.usa.gov

 

Association of Energy Engineers Releases 2012 Green Jobs Report and Market Trends Survey Results


The Association of Energy Engineers has recently published its "2012 Green Jobs Report" and "Market Trends Survey Results."

The Green Jobs Report notes, in part:

Out of the 2,775 energy professionals surveyed, 69% stated that there is currently a shortage of qualified energy management professionals. In addition, 33% of those professionals plan to retire in the next ten years, which could further exacerbate this shortage. In short, energy management is a sector of the economy that is growing and seeking out qualified professionals amid an economy that is generally stagnant when it comes to employment opportunities. And, with the average salary of the professionals surveyed coming in at $98,527, the energy management profession can certainly be lucrative financially. Of the professionals surveyed, 85% have a 4-year degree, and 42% have a graduate degree.

A recent posting in the "Resources" section of the Green Community of Practice also highlights some other insights from the Report.

 

National Labor Exchange and US.jobs Reach New Milestone in Job Listings


Employers of all sizes have helped US.jobs, powered by the National Labor Exchange (NLX), reach a new milestone by providing collectively one million current, un-duplicated job opportunities.

The May 18, 2011 announcement notes, in part:

Created in 2007 in a partnership between DirectEmployers Association and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), the National Labor Exchange leverages private non-profit-owned technology and existing state workforce agency resources. After the discontinuation of America's Job Bank, the National Labor Exchange has shaped an efficient, seamless way for federal contractors and subcontractors to meet required job posting and delivery standards, while still providing a cost-effective solution to reach a highly diverse workforce.

Through US.jobs, the National Labor Exchange provides quality, verified jobs to state job banks and veteran's representatives daily. All labor exchange services are free to state workforce agency users, both jobseekers and employers, as well as, to state workforce agencies and federal partners.

Via US.jobs, the National Labor Exchange has collected and distributed job openings from over 100,000 employers exclusively found on corporate career websites and state job banks. In five years time alone, the total job count of the National Labor Exchange has gone from 450,000 jobs from employers of all sizes and industries being collected and distributed to present day totals of 1 million available jobs daily. While the main outlet for the National Labor Exchange is the website US.jobs, the job feed has also been given to trusted partners whose goal is to further facilitate the labor exchange. Regardless of where a job seeker discovers the National Labor Exchange job listing, they will be returned to either the corporate career site or the state workforce agency it originated from, helping reduce the middleman and directly connecting employers and job seekers.

 

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EPA and Department of Commerce Announce New Effort to Boost U.S. Jobs, Environmental Tech Exports


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Department of Commerce Secretary John E. Bryson have announced efforts to launch an environmental technology initiative to help create American jobs in the growing environmental industry. Announced at EPA’s first Technology Market Summit, this initiative, which will include a comprehensive web based portal, will promote American environmental technology, products and services in the global marketplace.

The Environmental Technologies Export Initiative builds on President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014 and support millions of American jobs.

The web-based tool, which is scheduled to be launched in fall of this year and hosted on www.export.gov, will offer U.S. environmental companies detailed information on U.S. government support activities including market research, scientific analysis, regulatory information, and financial support programs. EPA and Commerce are also partnering with trade associations to highlight potential growth opportunities for U.S. companies by increasing access to EPA’s scientific, technical and regulatory information and Commerce’s foreign market analysis and export promotion infrastructure. When launched, this portal will provide a more systematic approach for U.S. companies looking to expand markets for their environmental products and services abroad.

More information on President’s National Export Initiative: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-national-export-initiative

More information on EPA’s export initiatives: http://www.epa.gov/international/trade

More information on Department of Commerce’s work promoting environmental technology: http://www.export.gov/envirotech

 

HHS/ACF Announces Cooperative Agreement Opportunities to Support (1) Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Intellectual and Development Disabilities and (2) Families


The Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced two cooperative agreement opportunities. Applications under both are due July 10, 2012.

