Issue 529 - June 21, 2017

Octae Connection

June 21, 2017

Trump Administration Supports Expanding Apprenticeships

On June 15, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to expand apprenticeships in America and “provide more affordable pathways to secure, high paying jobs by promoting apprenticeships and effective workforce development programs.”  The executive order is designed to make American education and workforce development programs  more effective in preparing American workers to “fill both existing and newly created jobs and to prepare workers for the jobs of the future.”  A copy of the executive order may be accessed here.

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Secretary DeVos Testifies on Education Budget Request for FY 2018

The Trump Administration’s budget request for the U.S. Department of Education was the subject of testimony by Secretary Betsy DeVos, on May 24 in the House of Representatives, and on June 6 in the Senate.

The budget request is shaped by five principles. They are  (1) providing “significant new resources” to help achieve the goal of “ensuring that every child has the opportunity to attend a high-quality public school selected by his or her parents”; (2) recognizing the importance of continuing strong support for public education through state formula grants “focused on meeting the educational needs of the Nation’s most vulnerable students, such as poor and minority students and students with disabilities”; (3) continuing funding for important competitive grant programs supporting innovation and building evidence on “what works” in education; (4) reducing the complexity of federal student aid programs and applications while giving priority of funding to make a college education more affordable for low-income students; and (5) eliminating or phasing out 22 programs that are “duplicative, ineffective, or are better supported through State, local, or private efforts,” in addition to the six additional programs that were eliminated in the Every Student Succeeds Act, for a total savings of $5.8 billion.

DeVos emphasized her and the administration’s commitment to “expanding educational options for students and parents, in particular for low-income families, by providing a whole menu of educational options both in our public school systems and by promoting greater access to private schools.”  For more information on DeVos’s testimony, click here.

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High School Career and Technical Education Teacher Pathway Initiative Grant Opportunity

Forty-two governors have delivered their 2017 State of the State addresses, and workforce development and CTE have emerged as strong priorities. In fact, they were the second most popular education topic mentioned in the addresses, after school financing.  But, while the need for CTE programming aligned to labor market demands is high, many states and local school districts are reporting significant shortages of CTE teachers. 

In response to input from the field, on June 13, 2017, the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education announced a new $3.6 million grant opportunity to address state and local shortages of high school CTE teachers, the High School CTE Teacher Pathway Initiative.  This new initiative is intended to improve CTE programs assisted under the Perkins Act by increasing the number of high school teachers for CTE programs that align to in-demand industry sectors or occupations in states and communities where shortages of such teachers exist.   

For more information about this grant opportunity, please see the Federal Register notice. 

Note: Applications are due July 28, 2017.  

Register here for the pre-application webinar to be held on June 22, 2017, at 2 p.m. ET.  This webinar will also be recorded and posted on the Perkins Collaborative Resources Network.

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National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Release New Report: Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce

The new National Academies Press report Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce finds that the United States’ “skilled technical workforce is inadequate to compete in the coming decades, and actions are needed to improve education, training, and lifelong learning of workers.” According to the report, skilled technical occupations, or “occupations that require a high level of knowledge in a technical domain but do not require a bachelor’s degree for entry”—are a key component of the U.S. economy.  

This report examines the supply and demand dynamic. It finds that skilled technical workers can be found in most occupational groups, from health care to construction to manufacturing, and such jobs as medical laboratory technicians, installation and repair technicians, and computer support specialists. And, while the term “middle skills” is often used to describe these occupations, the report finds that the term fails to fully capture the actual high value of this segment of the workforce. 

The “broader need for policy information and advice,” is examined and an in-depth study of “the coverage, effectiveness, flexibility, and coordination of the policies and various programs that prepare Americans for skilled technical jobs” is presented.  The report also includes action-oriented recommendations for ways to improve the U.S. system of technical education, training, and certification.

Read the full report online or download the PDF version from the National Academies website here.

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The Occupational Information Network Resource Center Releases Updates to Database and Keyword Search

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET), under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, has recently released updates to its database and keyword search.  

These updates include the following:

  • Eighty alternate titles related to 40 occupations were added from professional association and customer input, transactional analyses, and occupational code requests.
  • Eighty technology skill examples related to 54 occupations were added from employer job postings. 

O*NET consumers can now use “hot technologies” as search terms to find occupations and careers across the O*NET websites.  The new updated data and keyword search are incorporated within My Next Move, Mi Próximo Paso, My Next Move for Veterans, O*NET OnLine, and O*NET Code Connector.  

To learn more or to download the database, please access the O*NET Resource Center. Developers may also access the latest data and updated keyword search from O*NET Web Services.  

For a complete description of the updated search, interested parties are encouraged to review A Weighted O*NET Keyword Search (WWS).

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Voices of TAACCCT College Presidents: A Podcast Series

The podcast series “Voices of TAACCCT College Presidents” presents community college presidents discussing the impact that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program, has had on their colleges. TAACCCT is administered in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and spans the years 2011–18. This series explores the leadership mindset and strategic approach that several community college presidents have taken to scale and sustain the impact of TAACCCT at their institutions.

Over 700 colleges were funded through TAACCCT grants in four rounds. Grants were designed to help community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less. The grants support colleges in retraining dislocated workers and other adults for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations. More than 8,000 educational materials created by grantees are available as open educational resources on

The first three podcasts in the series are available on SkillsCommons, and may be found here. The remaining four podcasts will be added to this SkillsCommons page on a weekly basis, so be sure to check the website frequently!

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Free Training on PIAAC Data Analysis

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is pleased to announce upcoming training opportunities to help researchers use data from the OECD Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) Survey of Adult Skills to address questions about adults’ information processing skills in technology-rich environments.  Training Researchers to Use PIAAC to Further Multidisciplinary Research is a hands-on, interactive training conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and supported through a grant from IES, the independent research and statistics arm of the U.S. Department of Education. The training aims to prepare researchers to use PIAAC data and IES data tools for further, independent, policy-relevant research in such fields as education, gerontology, sociology, public health, economics, workforce development, criminal justice and corrections education.

This August, ETS will begin holding one-day and three-day PIAAC trainings in four U.S. cities. These trainings will culminate with an IES/ETS-sponsored conference in Washington, D.C., in December 2018, where participants will have an opportunity to present their research.

What does the PIAAC include?

The PIAAC data, which in the U.S. were collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), include information about adults’ education backgrounds, workplace experiences and skills, occupational attainment, use of information and communications technology, and cognitive skills in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving.

When is the training? How do I apply?

The next training will take place in Chicago from Aug. 30–Sept. 1. Visit the ETS training website for more information about the program and the most up-to-date schedule. Registration is open and can be completed online.

For more information about this training project, contact Meredith Larson, program officer, National Center for Education Research or refer to IES’ blog, Inside IES Research

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