Topics Of Interest
Veterans' Employment and Training Service Seeks Public Comment on Four Information Collections
The Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service has announced it is seeking public comment on four information collections:
- VETS 201 entitled Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Chapter 31) Tracking Report
(designed to respond to a GAO finding by compiling information on disabled veterans jointly served by the VA, VETS and Jobs for Veterans State Grant recipients. All partners agree to share information exclusively to facilitate job development and placement services for participating veterans)
- VETS 401 entitled Jobs for Veterans State Grant Budget Information Summary
- VETS 402A/B entitled Jobs for Veterans State Grant Expenditure Detail Report
- VETS 501 entitled "Jobs for Veterans State Grant Staffing Directory"
- VETS 401 entitled Jobs for Veterans State Grant Budget Information Summary
Comments are due by November 26, 2012 to the Veterans Employment and Training Service.
Click here for the September 27, 2012 FEDERAL REGISTER notice with full background, descriptions of each collection, burden hour estimates, and desired focus for public comment.
OECD to Study Postsecondary Career and Technical Education in United States and Other Countries; Schedules Report Release in 2013; Incorporates Case Studies of Florida, Maryland and Washington State
The U.S. Department of Education has recently commissioned the Education Policy Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to conduct a study of postsecondary CTE in the United States. The OECD is an international economic organization of 34 countries founded in 1961 to support economic progress and world trade. It is a forum for democratic and economically advanced countries to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, and identify good practices.
The Education Policy Committee of the OECD conducts periodic reviews and analyses of the education and training systems of member countries, as well as international rankings of countries' educational systems. In 2010, the OECD published Learning for Jobs , an international study of CTE at the secondary school level, with the goal of helping countries make their systems more responsive to labor market needs. The study included 17 individual case studies from countries around the world and an in-depth examination of secondary school CTE systems and policies in South Carolina and Texas.
Recognizing that countries increasingly want to provide their people with more advanced qualifications and the skills needed in many of the fastest-growing technical and professional jobs, the OECD is conducting a second review of its member states' CTE. Postsecondary CTE also plays an essential role in helping adult and dislocated workers upgrade their skills. Persistent unemployment and under-employment, combined with the threat of skill shortages, has underscored the significance of postsecondary CTE. The search for effective program models and policy support is a shared goal across many OECD countries.
The ongoing study of CTE, Skills Beyond School, focuses on how countries equip students and workers with training after high school. The report, due out in 2013, will significantly expand the evidence base around CTE and help individual countries identify policy options for improving their CTE systems. Eighteen countries are participating in the study, including the United States where it will focus on both federal and state policies in the CTE arena. Individual case studies of Florida, Maryland and Washington will be included. The study will place the U.S. system for CTE in a comparative international context and assess its strengths and challenges. It will also provide a set of policy recommendations, backed by evidence and analysis, for improving the development and implementation of CTE. Finally, the review will be an opportunity to identify innovative and promising practices and research evidence of relevance and value to other OECD countries.
Quarterly Workforce Indicators: Census Bureau Announces New Jobs Data by Firm Age and Firm Size
The Census Bureau earlier this month announced the release of new Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) containing employment, wage, and job creation/destruction information by firm size and age. The Bureau notes:
These new data will allow users to consider topics such as the role of start-ups in generating new jobs, and the fluctuations in employment of small and large firms at the local and state level. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time firm age information has been released at the sub-state geographic level in a statistical product.
During an initial comment period, the Bureau is releasing them only to data providers and to the Virtual Research Data Center (available to the public) for feedback and comments. More information on how to access the data is provided below. These data will become available via online applications such as QWI Online and Industry Focus in a subsequent release.
The new national firm size variable measures the firm’s national employment on March 12th of the previous year (current year for new firms). This measures the overall size of the firm and differs from establishment size (e.g. a local Starbucks is regarded as part of a large firm while a neighboring mom and pop is classed in a smaller size category). Firm age is the national age of the firm (specifically, the age of the oldest establishment), which may differ from the age of local establishments affiliated with the firm. The source data on firm size and age are the Center for Economic Studies’ Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) microdata, linked via firm identifiers to the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) microdata.
Additional highlights are available here.
More information about downloading the data is available here
Census Bureau Proposes Revisions to Current Population Survey on School Enrollment; Cites Expansion of Knowledge on Effects of Federal Education and Training Policies
The Census Bureau today announced it is seeking public comment on revisions to the Current Population Survey (CPS).