Projects of National Significance: Community of Practice for Supporting Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with I/DD

Click here for the solicitation.

Funds will be awarded to build capacity across and within states through State consortia, to create and share policies, practices and systems that support competitive, integrated employment outcomes to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The Community of Practice (CoP) under this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will work to provide information including the identification of emerging and promising practices in the area of competitive integrated employment across States, establish and maintain mechanisms to share and disseminate data, develop ideas to address competitive integrated employment challenges in states, provide quality peer to peer technical assistance, and promote interagency collaboration and partnership. The partnerships will include key State and local partners in a way that promotes culturally competent information and facilitates self-determination to promote effective systems change efforts in the area of competitive integrated employment for individuals with I/DD.

Projects of National Significance: Community of Practice for Supporting Families of Persons with I/DD

Click here for the solicitation.

Funds will be awarded to develop a Community of Practice (CoP) designed to build capacity across and within States to create policies, practices and systems to better assist and support families that include a member with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) across the lifespan. The CoP will develop and define the scope of the issue; gather information including the identification of emerging and promising practices across states; establish and maintain mechanisms to share and disseminate data, information and promising practices; develop ideas to address challenges and opportunities to improve strategies, policies, practices and systems supporting families of people with I/DD that are culturally competent and facilitate self-determination; provide peer-to-peer technical assistance; and promote interagency collaboration and partnership. The partnerships will include organizations that encourage systemic change and improved capacity to support families of individuals with I/DD.

Eligible applicants under both solicitations include:

State governments
County governments
Local Governments
City or township governments
Regional Organizations
U.S. Territory or Possession
Independent school districts
Public and State-controlled institutions of higher education
Indian/Native American Tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Indian/Native American Tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized)
Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organizations
Public/Indian Housing Authorities
Non-profits with 501(c)(3) IRS status (other than institutions of higher education)
Non-profits without 501(c)(3) IRS status (other than institutions of higher education)
Private institutions of higher education
Hispanic-Serving Institutions
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
Special district governments

 

Senior Community Service Employment Program: ETA Issues PY 2012 Planning Instructions and Allotments for State and Territorial Grant Applicants


The Employment and Training Administration has published Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 26-11.


This TEGL provides Program Year 2012 planning instructions and allotments for Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) State and Territorial grant applicants.
 

Revitalization of Manufacturing in the United States; Debut of Manufacturing.Data.Gov; Launch of Manufacturing Skills Training in Detroit


Sridhar Kota is Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing and Chris Vein is Deputy Chief Technology Officer, both within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This blog post is taken from the Office of Science and Technology Policy website.

We would like to share a few manufacturing initiatives that reached important milestones during the past week.

Launch of Manufacturing.Data.Gov
President Obama has said that an economy built to last is one that is based not only on consuming goods but on making things. That'''s why we're proud to announce the launch of Manufacturing.Data.Gov. This new community on Data.gov is a one-stop Web portal for anyone interested in sharing and ideas and transforming emerging technologies into commercial success stories. It will serve as a public resource of high-value datasets, tools, and applications that can help entrepreneurs steer the entire product development chain for a project, from invention, engineering design and prototyping, to validation and testing, manufacturing, and sales.

The Data.gov manufacturing community is part of the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan's commitment to expand the number of Data.gov communities to spark breakthroughs in national priorities. The scope of the dataset will expand in the coming months., but it already includes ready-to-license intellectual property from Federal agencies, Federal funding opportunities, Federal programs in advanced manufacturing, shared facilities, software tools and apps.

Marketing Excess Manufacturing Capacity
Hundreds of millions of square feet of U.S. commercial, industrial, and manufacturing space sits idle. To take better advantage of this resource, OSTP has been working with the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) to explore opportunities to turn those empty sites into thriving, productive facilities of advanced manufacturing. EDA will launch an initiative to create an inventory of excess manufacturing capacity that will act as an online marketplace to match companies in need of production facilities and related support services with vacant manufacturing facility and space that best corresponds to their needs. The goal is to create a model, based on four to six key manufacturing clusters across the country, that could be replicated to create a nationwide inventory. This new tool will be a valuable resource for domestic companies looking to expand as well as foreign companies exploring the North American market.

