U.S. Department of Education sent this bulletin at 10/24/2013 06:53 AM EDT
OVAE Connection Issue 170 - October 23, 2013
OVAE Connection Community College Section
Introducing the New Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges
Dear Community College President:
I am Mark Mitsui, the new deputy assistant secretary for community colleges in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). I am writing to introduce you to the new Community College Section of the OVAE Connection newsletter. This section will appear in OVAE Connection from time to time as developments in this area warrant.
Our objective for this new section is to provide useful information to community college leaders and their campus communities regarding relevant federal policy, grants and research.
I would appreciate your office's assistance in forwarding this newsletter to the appropriate professionals in your college. Your feedback on the content of the newsletter is welcome and may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all that you do for the nation’s community and technical colleges, and the students and communities they serve.
Third Round of TAACCCT Grants Announced
On Sept. 18, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor announced approximately $474.5 million in grants to community colleges and universities as a result of the third round of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program. TAACCCT is a four-year, $2 billion initiative to fund the development and expansion of innovative career training programs that meet industry needs, invest in staff and educational resources, and provide access to free digital learning materials.
The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education. It supports the broader goals that every American will obtain at least one year of postsecondary education or training and that the U.S. will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
The TAACCCT grant program is designed to have a lasting impact on higher education by emphasizing the use of evidence-based training programs, collection of student outcome data, and rigorous program evaluation to contribute to our understanding of the most effective strategies for developing skills that lead to good jobs. Grants promote skill development and employment opportunities in high-demand fields, such as health care, advanced manufacturing, transportation, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. The grants also foster meaningful partnerships between community colleges, universities, employers and other community partners to ensure training programs are aligned with the practical skills and competencies that industries need from workers.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted, "Community colleges play a vital role in training Americans to meet the needs of employers today. As our economy continues to rebuild, businesses are looking for employees with the skills their company needs to stay competitive, and America's students and adult workers want to be equipped to fill those roles. These grants help to meet those demands, providing critical investments in education and supporting key partnerships."
Each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico will receive at least $2.5 million in dedicated funding for community college career training programs through the grant program. Round 3 grantees include 183 colleges and universities, either as individual applicants or as members of a consortium. There were 20 awards made to community college and university consortia totaling over $377 million, and another 23 awards for individual institutions totaling almost $62 million. The Department of Labor will work with the 14 states and territories that did not have a winning individual submission to develop a qualifying $2.5 million project. A list of round 3grantees by state, including project descriptions, is available online at www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/eta20131932.htm.
Watch for a Series of Articles on PIAAC Findings
On Oct. 8, results from the first round of the Survey of Adult Skills, part of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), were released. This international survey, conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), offers a new assessment of adult skills and competencies that will inform all of OVAE’s stakeholders, as follows:
Adult education practitioners and advocates plan to use this once-in-a-decade report on the levels of literacy and numeracy among the general U.S. population, as well as insights into the role of digital literacy in the new domain—problem-solving in a technology-rich environment.
Adult educators, career and technical educators and stakeholders will find skill profiles by a range of demographics, such as age, race, ethnicity, and gender, instructive for their work in training the next generation of the workforce.
Community college leaders can make use of the data to understand how formal skills training, non-cognitive skills (such as interpersonal competence and teamwork), and work history and daily skill use interact to prepare adults for the 21st-century economy that requires flexibility and adaptability.
This survey, as well as all of the products released by the OECD, including a U.S. Country Note and multimedia presentations, are available at http://skills.oecd.org/skillsoutlook.html. Press coverage and additional events are cataloged on the hub at www.piaacgateway.com. Stay tuned to OVAE Connection and the OVAE blog for updates related to the findings and the Department’s response.
CTE Awards to Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Alaska Native Entities
On Sept. 25, the Department announced the award of about $14 million in grants to 31 Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and Alaska Native entities to help them improve career and technical education programs. The award was made under the 2013 Native American Career and Technical Education Program competition.