OCTAE Connection - March 6, 2014 - Issue 186

OCTAE Newsletter

                                    March 6, 2014

Economic Impact of Community Colleges Estimated to Be Over $1 Trillion per Year

Where Value Meets Values: The Economic Impact of Community Colleges, prepared by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and released last month, shows a variety of benefits of community colleges for students, taxpayers, the U.S. society, and the U.S. economy in general. The report begins by acknowledging the role played by these colleges in aiding students as they work to become increasingly employable and to realize their individual potentials. It goes on to point to the service provided by community colleges to various industries and businesses as skilled workers emerge from the colleges. Society, too, benefits from the resulting expansion of the U.S. economy and an improved quality of life. 

The report provides both an economic impact analysis and an investment analysis for 2012. The former uses as its index added income within the U.S. economy. The analysis shows that the millions of former community college students employed in the U.S. workforce generated some $806.4 billion in added income in 2012, consisting of students’ wages, increased output by and for their employers, and further impact on the economy as the students and their employers spent money. The report goes on to note the more modest, but still substantial, contributions made by international students as they paid for tuition, books, and the costs of living in the U.S. This added another $2.6 billion in income to the economy. The overall total, $809 billion, represents some 5.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. 

In their spending on tuition, fees, books, etc., students invested about $18.7 billion out of pocket. In addition, they gave up the opportunity to earn about $78.7 billion, for a total personal cost of $97.5 billion. This is viewed as an investment that is made to gain more in years to come than was foregone by the former students. Estimates of what those gains are at present are made by examining the mean income at the midpoint of the career of a worker of average age and calculating its increase at a higher level of education than it would have been absent the community college experience. This estimate amounts to $10,700 per year when the average associate degree completer is compared to the average high school (or equivalent) completer. The report estimates that over a lifetime, this will accumulate an additional $470,800 in income for the former such that the investment by the students of just less than $100 billion will earn them nearly $470 billion or $3.80 for every dollar they paid up front. 

The report goes on to detail other income effects and a variety of savings attributable to community college completion such as improved health and reduced health costs, reduced crime and lower security costs, and reduced demand for income assistance and welfare benefits. When all the increases in earnings and decreases in costs are summed, the reports estimates the total benefits to U.S. society to be the equivalent of $1.2 trillion. Furthermore, it points out that society as a whole gains nearly $26 for every dollar it invests through taxes, or $44.9 billion paid to community colleges versus a gain through social savings and added income of $1.2 trillion. In terms of benefits to taxpayers, the results are not as substantial but still far outweigh the costs of $44.9 billion. The sum of additional taxes collected and public-sector savings comes to a total of $304.9 billion, or $6.80 for every one dollar spent.

Education Longitudinal Study of 2002: Looking at 2002 High School Sophomores

As the United States attempts to educate larger percentages of its population for success in the 21st century, consideration of the educational, social, and employment characteristics of a representative sample of young adults can yield important insights. Such a study was recently issued by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002): A First Look at 2002 High School Sophomores 10 Years Later looks at selected outcomes, derived from the third and final follow-up survey of the cohort, which are high school sophomores in 2002 and about 26 years old at the time of the survey. The outcomes are associated with young adulthood, including current work and education activities, postsecondary enrollment and educational attainment, labor market experiences, family formation (marital and parental status), and current living arrangements. The report examines outcomes for those who did not complete high school or who did not continue their education beyond high school, as well as for those students who pursued postsecondary education. 

Among the findings of the survey are the following:

Of the high school sophomores of 2002 10 years later, 19 percent were both working for pay and enrolled in postsecondary education, 63 percent were in the workforce, 5 percent were enrolled in postsecondary education, and 13 percent were neither working nor enrolled in postsecondary education. 

As of 2012, 33 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher, 9 percent had an associate degree, 10 percent had an undergraduate certificate, 32 percent had taken postsecondary courses but had no postsecondary credential, 13 percent had only a high school diploma or its equivalent, and 3 percent had less than a high school diploma. 

Whereas 19 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher reported losing a job since January 2006, 40 percent of those with only a high school credential and 45 percent of those who had not completed high school lost a job during that time. 

Of the students who were employed in 2012, the most frequently reported occupations for those who had not finished high school were “food preparation and serving occupations” (20 percent). For those who had completed an associate degree, the highest percentage was in occupations classified as “office and administrative support occupations” (18 percent). 

There are additional findings of importance in the study regarding student debt, civic participation, preparation for work, and current living arrangements. Additional valuable detail is included in the study on all of the topics surveyed. NCES cautions that ELS:2002 is a descriptive report, that causal inferences based on the bivariate results contained in the study are inappropriate, and that the many variables discussed in this report may be related to each other. NCES also notes that “complex interactions and relationships among the variables have not been explored” in this study.  

