the Skills Crisis And Workforce
Challenges of the New World Economy
3, Number 1, March 2010
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Southeastern WorkKeys Conference
is on hiatus for 2010
Association of Workforce Boards,
Preparing a Competitive US Workforce--Reflection, Reinvestment,
6-9, 2010, Renaissance on Capitol Hill,
National Conference on Science Education, Philadelphia,
PA March 18-21,
Conference 2010, League for Innovation,
Baltimore, MD, March
Workforce Development Conference (formerly the National
WorkKeys Conference), Philadelphia,
Dr. Brent Knight, President at Lansing
Community College received national attention for his announcement
of his Get a Skill, Get a Job--or Get your
Money Back initiative. Participants accepted into the
program will participate in a rigorous training program lasting from
4-8 weeks (depending on the specific program), and culminating in
a proficiency exam. If they complete the program successfully, they
will receive a certificate/portfolio verifying their competencies.
If those who complete the program are unable to secure employment
within 12 months, LCC will refund their cost. The initiative is under
development in the areas of Pharmacy Technician,
Customer Service Call Center Workers, Certified Qualtiy Inspectors,
and Home Technology Integration Technicians.
we struggle to regain our footing after a disastrous year that has
shaken our national confidence, it is worth looking back just a little
for recommendations that may have been overlooked and that now take
on a new imperative. In his blog, MeederMindWorks,
Hans Meeder suggests that it is now crucial that workforce development
professionals, educators, and others reconsider the innovation
eco-economy. He maintains that U.S. strength in eco-systems
factors are "why we have maintained our strong competitive position
for so long, in spite of our education shortcomings". Meeder
highlights a major factor in the innovation eco-system, America’s
talent supply, and he takes us back to the major 2007 report, Rising
Above The Gathering Storm.
authors of the report state that “Because other nations have,
and probably will continue to have, the competitive advantage of
a low wage structure, the United States must compete by optimizing
its knowledge-based resources, particularly in science and technology,
and by sustaining the most fertile environment for new and revitalized
industries and the well-paying jobs they bring.” Most of us
would agree that we "need a new workforce that is literate
in technology and engineering (design) and able to apply mathematical
reasoning and scientific knowledge to solving problems and creating
new goods, services and processes".
the July-August 2009 edition of Harvard Business Review, Gary Pisano
and Willy Shih published Restoring American
Competitiveness in which they explained the important
concept of the Industrial Commons. You
can read the beginning of the article online
and purchase a reprint if you care to.
The term “Industrial Commons” refers
to a foundation of knowledge and capabilities (technical, design
and operational) that is shared within an industry sector, such
as “R&D know-how, advanced process development and engineering
skills, and manufacturing competencies related to a specific technology.”
Pisana and Shih point out that during the last couple of decades,
U.S. firms have outsourced bits and pieces of various manufacturing
and engineering sectors to low-cost developing economies.Then came
"tipping points" when the full design and manufacturing
capability (the "industrial commons") was lost from the
U.S. and the commons essentially emigrated. The authors warn that
once an industrial commons is lost, it is nearly impossible to retrieve.
and Shih demonstrate this concept by referring to Amazon’s
Kindle 2 that cannot be made in the U.S. because "its flex
circuit connector is made in China; its electrophoretic display
is made in Taiwan; its highly polished injection-molded case is
made in China; its wireless card is made in South Korea; its lithium
polymer battery is made in China, and its controller board is made
in China". The specialized expertise to manufacture these parts
has migrated out of the U.S.
from The Chronicle of Higher Education,
The U.S. education secretary, Arne Duncan, repeated
his call on Friday for universities to create better programs
to prepare teachers and principals in a speech to a teachers-college
organization that he also used to respond to concerns about President
Obama's proposed budget.
Echoing comments he made at teachers' colleges
last fall, Mr. Duncan said at the annual meeting of the American
Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, in Atlanta, that
many teacher-preparation programs at universities were outdated
and needed to undergo "transformational change" to emphasize
teacher quality, including knowledge of subject matter.
Mr. Obama's proposed budget for the 2011 fiscal
year, which starts on October 1, would increase funds for teacher
training but would do so in part by placing teachers' colleges
in direct competition for money, for the first time, with alternative-certification
programs like Teach for America.
"I appreciate that shifting toward competitive
funding with multiple players can create legitimate concerns,"
Mr. Duncan said. "To put it in the simplest terms, we believe
teacher-preparation programs should be focused on results."
Programs that have a record of preparing successful teachers,
or a plan to begin tracking graduates to make sure they succeed,
will get the most money, he said.
He acknowledged that the money, in many cases,
would not be sufficient in a difficult economic climate.
welcome South Dakota
(the 49th. state!) into the Consortium as it has undertaken statewide
CRC deployment. The
state contact is Andrew
Szilvasi in the Division of Workforce Services at the SD Department
US Department of Education recently provisionally approved WorkKeys
assessments in Reading for Information and Applied Mathematics for
use in the National Reporting System for
Adult Education. This means that these assessments may be used
for three years only. The objection to approving them for continued
use is the fact that WorkKeys assessments are NOT normed tests, as
are the TABE, CASAS, and others.
is the latest Top 10 list for
the number of Career Readiness Certificates issued:
North Carolina 40,439
has produced three texts that should be of interest to anyone who
is preparing students for the Applied
for Information, and Locating
Information assessments. The books are aligned with WorkKeys levels
and contain a wealth of practice exercises. Because many students
either do not have access to computers or high speed internet connections,
and also because many older adults are either not computer literate
or find it difficult to learn from a computer, it is important to
have alternatives to on-line training.
NOCC is always anxious to receive your Certificate news. Keeping the
CRC web site current is easy if a state has a web site that includes
numbers in a database but if not, the NOCC must rely on information
sent in by local and state representatives. Please forward updates
and any information you would like included to the NOCC
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NOCC, March 2010