Cisco Networking Academy Provides New Skills to Narrow the Talent Gap

Program focuses on growing students’ STEM talents, as well as helping their communities.

The talent shortage in the IT industry isn’t disappearing anytime soon. Robert Half reports in its 2018 Salary Guide that as growing industries such as healthcare, finance and manufacturing increase their reliance on technology, the demand for qualified workers is escalating at a rapid rate.

That’s one reason that Missourians had reason to celebrate as Larry Payne, senior vice president of the U.S. public sector at Cisco, discussed the success of the company’s Networking Academy before a crowd of program graduates, educators and public officials at the Missouri state capitol.

To mark the 20-year anniversary of the program, Payne spoke about how the Cisco Networking Academy has partnered with learning institutions all over the world. In Missouri, Cisco has invested more than $13 million in 44 programs, ultimately educating more than 28,000 students, according to The Missouri Times. Worldwide, the Cisco Networking Academy has worked with more than 7.8 million students and 22,000 educators in 180 countries.

Click here to read Erika Gimbel’s complete article discussing Cicso Partnering with K-12, Higher Education and More on the EdTech Magazine website. 


SkillsUSA competition focuses on career and technical education

Standout Wisconsin students in the trades, from welding to 3D printing, are hoping to secure a spot in a national competition to spotlight their skills.
The SkillsUSA Wisconsin state conference began Tuesday at the Alliant Energy Center. Over 1,700 students from across the state are competing at the conference for a chance to represent Wisconsin in the national SkillsUSA event in Louisville, Kentucky in June.
Students will compete in over 75 skilled trade areas, ranging from welding and carpentry to computer programming and 3D printing. Madison area students representing Madison College, East, West, Memorial and La Follette high schools are participating in the conference with their peers from over 80 chapters across the state.
State Superintendent and Democratic candidate for governor Tony Evers was the keynote speaker at the opening of the event, and celebrated the program’s ability to teach students both technical expertise and soft skills like networking and communicating.

Bill aims to attract more career and technical education teachers

The Virginia Department of Education ranks CTE number four in the ‘Top Ten Critical Shortage Teaching Endorsement Areas’ in Virginia for 2017-2018.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) is making a push to boost the number of career and technical education (CTE) teachers.

On Tuesday, he introduced the Creating Quality Technical Educators Act with U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Co-Chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

The bipartisan legislation would create a teacher residency grant program to help address the CTE teacher shortage in schools and help fill in-demand skilled jobs.

Click here to watch the ABC 8 News footage: Bill aims to attract more career and technical education teachers

We need more skilled workers. Here’s how we can train them.

From health care workers to electrical linemen, North Carolina has a widespread lack of technical and skilled workers.

Closing the skills gaps is as important to workers and the state as it is industry. The average liberal arts graduate from a four-year institution earns $41,800 a year. The average graduate of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s eight-week truck driving program makes $40,000 to $50,000 annually.

Education is considered the universal salve for societal ills and economic distress. But the sausage-making process, the minutia of what is funded and how, is what distinguishes an education system that puts students at desks from one that puts them in jobs.

In this year’s legislative session, North Carolina’s Community College System will ask lawmakers to fund job-training certificate programs at the same rate that they fund curriculum courses like English and statistics. Currently, community colleges get 34 percent less per student from the state for their short-term certification programs, such as truck driver training and home health aide certificates.

Click here to read Donna King’s entire article published on The News & Observer website.

College Debt Relief and Affordable Lifetime Learning Are Essential for a Thriving Economy

It’s easy to mistake the 4.1 percent unemployment rate in the United States for a job market that is entirely in good shape. Look further and you find 40 percent of American employers report difficulties finding the skills they need in prospective employees. Sixty percent note a lack of preparation for even entry-level jobs. Beyond the current skills gap issue, the long-term prospects for many jobs is uncertain. According to McKinsey and Co, by 2030, 75 million to 375 million workers (3 to 14 percent of the global workforce) will need to switch occupational categories.

Businesses need employees with the right talent and skills to continue to grow and prosper. Skill set development and preparation come down to how we educate our current and future workforce. We also must look at the system surrounding education, and it absolutely must include the structure around student loans. College debt is an anchor that, unlike consumer spending or a home mortgage, neither spurs the economy nor addresses crucial housing needs for Americans.

Click here to read Brent Messenger’s thought provoking article published on Entrepreneur website. 

Adult Education Is Crucial to Addressing Workers’ Skills Gap

The world’s rich countries face a looming challenge in education: Too many of their citizens lack the skills and credentials needed for the jobs of the future. To keep people productively engaged in work in the coming decades, and to ensure that economies maintain robust growth, governments, educators and employers will need to make lasting investments in a new class of students: adults.


The trouble for now is largely demographic. Although a growing share of people between the ages of 18 and 24 is going to college, the total population of young adults is shrinking in the U.S. and Europe. So total college enrollment is largely in decline. Meanwhile, the population of older workers keeps growing. In the U.S., by the middle of the next decade, nearly one-quarter of the workforce will be over 55. And many adults lack the post-high-school education and training that employers increasingly demand.


