NGA's Complete to Compete Initiative Report: Adult Postsecondary Education Is Essential
The recently released National Governors Association (NGA) report, Complete to Compete: Improving Postsecondary Attainment Among Adults was designed to help states improve postsecondary credential attainment rates for adults and increase their chances of success in the labor market. The report urges states to focus on four key policy areas: flexible and integrated learning environments, comprehensive support services, cross-institutional data to track performance, and innovative financing. In addition to improving policy in these areas, the NGA recommends as critical such actions as bringing successful local programs to scale, investing in technology, and informing individuals of the benefits of increased training and education for developing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce.
By 2018, 63 percent of all jobs—approximately 30 million—will require some postsecondary education. The United States, however, does not have enough skilled workers to fill these positions—less than half of the current labor force holds an associate or higher-level degree. To fill this skills gap, an additional 3 million individuals must obtain a postsecondary credential over the next seven years
An increased focus on adult learners and their needs can help fill the labor gap. Nearly 90 million adults face at least one major barrier to success in the labor market. These include the lack of a high school diploma, no postsecondary degree or training, and an inability to speak, read, and write English well. In addition, lack of incentives, financial aid and other support services, and transitions among educational programs create roadblocks to success.
Vice President Biden Calls for States to Host College Completion Summits
Addressing the first annual Building a Grad Nation Summit last week, Vice President Joe Biden called on all governors to host a college completion summit in their respective states to support the administration’s goal for the United States to have the most educated workforce and the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. To support the state summits, Biden announced the release of a new comprehensive college completion tool kit, which provides ideas for states to draw from and identifies seven no-cost or low-cost strategies that governors can use, 15 related action steps, and a series of existing federal resource streams from which to draw.
Biden also announced a new grant competition focused on helping institutions of higher education raise completion rates. The Department of Education will be accepting applications for the 2011 Comprehensive Program , a grant initiative under the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. The program will provide $20 million to colleges to implement plans designed to increase student success and productivity in postsecondary schools. The plans must also have the potential to serve as models for postsecondary education the nation.
Skills for America’s Future Initiative Announces New Industry Partnership at U.S. Department of Education’s Third Community College Summit in Indianapolis
On March 23, the U.S. Department of Education held its third regional community college summit at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis. Ivy Tech is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest statewide community college with single accreditation. The all-day meeting included representatives of community colleges, business, labor, industry, philanthropy, state and local governments, and students. In addition to Indiana, representatives came from Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter gave the summit’s opening remarks. Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, Brenda Dann-Messier, moderated the lunchtime panel, Unique Industry Partnerships With Community Colleges. Roberto Rodriguez, special assistant to President Obama for education, gave the closing remarks. Additional speakers included Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Ivy Tech’s president, Thomas Snyder.
During the summit, Skills for America’s Future—a new initiative launched by President Obama last October to improve industry partnerships with community colleges—announced United Parcel Service (UPS) as a new corporate partner. UPS plans to establish a new workforce advisory board to expand career options for students in community college training programs, improve job placement rates and promote economic growth in local communities. Skills for America’s Future chair, Penny Pritzker stated, “Partnerships like this one between employers and community colleges are a win for students, a win for businesses, and a win for our economy.”
For more information on the summits—the next is toto be held in San Diego on April 15 and a virtual symposium is scheduled for April 27, please visit OVAE’s home page.
2011 National Meeting for State Directors of Adult Education—Registration Now Online
Registration for OVAE’s 2011 National Meeting for Adult Education State Directors is now open online. The event will be held at the Hyatt Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Va., on May 10–12, 2011. A special pre-conference session, open to all interested attendees, is being held on Monday, May 9, from 1to 4p.m. The session, Winning the Future: The Race for Quality and Results in Adult Education is a chance for state directors and other state personnel to engage in learning opportunities and to interact with senior administration leaders and Congressional staff on policy related to the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), Title II of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).