OCTAE Connection - Issue 232 - June 8, 2015

OCTAE Newsletter

June 8, 2015

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Holds Meeting on Community Engagement

On June 2nd, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) held its third in a series of strategic priorities meetings on federal funding for libraries at the Los Angeles Public Library. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. This convening, titled “Engaging Communities,” showcased the work of libraries’ engagements with their communities to serve their populations’ many, diverse, and changing needs.  According to a press release, attendees had the opportunity to examine characteristics of successful library programs, such as “assessment, capacity-building, partnerships, communications, evaluation, and sustainability.” The event was webcast live and also hosted a lively Twitter conversation through the hashtag, #IMLSFocus. White papers from all three convenings will be made available this summer on the IMLS website.Back to Top

IMLS Highlights Ongoing Efforts to Link Adult Learners to Resources

OCTAE formed a partnership with IMLS on behalf of adult learners in June 2014. At that time IMLS Director Susan Hildreth and OCTAE Acting Assistant Secretary Johan Uvin released a jointly signed Dear Colleague letter. The letter encouraged effective collaborations “between libraries and federally funded adult education programs” that would “enhance the skills, employability, and quality of life of youths and adults with low skills,” particularly in the area of digital literacy. It further described the partnership, current and planned activities of the two organizations, and mutual benefits of the collaboration. 

ProLiteracy, the nation’s largest volunteer literacy tutoring organization, has also provided leadership in this area, releasing “Adult Literacy through Libraries: An Action Agenda.” This agenda, jointly developed by ProLiteracy, the American Library Association Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, and the Onondaga County Public Library with funding from IMLS, contains a series of recommendations to stimulate the integration of the efforts of public libraries with other services in order to help adult learners improve their literacy and basic skills. The Action Agenda that To equitably serve adults with low literacy skills, public libraries provide a range of services including special high interest/low reading level collections, resources to support test taking and educational advancement, access to technology, and private spaces for one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction.” 

We encourage those who would like additional background on the formation and development of the OCTAE/IMLS partnership to read OCTAE Connection Issue 208 and the OCTAE blog. To learn more about IMLS, please visit its website or Facebook and Twitter pages. Back to Top

Reenvisioning Career and Technical Information

As the United States and global economies continue undergoing the shocks and rapid transformations that have occurred over the last several decades, policy makers, parents, students, and educators are rethinking the roles education and training play in employment. 

For a number of years now, this reenvisioning has been taking place in the United States, leading to significant changes in what was formerly called “vocational education” and now re-designated as “career and technical education.”  Advocates of re-envisioned CTE emphasize that high-quality CTE programs must promote student learning that is both abstract and concrete, as well as teach such skills as teamwork, critical thinking, and collaboration that are essential to modern workplace environments. CTE is now expected to prepare a student of any age for a career at any time of his or her choosing.  

There is a high need for workers in many skilled trades as well as applied science and technology fields.  But employers frequently express dissatisfaction with the lack of knowledge and skills among jobseekers, and thus question the abilities of high schools and colleges to effectively prepare their graduates to enter the workforce.  At the same time, many students do not feel they are adequately prepared in the classroom to obtain jobs. As a result, there is heightened interest in improving CTE among policy makers, and employers seeking a skilled workforce, as well as parents, students, and educators who are a part of or support that workforce. 

A fall 2014 issue of American Educator was devoted to reenvisioning CTE.  The publication asserts that there are multiple roads to success in school and in life, and that CTE pathways that are as rigorous as academic ones are critical to successful and rewarding careers.  American Educator highlights several of these pathways with the view that they and other CTE initiatives must be vertically aligned and coordinated between secondary and postsecondary programs.  Educators, unions, businesses, and community leaders must work together to provide students access to the high-quality programs they will need in order to be successful members of the modern workforce.  Back to Top