April 21, 2015

The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL) released the proposed Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) regulations and they were just published in the Federal Register this week on April 16, 2015.

The proposed regulations come in five parts, Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs), that each address different aspects of the law: Unified and Combined State Plans, Performance Accountability, and the One-Stop System Joint Provisions (Joint DOL/ED); Remaining Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provisions administered by DOL; Title II Adult Education and Literacy administered by ED; Title IV Vocational Rehabilitation administered by ED; and Miscellaneous Program Changes administered by ED.

The public comment period is open for 60 days, ending June 15, 2015. The Departments are expected to analyze these public comments and anticipate issuing Final Rules implementing WIOA in early 2016.

March 11 - 22, 2013

StartUp PHL Seed Fund - The idea is to give capital to keep innovative entrepreneurs especially technology driven ventures here in Philadelphia. The investment in this sector is a priority for the city with obvious impacts for workforce. The first awards were announced last week on Wednesday.

Building a Grad Nation Report was released detailing on a national and state by state level the current dropout situation. Click here for the full report.

Performance-based funding for higher eds - PA is one state seen as a model for performance-based pay for colleges and universities and the trend is a national one. This has implications for furthering the discussion around what is needed from higher education and hopefully will spur additional dialogue in aligning expectations K-16 and in the workforce.

The Privatization of PA Liquor Stores HB 790 passed the House however questions loom in Harrisburg as there seems to be no sign of designated funds to education as initially promised in the introduction of the bill.

What's on the Radar?

WIA Reauthorization - The SKILLS Act - The Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act passed the house on March 15th and is now in the Senate. Some highlights from the current act include: providing a single Workforce Investment fund (no adult vs. youth designated funding); consolidation of workforce training programs and amends the current decision making process. Check out two infographics with two very different takes on the current act: Infographic #1 and Infographic #2.

March 8, 2013

The SXSWedu event kicked off in Austin, Texas this week with various education innovation contests, presentations and speakers. Of note is the release of the Amplify tablet for education. The tablet has been created as a tool to integrate technology in the classroom providing resources for students such as Common Core aligned homework help and multimedia as well as tools for teachers and principals to improve instruction.

Jobs report – the February Jobs Report was released today. 236,000 jobs were added compared to 119,000 in January. In addition, the unemployment rate dropped from 7.9 to 7.7. Industries that added the most jobs this past month include construction, health care and retail. See the full report here.

National High School Grad Rates - The U.S. Department of Education released its first round of school level data on high school graduation rates 2010-2011. This is a larger win for the Department in their attempts to move to use of a common metric across schools to gain a national perspective on graduation rates.

What's on the Radar?

Workforce and the Skills Gap - Bringing Ed and Workforce Together
A New Education Block Grant Proposed in PA - Governor Corbett announced a plan today to use revenue from selling the PA owned liquor stores to establish a Passport For Learning Block Grant. The grant would contribute to the state’s largest investment in education in PA history. The block grant would fund STEM efforts, school safety, competency-based learning initiatives as well as “Ready by 3” efforts.

February 26, 2013

WIA Reauthorization - A new bill was introduced by House Democrats on February 15th the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (H.R. 798). 3 main principles 1- streamline and improve the investment system programs; 2- increase accountability; 3- promote innovation in the workforce system.

Building a Grad Nation Report was released detailing on a national and state by state level the current dropout situation. Click here for the full report.

How the world uses technology - an interesting look at how the world interacts and in particular utilizes their mobile devices. As we continue to rethink how we deliver information, give students educational and workforce information and experiences the Neilsen report "The Mobile Consumer" to be released in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress provides some trends and insight.

What's on the Radar?

Sequestration & the Debt Ceiling "No Budget, No Pay"
What's the deal? Two major things to consider: 1) Sequestration which entails across the board cuts with defense and nondefense discretionary taking the largest hits (the latter a concern for youth workforce development efforts). 2) The debt ceiling which has been temporarily raised by the passage of the debt ceiling suspension & "No Budget, No Pay" bill on February 5th. This means that on May 19th we will see another discussion over raising the debt ceiling as we near an inability to make necessary payments. The "No Budget, No Pay" portion requires passage of a fiscal 2014 budget or lawmakers pay will be withheld. For more charts and visuals on the situation check out the Washington Post's slide show.

