National Skills Coalition calls for the modernization of the federal Pell grant program in new publication

In an economy where more than 80 percent of all jobs require education or training beyond high school and 50 percent of jobs can be classified as “middle-skill”—meaning they require more than a high school diploma but not a four-year degree—the demand for high-quality, short-term credentials is greater than ever.

Due to this growing trend, more and more individuals are enrolling in postsecondary education with a different set of objectives than first-time, full-time students between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. In fact, an increasing number of students are pursuing higher education while balancing work and family obligations for the explicit purpose of finding success in the labor market. For these reasons, credentials achieved through short-term programs—which can include industry-recognized credentials or certifications, licenses and certificates—make up 24 percent of all postsecondary awards in the U.S. today.

Despite the growing utility of certificates for both individuals and employers in need of skilled workers, students who choose to enroll in short-term programs are typically ineligible for federal financial aid. Current law stipulates that students can only receive a federal Pell grant if they enroll in a program of study that is at least 600 clock hours of instruction over fifteen weeks and results in the attainment of academic credit. Because of this policy, students who wish to enroll in a short-term or noncredit program must either pay out of pocket to cover their costs or commit to an academic program that meets the Pell grant length requirements—even if it will not lead them to success in their chosen field.

Click here to read Katie Brown’s complete article published on the National Skills Coalition website.

About Timmothy Boettcher

Business Career Originally recruited in 1998 as a software engineer to design and develop cutting edge technology for new products, Mr. Boettcher assumed leadership for Research and Development and then Engineering before being named President of Realityworks in 2005. Responsible for total operations, he has driven significant understanding of market opportunities, gatekeepers, and funding in education, healthcare, and public service markets; bolstered production and supply chain efficiencies; acquired and launched new age technology; rebuilt leadership competencies; led growth into the Company’s over 65% US school system and over 90 country presence; and led the implementation of the Company’s ESOP to build on the societal mission of the Company and further the family oriented culture to reward employees for their success in achieving the mission and efforts to drive growth. Focused on high market growth, he has led the Company’s turnaround and achieved double-digit top line growth simultaneously with dramatic profit and cash flow improvement. Mr. Boettcher brings more than twenty years of engineering, product development, and global operations experience in education, advanced technology, manufacturing, and distribution industries. Prior to joining Realityworks, he held positions at Cray Research, a leading manufacturer of the world’s fastest supercomputers and Wal-Mart Distribution, the world’s leader in distribution and logistics. Professional & Community Activities Mr. Boettcher is passionate about building effective connections between our countries workforce development system, economic development programs, and education infrastructure. A solid connection between these systems is needed to ensure our youth and workforce are prepared to be global competitive and ready to take on the challenges and needs faced by industry. In delivering on this passion Mr. Boettcher: - has presented workforce development strategies on the national level for Harvard’s Pathway’s to Prosperity, U.S. Department of Labor, and at many Career and Technical Education events. - established and currently chairs the Industry Workforce Needs Council (IWNC), a national level group of industry leaders that works directly with education to increase support for Career and Technical Education in the country in alignment with industry needs. - served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Career and Technical Education. - chaired the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (Chair) to help establish and lead regional workforce development initiatives. - established and led the Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin (Chair) to help bring critical C-level talent to start-ups and small to mid-sized companies to help them grow. - served on the Board for the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation (President). - and provides guidance to institutions like the International Business Programs Advisory Council of the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire). Mr. Boettcher also holds seven U.S. and foreign patents.

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