IN THIS ISSUE
- BUILDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
- EARLY COLLEGE SUCCESS STORY
Macomb Community College in Michigan just sent JFF a story I’d like to share with you. It’s about Marly Treier, a person who loves flowers. As a little girl, the 23-year-old resident of Macomb Township, Michigan, could always count on receiving a birthday bouquet from her grandfather. And recently, she created the floral arrangements for her grandparents’ 50th anniversary celebration. This year, she became a Michigan Certified Florist, a designation the Michigan Floral Association has awarded to only a few dozen individuals.
Ms. Treier’s is one of the many success stories being featured across the country as part of Workforce Solutions Week, which began this Monday. The week highlights the successes of individual participants, service providers, employers, funders, and other partners in four national initiatives:
The 32 Breaking Through community colleges promoting and strengthening efforts to help low-literacy adults prepare for and succeed in occupational and technical degree programs;
The 5 Connecting Literacy and Work sites designed to strengthen the connections between adult literacy and workforce development;
The 17 Jobs to Careers projects helping frontline health care workers gain the skills and credentials they need to advance their careers, while helping their employers retain a talented workforce and ensure that patients receive high-quality care; and
The 22 regional funding collaboratives and over 60 local workforce partnerships in the National Fund for Workforce Solutions that are addressing a critical problem in America today: the crisis in workforce preparedness.
To help her land a job at a florist, Ms. Treier was able to take advantage of floral design classes offered through the workforce and continuing education program at Breaking Through partner Macomb Community College. Later, the program helped her earn her certification, a success that is especially notable because Ms. Treier has a learning disability that makes reading and memorizing particularly difficult.
JFF invites you to check out what is happening in your community during Workforce Solutions Week 2010. It’s a great opportunity to honor local successes, expand the reach of local efforts, and deepen the community relationships that are essential for future growth and stability.
—Marlene B. Seltzer, President and CEO, Jobs for the Future
From March 8 to March 14, JFF and our partners are celebrating Workforce Solutions Week 2010, with dozens of local events that honor successful ways of building the nation’s frontline workforce. For example:
In North Carolina, student workshops hosted by Durham Technical Community College, a partner in Breaking Through, highlight cutting-edge courses that prepare graduates for the increasingly technical labor market. March 9-10.
In Pennsylvania, “Celebrating Progress, Standing Up for Change,” a special event on the importance of building learning and career pathways to put Pennsylvanians back to work, features Jane Oates, assistant secretary of the Employment and Training Administration, and economist Paul Harrington. It is hosted by the District 1199C: Training and Upgrading Fund, Job Opportunity Investment Network, and the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, partners in the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. March 10.
In Alaska, a Webinar offered by Jobs to Careers partner University of Alaska-Fairbanks and the Norton Sound Health Corporation will explore work-based learning as a model for recruiting and preparing frontline workers in health care. A panel of experts will highlight lessons learned in setting up a new career pathway and defining the elements for successful systems change. March 12.
Please check out the new Web site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. You will find tools and publications to download and a blog where you can comment about the National Fund and its issues. This redesign reflects the National Fund’s ambition to be a community of learning, exchanging information and lessons uncovered nationwide and encouraging dialogue. We’ll add to the site regularly and continue upgrading it in the coming months.
If our nation is to dramatically increase access to and the affordability of quality health care, an essential element will be partnerships that train and employ frontline health care workers. This message was at the core of RX for a New Health Care Workforce, a convening in Washington, DC, hosted by Jobs for the Future on March 1 and 2.
JFF brought together 100 health care policymakers, funders, workforce experts and practitioners, and industry leaders committed to expanding access, lowering costs, and improving the quality of health care. Drawing on promising models from several initiatives, including Breaking Through, Jobs to Careers, and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, they joined together to discuss the role of workforce policy in health care reform and the implications of this reform for the frontline health care workforce.
In the coming weeks and months, JFF and our partners will extend the work undertaken at the convening, posting reports on the JFF Web site about innovations and challenges in practice and policy.
Since 2004, North Carolina has started over 100 innovative high schools, including 70 early college high schools that serve nearly 10,000 students. The schools’ outcomes—including grade-to-grade dropout rates and higher scores on end-of-course exams—are better than those of high schools in the state with comparable student compositions. A substantial number of early college students complete college courses before high school graduation. Particularly impressive is that many of these students would typically not be expected to start or complete college, perhaps not even graduate from high school.
Policies Paved the Way, by Joel Vargas, with Jason Quiara, describes how North Carolina has spurred and supported this successful educational innovation, told from the perspective of leaders of early college schools. It is primarily a success story, one that should encourage North Carolina to hold its course and that illustrates how other states can support the creation of better pathways through high school and college.
Jason Quiara came to JFF from the New England Board of Higher Education in 2009, where he served as director of policy and research and directed the College Ready New England Initiative. With lead support from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the initiative aimed to improve state policies and promote programs that increase educational attainment and college-readiness for underserved students across New England. He began at the board as a policy fellow while completing his Master’s in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Jason’s passion for working in the field of education was shaped largely by interactions with low-income youth while serving as a residential counselor with Boys Hope Girls Hope of Southern California. At BHGH, he helped mentor and supervise two households of “scholars” toward the goal of completing high school and attending college. “The scholars at BHGH are among the most impressive young people I know. Far too often, I describe my role in that program as a mentor of youth. In reality, it was I who learned most from the relationships that were formed. The experience was a career game changer.”
At JFF, Jason supports new education pathways that combine high school and college experiences, such as early college high schools and comprehensive dual enrollment programs. He focuses on studying and advising on state policies to scale up and sustain college-readiness strategies, particularly those that feature college-level coursework in high school.
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Jobs for the Future identifies, develops, and promotes new education and workforce strategies that help communities, states, and the nation compete in a global economy. In nearly 200 communities in 41 states, JFF improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers.