[Workforce 118] Re: The Webcast - my thoughts on and my experience withcertificate programs

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Julie Strawn jstrawn at clasp.org
Thu Dec 9 14:22:13 EST 2010


Thanks for sharing that story--really helps make what's going on here personal and concrete.



This message sent from my Blackberry, with apologies for brevity and any misspellings.


----- Original Message -----
From: workforce-bounces at lincs.ed.gov <workforce-bounces at lincs.ed.gov>
To: The Workforce Competitiveness Discussion List <workforce at lincs.ed.gov>
Sent: Thu Dec 09 14:04:33 2010
Subject: [Workforce 116] The Webcast - my thoughts on and my experience withcertificate programs

Thanks, Donna for such a comprehensive report of the webcast. Being here in DC, I was able to attend the panel presentation in person and braved the wind and low temperatures to do so (It’s cold here, too!).



Three additional points:

· Hispanics were specifically mentioned as a minority group that make up a great portion of those enrolled in certificate programs.

· In some cases the median earnings of those earning a long-term certificate were higher than those who had earned a two-year (AA) degree but no certificate.

· A perceived strength of the certificate programs, especially those provided outside of community colleges in non-public contexts, is that cohorts of students go through the program together in a relatively short (1- 2 years) period of time



Donna also asked about our experiences with certificate programs. I have a personal one. My daughter was enrolled this summer and fall in a certificate program at a private, for-profit organization. She wanted to be an auto mechanic. After she expressed initial interest in the program , she was heavily recruited to attend and passed the entrance exam. I had major reservations because of her size (she is very tiny – shorter than 4’10” and less than 90 pounds) and because of the intensity of the program. The program runs 8 hours a day, four days, a week, there is homework of course and there is time off only on Christmas and New Years and Thanksgiving – very intense for 14 months. Every 20 days there would be a new class and a new teacher for the 8 hours of class.



Well, I was called by the career counseling department at the school in late October and informed that my daughter would never be able to work as an auto mechanic because she is too tiny. When I asked why she had been heavily recruited and accepted into the program, the counselor responded that she didn’t work in those departments and had no control over their processes.



So my daughter dropped out. My points in bringing this up is:



The intensity of certificate programs in private schools probably do lead to solid preparation for specific jobs, and that’s good.

Caution is advised though before enrolling in such a course, because this intensity will weed out those who are not truly committed to the field or cannot cut the mustard for whatever reason. Especially in for-profit programs, there seems to be still a desire to get the student enrolled and then consider whether the student is actually suited for the program later. The bottom line there, in my experience, is the bottom line.

I guess I’m saying that unless someone is absolutely certain what they want to do, it would be better to enroll in a certificate program in a community college, that is less intense, than to enroll in a for-profit certificate school.

Because really – how many 17-22 year olds really know exactly what it is they want to do with their lives?



Best,

Miriam



Miriam Burt

Center for Applied Linguistics

mburt at cal.org







From: workforce-bounces at lincs.ed.gov [mailto:workforce-bounces at lincs.ed.gov] On Behalf Of Brian, Dr Donna J G
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2010 8:22 PM
To: The Workforce Competitiveness Discussion List (workforce at lincs.ed.gov)
Subject: [Workforce 112] Webcast report: Certificates Count for StudentSuccess and Good Jobs



Greetings to everyone in this busy holiday season! I hope you are in the mood for the season and enjoying the weather (it’s cold here in Tennessee!)



As I said I would, I viewed the webcast on Tuesday and now I will share my thoughts about it. Did anyone else listen to it? If so, please share your impressions with the list too. I left the announcement of the webcast and the message I sent to you attached to the bottom of this message so that you could be reminded of how it was announced.



The webcast introduced a report from the Committee for Economic Development, Certificates Count: An Analysis of Sub-baccalaureate Certificates, and a panel discussion of the findings and implications. (Find the report at http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13281059/Other%20Certificates%20Count%20Release%20Docs/Certificates%20Count%20FINAL%2012-05.pdf.) The certificates that are being discussed are technical certificates or technical diplomas, and are credentials issued by educational institutions (read community colleges here, as well as some other institutions) that attest to completion of a discrete program of study, such as a certificate in healthcare or business or technology. The people earning these certificates are generally less well prepared to enter a 4 year baccalaureate program, nor do they have the time and money to embark on a 4-year program. Certificates are not the same as certifications or licenses which measure competencies against a set of third party standards such as nursing degrees. Rather, standards for these certificates are set by the institution granting them, and may be for a course of study of less than a year or for up to three years. Generally, the longer programs are broken into smaller segments and may actually consist of a set of certificates.