Connecting American Manufacturers to Defense Needs
With the goal of applying a user-friendly online market place to increase by ten-fold the pool of participants in defense manufacturing—including small manufacturers and entrepreneurs—the Department of Defense's Manufacturing Technology program launched the Connecting American Manufacturing initiative. The program will make it easier for the DoD to find U.S. manufacturers with the right capability and capacity to take on a job, and for U.S. manufacturers to find and secure DoD opportunities that match their capabilities.

Launching Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training in Detroit
The Manufacturing Institute, a national organization focused in part on providing workers with new skills forthe emerging advanced manufacturing industry, recently selected Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) to lead the Right Skills Now program in Detroit, which allows individuals to earn college credit and national industry certifications in 16 weeks, preparing them for immediate employment in advanced manufacturing jobs.The WCCCD program is a comprehensive effort stemming from the "Make in Detroit" program launched as part of the Administration's Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative. The need for highly automated computer numerical control (CNC) skills is at near critical levels, with more than 700 job openings posted across nine counties in Southeast Michigan alone. The new fast-track program will train 32 local residents per session in certified precision manufacturing technologies to help fill those available jobs. The WCCCD Right Skills Now program is also working with the Obama Administration's Joining Forces initiative to ensure that veterans are tapped into opportunities for advanced manufacturing skills training.

Also see:

Advanced Manufacturing Competency Model

Search Employment and Training Administration's Investment Center for Grants in Advanced Manufacturing

 

Aspen Institute Issues New Report on Career Pathways; CLASP Releases New Credential ROI Dashboard


Aspen Institute''s Workforce Strategies Initiative has issued a new report, Courses to Employment: Partnering to Create Paths to Education and Careers. The report summarizes findings from the Courses to Employment Project, a two-year study of six partnerships between community colleges and nonprofits, including workforce development entities, to provide an integrated set of education, industry navigation and support services that can help adult learners succeed.

The publication is geared towards policymakers and investors who are interested in supporting models that increase the success rates of adults in community college and to workforce development leaders who are interested in building or sustaining collaborative efforts to support workers in their labor markets as well as learning about innovative approaches to curricula, training, and instruction, employer engagement strategies, and support services.

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) has released a new interactive tool for the nation and all 50 states to calculate the federal, state, and personal revenues at stake for credential attainment.

The Return on Investment Dashboard tool allows stakeholders to calculate the short- and long-term effects of either maintaining the status quo or increasing postsecondary participation and credential attainment.

Please visit the Career Pathways Community of Practice for additional updates and an extensive catalogue of resources.

 

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USDA/RUS Outlines FY 2012 Funding Plan under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program


The Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service has announced it will not solicit applications for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program for FY 2012.  RUS will award $15 million in grants to the top scoring applications in rank order for the national competition announced in the February 24, 2011 FEDERAL REGISTER.

In response to this solicitation, RUS received 211 applications with requests totaling $60,002,789. As part of a national competition, RUS reviewed each project's eligibility, and scored the applications according to factors of rurality, National School Lunch Program
statistics, need for services, innovativeness, cost effectiveness and percentage of matching funds committed. On December 8, 2011 Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the 100 highest scoring projects which would receive the 2011 funding.

From the initial response to this solicitation, RUS has on-hand eligible applications with requests totaling more than the $15 million appropriations received for Fiscal Year 2012. These remaining unfunded FY 2011 proposals have fulfilled the requirements and stated objectives of the DLT Program, and represent imminently needed technology in their rural communities. RUS will utilize its FY 2012 appropriation by funding these top scoring projects in rank order that
were submitted and scored in accordance with the February 24, 2011 solicitation announcement.

The $15 million appropriated in Fiscal Year 2012 will be awarded to fund the highest scoring of these remaining projects according to their ranking position in the 2011 competition.

