ICW's May 2012 Newsletter
A monthly update from ICW on education and workforce initiatives and policies.
With demand for talented workers rising exponentially while state and federal budgets continue to shrink, the race is on to find new ways to impart more credentials and degrees with less money. In particular, two emerging trends have received a fair share of attention lately: open source online courses and prior learning assessments. Recent articles by the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed shine a light these promising practices.
Earlier this year, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the landmark education reform law, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). That milestone provides the opportunity for us to look at the role the business community must play to improve education. We will not have businesses that thrive and grow in this global knowledge economy if we do not have an educated, skilled, and able workforce. We have the opportunity to look at where we are making progress in educating our nation’s students, where we need to go, and how we stack up to other countries.
On June 14, the Business Education Network (BEN), will host an event titled, A Smarter America = A Safer America, to discuss and analyze a report released in March by The Council on Foreign Relations titled, U.S. Education Reform and National Security. The report was written by a task force of business leaders, education experts, and national security authorities. Led by former Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren and Former Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, the task force concluded that human capital is the nation’s most important asset and the failure to have a highly-educated workforce puts our physical safety at risk.
Aligning education delivery with business needs is one of our country’s most pressing imperatives if we are to minimize the increasing skills gap. The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) in Albany, New York, has answered the call to an ever-increasing need for high-tech skills to match the burgeoning migration of technology industries to the Tech Valley region. In 2009, CEG developed the Workforce Development & 21st Century Education Initiative, recognizing the need to create a mutually beneficial relationship for potential employees and employers alike. According to CEG President F. Michael Tucker, "Regional economic development organizations like CEG are well-positioned to be facilitators and aggregators of workforce-related initiatives, and are unique in their ability to truly bring the education and business communities together on these issues."