Confronting the Skills Crisis And Workforce
Challenges of the New World Economy


Volume 3, Number 2, August 2010

Please submit articles and news items to the NOCC office for inclusion in future newsletters and on the CRCC web site.

Previous NOCC newsletters are available at the NOCC web site.

In this issue:

  • Conference News
  • Workforce Development News
  • CRC Consortium News


  • 2010 Iowa Workforce Conference, Tools for Workforce Recovery, September 15-16, Polk County Convention Complex, Des Moines, IA
  • National Council for Workforce Education, Conference 2010, Hyatt Regency Washington DC, October 16-19, 2010


  • From the University of North Florida Division of Continuing Education comes news of pertinent business training oportunities. For example, here is a summary from Closing the Workplace Generation Gap by ALINA TUGEND that sets the stage for one course that will be offered as part of Generational Workforce Diversity & Leadership Strategy, on September 30, 2010. The summary is taken from the UNF newsletter of September events.

    "The gap from generation to generation isn’t always about technology. Much of it is just attitude and how an individual was raised. The “old” management style is bold and direct, while the “young” style of management is more indirect and conciliatory.

    Young workers will often complain about the curt tone from older managers and bosses. They feel disrespected when they are ordered -- rather than asked -- to do something or when they are commanded rather than requested.

    And maybe baby boomers have themselves to blame. After all, baby boomers are the generation that raised children through negotiation, who explained why it was important to visit Grandma or wear a jacket rather than using the all-purpose “because I told you to.”

    So a younger worker could easily anger an older manager by questioning why she has to do a certain task instead of just putting her head down and getting on with it. And an older manager who brusquely says, “Just do it,” or recounts how much tougher things were in his time, could easily < if unknowingly < widen the generation gap leaving both workers frustrated.

    Managers should try to take a step back and explain to workers why what they do is important and how it will build on the goals of the company. All workers appreciate this technique no matter their generation.

    But the etiquette divide can swing both ways. For example, people in their 40s trained to write thank-you notes, find failure to answer an e-mail just plain rude. Instead it often means the person you wrote is so inundated with information that he forgot. Don’t take it as a deliberate slight. If it happens, persist politely by calling or sending follow-up messages. If you continue to receive no answer, take it as a “young” no thank you".

    If you would like to participate in this course to learn how to close the generational divide in your company or workplace, or if you would like to learn more about the innovative classes offered at UNF, click here.

  • Following the report in the last newsletter on Lansing Community College's innovative Get a Skill, Get A Job, --or Get Your Money Back! program, here are more details:

    Participants accepted into the Get a Skill, Get a Job program will participate in rigorous training for 6 weeks including a job readiness workshop. Successful participants will receive a certificate / portfolio verifying their competencies. If those who successfully complete the program make good faith efforts to secure employment and are unable to receive a job offer in a field related to their training within 12 months, LCC will refund their cost.
    Programs are available In Two Employment Areas (details below):

    Pharmacy Technician Associate
    *Median wage in 2008: $13.24 per hour
    TUITION: $2,150.00
    This program prepares participants to become successful members of pharmacy delivery teams. Participants will be prepared to function with knowledge and accuracy in dispensing and control of drugs in either a hospital or retail pharmacy. The program includes classroom and lab work, as well as practical, hands-on experience in the workplace environment. Successful participants will be prepared to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board National Certification Exam.

    1. Minimum High School diploma or GED.
    2. Screening Assessment: Career Readiness Assessment (WorkKeys) in Applied Math, Reading for Information and Locating Information

    CNC Machinist
    *Median wage in 2008: $15.72 per hour
    TUITION: $2,500.00
    This program prepares participants for entry level CNC positions in the manufacturing industry. Participants will receive hands-on instruction in the basics of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, blueprint reading, introduction to manufacturing principles and computer numerical control programmin

  • 1. Minimum High School diploma or GED.
    2. Basic mechanical drafting skills are necessary to begin this program and may be demonstrated by a score of 80% or better on the Drafting Placement Test.
    3. Basic computer skills are necessary for this course and can be demonstrated by a score of 80% or better on the PC Applications for Technology Placement Test.
    4. Screening Assessment: Career Readiness Assessment (WorkKeys) in Applied Math, Reading for Information and Locating Information
  • In May, the ACT Board of Directors named Jon Whitmore, PhD, currently the president of San Jose State University, as ACT’s new Chief Executive Officer effective September 1, the beginning of ACT’s new fiscal year.
    “ACT’s Directors are very enthusiastic to have Jon Whitmore become our next CEO. We wanted an accomplished leader with notable executive experience and an exemplary track record of success,” said ACT Board Lead Director Mark Musick. “We found just the right person in Jon. We’re confident that he will provide outstanding leadership to expand ACT’s role in helping shape state and national education and workforce policy and in helping more people achieve education and workplace success.”

    “I look forward to carrying on ACT’s upward trajectory, which has been skillfully advanced by Dick Ferguson and ACT’s excellent staff,” said Whitmore. “ACT’s reputation for excellence, and its mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success, are needed today more than ever. With President Obama’s goal of dramatically increasing the number of citizens who graduate from high school, community colleges and 4-year colleges, and with the need to retrain many Americans who have lost jobs or are looking to change professions, ACT has a vital role to play at this critical time in history.”

