OVAE Connection - Issue 180 - January 23, 2014

OVAE Connection

                                               OVAE Connection - Issue 180 - January 23, 2014


White House Launches Call to Action to Increase College Opportunities for Low-Income Students

On Jan. 16, President and first lady Obama hosted a meeting at the White House to release the report Increasing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students: Promising Models and a Call to Action and to announce new commitments from around the country to promote college opportunity. The report lists more than 100 organizations—states, colleges, universities, higher education systems, educational associations, non-profit organizations, businesses, and philanthropic organizations—that have made new commitments to expand college opportunities for low-income students.

Several community colleges and organizations that focus their work on community colleges made commitments to improve remediation efforts supporting student success. These commitments are based in examples of success, which inspire confidence that changes can be made that will prove beneficial to community college students. For example,

  • At the Community College of Baltimore County, students who just missed passing the writing placement test for English 101 are then enrolled in both English 101 and a remedial companion course. This model structures the remedial course specifically to help the students succeed in English 101. They take the course along with higher performing students and immediately make progress towards their degree. Studies show that such students are twice as likely to complete English 101 as their peers who receive traditional remediation, and that they do so in half the time.
  • The City University of New York, which includes community colleges, is also engaged in a comprehensive approach to remediation through its Accelerated Study in Associates’ Programs. During the first year of college, the program employs such strategies as learning communities and advanced advising systems to assure and accelerate completion of remedial courses as well as to improve academic progress. Participating students earn an average of 25 percent more credits over two years. Their two-year graduation rate is about 6 percent higher than that of their non-participating peers.

Community colleges, community college systems, and organizations focused on community colleges that made commitments to improving remediation include:

  • Colorado Community College System
  • American Association of Community Colleges
  • Community College of Baltimore County
  • Cuyahoga Community College
  • El Paso Community College
  • Kingsborough Community College- CUNY
  • Montgomery County Community College
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Patrick Henry Community College
  • Tacoma Community College
  • Texas Association of Community Colleges
  • Virginia Community College System

OSTP Seeks Comments on Policy Development for High-Impact Learning Technologies.

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) in the Jan. 13, 2014 Federal Register concerning its policy development for high-impact learning technologies. OSTP seeks recommendations for public and private actions that could accelerate the development, evaluation, and adoption of such technologies. The RFI focuses on “pull mechanisms,” which are incentives from the federal government that reward only the technologies that succeed in significantly improving a given learning outcome and not attempts that are unsuccessful.

In an effort to stimulate a national conversation about if and how pull mechanisms might be used to accelerate the development of high-impact learning technologies, OSTP has asked for comments on several key questions listed in the RFI.

Comments must be received by March 7, 2014 and may be provided by:  

  1. Email: learning@ostp.gov;
  2. Postal mail: Office of Science and Technology Policy, Attn: Cristin Dorgelo, 1650 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20504; or
  3. Fax: 202-456-6021

Please see the announcement for further details.

High School Team-based SMART Competition

The SMART Competition is designed to encourage student academic interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through the practical investigation of intelligent building design. Student participants are provided with hands-on, career technology-based real-world experiences using renewable technology and the smart grid.

Registration is now underway for the fourth annual competition, which challenges international teams of high school students to redesign a gymnasium on an existing high school campus. The redesign must incorporate sustainable materials and efficient energy concepts while ensuring the functionality and affordability of the design. Teams of three to four students and an education sponsor have the opportunity use professionally available design software and interact with international experts who will support their efforts as mentors and sponsors. Registration is $100 per team and closes on Feb. 3, 2014. To register, and for more information, please visit www.smartcompetition.org.

Excellence in Action Award Entries Sought

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) announced its first annual Excellence in Action award. The award will be made to outstanding CTE programs of study in the U.S. The programs that are selected will implement the Career Clusters® in an exemplary manner as well as impact student achievement and success. Awards will be made on June 16, 2014 at the Achieving Excellence in Career Technical Education: The National Career Clusters Institute in Phoenix, Ariz.

This award presents an opportunity for CTE educators at all levels with excellent programs of study to be recognized on a national stage. Winning programs will be selected by a panel of state CTE directors and will receive:

  •  A place on the program at the 2014 National Career Clusters Institute.
  • Two free registrations to the institute.
  • Two banners—one that may be displayed in their school or institution of higher education and another that is digital and may be used in email and print.

Winners will also be featured in various NASDCTEc releases and literature productions. 

To apply, complete an application at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ExcellenceActionAward or email it to info@careertech.org , with the subject line “Excellence in Action Award.”

Applications are due by 5 p.m., ET, on Tuesday Feb. 4, 2014.

JPMorgan Chase Launches $250 Million Workforce and Training Initiative

JPMorgan Chase & Co. recently launched New Skills at Work, a five-year, $250 million workforce readiness and training initiative. According to a December Business Wire article, the initiative is designed to transform the way employers and skills trainers develop talent for local jobs in high-growth industries by creating the capacity to connect individuals to careers. New Skills at Work is the largest private-sector effort yet aimed at addressing the national skills gap across industries seeking job candidates.

This announcement comes on the heels of results from the international Survey of Adult Skills (produced by the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies [PIAAC]), and the subsequent report Time for the U.S. to Reskill? What the Survey of Adult Skills Says, which highlight the exigency of improving the skill levels of adults in the United States.

About one-third of the U.S. unemployment rate is due to the current skills gap, according to an International Monetary Fund analysis referenced in the article, The analysis further estimates that by 2020, 63 percent of an expected 48 million job openings will require postsecondary school training of some kind. Addressing the skills gap can be one of the most powerful tools for reducing high unemployment rates.

New Skills at Work will accelerate economic growth through the use of research and data analysis to identify training programs, in major U.S. and European urban areas, that have the greatest impact, which it will then support. The program will also address the lack of data on employer demand and workforce deficiencies by producing workforce readiness gap reports for local markets. These reports will enable effective, strategic workforce planning at the local level and will begin in the U.S. in Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco in the coming months. The data will also be useful to leading national workforce training groups, enabling them to expand proven programs to help individuals gain new work skills and become employed.


 February Is Career and Technical Education Month. Watch for CTE Stories Next Month