The Bureau notes, in part:
The monthly school enrollment question in the Current Population Survey has long been collected for people from age 16 up to the age of 24, but changes in the population dictate a need to increase the universe up to the age of 54. Raising the age of respondents to which the monthly enrollment question is provided will substantially increase the data resources with which analysts and researchers identify the effects of federal education and training policies on key, policy-relevant populations. This change is sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
The primary purpose of collecting the school enrollment data from the CPS is to relate demographic characteristics (age, sex, race, education, occupation, and income) to school enrollment behavior. Federal, state, and local governments; college institutions; research groups; and other private organizations use the school enrollment data collected. Increasing the universe will provide data on how federal investments in education and training are affecting those over 24. Additionally, monthly data allows us to measure adult enrollment in education that does not necessarily coincide with typical enrollments in the Fall for younger adults. Further, it allows better measurement of how enrollment responds both to changes in the business cycle and government policy--federal student aid training programs--that is not possible with any other federal data source.
Click here for the September 26 FEDERAL REGISTER notice with additional background and the enumeration of forms. Comments should be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within thirty days.
Foundation Awards Grants to Organizations Working on Postsecondary Financial Aid Solutions
he Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced grants to a group of 14 organizations working on postsecondary financial aid solutions. The organizations represent a mix of thought leaders from business, higher education, civil rights and public policy. Each will explore policy recommendations for improving financial aid, so that more young people can attend college, become successful students and ultimately earn valuable postsecondary degrees and credentials.
These grants are part of a project, Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery (RADD), which will culminate in white papers published by each organization early next year. Each paper will offer an original perspective on how financial aid can help more students be successful in college. The foundation's ultimate goal is to spark a robust discussion about how financial aid can be used as a lever to increase student success, especially for low-income and middle-income students.
The RADD project is intended to accomplish two goals: (1) to shift the national conversation on federal financial aid toward ideas that will make college more affordable, while giving students the support and encouragement they need to earn their degree or credential; and (2) to seed the field with innovative policies that can make that happen.
The 14 organizations involved in the RADD project will receive a total of $3.3 million in grants. The organizations are: Alliance for Excellent Education, Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU), Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP), Committee for Economic Development, Excelencia in Education, HCM Strategists , Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), National College Access Network (NCAN), New America Foundation (NAF), The Education Trust, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), US Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce.
Additional grantees may be added as the project moves forward.
In addition to financial aid, the foundation's postsecondary strategy also supports flexible learning platforms, improved technology, and high-quality on-campus programs, which are all part of the effort to substantively address affordability and student success.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success webpage provides additional information.
Administration Announces Winners of Third Round of i6 Challenge; Funds Directed to Projects in California, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Virginia and Wisconsin
The Obama Administration yesterday announced the winners of the third round of the i6 Challenge, a national competition to advance American innovation, foster entrepreneurship, increase the commercialization of ideas into viable companies, and create jobs. The initiative seeks to accelerate innovative product development, spur the formation of start-ups, and create small businesses by supporting Proof of Concept Centers at universities and research consortiums across the country, which are helping to jumpstart the production of emerging technologies and revolutionize manufacturing processes.
The winning projects - based in California, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin - will each receive up to $1 million to fund Proof of Concept Centers at universities and research consortiums that will create networks of experts to support innovators and researchers, expand access to capital, and connect mentors and advisors to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Proof of Concept Centers incorporate a range of services, such as technology and market evaluation as well as business planning, that are critical to regional economic growth and job creation. The seven winners announced today will spur sustainable startups, small businesses, and new ventures. Launched in 2010 as a component of the White House''s Startup America initiative, the i6 Challenge is led by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The office leads efforts to promote innovation-based, high-growth entrepreneurship, develops policy recommendations, and implements initiatives to commercialize technology developed through university and federally-funded research.
Click here for the complete press release with the project descriptions.
Strong Cities, Strong Communities: Greensboro (NC), Hartford (CT), and Las Vegas (NV) Selected for Participation
The Department of Commerce has announced that Greensboro, North Carolina; Hartford, Connecticut; and Las Vegas, Nevada are the winners of the Obama Administration's Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge. The goal of the competition is to generate innovative ideas, strategies, and perspectives that cities can use to develop long-term economic and job growth plans.