December 7, 2012

The U.S. Jobs report was released this past Friday. Highlights include the addition of 146,000 jobs with growth seen in the health care, business and professional services and retail trade sectors. Unemployment dropped from 7.9% to 7.7% for November though this also is accounting for those individuals who have completely dropped out of the workforce. Hurricane Sandy is also being cited as an external factor impacting the current workforce numbers. For a brief overview click here.

An international perspective on educational systems and economic factors- OECD published their international indicators for educational success Education at A Glance 2012.

Reforming Financial Aid- A question of access and completion - A report released last week proposes revisions to the current financial aid system. "Increasing Return on Investment from Federal Student Aid" discusses a shift to campus-based aid deeming aid levels on number of low-income youth in attendance and the propensity of students to complete their degree of study. Other proposed reforms include automatic enrollment of income-based repayment for federal financial aid recipients.

What's on the Radar?

Workforce and the Skills Gap - Bringing Ed and Workforce Together
With the recent release of the McKinsey Report Education to Employment – Designing a System that Works, the discussion continues to be how academia is interfacing with the business community. Armed with some data around the bridging of post-secondary to a career the need for more opportunities to collaborate are clear and further underscore those such as Google, NASA, the University of Colorado among others who are looking to make the employment connection while students are still in school. Another example of the opportunity to inform both worlds is the innovative Studio H project which is utilizing design principles to educate under served youth through hands on projects that revive the local community. The question remains how else can these types of dialogues and partnerships be brokered in an effort to create a pipeline to sustainable, meaningful skill attainment and employment.

September 21, 2012

On Friday the PSSA scores for PA were released. Education Secretary Tomalis discussed the investigation into testing fraud at Districts as well as the roll out of the Common Core and Keystones with related new graduation requirements. A more in depth look at District data is available here.

Georgetown University released a report Career and Technical Education: Five Ways That Pay which highlights the 5 successful pathways in CTE and examines the shift in the types of work this educational path leads to as well as the sustainable wage brackets successful program completers can expect.

A focus on increasing foreign language instruction and study is seen in the recent federal funding awards to institutions of higher education through the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program (UISFL). This is seen as just one additional way to be part of the global economy and a participatory global citizenry.

What's on the Radar?

Assessments! Assessments are currently at the forefront, some may argue since NCLB, but with the impending Common Core and local Keystone assessments, how education is measured is even more a hot topic. First the following article in Fast Company provides an interesting look at the role and transformation of assessments in education. Some interesting insights include the need for student buy-in grading rubrics as well as the move towards digital badges and other ways to more accurately capture skill attainment. While others are providing a different perspective questioning our current methods and fascination with a number which may not truly capture educational progress. Lastly, to bring the conversation full circle Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera in the following TED talk examines what online learning is bringing to the forefront in terms of learning and instruction models as well as testing and skill assessment.

September 7, 2012

Dr. Hite starts the school year off and takes his post as the new superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.

Middle school and the impact of school transitions in relation to student achievement and dropout rates is examined by a recent study highlighted in Harvard's Ed. Magazine. The study underscores the need for support for students in the middle school age range and raises the question of current school and grade structuring.

The August Jobs report was released last week. The health and education sectors remained fairly unscathed by current economic conditions while the manufacturing sector took a large hit. The restaurant industry saw an increase in jobs however some 368,000 individuals dropped out of the labor force last month.

What's on the Radar?

An international look at the labor market and educational attainment - With the release of two reports from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) both labor market trends and levels of educational attainment across the globe have been a recent focus. Some of the highlight include:

  • the U.S. ranks 14th in the world in the percentage of 25-34 year-olds who hold a post-secondary degree
  • Our teachers spend more hours per year instructing than in other countries
  • The U.S. higher education system relies on twice as much private funding than the rest of the globe

In terms of the international labor landscape the focus is on the burden youth across the world are bearing in terms of the unemployment situation as well as the role and need for proactive labor market policies.

August 31, 2012

On Tuesday, the National Center for Education Statistics released a report on college access and persistence of minority males, "Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study." Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, noted the need for access to post-secondary opportunities and the correlation to strengthening the economy by facilitating this populations success in educational attainment.

The new orientation format...Undergrads tackle real business issues before classes begin.

Wharton joins the online course movement offering Gamification Techniques in the Business World on Coursera. The course kicked off last Monday.

What's on the Radar?

Conventions and Elections - As the Republicans convened in Tampa and the Democrats in North Carolina the issues and proposals were numerous and varied seen in The National Constitution Center's unique platform comparison via tag clouds. Some are looking at the higher education implications of the proposed policies including capacity needs, secondary to post-secondary pipeline promotion and workforce alignment. Others are looking at trends in the job market. Check out an info MTV and Good have partnered and produced the following infographic on the current status of the job market.

