Tech Thursday: Workforce Commissions, Education, and Common Core

Now you know, CCSS is most decidedly post high school.
Now you know, CCSS is most decidedly post high school.

Thank you for joining me last night as I went in-depth on the topic of a CCSS aligned work force. It is my hope you were able to glean helpful information to aid your battle in your state. ‘Women on the Wall’ archives each call, so if you missed anything, you can access it from their website.

NC, Bound for “Workforce Destiny”:

Commission on Workforce Development Strategic Plan 2014-16 I’m leading off my post for today with my state’s Report for how it is planning on carrying out Workforce training. Yes, involved in the thick of it, is Common Core, Career Pathways, and lots of other connecting ties. In this report, you’ll learn the name of the Commission which makes the Workforce related decisions THEN advises the General Assembly and our Governor. You’ll discover their ‘master plan’ which includes data mining.

You’ll get to see which groups at state level are partnering to align NC. Those involved according to this report? The Dept. of Administration(NC DOA), the Dept. of Commerce(NC DOC), the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services(NC DHHS), and finally, the North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction.

What’s interesting is that the NC Dept. of Public Instruction is under the authority of the General Assembly which is contained in our Legislative Branch. Contrast that with those private schools, and homeschools which are under the guidance of the Dept. of Non Public Instruction(NC DNPE), which is in the Dept. of Administration. Community colleges, public colleges and universities are also housed in the Dept. of Administration. What about the Dept. of Commerce? It too, is in the Dept. of Administration. As far as the proprietary post secondary schools(for profit schools such as Nascar Tech, DeVry, etc.? They are housed with the NC Community College System(NCCCS). Charter schools depending on their status us ‘public’ or ‘private’ would be respectively, NC DPI and NC DNPE.

Note where Career Education is housed. The NC DPI (Dept. of Public Instruction). Which answers to the NC General Assembly, in the Legislative Branch.
Note where Career and Technical Education is housed. The NC DPI (Dept. of Public Instruction). Which answers to the NC General Assembly, in the Legislative Branch.

According to the Report from our Workforce Commission, lots and lots of money from the federal level and the state level has been poured into aligning. (see page 4 of the Report).

Monies featured cover things like:

  • career tech education (DPI) $430,661,949.00;
  • Post Secondary Career Tech/Vocational Ed (NCCCS), $372,928,057.00;
  • Basic Skills (NCCCS), $89,175,304.00;
  • Workforce Investment Act (NC DOC), $79,691,240.00;
  • Wagner Peyser (NC DOC), $19836,199.00 {Note: Wagner Peyser Act was from 1933 and address workforce, the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act not only keeps this Act going, but amends it.}
  • Apprenticeships (which are a ‘new’ hot item for aligning workforces) will also be receiving big bucks and are in the NC DOC, $1,604,447.00;
  • Workforce alignment money is also under the Displaced Homemakers, $289,670.00;
  • the American Indian Workforce Development Program, $247,991.00 (both in the NC DOA);
  • Veterans (NC DOC), $5,446,000.00
  • Customized Training (NC DOC), $23,587,840.00

So, why would I share all these figures? Simply put, they all involve post secondary instruction. Instruction that will be provided by vocational schools, community colleges, vocational schools, proprietary schools, colleges, and universities.

So where’s the ‘Common Core’?

Excellent question. In my opinion, because CCSS is such a toxic brand name, we’ve seen how companies, states, and others have rushed to re-brand it. However, in most of the items I’ve seen connected to the Workforce legislation, your key words are NOT ‘Common Core’, BUT Career Pathways or Career Clusters. It’s assumed you, the citizen, wouldn’t know the difference, nor would you be interested. How wrong those powers that be are! One of the guiding principles for NC’s Workforce Commission is:

“The workforce system will focus on target industries and career clusters.”

Goal #1: Streamlining must occur!

“The commission recognizes that North Carolina’s public workforce development system is a key part of the state’s economy. It is comprised of a variety of programs with a broad range of activities that serve a diverse group of people. It includes a group of interactive and interdependent entities, programs, and services. Activities range from self-service activities online, to staff assisted services in a workforce office, to multi-year training programs at a public school or community college. In addition, programs serve people with varying levels of education, employment experience, and barriers. Individuals may participate in a single program or activity or may be eligible to receive services through a variety of programs and entities. The system exists to help businesses find qualified workers to meet their present and future workforce needs and to help individuals gain the skills and training they need to obtain and maintain employment.” How  is all this to be accomplished?