The Strong Cities, Strong Communities Challenge is being led by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The Challenge will consist of two phases in each winning city. In the first phase, multiple teams comprised of experts in fields like transportation planning, economic and community development, business incubation, and engineering will submit economic development proposals for their city and/or region. Each city will evaluate the submitted proposals using a city-appointed panel of experts and award funds to the teams submitting the top-rated proposals.
In the second phase, the top-rated teams from the first phase will each develop and submit comprehensive, strategic economic development plans for their city. The city-appointed panel of experts will then select a winning plan. The cities will receive technical assistance from EDA throughout the competition, including a detailed toolkit, training, and web-based support to facilitate the challenge competition process and the creation of economic development plans.
The three winning cities submitted applications and were evaluated by EDA regional office staff through a competitive process that assessed both technical eligibility and merit.
In Greensboro, the city is seeking additional strategic resources to develop a comprehensive plan that incorporates several economic development projects already in motion in the city and that leverages five major industry clusters in and around the region.The expectation is that the strategic planning will creatively influence the next 50 years of urban and economic growth in Greensboro.
To help the city of Hartford to realize the region's economic goals, the priority is to attract serial entrepreneurs, grow advanced manufacturing companies, and increase global competitiveness.
For Las Vegas, the focus is to provide workforce skills training based upon local business needs, education programs at downtown sites that will correlate with workforce certifications, and workforce skills remediation to secure certifications essential for business operations.
ETA Invites Comments on Unemployment Insurance and Self-Employment Assistance Information Collections
ETA Invites Comments on Unemployment Insurance and Self-Employment Assistance Information Collections
The Employment and Training Administration has published several recent information collection notices which invite public comment.
|Title||FEDERAL REGISTER Date||Notice Type||Comments Due by:|
|Claims and Payment Activities||September 21, 2012||30-Day||October 22, 2012|
|FSelf-Employment Assistance of the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program||September 17, 2012||30-Day||October 17, 2012|
|Weekly Claims and Extended Benefits Data and Weekly Initial and Continued Weeks Claimed||September 17, 2012||30-Day||October 17,. 2012|
EPA, HUD, Transportation to Select Up to 44 Communities for Assistance under the "Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities" Program; Applications Accepted September 26 through October 26
The Environmental Protection Agency has invited communities to apply for technical assistance to foster sustainable growth in their area. Communities that adopt sustainable growth strategies have been shown to expand economic opportunity and protect people's health and the environment. EPA is offering assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program, which offers tools that can be applied in rural, suburban, and urban areas.
EPA will select up to 44 communities through a competitive process for this latest round of assistance. The selections will be made in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. This interagency collaboration coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.
Applications will be accepted between September 26 and October 26. EPA will host a webinar to discuss the program and the application process on September 21 from 1:00 to 2:30 Eastern time.
- More information and application instructions for the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/buildingblocks.htm
- More information on the webinar: http://www.epa.gov/dced/webinars/index.html
- More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/partnership/index.html
Department of Energy Announces "SunShot Prize: Race to the Rooftop"
The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recently announced the release of the SunShot Prize: Race to the Rooftop competition. This competition offers $10 million in prizes to those who can lower the non-hardware installation cost of rooftop solar energy systems.
Registration opened on September 12, 2012, and will run through October 31, 2014. Participants can submit Phase I materials through December 31, 2014, and Phase II materials through December 31, 2015.
The $10 million SunShot Prize: Race to the Rooftop competition challenges the ingenuity of America's businesses and communities to make it faster, easier, and cheaper to install rooftop solar energy systems. Successful competitors will deploy domestically and in two phases, at least 6,000 new rooftop photovoltaic (PV) installations at an average pre-subsidy non-hardware cost of $1 per watt. Winners will break this significant price barrier, considered to be unachievable a decade ago, and prove that they can repeatedly achieve a $1 per watt non-hardware cost using innovative, verifiable processes and business practices."
The September 19, 2012 FEDERAL REGISTER contains additional background, the relevant websites, and instructions for entering the contest.
NGA Publishes Issue Brief on the Redesign of State Economic Development Agencies; Kauffman Foundation Releases 'The Ascent of America's High Growth Companies - An Analysis of the Geography of Entrepreneurship"
The National Governors Association has released an issue brief Redesigning State Economic Development Agencies with an accompanying white paper. These documents focus on actions states are taking to redesign their economic development agencies to make them more effective.