August 10, 2012

Life expectancy and a degree - what's the correlation? In a recent study by Health Affairs journal an individual's degree of educational attainment and their projected life expectancy are related.

Last Tuesday, Neil D. Theobald was named Temple University's new president.

Twitter - the new professional development platform. Last week's #140edu conference examined the value in the immediacy, community building and varied information offered by Twitter and its impact in supporting educators and their professional growth.

What's on the Radar?

Technology in Education - The education topography is certainly shifting. From Data Jams to the upcoming Datapalooza (yes, these are the real names of events) data sharing, collaboration and technology have been at the forefront for the Department of Education. The goal is to better understand how to share information as well as utilize technology to support the field. This is part of a larger campaign, the Digital Government Strategy. Moving from data sharing to actual transformations on the ground, Fast Company just featured the following infographic highlighting the current and expected future trajectory of technology's impact on education. Lastly, at the Aspen Institute's Idea Fest technology in the form of educational games is just one additional example of the opportunities and shifts in the work.

July 27, 2012

College shopping sheet - The U.S. Department of Education in collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a new tool to assist students in understanding their ability to afford college as well as create a better understanding of the debt they will take on and the likelihood of paying off that debt.

A new way to connect and track student success in the workforce is seen in LinkedIn's new College Pilot Program. Hult International Business School is one of the universities taking part in a collaborative effort to share data on career success, link alumni and share workforce opportunities and information through the social media site.

Child well-being across the nation including educational status was the focus of the recent report and interactive data wheel by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

What's on the Radar?

The recent jobs report and related trends in salary and individual sector growth are seen in the following charts. The industries showing sustainable growth include education, health, mining and logging.

July 20, 2012

Obama proposes dedication of $1 billion to create a Master Teacher Corps to increase math and science student achievement. President Obama looks to utilize monetary incentives to reward high performing teachers as well as hopes to encourage knowledge exchange amongst teaching peers.

Data! Oh the possibilities! College campuses are honing in on the vast opportunities to assist their students in attaining success at their institutions through use of data. From tracking a student's on-track course status to understanding their advisement needs, the tools and interventions are numerous.

Khan Academy examined….Just how well do Khan Academy lessons inform students? An interesting look from an instructor's perspective on the teaching strategies and related effectiveness of the Khan Academy format.

What's on the Radar?

League of Extraordinary Women, Hillary Clinton and 21st century skills - What do all three have in common? Utilization of technology and related 21st Century skills on a global scale to inform, engage and educate youth as well as impact international economic development. In a recent article in Fast Company three young women and their education and career aspirations are followed highlighting the U.S. State Department's TechGirls program and Clinton's 21st Century Statecraft agenda.

July 13, 2012

A recent report by the Center for American Progress highlights the state-by-state student perspective on the rigor of classroom work and level of learning in the classroom. Read the full report here.

PA teacher evaluations have been revised for the first time in 40 years and the related implications locally are being explored. Some are also raising questions on the exclusion of charter school teachers from the evaluation process.

ALISON is just one of the many innovative online tools highlighting an international focus on the need for workforce skill development particularly in terms of addressing the need for technical and vocational skill set development for the global workforce.

What's on the Radar?

Innovation! NASA announced their investment in 200 organizations to increase innovative instruction in the STEM field for middle school students. This is part of NASA's 2012 Summer of Innovation mini-grants program. In addition, the Department of Education has announced the winners of its "Why Open Education Matters" competition with a local Philadelphian among the top 3 winners. Finally, 12 leading universities are collaborating to join in the open educational movement through Coursera to share content and lessons worldwide.

July 6, 2012

The Department of Education has recently solicited student input on the CTE Blueprint. Read their insights shared with Secretary Duncan.

Mayor Cory Booker launches social media site to engage youth in community issues, find their voice and explore their own leadership potential.

Substantial increases in teen employment was the major highlight of the June jobs report released last Friday.

What's on the Radar?

Teachers! Teachers have been the subject of many of the recent commentary and discussion. From new international models to support professional development like Shanghai's current structure to capturing teachers' perspectives in reform efforts, analyzing effective methods for assessing teacher performance is clearly a priority in the education dialogue. One such suggestion includes an insightful point of comparison for how we assess professional athletes and what this could mean if used in schools.



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