OVAE Connection - April 4, 2013 - Issue 144

OVAE Connection

                                                                                  April 4, 2012 - Issue 144

OVAE Has a New Blog!

OVAE’s new blog will provide you with up-to-date information about events and OVAE presentations, highlights from our visits to the field, and more. Visit the blog online here. Or, sign up for the  RSS feed to get updates via your favorite RSS reader.

Help for Your Next Career Move From Online Guide

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has developed a new online guide to help students and job seekers chart their future career paths. The guide—What’s My Next Move?connects young people to career exploration resources available on the CareerOneStop (COS) (www.careeronestop.org) website and the O*NET site My Next Move (www.mynextmove.org). The guide encourages students to think and make decisions about their futures, and to engage with career counselors, workforce professionals, teachers, and parents or guardians. 

“The What's My Next Move? guide can be a powerful tool to aid students exploring career pathways,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Deciding on a career may be the single biggest decision young people face in the transition from school to the workforce, and having a clear, step-by-step plan can help job seekers make more informed decisions about their role in the 21st-century economy.” 

What’s My Next Move? leads students through a seven-step process that begins with a self-assessment of their career interests, helps them identify the education and skills they will need to qualify for a job in specific occupations, and ends with a comprehensive career plan that can be shared with high school guidance counselors, parents, teachers, and workforce professionals in the American Job Centers Network. Students who tested What’s My Next Move? found it easy to use and the resources it provides very valuable. While the intended audience is primarily high school students, the guide also can be useful to those seeking a new career direction and dislocated workers who are interested in developing new skill sets and making themselves more marketable.

Help for Competency-Based Learning Programs to Offer Federal Student Aid

On March 19, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance for higher education institutions that offer competency-based programs in which students learn at their own pace but that do not offer federal student aid. The guidance reminds institutions that they may be eligible to provide Title IV funds under the direct assessment provision of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and provides step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Competency-based programs allow students to learn at a pace that suits them, in either CTE or academic programs. Students progress in such programs by demonstrating achievement of specific skills or knowledge. Most competency-based programs are able to and do measure progress in credit- or clock-hours, but an increasing number do not. Some of the latter programs would like to offer their students Title IV aid, such as Pell grants and federal student loans, but until now have been unable to do so.

Similarly, there are institutions that want to develop competency-based programs and offer federal student aid, but have hesitated to do so without knowing if that combination can be accommodated legally. The new guidance addresses such concerns and includes guidance about developing programs so they might become eligible for Title IV funds.

"This is a key step forward in expanding access to affordable higher education," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "We know many students and adult learners across the country need the flexibility to fit their education into their lives or work through a class on their own pace, and these competency-based programs offer those features – and they are often accessible to students anytime, anywhere. By being able to access Title IV aid for these programs, many students may now be able to afford higher education."

The guidance makes note of the potential for competency-based approaches to shorten the time to degree completion and reduce costs while enabling students to develop the knowledge and skills they need to compete for high-paying jobs or advance in the workplace. The Department plans to collaborate with accrediting agencies and with the higher education community to encourage innovative approaches, identify promising practices, and gather feedback to inform future policies.

Register for OVAE's Webinar on Community College and Correctional/Reentry Education

The second event in OVAE’s 2013 Community College Webinar Series, which will be held on Wed., April 10 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. EDT, will focus on emerging community college correctional and reentry education models. Fred Patrick from the Vera Institute of Justice will discuss the Vera-led Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project that aims to expand access to higher education for incarcerated and recently released individuals. Brian Walsh from Peninsula College will present on the efforts of his institution to provide technology-enabled integrated basic education and skills training to inmates at Clallam Bay Corrections Center in Washington state. The webinar also will highlight the partnership between Hostos Community College and the Center for Employment Opportunities to provide accelerated basic education and occupational training opportunities to ex-offenders in New York City.

Please click here to register for this event.