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


Volume 2, Number 10, September 15, 2008

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


In this issue:

  • Conference News
  • Workforce Development News
  • CRC Consortium News
  • Suggested Readings


  • State and Regional Summits--Professional Learning Communities, discussions and break-outs on the PLC at WorkTM model; Great Lakes Summit, September 24-27, Dearborn, MI; Missouri State Summit, October 22-25, St. Louis; Washington State Summit, November 12-15;
  • The 2008 Summit on Economic and Workforce Development (October 27-28, Oklahoma City) is presented as the combination of the Oklahoma Governor’s Summit on Economic and Workforce Development and the Midwest Regional WorkKeys Conference.
  • ACTE Convention & Career Tech Expo, Charlotte, NC, December 4-6. Daniel Pink and William Daggett are featured speakers. Visit for more information
  • NC Workforce Development Partnership Conference, October 22-24, in Greensboro, NC
  • Michigan WorkKeys Conference, Good To Gold, November 19-20, Warren, MI.
  • National Workforce Association conference, Tampa, FL, November 29-December 2, 2008. Visit for more details.
  • Center on Education and Work Careers Conference: From Inspiration to Application, Madison, WI, January 27-28, 2009.
  • 5th. Annual Southeastern WorkKeys Conference, February 4-6, 2009, Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk Hotel, Jacksonville, FL. The deadline for proposals is September 30, 2008. Visit for more details.


  • In his latest book, A Whole New Mind (see below), Daniel Pink describes a "seismic--though as yet undetected--shift now under way as we move from an economy "built on logical, linear, computerlike capabilities of the Information Age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathetic, big-picture capabilities of what's rising in its place, the Conceptual Age".

Pink's book provides insight into and tips for survival in this emerging world! Pink's style is easy to read and his insights are always thought-provoking. If you are currently engaged in preparing the next generation for the workforce, this is a must-read as it highlights six essential aptitudes on which Pink maintains professional and personal success will increasingly depend. The names of these "six senses" (Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, and Play) may help you to understand why you do NOT understand younger people!

  • A refeshing commentary is featured in the September 10 edition of Education Week. Author Alfie Kohn (The Schools Our Children Deserve, and others) takes a fresh look at why and how we assess childrens' progress. In "It's Not What We Teach, It's What They Learn", Kohn comments provocatively "It's tempting, when students are given some kind of assessment, to assume the results primarily reveal how much progress each kid is, or isn't, making--rather than noticing that the quality of the teaching is also being assessed." This aspect of assessment is too often overlooked. Kohn points out the need to consider how assessments and directives from teachers are interpreted by students. He comments that the best of intentions on the part of teachers are often misinterpreted by students (punishment rather than motivation to do better, for example) and more harm than good sometimes results. Read the entire commentary.
  • Concern continues to mount about the low numbers of graduating US STEM professionals compared with the large numbers in India and China. In particular, there is concern that the proportion of Hispanic STEM professionals is still at 6%, unchanged from the numbers in 1999-2000. There are great year-long programs such as FIRST that target all minorities and that partner with professional organizations to increase enrolment and graduation rates in colleges and universities. In the July edition of Education Week there is news of an additional effort at the University of Colorado. The Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Corp. took seven teams of high school students through the SciTech Summer Camp. This effort targets Hispanic students, emphasizing a natural source for quickly ramping up the number of homegrown engineers and technical professionals. However, more needs to be done across the country to address the nationwide shortage of STEM professionals. This crucial shortage is still not generally on the radar screen of state and local WIBs, community colleges and universities that could be working together to create similar fun/educational STEM opportunities for students, particularly those who might otherwise be at risk because they are turned off by programs that are too "academic" in approach.

    When faculty members at the State University of New York at Albany were searching for answers as to why so few undergraduates were completing degrees in science and mathematics, they looked at students’ struggles right out of the gate. Many freshmen, they found, were flunking or dropping out of the introductory biology, chemistry, and calculus courses that are the foundations of those studies. University officials are now moving to help those college newcomers with increased tutoring and mentoring. But they also plan to begin earlier, by counseling high school students and families about the potential benefits of a math or science major—and what the expectations are for studying those subjects at the college level.

This university is just one of many postsecondary institutions that have sought to forge stronger bonds with K-12 schools in their communities as a strategy for increasing the flow of students majoring in math and science and completing degrees. Those efforts include not only outreach to students and parents, but also preparing students academically for college math and science, recruitment programs, and the immersion of high schoolers in independent, postsecondary-style research projects. The university has received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to create the new Center for Achievement, Retention, and Student Success, which will be housed on campus. The university’s goal is to support programs that have shown promise to date in reducing attrition in math and science studies, such as more intensive tutoring in math for new undergraduates. The Center will also make a new attempt to reach out to the K-12 community. It plans to launch a summer camp in which rising high school seniors in Albany and their parents will be invited onto campus to learn about college-level math and science, and careers in those areas. The Center is one of many projects across the country funded through an NSF program that focuses on increasing the movement from high school to college of students through the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Known as “STEP,” which stands for STEM Talent Expansion Program, it funds about $26 million in projects on two- and four-year campuses across the country. Projects funded through that NSF program can begin in college or late in high school, and last up to five years. Read more about these efforts.

  • Diplomas Count 2008: School To College was published in June of this year. The executive summary (Can State P-16 Councils Ease the Transition) is available for printing. Click here to print the document.
  • Are you struggling to implement Career Clusters? WIDS (Worlwide Instructional Design System) now has them loaded into the software's External Standards Library. All 16 clusters are available, so users can link them to programs, courses and competencies--showing exactly where they are addressed across your unique curriculum. Use the Analyzer feature to document or "map" the connections and provide matrix reports for evidence. This Software update is available to current license holders and includes: the Career Clusters, NATEF, NAEYC, NCATE and Physical Therapist Assistant.
  • Have you purchased your copy of Thomas Friedman's latest offering on the state of the world, global economies, and workforce development in the future? "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" is flying off the shelves as people around the country are rushing to read the latest from the author of "The World Is Flat". In this new book, "Flat" refers to the dissolution of the middle class, and Friedman emphasizes why he believes that it is an economic imperative that our economy take a "green" turn, even if climate change is not a result of our past non-green practices. If you do not have a copy of the book but would like to get a sense of what you are missing, listen to an interview with Friedman that was aired 9/8/2008 on NPR's Fresh Air program.
  • One of just nine accredited programs of its kind in the nation, Moraine Park Technical College's new online Veterinary Technician program was recently featured in national news. This Wisconsin college program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, boasts a 72 percent retention rate and has 33 enrolled students. WIDS was used in the accreditation process to document where AVMA standards were met in the curriculum. Learn more about this program, and visit the WIDS web site for more information on updates, training opportunities, webinars, and more.


  • In response to requests to provide a forum for CRC Consortium members to communicate directly with each other, the NOCC announces the CRC Blog. Please use the forum to exchange ideas, questions, and general information about CRC implementation. Be aware that the NOCC reserves the right to include any news you post on the blog in future NOCC newsletters, and to delete comments deemed to be disparaging.
  • The new server for the CRC web site is now fully up and running. Please use the URL to read the latest news and numbers updates, and to refer others to the site. Thank you for your patience during this time of transition.
  • The most frequently asked question at the NOCC office is "How is the CRC being funded?" The NOCC is therefore conducting a survey of CRCC members to find a definitive answer. A recent e-mail was sent out to state and local contacts requesting information on both initial and on-going funding for the CRC. Several responses have been received at the NOCC and this information is greatly appreciated. If you received the original e-mail from the NOCC and have not yet responded, please do so as soon as you can. Click here to submit your response. Thank you.


  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--And How It Can Renew America; Thomas L. Friedman (2008), Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux.
  • China Shakes The World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future--And the Challenge for America; James Kynge (2008), Houghton Mifflin.
  • A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future; Daniel Pink (2008), Riverhead Books.

NOCC Thought For The Day:

Don't be afraid to try something new. Remember--the Ark was built by amateurs--the Titanic was built by professionals!!!


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    © NOCC August, 2008