    Whitmore and his wife, Jennifer, look forward to returning to Iowa City, where Dr. Whitmore served as provost of the University of Iowa from 1996 to 2003.

    Dick Ferguson will retire from ACT in late August and will continue to live in Iowa City.

  • The July/August edition of Inc. magazine features an exciting report that supports the cover headline "Bring On The Entrepreneurs". The following paragraphs are from the report Revitalize The American Dream:

We need more start-ups. A lot more of them. New companies mean new ideas, new approaches, new products and services, and new jobs. What's more, in the wake of the Wall Street meltdown and the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a wave of start-ups could spark a new sense of optimism about what businesses can actually accomplish -- something else this country sorely needs.

We are not just talking about the fast-growing "gazelle" companies that expand at double-digit rates -- though we could certainly use more of them. Nor is this solely about sparking, say, a green business boom or the creation of more tech companies or a bunch of cool new iPhone apps -- though we like all of those, too. Instead, what we are seeking is a kind of rebooting of the entrepreneurial ideal -- the notion that starting a company is a viable option for all Americans, regardless of where they come from. This country has long been a haven for entrepreneurs. Ten years into the 21st century, it's time to rethink exactly what that means.

What follows are 16 practical, "do-able" suggestions for how educators, business schools, the government, venture capitalists and the bureaucracy that surrounds loans, taxes, incubation, and the like can all be part of the solution. Why is this important? Consider: a) young businesses (1-5 years) account for 64% of job creation in our economy, b) venture capital rises and falls but the number of new businesses remains pretty constant, and c) start-ups account for only 3% of total US employment but they are responsible for almost 20% of job creation. Then you might agree that new approaches and perhaps policies are needed to revitalize our economy.

  • For many decades, researchers have been documenting how the long school summer vacation is taking a disastrous toll on our youngsters and consequently, on our economy. In the August 2 edition of Time, David von Drehle revisits the topic in his report The Case Against Summer Vacation. Before going any further, it is important to point out that no one has ever suggested abolishing the vacation completely. Both teachers and students need a break after weeks in the classroom. Rather, the case is made for a shorter vacation (and other short vacations throughout the year) that would overcome the extreme damage/learning loss suffered by our youth--and future workforce. It is documented that by 9th grade, summer learning loss can be "blamed for roughly two-thirds of the achievement gap separating income groups." Why is this the case? Drehle points out that adults romanticize the ideal summer vacation that is in fact, no longer a reality for most children. He blames adults for associating the school year with oppression and summer with liberty, for equating school with work and summer with play, school with regimen and summer with creativity. He maintains that the reality is more of school = engagement, and vacation = boredom, inactivity and isolation. For too many children, there is no opportunity for play outside because of safety concerns and family responsibilities like watching younger siblings while the parents work. Add to this the fact that this is mostly the way summer is for low-income children while more advantaged children go to camps, go on family vacations, or are otherwise actively engaged and you get a sense of why Drehle descibes the long summer vacation as a luxury we can no longer afford. Our children are competing with others around the world who spend more than 4 weeks longer in school each year. It seems paradoxical that US children spend more total hours in the classroom than those in other countries yet our students from disadvantaged backgrounds end grade school two years behind their more advantaged classmates. It appears that a more useful model for many of our youngsters might be the one adopted in what is generally known as year-round school, a dreadful misnomer that, with its conotation of hardship and drudgery, has almost certainly doomed the concept to general non-acceptance by adults, teachers and students.
  • Many of you are aware of the extremely important work of Dr. Ruby Payne at the University of Texas on the topic of poverty. For years, employers and their employees have benefited for example from learning more about how to assimilate welfare recipients into the workforce. Now, Dr. Payne has co-authored a new book (with Paul L. Slocumb), Boys in Poverty (BKF383) and she is offering two workshops on the topic of preventing school drop-outs for Solution Tree.

    "If you are minority, male, and/or poor, your chances of dropping out are much higher than your peers" is the premise for the 2-day workshop that examines the factors that can lead to boys' disengagement in learning. This presentation indentifies ways that educators and others can keep the engagement process high, particularly for boys, beginning in elementary school. It has been well-documented that school drop-outs have a very low rate of success as working adults so this is an important workforce development topic. You can hear Dr. Payne address the following topics: Preventing your school from becoming a "drop-out factory"; Identifying early warning signs; Understanding the impact of drugs, alcohol and early sexual activity; Teaching exceptional boys; Creating connections to school and community; Realigning resources to prevent drop-outs; and Exploring strategies and tools to promote achievement.

    St. Louis, MO October 21-22 and in Cleveland, OH October 26-27. Workshop registration includes the book. Details on the Solution Tree web site.

