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


Volume 4, Number 3, June 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


  • Careers Conference 2012, Center on Education and Work, University of WI, Concourse Hotel, Madison WI, January 2012 . Call for proposals open unitl Sept. 9, 2011
  • Workforce Development Institute, American Association of Community Colleges, January 25-28, Hyatt Regency, Miami, FL

    If you would like your conference included in the list above, or if you have a workforce development event planned please send details to the NOCC office.


  • In the March 8 edition of Education Week, Ronald A. Wolk, former founder and editor of the publication, proposes the provocative question "Why is it necessary to increase the use of testing when we know from years of previous testing what the results will be?"
In "The High Stakes of Standards-Based Accountability", Wolk cites as evidence three indisuptable facts:
  1. The NAEP has reported for decades (during which standardized testing was emphasized if not increased) that only 3 out of 10 high school seniors score at the 'proficient' level or above in reading, writing, math and science, and that their scores decline dramatically from 4th grade to 12th.
  2. Of every 100 students who start the 9th grade, about 30 drop out and another 35 or so graduate without being properly prepared either for post-secondarye ducation or the modern workplace.
  3. The brunt of the failures fall on poor and minority children.

    So, the Standards-Based approach is not working, he says. He suggests that our problems started with a misdiagnosis of the problem back in 1983 with the publication of A Nation At Risk and the subsequent prioritization of raising standards mainly through standardized testing. This approach, he continues, is in conflict with the mantra of the school reform movement of the '80s and '90s of "all children can learn".

    While the 1983 report also addressed the importance of attracting the best and brightest trachers, training them well, compensating them well, and giving them clear career pathways, we did not pursue these very important points as aggressively as we did the standarization of instruction and testing.

    Wolk's proposal for a new system for our schools will resonate with many while infuriating others! He proposes a system of "personalized" education. that is based on several key points that sound "soft" compared with the standardization that has occurred over the last 15 years.

  4. Personalized education requires that teachers and students know one another.

    Preschool education should be universal

    Beginning in middle school, multiple pathways should lead to post-secondary education to prepare students for a complex and changing world

    Each student should play a role in designing the pathway curriculum which would be anchored in the real world and not in abstractions

    There would be no 'traditional' core curriculum

    Traditional classroom instruction would be minimal

    Student learning would be assessed on the basis of portfolios, projects, experiments, recitals, performances, etc.

    Standardized tests would be used at transitional levels of schooling to monitor achievement and school accountability purposes

Wolk's article is well worth your time.

  • In his new book on scientific brain research, The Social Animal , David Brooks discusses things that happen at the unconscious level in human beings: how we relate to other people, how our characters form, and how we view the world for example.

    In a related March 7, 2011 column, Brooks made the following thought-provoking points:

We have a prevailing view in our society — not only in the policy world,
but in many spheres — that we are divided creatures. Reason, which is
trustworthy, is separate from the emotions, which are suspect. Society
progresses to the extent that reason can suppress the passions.

This has created a distortion in our culture. We emphasize things that
are rational and conscious and are inarticulate about the processes down
below. We are really good at talking about material things but bad at
talking about emotion.

When we raise our kids, we focus on the traits measured by grades and
SAT scores. But when it comes to the most important things like
character and how to build relationships, we often have nothing to say.
Many of our public policies are proposed by experts who are comfortable
only with correlations that can be measured, appropriated and
quantified, and ignore everything else.

  • In the last NOCC newsletter, you were given a direct link to the February study from Harvard University Pathways To Prosperity. This paper, and several others , are available under the Resources tab of the NOCC web site.
  • The 2011 edition of Diplomas Count: Beyond High School, Before Baccalaureate from Education Week addresses the issues raised in the Harvard study mentioned above. 'College For All' Reconsidered: Are Four-Year Degrees For All? is the lead article in the publication and in it, Anthony P. Carnevale of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University observes that "The reform trajectory we've been on since A Nation At Risk was a noble goal, but along the way, we've set aside every pathway but one, and we've left a lot of pepople behind". It was this shared sentiment that resulted in the development in 2004 of the CRC and the associated Consortium.

