A Milestone for Competency Based Education - College for America is Approved by Department of Education

April 25, 2013 | Corporate Voices for Working Families |  Link to article

A Milestone for Competency Based Education - College for America is Approved by Department of Education 

In what is being recognized by many as a landmark in the evolution of higher education, Southern New Hampshire University's College for America has obtained approval from the U.S. Department of Education to be eligible for Title IV, Higher Education Act funding. College for America's competency-based model is the first in the nation to be approved by the DOE under direct assessment provisions that pay for actual learning versus the amount of time a student spends in a classroom.

Established in 2012 with support from an EDUCAUSE Next Generational Learning Challenge grant, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, College for America is designed to rebuild higher education and strengthen the American workforce.

"This a major step forward, especially for working students and their employers," said Paul LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and leader in the effort to innovate the program.

"So many (students) want low-cost, highly measurable degrees that actually align with the needs of employers and workforce opportunities. This new federal loan and grant eligibility not only means more access for working students... it signals recognition of a whole new way to deliver learning so that we can significantly boost national competitiveness."

The program, offered to students through their employer, is low cost ($2,500 a year, all-inclusive) and students have multiple sources of support, but there are no instructors in the traditional sense. And instead of accumulating credit hours and grades, the program requires students to demonstrate evidence of mastery through the set of 120 competencies. This competency-based structure ensures that students have acquired the most relevant and necessary workforce skills - communication, critical and creative thinking, quantitative literacy and collaboration.

As Corporate Voices' strategic partner, Southern New Hampshire University presented on College for America at this year's Annual Meeting. To view this presentation, please click here.

For more information on College for America, please visit http://www.collegeforamerica.org.

GlaxoSmithKline's IMPACT Award Application is Now Open

Corporate Voices' member company - GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) just  issued a Call for Applications for up to $800,000 in awards for 20 local nonprofits fostering healthier communities in and around its U.S. corporate campuses in Philadelphia, PA and the Research Triangle Park, NC.

The scope of this year's Awards has expanded to focus on improving access to health. Now, eligible programs include ones that promote healthy lifestyles, advance educational outcomes, and address other determinants of our health. The expanded focus aligns with GSK's efforts to explore what it means and what it takes to be a healthy community.

The GSK IMPACT Award can make a real difference for a nonprofit, so consider passing this along to colleagues who might want to learn more. The application can be found at www.gskimpact-us.com.  The application deadline is Friday, May 31 at 4:00 p.m. EDT.

*Please note that if a nonprofit organization was issued a GSK charitable grant in the 2013 calendar year, they are ineligible to compete for a 2013 GSK IMPACT Award.

Your Future is Calling: Current Version of the GED® Test Ends December 31, 2013 

Employers can make a difference in the lives of GED® test-takers by learning about the change that are taking place involving the test and raising awareness in the workplace. Free resources are available to help spread the word.

More than 18 million people have passed the GED® test, and half of test candidates say they take the test for employment reasons. At the end of 2013, the 2002 Series GED® Test will expire and the new 2014 GED® Test will be rolled out. At that point, any incomplete scores will expire and test-takers who have not yet passed all five parts of the current GED® test will have to start over. The closeout will affect an estimated 4 million GED® test-takers.

Through the Your Future is Calling campaign, GED Testing Service is working to connect test-takers with information about local deadlines and helping them find nearby testing centers. Employers can play an important role in raising awareness about the closeout and encouraging adult learners to finish the GED® test this year so they can take the next step in their career path.

If you have employees affected by this change, or are interested in learning more, here are a few easy ways to get involved:

  • Visit the closeout campaign website to download messages, graphics, or customizable materials, and order free resources like posters and flyers.
  • Join the campaign to learn about new materials and receive future updates.
  • Direct GED® test-takers to finishtheGED.com, where they can find information about their local test deadlines and policies, sign up for mobile and email alerts, and find their local testing center.

National Forum Supporting Hourly Workers and Gala Awards Luncheon - April 23, 2013

Leading employers of hourly workers know that investments in their workforce are tied to better productivity and higher retention. A dozen of those forward-thinking companies were honored earlier this week at Working Mother Media's National Forum Supporting Hourly Workers.

The program offered unique and compelling solutions to support the health and well being of hourly employees, and keep these workers functioning at their strongest, healthiest, and most productive. Among the winners of the Best Companies for Hourly workers recognition are Corporate Voices' member companies Bon Secours Virginia, Capital One, Marriott International, and Sodexo.

Read Making It Work, about the ways the best companies lead the way in supporting hourly employees.

For additional information and to read the executive summary of this year's employer survey, visit here.

Corporate Voices at Upcoming Meetings & Conferences

May 14, 2013: YearUp and Corporate Voices' Capitol Hill Day, Washington, DC 

June 17-19, 2013: U.S. News and World Report's STEM Solutions National Conference, Austin, TX

What We're Reading

Lowest Income Families Remain Most Burdened by High Childcare Costs, Emily Firgens, Center for Law and Social Policy, April 18, 2013

 Corporate Leaders Urge College Presidents to 'Talk to Us', Phil Burdick, Community College Times, April 17, 2013

Employers Find Healthy Food Program Is Good for You, Susan Ladika, Workfocrce.com, March 4, 2013

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