In Focus: State Postsecondary Policy
Jul 20, 2010 | Permalink »
Shifting Gears Initiative Helps Adults Gain Skills, Access to Employment
By Anna Suhring and Marcie W.M. Foster
The labor market continues to place growing emphasis on postsecondary education and training, but many workers struggle to gain the skills valued by employers in today's economy. Even among adults who enroll in postsecondary education and training programs, many fail to complete the requirements necessary to gain needed credentials.
In a new publication, Shifting Gears: State Innovation to Advance Workers and the Economy in the Midwest, CLASP Senior Fellow Julie Strawn describes how six Midwestern states are pursuing state policies that will help more low-skilled adults achieve postsecondary access and success.
Though each state's policy agenda is tailored to its individual workforce needs, the report focuses on two innovative approaches common to many of the Shifting Gears states. One strategy involves creating new pathways to postsecondary education and credentials by breaking up longer programs into shorter-term certificates that build to a degree, prioritizing sectors that offer the best opportunities for employment, and offering classes at different times and locations. A second approach focuses on creating "bridge" models that combine basic skills instruction with occupational training focused on workforce readiness and preparation for specific sectors of the job market.
Through its focus on state policy change, Shifting Gears is helping Midwest states to serve more low-skilled adults by better developing clear pathways to marketable credentials and connecting basic skills services more closely to what adults need for college and career success. In addition, states in the initiative have connected such reforms to broader work in expanding student support services and creating partnerships with employers and economic development efforts.
About Shifting Gears: The Joyce Foundation's Shifting Gears works to strengthen state postsecondary, adult basic education, and workforce development systems so that more low-skilled workers gain the education, skills, and credentials needed to advance and succeed in our changing economy. Visit the Shifting Gears web site.
Sep 04, 2009 | Permalink »
Shifting Gears is a multi-year, multi-million dollar state policy initiative designed to promote regional economic growth by improving the education and skills training of the workforce in six Midwestern states - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Launched in 2006, the initiative is helping these states implement systemic changes to institutionalize innovation in adult education, workforce development and postsecondary education programs. The states are strengthening the connections between the various programs to create pathways to college and career success for low-income working adults.
Communities in the Midwest are undergoing wrenching transitions from largely industrial economies structured around manufacturing to more diversified economies that promise new growth and new jobs. However, too many adults in the Midwest lack the skills and credentials to compete for jobs with high wages and benefits. A postsecondary credential is becoming the gateway to stable employment and advancement opportunities. This project will help ensure more low-income adults gain credentials that lead to family-supporting employment. CLASP provides technical assistance to the states participating in the initiative.
For more information, visit www.shifting-gears.org.
Jul 24, 2009 | Permalink »
Performance Based Funding
Louisiana and Ohio will phase in new higher education funding formulas that will base most state postsecondary funding on performance. For Louisiana community colleges, the formula is expected to include student success in: remediation; transfer and subsequent university performance; passing licensure and certification examinations, and in employment. Under Ohio's formula, enrollments will be funded based on course completion and by the statewide average cost of individual programs, and rates would be weighted by student risk factors. Ohio's community colleges, however, will continue to receive funding based on enrollment.