OVAE Connection - Issue 157 - July 3, 2013

OVAE Connection

                                                             OVAE Connection - July 3, 2013 - Issue 157

Summer Interns

OVAE's Four New Summer Interns:  Lisa Waddoups, Katrina Velentzas, Linda Plutino and Merchell R. Hunt

                        Photograph by Russella Davis-Rogers, U.S. Department of Education

Meet OVAE's New Summer Interns

OVAE is pleased to announce the arrival of its summer interns who bring intelligence, knowledge, energy, and joy to their work. Their colleagues in OVAE appreciate each of them. 

Lisa Waddoups is studying for a Master of Education degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She is working in the Division of Adult Education and Literacy.

Katina Velentzas is a second-year Master of Education candidate in Higher Education in Student Affairs at Salem State University in Massachusetts. She plans to earn a doctorate in higher education. Her vision is to work on improving retention and improving programmatic outcomes of underrepresented student populations in community colleges. She is working in the Office of the Assistant Secretary. 

Linda Plutino is a junior majoring in economics and minoring in mathematics and education at the University of California, Davis. She plans to become a college professor and focus her research on postsecondary education with a specialty in community colleges. She is working in the Office of the Assistant Secretary. 

Merchell R. Hunt is a senior at Michigan State University majoring in public policy. Next year, she hopes to pursue a Master’s of Public Policy and then work on policy in the government or at a nonprofit. She is working in the Office of the Assistant Secretary.

Adult Inmates to Receive Comprehensive Services for Rebuilding Their Lives

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor (DOL) awarded 16 grants totaling $20 million, under the Training to Work-Adult Reentry initiative. Grants support job training programs for inmates aged 18 and older who were convicted as adults but never of a sex-related offense, and who are participating in state or local work-release programs. The grants are intended to reduce recidivism by helping former inmates successfully reintegrate into their communities and build lives as contributing citizens. Each program will provide job placement and other employment services, vocational training and other educational services, and supportive services, particularly mentoring, to improve the long-term employment possibilities of inmates preparing to be released. 

The grants were awarded competitively to nonprofit organizations in 16 states with proven success in implementing the key components of the grants in communities with high poverty and crime rates. The goal is to assist inmates in obtaining high school diplomas, GEDs or an equivalent secondary education credential as well as credentials recognized by various industries representing jobs in demand in their communities. Programs will focus on in-demand occupations in which ex-offenders are eligible to work within their local communities. Each grant provides funding for six months of planning and 33 months of implementation. In addition, DOL requires grantees to provide at least nine months of follow-up services for each participant. 

John Linton, OVAE’s director of correctional education, views these new programs, as an important expansion of traditional correctional work release programs that typically allow daily participation in out-of-institution training programs prior to prison release.  As a witness to this evolution, Linton sees these new programs as incorporating more educational and training opportunities and more comprehensive support services—all to better ensure increased job opportunities for ex-inmates, which will also allow them to support their families.

Webinar on Building a System of High-Quality Career Pathways

The National Center for Innovation and Career and Technical Education (NCICTE) will be presenting a four-part webinar series Building a System of High-Quality Career Pathways High School Transformation and District Support beginning July 10. Attendees will learn about college and career readiness and its significance for high school students. To register for the first webinar, which will take place on July 10, 2013 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. EDT, go to http://ctecenter.ed.gov/index.php/register.

Live Stream the July 10 Release Event of OECD Report on Postsecondary CTE

A report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the state of postsecondary CTE in the U.S. will be released on July 10 as part of OECD’s Skills beyond School project. This project is the new OECD policy review of postsecondary vocational education and training that looks at the preparation of younger people and adults for technical and professional jobs. The report will compare the U.S. preparation to that of over 20 other countries, assessing its strengths and the challenges to its standing globally in postsecondary education outcomes. The New America Foundation (NAF) and OECD will host the live release of the U.S. country report on Wednesday, July 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. EDT. The event will provide an overview of the main OECD findings and recommendations, as well as a series of panels of experts to respond to the report and its recommendations. NAF will live stream this event here on July 10.  No pre-registration is necessary.

NEFE Financial Literacy Initiative

The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), a nonprofit national foundation focusing on lifelong financial decision making for individual and families, recently held a pre-service teacher training salon. It focused on the desirability, difficulty, and opportunities for incorporating content pertaining to personal finances into courses in the education major at universities. Of special interest were those states beginning to add that content to standards in subjects where personal finance has not usually been taught, for example, mathematics.  

The salon was a continuation of a long-term conversation inspired by an NEFE-funded national research study that examined teachers’ preparedness to teach personal finance. This led, in turn to the development of the Jump$tart Teacher Training Alliance (J$TTA)—a collaborative initiative founded by the Council for Economic Education, Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, Junior Achievement USA, National Endowment for Financial Education, and the Take Charge America Institute at the University of Arizona. J$TTA’s principle objective is “to help local organizations provide K-12 teachers with standard, consistent and effective professional development that increases their own level of financial literacy, improving their confidence in, and enthusiasm for, teaching personal finance in the classroom.”

NEFE produced the research report Content-Based Teacher Professional Development, which presents an instructional model based on learner-centered concepts to enhance teachers’ confidence. According to the report, this approach “emphasizes the instruction of personal finance concepts, information, and behavior so that teachers have the tools and confidence to implement positive financial management in their own lives—and then to [sic] their own students in the classroom.” 

NEFE intends that the professional development it provides be not only standardized and effective but also adaptable to local conditions and constraints. NEFE is also assessing the program for its general utility in helping teachers attain competence in incorporating personal finance content into a variety of other subjects (e.g., mathematics, social studies). The model has been field-tested by more than 550 teachers in five states. 

Per the report, class topics include: the ways economic trends impact personal finance; developing strategies for personal finance management; using saving and investing to build wealth; career planning impacts earning power; comparing and contrasting financial services and products; specifying strategies against being harmed by fraud; options in using credit and managing debt; creating plans to minimize financial risk; and exploring personal finance resources. 

The goal of this teacher education model, a research-based professional development model for K–12 educators, will be distributed to Jump$tart Coalition members through an application process.