The May 8, 2012 FEDERAL REGISTER provides additional background on this decision.
 

Department of Education Outlines Funding Priority for Research on “Vocational Rehabilitation and Developing Strategies to Meet Employer Needs in Changing Economic Environments”


The Department of Education has proposed a funding priority for the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. This priority may be used for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2012 and later years. The Department notes: "We take this action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend this priority to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities."

The proposed priority:

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Vocational Rehabilitation and Developing Strategies To Meet Employer Needs in Changing Economic Environments

Comments must be received by June 7, 2012. Click here for the full announcement.

Excerpts:

Under this priority, the RRTC must contribute to the following outcomes:

  • New knowledge to improve responsiveness of VR agencies to employer workforce needs in a changing economy. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by conducting research or development activities on effective ways for State VR agencies to assess employer needs and expectations in the changing economic environment in which businesses operate. The RRTC must conduct research to identify or develop effective strategic planning models that will support State VR agency efforts to anticipate and prepare for changing employer and labor market needs. In addition, the RRTC must conduct research to identify existing programs, e.g., Workforce Investment Act "Rapid Response" programs, that may be useful in helping VR agencies mitigate the impact of changing economic conditions. These research or development activities must include identification of methods of tracking, analyzing, and reacting to changing employer needs, including those related to economic conditions such as analysis of labor market trends and analysis of projected growth areas.
  • Improved job training, development, and placement services and strategies. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by conducting research to identify or develop effective service delivery models that take into account current and future employer workforce needs, including needed job skills. Components of these models may include, but are not limited to: Employer partnerships to facilitate the identification of employer needs; incorporation of employer needs in planning job development, placement, and retention strategies; training opportunities to provide individuals with disabilities with skills that match employer needs; and strategic planning processes designed to respond to changing employer and economic needs.
  • Improved training and continuing education for VR professionals. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by developing and disseminating materials that incorporate findings from the research and development activities. . These materials must be developed for use by State VR agencies to improve their ability to use information generated to develop strategies and services that will better meet the needs of employers in the context of local and regional economic and labor market conditions and to increase employment outcomes for VR participants.
 

OnTheMap Version 6 Downloadable Data Released


The U.S. Census Bureau has recently released the LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics. These files contain all the job data currently available in the OnTheMap Version 6 and supersede data released for Version 5 of OnTheMap.

Version 6 data is reported using 2010 census blocks. Version 5 data is still available for reference purposes.

Data files are state-based and organized into three types: Origin-Destination (OD), Residence Area Characteristics (RAC), and Workplace Area Characteristics (WAC), all at census block geographic detail. Data is available for most states for the years 2002-2010. A detailed description of the data file structure can be found at http://lehd.did.census.gov/led/onthemap/LODES6/LODESTechDoc6.0.pdf [PDF; File Size: 44KB]

The data files can be accessed at http://lehd.did.census.gov/led/onthemap or via the LEHD website at http://onthemap.ces.census.gov .

Comments should be sent to CES.OnTheMap.Feedback@census.gov .

 

Department of Education Releases 2008 – 2009 Report to Congress on the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act


The Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education has posted the 2008 – 2009 Report to Congress on the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) on its website on May 3, 2012.

Volume I addresses:

Adult Education Enrollment and Participant Status
Accountability System – The National Reporting System

  • Incentive Grants
  • Measuring Educational Gain
  • Measuring Other Performance Measures
Federal Investments to Improve Data Quality and Its Use for Program Improvement
  • Federal Implementation Assistance in PY 2008–09
  • NRS Implementation by States

Summary of National Performance Results

Appendix A:
National and State Profiles of Selected Adult education Program and Student Information, From Program Year 2006–07 to Program Year 2008–09

Appendix B:
The 12 Considerations in Awarding Grants Sec. 231(c) of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA)

Appendix C:
Number of Young Adults Aged 16–18 Enrolled and Percentage of Total Participants in Adult Education by State, From Program Year 2006–07 to Program Year 2008–09

Volume II provides Selected Adult Education Program & Student Information in tables for the states including (1) participant status, (2) Federal allocations, (3) Enrollment by race/ethnicity, (4) retention and completion, and (5) enrollment by age.

