Montana’s dual enrollment classes growing fast

Montana was slow to offer teenagers the chance to take “dual enrollment” classes that give credit toward both high school graduation and state college degrees, but now it’s catching up fast.
Since 2012, dual enrollment has grown from 1,000 high school students statewide to nearly 6,000 this school year, according to last week’s report to the Montana Board of Regents.
“Dual enrollment has just skyrocketed,” said John Cech, deputy commissioner of higher education. “It is something to really be proud of.”

Yet while the share of Montana high school students taking dual enrollment classes has grown to between 15 and 25 percent, that still lags behind states like Idaho (28 percent), Washington (47 percent) and Iowa (55 percent).

High school students like dual enrollment classes because they can get a head start on college and earn college credits at reduced cost. At Bozeman High School this year, students paid just under $50 per credit, or $150 for a typical three-credit college class, said Principal Kevin Conwell.

Click here to read Gail Schontzler’s complete article published on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle website. 

Colleges look to address specter of student debt

A Georgetown University study reports that by 2020, 65 percent of job vacancies will require some postsecondary education and training.

A total of 13 million, the report says will require a baccalaureate degree, while 7 million will require an associate’s degree and 6 million will require a graduate degree.

However, the study also notes, “Without major changes to the U.S. postsecondary education system, the economy will fall short 5 million workers with postsecondary degrees by 2020.”

Perhaps the biggest hurdle between students and the degrees that the study says they will need is student debt. According to US News, the average college graduate will start his or her professional life $26,000 in debt that will take 21 years to pay off. Moreover, a 2017 report by LendEDU ranked Pennsylvania No. 1 in student debt in the U.S., with an average debt of $35,185.

But the shadow of crippling student debt that seems to stifle today’s young people even before they get started in life need not place a college education out of the reach of today’s students.

Click here to read Nancy Lowry’s complete article published on the New Castle News website. 

United Technologies Outlines Robust Workforce Development Program

By 2025, American manufacturers will have more than 3.5 million high-skilled open jobs—but will struggle to fill more than half of them.

Fortunately, NAM members like United Technologies are taking the lead and stepping up to help build the workforce of the future through big investments in new workforce development and training programs that will help develop the next generation of manufacturers.

Today, United Technologies announced they would hire 35,000 people in all 50 states and invest more than $15 billion in research and development and capital expenditures in the United States over the next 5 years alone.

But big expansion means a bigger workforce, which is why United Technologies also announced a game-changing investment in the way they develop employees.

United Technologies plans to ramp up investments in more than 30 U.S. workforce training programs across the nation, to help attract new workers and to help enhance the skills of their 67,000 employees.

These programs include apprenticeships, community college and high school partnerships and digital certificate programs, which help to inspire young adults and high school students and give them the tools they need to pursue careers in manufacturing. Participation in a development program often results in a job offer from United Technologies.

Click here to read more about United Technologies by Carolyn Lee published on the National Association of Manufacturers website. 

Missouri Chamber report highlights statewide skills gap & outlines solutions

A new report by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce identifies challenges in the Missouri workforce.

The report, WorkForce2030, launched Monday as a way to address some of those issues and make Missouri more economically competitive. Some of those challenges listed were stagnant workforce growth, a widening skills gap and job preparedness.

WorkForce2030 lists a detailed action plan for how to address these problems. The goal is to improve the weaknesses by 2030.

The chamber hired Gallup to survey more than 1,000 employers in Missouri to help understand what the workforce climate is like. Here were some of the results:

  • 44% of employers reported satisfaction with the state’s availability of skilled workers.
  • 30% agree that Missouri attracts or can retain top talent.
  • 15% agree that high schools are preparing students for the workforce.

Click here to Monica Madden’s complete article published on the KOMU 8 Reporter website. 

The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey

Following a troubling year, where geopolitical and social concerns gave rise to a new wave of business activism, millennials and Gen Z are sounding the alarm, according to Deloitte’s seventh annual Millennial Survey. Millennials’ opinions about business’ motivations and ethics, which had trended up the past two years, retreated dramatically this year, as did their sense of loyalty. And neither generation is particularly optimistic about their readiness for Industry 4.0. Their concerns suggest this is an ideal time for business leaders to prove themselves as agents of positive change. The findings are based on the views of more than 10,000 millennials questioned across 36 countries and more than 1,800 Gen Z respondents questioned in six countries. The survey was conducted 24 November 2017 through 15 January 2018.

Click here to read the full publication from Deloitte published on the Deloitte website. 