  • Bonnie Elsey has assumed the position of Director of Workforce Development at the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development. She has been listed on the CRC web site as the contact person for the state of Minnesota.
  • The Center on Education and Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is offering Career Development Facilitator (CDF) Training that leads to national certification. The class is offered with two hybrid options. First, is group training for your staff or organization. Intended for groups of about 12, this option includes an online training course plus 4-6 days of face-to-face training at your site. Second, is the regular hybrid option that is intended for individuals or small groups particiapting online with two trainings of 2 days each on campus. For more details on schedules and cost for option 1 please visit the Center's web site. For a registration form for option 2, click here.


  • You are reminded that the title Career Readiness Certificate was legally defined in 2004 at the inception of the Consortium. The definition set out in the CRC Consortium charter document states that only three WorkKeys assessments may be used (AM, LI, and RFI) and that levels of the CRC are determined by scores of 3, 4, and 5 on all three assessments. THE TERM CAREER READINESS CERTIFICATE MUST NOT BE USED ON ANY OTHER CERTIFICATION THAT DEVIATES FROM THIS DEFINITION. In particular, if the three assessments are used IN CONJUNCTION with additional assessments of any kind--including additional WorkKeys assessments--the certificate MUST be given a completely different name OR it must be referred to as a CRC-Plus. If you have questions about this matter, please contact the NOCC office or the NOCC attorney. Thank you.
  • Eric Bruder, Principal of the Okaw Valley High School in central Illinois has been using the WIN system and WorkKeys assessments with his students for a while but now he would like to fully implement the CRC. One of his challenges is that many of the students say that because they have no intention of going on to post-secondary education, they do not need the CRC. We all know that this is exactly why they SHOULD take the CRC assessments! Eric is looking forward to creating marketing brochures, and he would like to hear from you if you have ideas on how to help him in his quest to have the school's students graduate with both a diploma and a CRC. He is already looking for local and not-so-local employers who will help him to create the "pull" needed, and any ideas you have in that regard would also be gratefully received. Please contact Eric directly.
  • A report from Michele Wilson in West Virginia indicates that the state is moving along well with its CRC initiative. As of June 2010, the state has issued 17, 761 Certificates (since October 2008), with a by-level breakdown of 24% Bronze, 60% Silver, and 16% Gold. There are now 8 certified WorkKeys profilers in the state with over 70 employers involved in the WorkKeys/CRC project. These approximate ratios seem to be remarkably consistent across all states.

    Information on the number of CRCs issued across the country is shown on the CRC Consortium web site and in future the percentage breakdowns will be included as well. If you send your CRC numbers update to the NOCC office, it would be helpful if you would include the percentages as well. If not, we will do it for you.

  • Peggy Severson in Denver, CO reports that there is a great deal going on with the CareerReady Colorado Certificate in the State of Colorado. The new state contact for the CRC is Sue Rusch at the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment.

    In the first 6 months of this year, the City of Denver implemented a sector strategy approach that has become a best practice. Here are the details from Peggy:

With the downturn in the economy and the reduction of city government, we’re serving more customers with less staff and something had to change. Subsequently, the Denver Workforce Center created a new workforce service model known as Job Ready 1-2-3. It is a streamlined process for providing customers with (1) information, (2) job-seeking tools and (3) referrals to job opportunities.

Beginning in January 2010, job opportunities developed under the Sector Expansion Team (SET) in our target industries – Construction/Skilled Trades, Energy/Green Jobs, Healthcare, and “Core Growth” which includes businesses that provide the basis for tax revenues to the city including, retail, restaurants and hotels – required a minimum standard for job placement into wage subsidies and individual training awards.

To qualify for consideration for these opportunities, all jobseekers must complete and have the following five products approved by our trainers . . .

WorkKeys CRC
an updated quality resume
sample cover letter
Job Search Plan
a 30-sec commercial (from interviewing class)

The Assessment & Training team was poised to support those requirements through additional class offerings starting in January 2010. As a result of the sector strategy product requirements under Job Ready 1-2-3, the number of CRCs increased significantly—by 32% from 1/1/2010 though 6/30/2010.


Statewide, 5150 Colorado CRCs have been issued since the inception of the pilot sites in January 2009, and Denver has issued 2034:

Denver: 548 Bronze, 1027 Silver, 447 Gold, 12 Platinum (available since April 2010)

Statewide:1007 Bronze, 2531 Silver, 1572 Gold, 40 Platinum (available since April 2010)

Peggy also shared a link to a blog that details another best practice partnership between the Denver's Office of Economic Development-Workforce Development division and the Denver Public Library.

  • The NOCC is always anxious to receive your Certificate and state news. Keeping the CRC web site current is easy if a state has a web site that includes contact information and CRC numbers in a database. 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 office.
  • No CRC Top 10 list is included in this newsletter because we have not yet received updates on numbers from many states. It is hoped that once we move into fall, the numbers will come in and we will be able to include the list in the next newsletter.
  • Many state CRC web sites now show direct links to the NOCC ( and the CRC Consortium ( sites. These links have greatly increased web traffic and have made it much easier for the public to obtain information on the certificate. Thank you for your help. If you do not have either/both of these links on your site, we would be grateful if you would add them. The NOCC logo is available for downloading at the web site, under Resources.


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© NOCC, August 2010