May 8 2015 - Issue 230 OCTAE Connection

OCTAE Newsletter

May 8, 2015

The 2015 First in The World Grant Competition

Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced the 2015, First in the World (FITW) grant competition, an evidence-based grant program in higher education designed to support the development and testing of innovative approaches and strategies to improve postsecondary attainment. This year, FITW will award $60 million in grants, including a $16 million set-aside for minority-serving institutions.  A press release can be found here::

Listed below are the series of pre-application webinars the Office of Postsecondary Education will host:

  • May 14, 2015 - 3:00pm, EST - FITW-Development Grants
  • May 15, 2015 - 3:00pm, EST - FITW- Validation Grants
  • May 19, 2015 - 3:00pm, EST - FITW - Evidence & Evaluation Requirements

To learn more about this grant opportunity or to register for a webinar, please visit the First in the World home page on the Office of Postsecondary Education’s website. Applications will be accepted from May 11th, 2015 – June 26, 2015. 

We appreciate your support in sharing this opportunity widely with your networks, members and affiliates.

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A Request For Applications for a Research Network on Scalable Strategies to Support College Completion

The Institute for Educational Sciences  (IES)recently released the Request for Applications (RFA) for the Research Network on Scalable Strategies to Support College Completion.  Through this competition, IES plans to fund up to four research teams to develop and evaluate the impact and cost of interventions designed to increase the number of students who earn college degrees in open- or broad-access institutions.  IES is particularly interested in strategies that are operating at scale in a postsecondary system or group of institutions.  The Network will be coordinated by a lead organization that is responsible for bringing researchers together to share ideas, adopt common measures, and collaborate on dissemination.  Here is a link to the RFA:

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Just Released: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Quick Start Action Planner: One-Stop Center Service Design

The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration recently released the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Quick Start Action Planner (QSAP), a new technical assistance tool for implementing the WIOA. According to its website, the QSAP “is an interactive, self-paced assessment tool designed to help leaders at all levels of the public workforce system plan for this transformation and prepare for implementation of WIOA.” The QSAP was designed to help entities identify the strengths and weaknesses in their workforce systems. It will also help connect workforce leaders to targeted resources to help them prepare and plan effectively for WIOA implementation.

The tool is intended for both local and state public workforce system leaders. Accessing and completing the QSAP and holding results discussions “will help states and local areas develop a common understanding of their readiness to implement WIOA and jointly develop a plan to address opportunities for action.”

For more information on the QSAP, public workforce leaders and other interested parties are encouraged to review the WIOA QSAP User Guide.

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May 2015 Is National Foster Care Month

“At the heart of the American story is the simple truth that all children should have a fair chance at success, no matter who they are or where they come from.”  These were President Obama’s words as he proclaimed May 2015 as National Foster Care Month. The designation was made in order to highlight the importance of foster care services and to recognize those families who provide these valuable services to children in need.  As the president said in his proclamation, “During National Foster Care Month, we recommit to caring for all our Nation’s daughters and sons, and we reaffirm our basic belief:  In America, there is a place for everyone and no young person should feel like they are on their own.”

The demand for foster care is significant, especially among African-American and Native-American youths.  While progress has been made within the last decade in reducing the number of youths in foster care, currently over 400,000 boys and girls are in the foster care system, with more than 100,000 awaiting adoption.  Many—about 23,000 per year—age out of the foster care system without ever having been placed in permanent, adoptive homes.

Placing children in stable, caring foster families is a very important intermediate step toward getting them permanent, adoptive families.  It is crucial to the success of the foster care system—i.e., attending to the needs of children facing often unimaginable challenges—that these families are given the assistance they need. 

The resolve of foster children to meet their challenges, according to the proclamation, “reminds us that we have obligations to them and to one another, and that we all share in the responsibility of lifting up our Nation’s youth(s).”  In this respect, last year, the administration took steps to help protect the financial security of foster youths, expand their opportunities for education and employment, and prevent them from entering into the justice system.

As the president stated, “Let us each recognize the large and small ways we can brighten the future of a foster care child this month and every month, and together let us reach for the day when everyone knows the love and safety of a permanent home.”

The next issue of OCTAE Connection will provide a more in-depth look at the U.S. foster care system.

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Center for the Study of Adult Literacy Announces Free Webinar Event Friday, May 29, 2015, From 2–3 p.m. EDT

In September 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) awarded funding for a five-year research center for adult literacy, the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy (CSAL). The CSAL is dedicated to studying adults with reading levels between the third and eighth grades.   

The center invites you to join them for an update on their activities in a free webinar. Presenter Daphne Greenberg, Georgia State University professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Communication Disorders, and Special Education, will discuss CSAL’s exploration of the underlying cognitive and motivational processes that contribute to or impede reading development. She will also discuss the center’s development of a multi-component instructional program designed to help learners improve their reading and comprehension skills. 

Registration for the event is limited. To register, please visit the following link, . 

(If the link does not work, please copy and paste the entire URL into your browser.) 

For questions or assistance, please email Edison Wolf at

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