(I’m starting to think that this report back to you could end up being rather long and more work than I have time to put into it, so I’ll just recommend the above resource for more background on certificates and I’ll report on the panel discussion that was the focus of the webcast.)





Charles Kolb, the president of the Committee for Economic Development which is the business led initiative co-sponsoring this webcast, began the presentation acknowledging the support of business for postsecondary education, going along with President Obama’s challenge of regaining the lead in the proportion of the nation’s citizens who have post-secondary training. The Certificates Count findings and report were presented by the report’s author, Brian Bosworth, and the panel was made up of Stan Jones, President of Complete College America (see www.completecollege.org);

Dr. Martha A. Smith, President Ann Arundel Community College; and Stephen M. Wing, President of Corporate Voice for Working Families (see http://www.cvworkingfamilies.org/).



Here are some points brought out in the discussion:

· Certificates take people where they are and move them up the career ladder.

· Certificates involving less than one year of study are generally for incumbent workers to upgrade skills needed for their current job. These certificates generally allow workers to keep up with developing fields and often do not result in much of a financial return for the worker.

· Longer term certificates, 1-2 yrs and/or 2-4 yrs, have solid and consistent labor market returns.

· Longer term certificate programs have a 50-65% completion rate due to their focus and clear competencies. This is higher than community college completion rates.

· Certificate programs are of particular benefit to those who are not now achieving success in traditional pathways.

· 2/3 of all certificates go to females, primarily in the health care field.

· Minorities make up a greater proportion of certificate programs than their proportion in the population.

· Oklahoma, Florida, Ohio, and Tennessee have publicly funded technical schools that take the lead in awarding certificates.

· It’s important for certificate programs to partner with business to provide certificates in training that the businesses want to hire.

· Since each state and each institute awarding certificates sets their own standards, there is wide variance in what the certificates actually represent.

· The panelists felt that there need to be tighter standards.

· States should do labor market analysis to track the effectiveness of certificate programs.





I would be most interested in knowing the experiences of members of this discussion list with certificate programs. There is a lot of movement in the field of workforce development currently along these lines, and I am wondering how those of you in adult education do or can or should fit into this picture. Many of the resources I have shared with the list recently are related, and perhaps I should make a compendium of those resources, if there is interest. Please share your thoughts!



Donna







Donna Brian

Moderator, LINCS Workforce Competitiveness Discussion List

Off-list contact djgbrian at utk.edu <mailto:djgbrian at utk.edu>



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From: Brian, Dr Donna J G
Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 11:12 AM
To: The Workforce Competitiveness Discussion List (workforce at lincs.ed.gov)
Subject: Announcement and Thursday Resources: Certificates Count for Student Success and Good Jobs



Greetings, all,



I’m forwarding this announcement about a webcast that looks intriguing. I will sign up and view it and report back, but if any of the rest of you want to view it, we could compare notes afterwards and let the list members in on the conversation.



There are three links to resources within the announcement that give some background and may be of interest even if you are not planning on viewing the webcast. Think of these as your Thursday Resources:



Complete College America at http://www.completecollege.org/ which has support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Lumina Foundation for Education,



The Alliance of States at http://www.completecollege.org/alliance_of_states/ which lists the 24 states that are currently allied to work for higher rates of college completion and gives the steps each of the listed states has committed to take, and



The Committee for Economic Development at http://www.ced.org/ which is the business-led group supporting the approach taken by the Debt Reduction Task Force of the Bipartisan Policy Center in their just released report Restoring America’s Future (see http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/projects/debt-initiative/about for the report and information about the Bipartisan Policy Center.



Happy Thanksgiving to you! Get some exercise too!