These tables are followed by the Performance Measures for a multi-year period.  These include “Demonstrated Improvement in Literacy Skills,” “English Literacy,” “High School Completion,” “Entered Postsecondary Education or Training,” “Entered Employment,” “Retained Employment,” and “Retained Employment.”

 

Department of Education Publishes Pell Grant Interim Final Rule; Outlines Pell Grant Expansion Demonstration Study


Pell Grant Interim Final Rule
The Department of Education has published an interim final rule which amends four sections of the Federal Pell Grant Program regulations to make them consistent with recent changes in the law that prohibit a student from receiving two consecutive Pell Grants in a single award year.

The Department invites comments no later than June 18, 2012.

Pell Grant Expansion (PGE) / Demonstration Study

The Department today has also outlined a new data collection in support of a two-part, five-year demonstration study. The focus is on the effects of expanded access to Pell grants on students' employment and earnings outcomes.

The primary outcome of interest is:

(1) the employment status and earnings of students who participate in the study while secondary outcomes include
(2) students' experiences with and participation in education and training,
(3) measures of student debt and financial aid,
(4) the extent of participation in job search assistance services.

This study consists of two substudies, each of which will examine the impact of a single change to the Pell grant eligibility criteria. The first substudy will relax the prohibition on receipt of Pell grants by students with a bachelors' degree. Individuals eligible for the first substudy must have a bachelor's degree, be unemployed or underemployed, and pursue a vocational training program up to one year in duration. The second substudy will reduce the minimum duration and intensity levels of programs that Pell grant recipients must participate in from 15 weeks with 600 minimum clock hours to 8 weeks with 150 minimum clock hours.

Each substudy will operate through a set of PGE schools that provide education and training services that qualify as PGE programs.

Participants in both substudies will be randomly assigned to either (1) a treatment group, which will have expanded access to Pell grants; or (2) a control group, which will not have access. Within both substudies, the treatment group will be very similar to the control at the time of random assignment except for access to Pell grants. Subsequent differences in the employment and earnings outcomes between treatment and control group members can then be attributed to Pell grant access. The first substudy will involve roughly 28 PGE schools with an average of 100 students participating per school. The second substudy will involve roughly 40PGE schools with an average of 200 participating students per school. The expected sample of both substudies combined is approximately 10,800 students. Data for this evaluation will come from participants' Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications, PGE school administrative records, Social Security Administration earnings statements, and a survey of study participants. The study participant enrollment period is expected to last from July 2012 to January 2014. Data extracts from FAFSA applications will occur between October and December during years 2012-2014. Administrative extracts from PGE schools will occur between January and March during years 2013-2015. A stratified survey of treatment and control group members with a targeted total sample size of 2,000 will be fielded between July 2014 and March 2015.

Comments are due by July 2, 2012.

Click here for the May 2, 2012 FEDERAL REGISTER notice with complete background and instructions for submission of comments.

The documentation is available through EDICS at http://edicsweb.ed.gov/browse/downldatt.cfm?pkg_serial_num=4848

 

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Infrastructure and Broadband: USDA/RUS Announces Funding Opportunity under the Community Connect Grant Program


The United States Department of Agriculture''s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has announced its Community Connect Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012.

RUS has identified $10,372,000 for grants with a minimum floor of $100,000 and a ceiling of $1,500,000 for FY 2012.

Only entities legally organized as one of the following are eligible to apply:

  • An incorporated organization.
  • An Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in 25 U.S.C. 450b(b) and (c).
  • A state or local unit of government.
  • A cooperative, private corporation or limited liability company organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis.
Click here for full background and application requirements. Applications are due by June 18.