The Ascent of America's High-Growth Companies: An Analysis of the Geography of Entrepreneurship, a report series recently released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, reveals that high numbers of fast-growing firms are concentrated in unexpected regions and industrial sectors.
The study examined geographic trends of firms included in the 1982 to 2010 Inc. 500 lists to analyze for the first time how regional characteristics are associated with high-achieving companies and innovations. A survey of Inc. 500 founders from 2000 through 2008 also provided insight into the movement of these entrepreneurs from the cities of their alma maters to the locations where they founded their companies
OVAE Announces Relaunch of LINCS Website to Coincide with Adult Education and Family Literacy Week
The Office of Vocational and Adult Education within the Department of Education has just re-launched the newly redesigned LINCS website, to coincide with Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. "We are excited to share this new site to help inform, involve, and inspire the adult education community," said OVAE Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier. "Our nation's adult educators are playing an invaluable role in helping many thousands of Americans access greater educational and economy opportunity."
The new site features a redesigned look and enhanced functionality to provide a collection of evidence-based online resources for adult educators. A key feature is the LINCS Community, with16 topic area groups. It allows for real-time discussions with peers, a professional learning community with specific topic area groups, and additional professional development materials. These virtual communities are among the site's most exciting changes, allowing for on-demand professional development, and topic-specific networking. Educators now have an opportunity to come together and build on their collective experience, to share and obtain real-time answers to questions from their peers, and to receive the latest information, news, and events.
"The LINCS Community will enable educators and program administrators to inspire learners in their classrooms on a daily basis," stated Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, Division for Adult Education and Literacy. "We want adult educators to use LINCS to find new ideas, stay informed on the latest research and events, and most importantly, get involved in the discussions."
For more information on the re-designed site, please contact Mary Jo Maralit, in OVAE, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Forum on "Regional Innovation Clusters and Economic Competitiveness" Scheduled for September 25 in Minneapolis
A September 25 Forum on "Regional Innovation Clusters and Economic Competitiveness" will be held in Minneapolis and feature presentations and lessons learned from regional innovation cluster initiatives in Minnesota, Oregon, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Puebla, Mexico, and will explore job and economic development strategies through state, local and educational policies.
This forum is sponsored by the State and Local Policy Program of the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs with support from the University of Minnesota's Metropolitan Consortium, the Harvard Business School's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, and the U.S. Economic Development Administration's Cluster Mapping Project
National Reporting System for Adult Education: Department of Education Invites Publishers to Submit Tests for Review and Approval by October 1; ETA Provides Response on Use of NRS Tests to Assess Youth Literacy and Numeracy Gains
The Department of Education has announced it is inviting publishers to submit tests for review and approval for use in the National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS).
The Department''s regulations for Measuring Educational Gain in the National Reporting System for Adult Education include the procedures for determining the suitability of tests for use in the NRS.
Applications are due by October 1, 2012.
Click here for the September 6, 2012 FEDERAL REGISTER notice with full background and submission requirements.
The Employment and Training Administration has provided the following response to the question on the National Reporting System approved tests. This Q and A - along with a number of others - can be found on the agency's Program Reporting and Record Keeping Information website.
Q. Are there certain tests (used to assess literacy and numeracy gains in the WIA Youth Program) determined suitable for use in the National Reporting System that are expiring?
A. ETA would like states and local areas to be aware of the Federal Register Notice (FRN), Tests Determined To Be Suitable forUse in the National Reporting System for Adult Education, posted on Monday, August 6, 2012, by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The FRN can be found at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-08-06/pdf/2012-19143.pdf. The Notice reminds people that a number of tests approved by the National Reporting System (NRS) may expire on February 2, 2013. It explains that the Secretary of Education will allow States a period of time to sunset an expiring test and transition to other tests suitable for use in the NRS. States may use the transition period to select new tests, purchase appropriate inventories of assessment materials, and provide training to staff. Specifically, tests with three-year NRS approvals expiring on February 2, 2013, may continue to be used during a transition period ending on June30, 2014.
It is possible for tests that were granted the initial three year authorization to provide additional information to ED in order to extend their approval. This NRS assessment review process begins each year on October 1. Which tests will be submitted or whether they will be determined suitable for use in the NRS is unknown. States and local areas should review this FRN and if states and/or local areas are concerned about tests expiring, they can contact the test publisher for more information.
Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II)
The following blog/advisory from the Department of Commerce may be of interest to the workforce community.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis'' (BEA) new Web portal on the ocean and Great Lakes economy shows how the Bureau's Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) can be used to provide answers to such questions. The new Web site stems from a joint project with the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
RIMS II, a regional economic model, is used by investors, planners, and elected officials to objectively assess the returns to projects ranging from a new sports stadium to a new bridge. The returns include the short- and long-term increases in jobs and spending associated with the projects.
The idea behind the results of RIMS II is that an initial change in economic activity leads to additional changes in economic activity in other parts of an economy-for example, building a new bridge leads to increased production of concrete and steel. The increased production of concrete and steel leads to more mining. Workers benefiting from these increases may also enjoy bigger paychecks, so they may then spend more by eating out at nicer restaurants or splurging more on entertainment.
Planners and policymakers use RIMS II to compare the regional impacts that are likely to occur from proposed projects. That helps them make decisions related to the allocation of resources. That's why RIMS II appears on the new Web site, which showcases BEA's regional information on the ocean and Great Lakes economy. Findings based on the model are typically reported in "economic impact studies," which are cited to support major spending decisions by both the public and private sectors.
The new Web portal highlights the wide range of questions that can be answered with the help of RIMS II. Here are a few of them:
- How many jobs are supported by the fish processing industry in Bellingham, WA?
- How much will workers' earnings increase if an additional 500,000 tourists visited Myrtle Beach, SC, because of a developmental project to beautify its beaches?
- How much will workers' earnings increase solely from the new spending of these tourists at local retail stores?
- How much will workers' earnings increase if a new $2.5 million bridge was built to improve access to a public beach in St. Augustine, FL?
The examples also provide tips on how RIMS II can most effectively be used. The bridge example shows how the model can account for the specific details related to a particular construction project. Because the proposed bridge will be built out of precast concrete parts, the labor costs are relatively low for the cost of the project. By using the "bill-of-goods" method, the resulting estimate reflects the smaller impact the project will have on workers' earnings across the region.
National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Hold September 11 Open Meeting
The Economic Development Administration has announced that the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship will hold a meeting on Tuesday, September 11, 2012. It will be open to the public via conference call. The meeting will take place at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.
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 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 Department of Commerce Web site at www.commerce.gov.
The contact is Nish Acharya, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Room 7019, 1401 Constitution Avenue, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: 202-482-4068.
EDA Launches New Online Tool to Help Weigh Benefits of Economic Development Projects Using the Triple Bottom Line Model
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has launched a new online tool to help weigh benefits of economic development projects using the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) model. The new TBL Tool is designed to assist economic development practitioners, investors, and decision-makers assess, compare, and communicate the viability of potential investments. In creating the TBL Tool, EDA collaborated with Portland State University and its project team and an advisory board of policy makers, practitioners, academics, and industry leaders, including the National Association of Development Organizations, the International Economic Development Council, and the Ford Foundation.
Traditionally, the effectiveness of an economic development investment has been measured primarily by the number of jobs created and dollars leveraged. The new tool now takes into account a broader array of economic, environmental, and social impacts to more fully evaluate the potential impact of projects.
Matt Erskine, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, notes:
While the TBL approach has been recognized as a valuable analytical tool among businesses -- including major U.S. companies such as General Electric, Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, among many others -- it has not been widely applied or considered within the public sector or by the economic development profession. The new TBL Tool developed through EDA's investment represents a significant step forward for expanding the application of the concept by planners, nonprofits, community organizations, and governments to help support the assessment and decision making of critical development decisions.
This open-source tool has many functions. By using its features to assess the economic, social, and environmental measures, communities can easily compare potential projects and identify their assets and gaps, plan for better outcomes, weigh various options, and make decisions about them. Further, by leveraging the data points, the TBL Tool can also facilitate more complete and robust accounting, help align economic development investments with other community priorities, and ensure that scarce resources are used as efficiently, effectively, and strategically as possible.
The TBL Tool, which is in beta release and free to users, was designed to be easy to use and to respond to various sizes and types of communities and investments. It underwent a rigorous vetting process that included usability testing, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and a national survey of economic development professionals.
Click here for more information and to view the TBL Tool.
Also funded by EDA, this website explores regional and local approaches to economic innovation and competitiveness across the United States.