Donna



Donna Brian

Moderator, LINCS Workforce Competitiveness Discussion List

Off-list contact djgbrian at utk.edu <mailto:djgbrian at utk.edu>



To post a message:

workforce at lincs.ed.gov <mailto:workplace at nifl.gov>



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From: Tom Sugar [mailto:tsugar at completecollege.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 10:30 AM
To: Brian, Dr Donna J G
Subject: Certificates Count for Student Success and Good Jobs



To view this email as a web page, go here. <http://cl.s4.exct.net/?qs=4b0df5bc362f19c5a9cbab0fc8f99de3580658aa00ccdf7e1790322d1972b4c2>





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Certificates Count
and That's Good for Students and Business

Learn how states can build skilled workforces and boost wages by strengthening and expanding proven certificate programs - and why they must do so to ensure America's competitiveness.

Please join the Committee for Economic Development and Complete College America on Tuesday, December 7th , in person or online, to learn how certificate programs are proven and efficient - but underutilized - pathways to student success and lucrative careers, especially for those who are underprepared for traditional college degree programs. Find out how states are measuring up in graduating students with these valuable credentials and why we must double their numbers in the next five years.

The Committee for Economic Development will also announce its $1.5 million grant award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch a business engagement initiative around the important issues in postsecondary education and recruit advocates for reform at the national and state levels.

What:
Certificates Count: An Analysis of Sub-baccalaureate Certificates
The Committee for Economic Development and Complete College America will convene a briefing and discussion of new findings on the value of certificates and their production and the need for business engagement in policy dialogue about evolving national and state goals for postsecondary attainment.

When:
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
9:30 a.m. (ET) Doors open
10:00 to 11:00 a.m. (ET) Presentation and Panel Discussion

Where:
Online: Go to www.visualcaster.com/certificates_count <http://cl.s4.exct.net/?qs=4b0df5bc362f19c53008aee1e4b371cca35fb2d31d1322edcaa44e2f35f0dcc5> to view the webcast.
In Person: National Press Club - Holeman Lounge
529 14th Street, NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC

To RSVP: Go here <http://cl.s4.exct.net/?qs=4b0df5bc362f19c5816fa88b5c91b8cd1e9d3a6af076b2c71f10c677e1148007>

Complete College America's new findings prove that certificate programs of one year or more provide graduates with the right balance of rapid post-secondary achievement and portable skills and knowledge, positioning them for immediate success and establishing solid foundations for future academic achievement. And they pay off: graduates with certificates in high-demand fields can often earn more than those with associate or even Bachelor's degrees.

While many states effectively utilize certificates as part of a broad-based public post-secondary education strategy, most states can do better. To secure America's competitiveness and make our country a leader again in post-secondary attainment, states must ensure their certificate programs are high quality, readily available, lead to good jobs in high-demand fields, and built for completion.

Complete College America <http://cl.s4.exct.net/?qs=4b0df5bc362f19c5f9014ea9eb66c771d423ff92eb0dbe02f6fc695ad8b55065> believes that to significantly boost America's post-secondary graduation rate we must reinvent higher education to meet the needs of the new American majority of students who must balance the jobs they need with the education they desire. For many students, certificate programs are the perfect solution, providing essential pathways to achievement on campus and in careers.

Together, the 24 members of Complete College America's Alliance of States <http://cl.s4.exct.net/?qs=4b0df5bc362f19c558f4293abfa9d9050a58cb67353dc76895c35a1286f1fada> are now setting goals, measuring progress, demanding results, and designing new approaches to produce more graduates. Please join this important discussion on high-quality certificates on Tuesday, December 7th - and then our vital efforts across America.

To learn more about Complete College America, please go here <http://cl.s4.exct.net/?qs=4b0df5bc362f19c543f2227694df4c37e9370f4cc50a786f559d138356cba0ea> .
To learn more about the Committee for Economic Development, please go here <http://cl.s4.exct.net/?qs=141b333f512b7cfa24c12036365ee4808fb23ac9e76dae02ce929f49d598d611> .

<http://cl.s4.exct.net/?qs=141b333f512b7cfa79373c4b6213c566104732ab346a0ec696b5b9f5f426db87>


Complete College America appreciates the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Lumina Foundation for Education.

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