March 3, 2016 - Issue 245 - OCTAE Connection

OCTAE Newsletter

March 3, 2016

CTE Month—Community Colleges

Community colleges continue to play a major role in President Obama’s goal that everyone would have a fair shot at fulfilling his or her ambitions and earn a family-sustaining wage. An educated nation where all have the opportunity to contribute is essential to advancing our nation’s global leadership as the world’s premier engine for opportunity and economic advancement. In support of this, the president’s FY 17 budget proposal for education focuses on three priority areas: advancing equity and excellence in education; providing support for teachers and school leaders; and promoting access, affordability, and completion in higher education. Career and technical education has an important role in these areas. 

America’s College Promise is the president’s initiative to provide two years of free community college to responsible students in order to enhance their access to the middle class by financing the first half of a bachelor’s degree and helping them acquire needed workforce skills. To support this initiative, President Obama is proposing a Community College Partnership Tax Credit in his FY 17 budget to encourage employers to play a more active role in supporting this initiative. Under the proposal, employers would strengthen community and technical colleges through contributions like designing curricula, donating instructors and equipment, and creating job-based learning opportunities. Once students complete the program, employers would be eligible for a tax credit for hiring them. Employers can earn a one-time $5,000 tax credit for hiring a qualifying community college graduate full-time. A total of $500 million in credits would be available for each of five years, from 2017 through 2021. 

Pell Grants provide extensive support to students pursuing career and technical education. The Obama administration proposes that Congress approve a $2 billion-per-year expansion of Pell Grants to finance year-round awards, as well as a bonus for students who stay on track to graduate. One program, Pell for Accelerated Completion, would permit full-time students to earn a third grant award in an academic year (rather than the current limit of two awards). The administration’s other Pell proposal, the On-Track Pell Bonus, would add $300 to the maximum award amount for students who take at least 15 credits per semester in an academic year. It is estimated that this would help 2.3 million students graduate on time.  

The proposed FY 17 budget contains a new initiative, the American Technical Training Fund, to fund grants that build on lessons learned from the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program. These grants would expand innovative, high-quality technical training programs that use evidence-based practices, have strong employer partnerships, include work-based learning opportunities, provide accelerated training, and are scheduled to accommodate part-time work. The goal of this program is to help high-potential, low-wage workers gain the skills needed to work in growing fields that pay family-supporting wages.  

Connecting Young Americans with Jobs and Skills is another new CTE initiative in the FY 17 budget proposal. It includes nearly $6 billion in funding to help more than one million young people gain the work experience, skills, and networks that come from having their first job. This initiative nearly doubles last year’s budget request to support young people who are out of school and work. 

For a fuller description and discussion of these initiatives and proposals, click on  Back to Top

OCTAE Announces the Release of the Reentry Education Framework Report

The Office of Career Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) is pleased to announce the release of the report Reentry Education Framework: Guidelines for Providing High-Quality Education for Adults Involved in the Criminal Justice System (Framework). The report is designed to help reentry education providers create a seamless path for their students by connecting education services offered in correctional facilities with those in the community. 

Current estimates show that more than 700,000 adults exit state and federal prisons each year, with even more leaving local correctional facilities. Many of these former inmates lack the workforce skills and training to help them reintegrate successfully into their communities. Research shows that education and training can reduce the chance that these ex-offenders would commit another crime and be reincarcerated. In fact, based on a comprehensive study of correctional education conducted by the RAND Corporation in 2010, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education, correctional education participants are 43 percent less likely to recidivate post-release than nonparticipants and 13 percent more likely to find employment. The study found that for every dollar spent on correctional education, a four to five dollar savings is seen over a three-year post-incarceration period. 

Yet, educational services offered in correctional facilities are often disconnected from community-based education programs. Correctional education programs are often not aligned with those in the community and do not have articulation agreements. Many correctional education programs also use different curricula and assessments than community programs, making it very difficult for individuals to resume their education and training post release. 

To that end, the Framework promotes the development of an education continuum spanning facility- and community-based reentry education programs. It articulates five critical components—program infrastructure, strategic partnerships, education services, transition processes, and sustainability. Each component can be tailored to meet the specific context and needs of the education provider, its partners, and the target population. Education providers working with prisons typically incarcerating adults from across the state may, for example, need to develop a more far-reaching education continuum than providers servicing jails, which normally house adults likely to return to their local communities. 

The Framework is based on lessons learned from the implementation at three different sites of an  OCTAE-funded reentry education model, known as the Promoting Reentry Success Through the Continuity of Education Opportunities (PRSCEO) initiative (and summarized in the OCTAE report Reentry Education Model Implementation Study: Promoting Reentry Success Through Continuity of Education Opportunities). The Framework will help to bridge those lessons with the work from nine grantees participating in OCTAE’s new Improved Reentry Education (IRE) program. These funded projects will implement new models based upon the best available evidence and theories applicable to correctional and reentry educational settings. Their work is supported by a technical assistance contract. OCTAE looks forward to the great strides that the IRE program’s grantees will make in advancing education in these settings and in the lives of those individuals for whom the programs were designed. To learn more about the current grantees, please visit the IRE link above. 

Individuals wishing to learn more are encouraged to explore the online tool kit and the Framework report, which include guidelines, tools, resources, and examples from the PRSCEO sites.   Back to Top