A majority of new jobs created in the U.S. since 2010 have required workers to have medium to advanced digital skills. Over the next decade, the percentage of jobs worldwide requiring a college degree or higher will continue to increase, according to a McKinsey Global Institute analysis.

Click here to read Romesh Ratnesar and Mary Duenwald’s article published on the Bloomberg website. 


With our shortage of skilled workers, career and technical education is ready to be taken seriously

It was tough to nail down a favorite: maybe the chicken cordon bleu with sweet potatoes. But the lasagna was also amazing, and it was hard to top the scalloped potatoes that came with the prime rib.

Delivered desk-side on Thursdays before last bell, still hot from the kitchen and packed takeout style in brown paper bags, the meals were a buzzy new collaboration between Manchester School of Technology (MST) business students and the school’s Culinary Arts program. Beyond providing a weeknight meal plus leftovers to the 30 teachers and administrators who bought $60 memberships to the plan, the effort was also born of urgent need.

Career and technical education (CTE) programs such as those offered at MST — which feature academically and professionally rigorous classes and send graduates off to postsecondary programs at high rates — may be uniquely positioned to prepare young adults for the future of work.

As traditional blue-collar industries decline across the country, the casualties of automation and offshoring, they are increasingly being replaced by skilled service jobs such as those in health care, information technology and finance, according to research by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. While good middle-class jobs are disappearing for people with only high-school diplomas, New Hampshire, with its workforce aging, is struggling to fill 17,000 jobs, many of them in skilled occupations.

And it’s only going to get worse. The state is losing its youth. Nearly 50 percent of New Hampshire’s college-going high school graduates are leaving the state. A significant factor is that college education in New Hampshire is the priciest in America. Those who leave seeking a more affordable education often do not return to the state to work, live and start families.

High-quality CTE, experts hope, will address many of these issues with retooled, up-to-date programs that help propel students to postsecondary education and, in the process, give them more in-state connections and prepare them not only for in-demand jobs but for the flexibility the future will require.

Click here read Sarah Gonser’s complete article published on the The Hechinger Report website. 

Public education policy failed students for 30 years

Pat Hobbs, executive director of Workforce Solutions Cameron, says public education policy for the last 30 years failed students.

Hobbs gave a presentation at South Texas College’s 13th annual Summit on College and Career Readiness. One of his key points was that a skills gap across the whole country exists due to poor career awareness counseling for the past 30 years.

“We’ve failed our students. We pushed students that didn’t have the resources to complete college and they didn’t graduate. That’s 60 percent of the thousands and thousands that we sent and ended up not graduating,” Hobbs said.

“Now, they’ve burned up their financial aid and have no means to go back and earn a skill set from a community college or TSTC. Now, they’re in the workforce and incapable of doing anything except manual labor.”

One way to turn this dynamic around is by doing a better job of career awareness and installing CTE (career technical education) programs for skill sets that are in high demand, Hobbs told the Rio Grande Guardian, in an exclusive interview after his presentation. This will allow the region to build a quality workforce to attract industries, he argued.

Click here to read Ena Capucion’s entire article published on the Rio Grande Guardian website. 


We must dispel stigma surrounding skilled jobs

When it comes to skilled trade jobs, Mississippi has a culture problem.

It’s a problem that many states across the country are dealing with, but one that, if solved, could significantly move the needle forward in the Magnolia State.

That was the principal message delivered at a gathering of business and community leaders in Jackson this week at the 69th-annual meeting of the Mississippi Economic Council.

Speaking to the group gathered at the Jackson Convention Complex, Peyton Holland, executive director of North Carolina-based Skills USA, said that a shift must occur to get students to realize that obtaining a job skill is just as important as obtaining a four-year or graduate degree.


That’s not to say the obtainment of a more traditional higher education degree is not valuable. However, the stigma attached to the training and certification required for skilled jobs must vanish in order for Mississippi to move forward. The notion that one is more valuable than the other is what drives a narrative that’s leaving opportunities and paychecks open throughout our state.

Click here to read the entire opinion piece published on the Daily Journal website. 

Henrico receives grant funds to upgrade CTE equipment

Henrico County is one of 16 Virginia localities to receive a grant to upgrade equipment for its career and technical education programs, Governor Ralph Northam announced recently. Each school system or technical center will receive $37,500 to purchase new equipment and to make other necessary improvements. Henrico will receive a digitized graphic design printer for its Advanced Career Education Center.

The grant program gives priority to challenged schools, Governor’s STEM Academies, and Governor’s Health Science Academies.

“These grants will allow students to experience and explore 21st-century career and technical programs and provide valuable opportunities to learn on up-to-date technical equipment,” said Northam. “This is a great step forward in our mission to train Virginia workers for the good jobs that are available now and build an economy that works for every family in every corner of the Commonwealth.”

Click here to learn more about the Henrico community on the Henrico Citizen website.

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