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Traditionally, employers, workers and students have used academic degrees and diplomas as a proxy for the skills and knowledge needed to perform on the job. There is growing interest in the use of competency-based credentials to complement this approach; however, the current “market” for competency-based credentials is neither fully formed nor well functioning. This report features case studies of different stakeholders in different industries utilizing competency-based credentials which may be useful for further understanding and advancing the field.
The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund’s efforts to connect low and moderate-income persons to career pathways is inhibited by the skills gap. As a result, the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund is pursuing several key policy and capacity-building efforts focused on increasing adult educational attainment. In particular, they are aiming to expand pre-bridge and bridge programs to prepare adults with low basic skills for occupational training, support the creation of ten Learning Labs in Detroit, facilitate peer learning among basic skills providers, and more.
Asset poor families, those that cannot sustain themselves without income for at least three months or weather emergencies without falling into the safety net, are consistently vulnerable. Arizona seeks to align its economic development, safety net, and education systems to benefit both its citizens and its economy through an asset development framework. Assets reduce the risk of poverty and reliance on the safety-net, break generational poverty, enable people to start businesses and invest in education. This report explores why assets are so important and how social policy has conflicted with asset accumulation, provides evidence of Arizona’s asset-poor environment, identifies potential state policy strategies, and outlines a framework for action for system partners.
This report focuses on an association of city and county governments and metropolitan planning organizations which collaborate to identify new training needs of Kansas City area businesses attempting to adapt to sustainable energy and energy efficiency opportunities. Key findings discusses in this report include that educational institutions and unions need to incorporate significantly more green knowledge and practices into their existing training; if we rely solely on incentives, there is a danger that green practices may fade away when the incentives do; and green knowledge starts at the top—architecture, design, universities and manager professionals need to understand and adopt green practices to enable construction workers to build green.
Increased global competition has led to declines in the American manufacturing sector, requiring U.S. workers to possess stronger skills and broader competencies in order to succeed in the current job market; in particular, postsecondary education or technical training is fundamental to an individual’s long-term earning potential. Recognizing that traditional training and job-placement programs may not address today’s complex work-force challenges, a wide variety of local organizations are coming together to form sector-based workforce partnerships. These collaborations engage employers and training providers to address both workforce needs of employers in specific sectors and the training, employment, and career advancement needs of workers and jobseekers. This report provides an overview of sector-based workforce partnerships and their value to communities, and makes suggestions for growing and sustaining these partnerships.
Although the manufacturing industry is experiencing a resurgence, employers within the sector are reporting that they face a skilled worker shortage. A strategy to improve the basic and technical skills of young workers could create real career pathways for opportunity youth and multiple benefits for employers, including: increased shareholder satisfaction and customer loyalty; increased diversity of the worker pipeline; increased worker engagement and retention as workers engage in on-the-job learning activities with opportunity youth and are inspired to model excellence within their professional fields. This report focuses on the strategies Michigan and Massachusetts are utilizing in order to address the gap between skilled worker demand and supply.
Incomes, job security, and economic growth increasingly depend on postsecondary credentials with value in the labor market. While a vast number of adults in the labor market engage in noncredit occupational education and training, without common metrics or quality assurance mechanisms, they cannot translate their education and training into postsecondary credit and the value of their credentials is not clear to employers, educators, or students. Instead, this report urges for a system that assesses competency to measure learning, rather than relying on the credit four as the metric for learning. Furthermore, this report examines federal, state, and institutional efforts to better assure the quality of credentials and to bridge noncredit and credit-bearing instruction, and provides recommendations that can be taken to create a competency-based system for measuring learning.
Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of America’s population, though many lack the necessary skills and education to meet the demands of industry and earn family sustaining wages. This report provides recommendations that can be taken in order to bridge the skills gap. These recommendations are guided by the idea that investment in the educating and advancing of Latino workers is necessary for economic recovery and sustainability, employment is an asset to higher education and career advancement (not a barrier), and that the skilled jobs of today require additional education beyond a diploma.
Business and education communities share an understanding of the type, level, and quantity of skills and credentials needed by the workforce. However, community colleges often struggle to engage employers effectively. This report outlines strategies community colleges can take to partake in effective engagement with employers, in order to build deep, sustainable relationships that ensure their curriculum design and credentials meet the needs of industry sectors/clusters important to the region, and that students exit institutions able to demonstrate that they have the skills and credentials needed by business.
Maryland is taking bold steps to increase the number of workers who possess a post-secondary education credential. In particular, Skills2Compete Maryland (S2C Maryland) is a campaign aimed at increasing post-secondary success to strengthen the skills of Maryland’s workforce. This report offers a summary of S2C’s history, including its strategies and processes, and provides further recommendations and actions needed to reach their goal of increasing the number of Marylanders who attain post-secondary credentials by 20 percent.