Topics Of Interest
Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board to Meet September 27; NIST MEP Seeks Comments on Survey for Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge
8 Keys to Success: Supporting Veterans, Military and Military Families on Campus
From the Department of Education:
At the recent Disabled American Veterans National Convention, President Obama outlined five Administration priorities that ensure we are fulfilling our promises to those who have served our nation, including supporting our veterans in institutions of higher learning. In his speech, President Obama announced that 250 community colleges and universities have committed to implementing the 8 Keys to Success on their campuses. Developed by the Administration, the Department of Education (ED), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in conjunction with more than 100 education experts, the 8 Keys to Success on campus are eight concrete steps that institutions of higher education can take to help veterans and service members transition into the classroom and thrive once they are there.
Model Program for Long-Term Advancement of Low Income Adults; Research Project Underway in Four Cities
The Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) has shared this update on the WorkAdvance project.
MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization, recently released WorkAdvance: Testing a New Approach to Increase Employment Advancement for Low-Skilled Adults. This policy brief details a new skills-building model designed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter, and succeed in obtaining quality jobs in high-demand fields with opportunities for career growth. It applies known strategies in sector-based employment programs and combines them with promising practices from career coaching once participants are placed into jobs.
Many low-income, low-skilled adults in the U.S. have difficulty obtaining family-sustaining jobs that also offer advancement in the job market. Those individuals with no more than a high school education are particularly vulnerable, often experiencing both unsteady employment and flat wages. According to the brief, “…many low-income individuals cannot afford [training programs], fail to complete training, or do not obtain a marketable credential.” Concurrently, employers assert that they are unable to readily secure people with the necessary occupational skills to meet their business needs. As a consequence, many key positions go unfilled, even during a weak economy.
In response, the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) and MDRC developed the WorkAdvance model and launched it as a research demonstration project in four locations—New York City, Tulsa, Okla., and Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio. Eligible participants are low-income adults, 18 years or older, who are unemployed or earning under $15 per hour, and whose family income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Each program will focus on occupations in one or two industry sectors and, given the different regions and industry sectors across the programs, each model will be implemented and tailored differently. All programs, however, will be informed by employers’ input and focused on long-term career advancement. Each site will also implement the model’s core elements: intensive applicant screening; sector-focused pre-employment services; sector-specific occupational skills training; sector-specific job development and placement; and, post-employment retention and advancement services.
The brief posits that “[The] variety of backgrounds provides an opportunity for MDRC to learn whether the WorkAdvance model can be effective when operated by different types of organizations — an important question to answer if the model is to be replicated on a larger scale. Evaluation of the program findings will assist in providing better evidence for policymakers and program administrators as they consider if and how to incorporate sector-focused and postemployment strategies into other workforce policies and programs, such as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Pell Grant-funded training programs, or the SNAP Employment and Training program. The first full report, which will focus on the program implementation, will be published, in 2014. A final report of the findings on program impacts is scheduled for release in 2015.