 ‘Align partner services and strategies.
 Develop a common brand to be used across workforce programs that is recognizable to all customers.
 Increase awareness of and accessibility to workforce services.
 Develop shared marketing strategies that promote the talent in North Carolina.’

Goal #2: More of Goal #1, but leading up to Goal #3. Basically we MUST have economic (the Great Recession of 2007) prowess again. Workforce will get us there.

Goal #3: Education, our Way, Not Yours:

How it will be done:

 ‘Strengthen career development services and ensure consistency across programs.
 Enhance programs and enrollment in critical career clusters by targeting resources.
 Strategically coordinate programs among workforce partners to develop skill and education pathways.
 Become a national leader in providing structured work-based learning.’

Also included was more about the desperate need to streamline (Goal #1), to be relevant (part of Goal #2) and

‘it is essential for the state’s workforce programs to target its limited resources to careers in high-growth and emerging industries. Providing consistent information to individuals and strong programs in critical career clusters will not only help individuals find good-paying jobs, but it will also help businesses find the talent they need to growth their business.
One of the best ways to help individuals gain skills and learn more about a career is through work-based learning. These programs combine classroom education with on-the-job experience and individuals gains valuable work experience while learning new skills.
The commission recognizes the need for consistent information, a focus on high-growth and emerging industries, work-based learning opportunities, and it supports policies that shift our culture to one that embraces life-long learning.’

Goal #4: Data, You Got It, We Mine It:

This is the last of the 4 goals the NC Workforce Commission published. By far the most compromising..at least for the students who end up in the Workforce. The Report shares with you, the reader, that it used to the U.S. Department of Labor was the only one receiving Workforce data. But, as we know, that’s about to change. The U.S. WIOA 2014 (the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014), as I’ve written about will take the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s Student Longitudinal Data System and merge with it. In some states it’s already happening. In others states, it’s just taking off, and in some states, it hasn’t begun yet. Workforce will be in all 50 states.  So, if you state didn’t adopt CCSS, you’ll get in via Career Pathways or those Career Clusters.

Here’s the plan for pulling this off:
 ‘Develop a consistent and coordinated approach of identifying critical career clusters that workforce system partners will use to target resources to meet the needs of the economy.
Gather, evaluate, and utilize information on the usage and quality of services.
Measure and report on the effectiveness of the workforce development system.’

Justification for all this data? Accountability. Being accountable means rigorous measuring. Because if we can’t measure rigorously, how will we know that the Workforce is going to fit the agenda?

The last paragraph or two details how it’s the Commission who will plot, plan, and begin the chain of implementation in NC. They have the Governor’s ear. They have the General Assembly’s attention. It also involves Common Core.

So What About Your State?

Find out what the name of your Workforce Commission is. Find out who serves on it.

Discover their plan by finding their report. Do they answer directly to a particular branch of government or person?

Is there any voter say in the matter or is all this assigned? We, here in NC, get told what is up, there isn’t a vote about it.

Has your state gotten their WDQI ( Workforce Data Quality Initiative) grant money to ‘align and mine’? (see my earlier posts about the WDQI)

If you need a refresher on HOW Career Clusters and/or Career Pathways are Common Core Standards for Adults, here are some links:
From Achieve, Inc. 2012, http://www.achieve.org/files/CCSS-CTE-BridgingtheDivide.pdf (look at page 22 and beyond)

From CTE (Career Tech Education), where you’ll find the “Career Clusters” as well as the page that links CCSS to Career Clusters:
http://www.careertech.org/common-core-state-standards For the Clusters: http://www.careertech.org/career-clusters

WorkKeys (which is job profiling, CCSS aligned and is part of ACT, Inc. which is part of College Board) My fellow anti CCSS warrior’s blog article about the alignment of WorkKeys/CCSS: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/06/23/common-core-aligned-workkeys/

Career Pathways, those Dept. of Labor programs that will force the alignment of education and workforce, my post from 10/02/14: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/tech-thursday-ccss-career-pathways-and-workforce/

From the U.S. Dept. of Ed, Career Pathways Aligning to CCSS 101: http://ctecenter.ed.gov/training_center/training/pathway-curricular-design-and-instructional-practice

Finally, remember, each Thursday, since I began my blog, there has been an article each week about CCSS post high school. I’ve got a brand new report to share next week that will undeniable confirm what some still deny…that CCSS isn’t post high school!

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