Building America’s Skilled Technical Workforce

Skilled technical occupations—defined as occupations that require a high level of knowledge in a technical domain but do not require a bachelor’s degree for entry—are a key component of the U.S. economy. In response to globalization and advances in science and technology, American firms are demanding workers with greater proficiency in literacy and numeracy, as well as strong interpersonal, technical, and problem-solving skills. However, employer surveys and industry and government reports have raised concerns that the nation may not have an adequate supply of skilled technical workers to achieve its competitiveness and economic growth objectives.

In response to the broader need for policy information and advice, Building America’s Skilled Technical Workforce examines the coverage, effectiveness, flexibility, and coordination of the policies and various programs that prepare Americans for skilled technical jobs. This report provides action-oriented recommendations for improving the American system of technical education, training, and certification.

Click here to download the PDF of Building America’s Skilled Technical Workforce found on the National Academies Press website.  


Cracking the Code: IT-Ready opens the tech industry door

Rebooting a career is not unlike dealing with a locked-up computer. Sometimes a skilled technician is needed to step in and help find a solution.

Creating IT Futures provides the “Help Desk” for career changers and entry-level workers looking to break into the burgeoning Information Technology (IT) sector. Through its IT-Ready program, participants learn foundational skills which enable them to hit the reset button on their future.

Greg Bartell, of Champlain, Minnesota, was faced with this problem after spending six years in retail and food service management following college. He wanted something different after hitting a roadblock in his career and working 70-plus hours a week.

IT-Ready would offer him that opportunity. Despite having a limited background in computers and IT, Bartell told WorkingNation that getting into IT-Ready would provide him the certainty that his previous career did not.

Click here to read the entire article published on the Working Nation website.  

Addressing the skills gap in America through apprenticeships

In Washington, the most common conversation topic should be a simple one: jobs.

How do we create more of them? How do we prepare Americans for the jobs that are already available? How do we ensure those jobs provide a decent wage and good benefits?

In Congress, these conversations often lead to discussions on the importance of expanding early childhood education, strengthening our public schools, and making college more affordable. And to be sure, those investments are critical.

But let’s not forget about another straightforward, proven way to train Americans for well-paying jobs and lifelong careers: apprenticeships, sometimes called “the other four-year degree.”

According to the National Skills Coalition, there are 5.9 million job openings in the United States, and 6.6 million unemployed Americans. The skills gap is a major reason why these jobs continue to go unfilled, especially for those jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree. But apprenticeships can help address this.

Click here to read the entire article published on The Hill website, which includes opinions from Sen. Coons, Kevin O’Connor, Norm Abram, Richard Trethewey, Tom Silva, Roger Cook and Nathan Gilbert. 

State Career and Technical Education Policies Hard at Work: A Series of Success Stories

As I travel around the country I have the opportunity to see impactful Career and Technical Education (CTE) policies in action. These policies not only assist administrators and teachers in doing great things in the classroom to prepare our youth for meaningful futures, but also policies that engage employers in the preparation of our youth. Over the next few months we will take you on a journey sharing stories of state policies that are making a difference. Our first story takes us to Michigan, where profound education and industry relationships have been formed through the state’s CTE policy, House Bill 4313, that is helping seed and solidify strong industry relationships.

Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD) in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is one of 14 districts and intermediate districts that have been awarded $5 million grants to help ensure the success of what one area manufacturer considers the region’s biggest commodity: its CTE students.

“My customer base is on all four shores of the US and in countries around the world. But everywhere I go, there’s no people – businesses have no access to talent,” said L’Anse Manufacturing President Mark Massicotte. “These students are assets we need to capitalize on. That’s why CTE is so important.”

Click here to read the rest of my article published on the Industry Connect portion of the ACTE website. 

High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University

Like most other American high school students, Garret Morgan had it drummed into him constantly: Go to college. Get a bachelor’s degree.

“All through my life it was, ‘if you don’t go to college you’re going to end up on the streets,’ ” Morgan said. “Everybody’s so gung-ho about going to college.”

So he tried it for a while. Then he quit and started training as an ironworker, which is what he is doing on a weekday morning in a nondescript high-ceilinged building with a concrete floor in an industrial park near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Morgan and several other men and women are dressed in work boots, hard hats and Carhartt’s, clipped to safety harnesses with heavy wrenches hanging from their belts. They’re being timed as they wrestle 600-pound I-beams into place.

Seattle is a forest of construction cranes, and employers are clamoring for skilled ironworkers. Morgan, who is 20, is already working on a job site when he isn’t at the Pacific Northwest Ironworkers shop. He gets benefits, including a pension, from employers at the job sites where he is training. And he is earning $28.36 an hour, or more than $50,000 a year, which is almost certain to steadily increase.

As for his friends from high school, “they’re still in college,” he said with a wry grin. “Someday maybe they’ll make as much as me.”

Click here to read Ashley Gross and Jon Marcus’ article published on the NPR website.  

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