DOL Announces $150 Million for Ready to Work Partnership Grant Competition

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) recently announced the availability of nearly $150 million for the Ready to Work Partnership grant competition, financed under the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program. The grant solicitation is open

According to the announcement, some “20 to 30 grants ranging from $3 million to $10 million will be awarded to programs focused on employer engagement, individualized counseling, job placement assistance, and work-based training that facilitate hiring for jobs where employers currently use foreign workers on H-1B visas.” The grants are to “support and scale innovative partnerships” that will create a pipeline of skilled U.S. workers. They are specifically intended to help the long-term unemployed “gain access to employment services that provide opportunities to return to work in middle- and high-skill jobs.”

“Programs funded through Ready to Work Partnership grants will use on-the-job training, paid work experience, paid internships and Registered Apprenticeships to provide employers the opportunity to train workers in the specific skill sets required for open jobs. As a pre-condition to be considered for funding, at least three employers or a regional industry association must be actively engaged in the project.”

Under the grants, partnerships are rewarded for including three key program features: 1) re-employing long-term unemployed workers; 2) incorporating work-based training that enables earning while learning and attaining specific skill sets required for open jobs; and 3) training that addresses the skills and competencies needed for high-growth industries. Preference will be given to applicants whose employer partners commit to hiring qualified participants in those training programs.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the Solicitation for Grant Applications which includes a synopsis of the grant, the full solicitation, and the application package including criteria for submission. Please access ETA’s Ready to Work page, to learn more about the program, and resources available for applicants.  

LINCS Community Debuts New Online Features

The LINCS Community has brand-new features that we think both current and new viewers will find very useful. We encourage you to visit the site to see all of the recent upgrades and to take the opportunity to interact with fellow adult education practitioners in the 16 discussion groups that have been established. The community’s refreshed design allows viewers to quickly access featured events and resources directly from the home page. The new look also makes it easier to follow and participate in discussions.

AACC Seeks Colleges for STEM Grants and Mentoring Program

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) recently announced a national grant competition for the MentorLinks: Advancing Technological Education (ATE) program, developed with the support of the National Science Foundation. MentorLinks is designed for community colleges seeking to improve technician education programs in the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields. Colleges that apply “should be interested in working with an experienced community college mentor who has successfully planned and implemented a major change in a STEM program. MentorLinks colleges will receive $20,000 for the two-year grant period plus travel support for the project director to attend three annual [project] meetings” held in conjunction with the national ATE Conference. “The grant's primary emphasis is on substantial opportunities for technical assistance and professional development as part of the mentoring relationship.” The grant period runs from Oct. 1, 2014 to Oct. 31, 2016. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2014. For further information, please see the link above.  

State CTE Directors Invited to Consult With OCTAE Staff Before and After Annual NASDCTEc Meeting

The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education invites CTE state directors and their teams to meet with Department staff to receive guidance and assistance with CTE and Perkins issues. One-hour meeting times are available on Monday, March 31, 2014, and Thursday, April 3, 2014, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel at 2500 Calvert St. NW, Washington, DC 20008. These hours bookend the spring meeting of the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education consortium, and provide an opportunity for Perkins state formula program directors and their staffs to consult with the Division of Academic and Technical Education (DATE) accountability and program administration staff on issues of importance to their states. 

Please register by March 14, 2014, via Perkins Collaborative Resource Network (PCRN) at http://cte.ed.gov (seeOffice Hours for State Directors, March 31 & April 3, 2014”) or by using the registration site at http://cte.ed.gov/reg_directors/. DATE staff will confirm your state’s scheduled time and topics by March 27, 2014. 

Questions and suggestion may be directed to Robin Utz at Robin.Utz@ed.gov and at 202-245-7767.

Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership Update

Last week’s OCTAE Connection (issue 185) ran a story about the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), a federal initiative designed to cultivate an environment for businesses to create well-paying manufacturing jobs in regions across the country, thereby accelerating the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing. The article indicated that the deadline for applications for funding was in the process of being altered. The deadline has been extended until April 14, 2014. For details about the competition visit here. In addition, a well-subscribed webinar for interested applicants was held last week. Those interested in hearing the webinar may do so by going to http://www.eda.gov/challenges/imcp/.

President’s 2015 Budget Proposes 2 Percent Increase in Discretionary Spending for Education

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, the president’s 2015 budget request was released. The request included an increase of 2 percent in discretionary appropriations for the Department. To learn more about the budget, visit http://www.ed.gov/budget15. More to come in future issues….