    On the editorial page of Diplomas Count are summaries of analyses of graduation rates and developments in "credential stacking" that aim to keep students in high school and that allow them to graduate with workplace credentials. One such initiative in Dearborn, MI was highlighted. In response to a shortage of healthcare workers, an early college high school program in that city allows students to graduate in 5 years with a high school diploma, as associates degree, AND a certificate in a health-related occupation.

    Also from Georgetown University, it is reported that by age 27, only about 40% of US young people manage to earn either a baccalaureate or an associate degree.

    Basing its findings on 2010 Census data, the EPE Research Center reports that the 2008 national graduation rate was 71.7%, the highest it's been since the 1980's. In particular, the overall graduation rate for public high school students jumped 3% from 2007 to 2008; each major racial and ethnic group posted gains of at least 2%, with African-American students showing the greatest improvement. While the gap between African-American students and their white counterparts has closed by 2% over the last decade, the gaps between Latinos and whites and between Native Americans and whites have widened since 1999. Urban areas post the lowest overall high school graduation rates.

    In California, a progam called Linked Learning is demonstrating that academics and CTE don't have to be mutually exclusive. John Snavely, Superintendent of Porterville Unified School District (which has developed 9 career pathways at 5 of its high schools) states "We want to make sure that everyone is college--and career ready, that we don't end up with a blue-collar track and a college-prep track". As part of the initiative, the school district partnered with 6 California State University campuses to develop training for pre-service teachers in the pedagogy, teamwork, and curriculum design of the career-related approach to education.

    Download Diplomas Count because every article is relevant o your work. There are many great ideas in it that you could use and/or adapt.


  • In 2004, one goal of the 7 founding states of the CRC Consortium was that the CRC would become the first layer of a series of stackable credentials in various industry sectors. Since 2007, news of the evolution of the CRC into stackable credentials has often been reported in this newsletter. In particular, the development of CRC+ certificates has increased over the last three years, and in a 2009 newsletter, a detailed report showcased certification of manufacturing careers in Virginia, using the CRC as the basis of each credential. Other initiatives from VA such as the requirement for each apprentice to have a CRC, and the development of CRC+ creddentials in the Health Sciences and Hospitality sectors were reported two years ago by Gloria Westerman.

    Last week , President Obama announced the deployment of new credentials that have been endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). After pilot programs that were supported by the Gates and Lumina Foundations, training curricula for these credentials are available in 30 community colleges. This development and the President's endorsement represent a partial realization of the original Consortium goal. Congratulations are due to all Consortium states, organizations, and community colleges who have made this a reality--a very remarkable achievement in only 7 years!

  • If you have recently been added to the NOCC newsletter mailing list, you can read all previous 2011 newsletters here.
  • 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.
  • The NOCC has been asked to submit an article for the Fall 2011 Techniques magazine that will feature credentialing efforts around the country. You recently received an e-mail requesting information about innovative programs and uses for the CRC in your state or organization that may be included in this ACTE publication. There is to be particular emphasis on how employers are using the credential and on its effectiveness in helping people find professional positions. Arkansas was the first to respond, and of course the news from the President and NAM will be featured but the NOCC represents 50 states so we would like to feature news from as many of those states as we can. All of the information received will be placed on the CRC web site.

    The Consortium will be represented at several Fall conferences and the presentations will showcase CRC news from the Consortium. This information needs to be as up-to-date as possible so please send a paragraph or two (500 words is a suggested length) to the NOCC by August 1.

  • The Top 10 list of states issuing the CRC (with thanks to Bill Guest at NCRC Advocates for his data) is:

    219,252 Georgia
    152,605 South Carolina
    115,347 Michigan
    101,451 Florida
    82,921 North Carolina
    57,878 Oklahoma
    35,053 Virginia
    35,910 Alabama
    29,886 Arkansas
    22,435 Louisiana

    If the information for your state is incorrect, please forward the correct numbers. Thank you.

  • The North Carolina CRC 2010 Year in Review is available here and under the Resources tab of the NOCC web site. Thanks to Stephanie Deese and Pam Gobel for making this paper available.
  • In April, NCRC Advocates issued a status report on the Career Readiness Certificate movement. The paper is available here. Thanks again to Bill Guest.
  • Since January, there have been significant changes in workforce 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 information shown is out of date.
  • 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, June 2011