OVAE Connection - Issue 139

OVAE Connection

                                                                          February 28, 2013 - Issue 139

OVAE Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier Urges Nation to Come Together to Build a World-Class Rigorous Career-Focused Education System

In recognition of CTE Month, our nation must come together to develop a skilled workforce that is ready to meet the needs of today’s competitive labor market, which means building a world-class, rigorous career-focused education system that ensures that every student will share in the American Dream. We are in the midst of transforming CTE to meet 21st century needs and the Department is committed to implementing President Obama’s plan for building a skilled workforce.

This administration has put forth a bold, new blueprint for reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act that is based on the principles of alignment, collaboration, accountability, and innovation. Collectively, these principles will help ensure that CTE programs give students the skills, knowledge, and credentials they need to secure the well-paying, in-demand jobs that employers must fill to keep their businesses competitive.

Therefore, local education agencies, postsecondary institutions, and employers must effectively join forces to develop high-impact innovations in career-oriented instruction, collaborate to provide work-based learning opportunities for students, and cultivate strategic partnerships that will spur economic growth. These efforts will enable our nation to reach President Obama’s goal to have the most highly educated and competitive workforce in the world.

I commend your efforts in ensuring that our learners are college- and career-ready by providing state-of-the-art, relevant, and real-world learning experiences. Thank you for your continued support as we work toward meeting the challenges of transforming career and technical education.



$50,000 Prize for Immigrant Integration Initiatives

The Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy has announced that the application period for the 2013 E Pluribus Unum prizes is open. The $50,000 prizes are awarded to immigrant integration initiatives judged to be “exceptionally successful.” Winners will have helped immigrants enter the mainstream of U.S. society or will have contributed substantially to building stronger, more cohesive communities by bringing immigrants and the native born together.

The competition is open to individuals, nonprofit and community organizations, businesses, religious groups, and government entities, agencies, or officials operating in the United States. Applications must be received by April 12, 2013, at 9 p.m., ET. To examine application rules and procedures, go to http://www.migrationinformation.org/integrationawards/apply.cfm.

Shifting Gears: Progress in Helping Low-Skilled Adults

The Joyce Foundation has released a new evaluation report, Strengthening State Systems for Adult Learners, on the first five years of its Shifting Gears Project. The project was initiated to address the increasing gap that exists between the skills possessed by the U.S. workforce and those needed to succeed in a competitive economy. The foundation launched the Shifting Gears initiative to bolster efforts to assist working-age adults who need to expand their skills. Joyce provided nearly $8 million in funding, with matching amounts from state partners. The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) was the primary provider of technical assistance.

Shifting Gears provided states with a framework for identifying, adopting, and implementing innovative strategies for helping adults make more effective transitions into the workplace. It promoted systemic change through cross-sector collaboration, by improving education and skills training. Six Midwestern states—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin—accepted the challenge of helping working-age adults advance and succeed in a changing economy.

The evaluation report sets forth the progress these states have made to date, and outlines those activities that have contributed the most to their successes. Included in the report are the four core activities found to be critical to that success: strengthening alignment and collaboration across the adult education, workforce, and community and technical college systems; achieving buy-in and state leadership commitment to advance the chosen state strategy; making changes to specific state policies and regulations affecting local programs and delivery; and engaging local practitioners and administrators to create local champions.

The report notes that since the project began, four of the six states have adopted innovative strategies and changed policies, to better serve low-skilled workers within Adult Basic Education, workforce development, and community and technical college systems. And, despite challenges, new education and training programs designed specifically for low-skilled adults are running and showing promise. Although initially small-scale, these programs are now set for expansion.

Free Webinar on the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy and Its Upcoming Research

The recently established Center for the Study of Adult Literacy (CSAL) invites your participation in a free webinar, on Thursday, March 7, 2013, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. EST. The webinar is designed to introduce the center and provide an opportunity to learn more about its research projects slated for the next five years.

Late last year, the Department’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) awarded funding for five years of research at a center for adult literacy. CSAL is dedicated to the study of adults who read between the third- and eighth-grade levels. Over the next five years, three major research projects are planned. They will focus on underlying cognitive and motivational processes that contribute to or impede reading development, testing the adequacy of commonly used reading-related assessments with adult learners, and developing and evaluating a multi-component instructional program to help learners improve their reading and comprehension skills.

Please register to join the webinar, at which you will hear from its principal investigators and learn more about the center’s activities, goals and timelines. Contact Dawn Davis at ddavis2@gsu.edu with any questions.

Register for OVAE's Webinar on Better Preparing Adults to Transition Into Postsecondary Education

The first of OVAE’s 2013 community college webinar series will be held on Thursday, March 7 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. EST. This event will bring together experts from the field and local practitioners who will discuss efforts to transform adult education for better preparing adult learners to transition successfully to postsecondary education. The webinar will feature Barbara Endel from Jobs for the Future who will discuss the work of the Accelerating Opportunity initiative in scaling up its adult education reform model in seven states. Also, Judy Alamprese from Abt Associates will share the key findings from her recent study on transforming reading instruction in adult education programs. The webinar also will highlight the work of LaGuardia Community College in developing bridge programs that ease ABE and GED students’ transitions to postsecondary education and training.

You can register for this event at the following link: https://educateevents1.webex.com/educateevents1/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=747847050