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


Volume 4, Number 2, March 2011

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/Resources site.

In this issue:

  • Conference News
  • Workforce Development News
  • CRC Consortium News


  • Celebration of Teaching & Learning (WNET--NY), Hilton New York, March 18-20.


  • On February 7th, while the world was caught up in the new turmoil in the Middle East, and in the SuperBowl frenzy, a very important report was released by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, titled Pathways To Prosperity , Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century."

    The report points out the hard reality that America's education system, as it currently performs, is nowhere near effective enough in preparing young Americans for skilled, competitive careers, which mostly require some sort of education and training beyond high school. The report purports that America's obsession with "college for all" doesn't really address the economic realities of our current job market. This report is well worth printing and sharing with every person you know who is interested in education, training, and politics.While those who were strong supporters of Tech-Prep and School-To-Work will recognize recurring themes and while they will not be surprised to see many of the same old arguments against skills education being voiced by opponents to this latest report, the world situation has changed dramatically since the 80s and 90s so perhaps these challenges will not be so energetic, vitriolic, or successful.

    Hans Meeder (MeederMindWorks) has once again provided good food for thought with these particular quotes he pulled from the report:

    “The message is clear: in 21st century America, education beyond high school is the passport to the American Dream. But how much and what kind of post-secondary is really needed to prosper in the new American economy?

    “More surprisingly, they (certificate-related jobs) pay more than many of the jobs held by those with a bachelor’s degree. In fact, 27 percent of people with post-secondary licenses or certificates-credentials short of an associate’s degree-earn more than the average bachelor’s degree recipient.”

    “What is most noteworthy about the President’s statement is the implicit recognition that if the U.S. is going to make dramatic progress in reclaiming its historic leadership position in post-secondary attainment, it is going to have to focus much more attention and resources on programs and pathways that do not require a bachelor’s degree but do prepare young people for the kind of middle-skill jobs outlined above.”

    “Indeed, if current trends persist, the percentage of young adults with a post-secondary degree may actually drop, reversing a long history in which children have generally been better educated than their parents.”

    “Given these dismal attainment numbers, a narrowly defined “college for all” goal-one that does not include a much stronger focus on career-oriented programs that lead to occupational credentials-seems doomed to fail.”

    “…the paradox is that even through young people understand they need post-secondary education to make it in 21st century America, huge percentages continue to drop out of high school and college.”

    “We fail these young people not because we are indifferent, but because we have focused too exclusively on a few narrow pathways to success. It is time to widen our lens and to build a more finely articulated pathways system-one that is richly diversified to align with the needs and interest of today’s young people and better designed to meet the needs of the 21st century economy.”

    “While these initiatives are encouraging, we clearly need a more comprehensive effort to develop a robust pathways system. If high school career-focused pathways were firmly linked to community college and four-year college majors, for example, we believe more students would be likely to stay the course. Indeed, we are convinced that this is an exceptionally promising strategy for increasing post-secondary attainment.”

    Our current system places far too much emphasis on a single pathway to success: attending and graduating from a four-year college after completing an academic program of study in high school. Yet as we’ve seen, only 30 percent of young adults successfully complete this preferred pathway, despite decades of efforts to raise the numbers. “

    “It is long past time that we broaden the range of high-quality pathways that we offer to our young people, beginning in high school.”

    “Every high school graduate should find viable ways of pursuing both a career and a meaningful post-secondary degree or credential. For too many of our youth, we have treated preparing for college versus preparing for career as mutually exclusive options.”

    “Students who are bored and at risk of dropping out need to be engaged more effectively. They need to know that there are navigable pathways leading to rewarding careers in the mainstream economy. Our hope is that states will recognize the importance of providing such options and not make the mistake of mandating a narrow common college prep curriculum for all.”

  • The latest issue of The Science Teacher marks NSTA's 16th issue devoted to the theme of "Science for All." Ideas for reaching out to under-represented groups are more important than ever, as classrooms become increasingly diverse. This theme serves as an umbrella for ideas and strategies to narrow the academic achievement gap associated with ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, physical disabilities, limited English-language proficiency, and learning differences.
  • The NOCC will participate in the Celebration of Teaching & Learning conference, March 18-20. This conference is sponsored by WNET, the New York PBS affiliate. The topic for the panel discussion is Taking back the American Dream: Education & the Global Economy.
  • The NOCC and McGraw-Hill have issued a joint white paper Making Connections: New Approaches to Acquiring Skills and Building Careers in a 21st Century Global Job Market. It is available here.


  • The 2010 report on the implementation of the CRC in North Carolina is now available. It is posted under the Resources page of the NOCC web site. The report will be valuable to those of you who are just starting or are in the middle of CRC implementation. Pam Gobel and Stephanie Deese are among the most experienced in the CRC initiative and they are always most generous in their support of others. Please get in touch with Pam if you could use a little helpful advice.
  • If you are currently implementing the CRC in your state or organization, you will find The Career Readiness Certificate: An Implementation Handbook very helpful. It is available as a FREE download from the Resources tab of the NOCC site.
  • The official contact for the CRC in Virginia is now "Mac" McGinty, Vice President of the Community College Workforce Alliance, a terrific organization within the VA Community College System. Many of you will remember the great presentations Mac made when the CRC initiative was just beginning. His dynamic, enthusiastic, and intelligent presentations played a very important role in getting many states into the Consortium, especially because he works so closely with employers and could speak to their needs and acceptance of the CRC. Mac was a key player in the original 5-college pilot test that was conducted in VA during 2002 and that resulted in Gov. Warner's statewide commitment to the CRC.
  • Top 10 list of states issuing the CRC (with thanks to Bill Guest at ACT):
  • 1. Georgia 201,350

    2. South Carolina 146,695

    3. Michigan 110,341

    4. Florida 100,573

    5. North Carolina 71, 788

    6. Indiana 66,023

    7. Oklahoma 51,109

    8. Virginia 35,053

    9. Alabama 33,477

    10. Arkansas 27,289

  • Visit the CRC web site for the complete matrix to check on your state. You will see that there is a great deal of information missing in the matrix so please help the NOCC to keep your state's information up to date by sending in revised numbers (including percentages of bronze, silver and gold certificates), and any other updates for the site.
  • Since January, there have been significant changes in workfore development agencies and in CRC offices across the country. Please send updated information on state contacts and other news to the NOCC as soon as you can. Your information is used in response to phone calls and in national presentations. It is embarrassing to be told after a presentation that the presented information is out of date.
  • West Virginia is making great strides with its CRC initiative. To date, almost 21,000 have been issued. In addition, Michele Wilson at WVU reports that they are now 73 businesses who have used or are currently using WorkKeys in WV. Most of these have done job profiles and some have multiple profiles, e.g. Dupont Washington Works has conducted 11 profiles within the company.
  • 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 theResources tab at the web site.


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© NOCC, March 2011