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Intersect With Earl June 2022

Welcome to Intersect With Earl. In a nutshell, every few weeks, I'm going to share a few things I’ve read that resonate with the mission of the CAEL community. Sometimes they’ll relate directly to a CAEL initiative. Sometimes they won’t. But they’ll always intersect with what matters most to all of us: linking learning and work so adult learners thrive. After all, our collective success – from education to employment to the economic mobility of entire communities – depends on their success.

Recently, I joined the board of directors at Apprenticeships for America, so you’ll have to forgive me for having apprenticeships top of mind. But it’s clear I’m not the only one. Pennsylvania hosts an annual summit on how apprenticeships can nourish the talent pipeline. Speaking of Pennsylvania, Devon Coombe, our director of initiatives, is overseeing our partnership with PASSHE in support of the great work that it does to link learning and work. (More recently, we opened an office in Pittsburgh.)

In North Carolina, the board of community colleges agreed to invest up to $11.6 million of the state’s fiscal recovery funds in an apprenticeship program. These follow a $113 million grant program dedicated to – you guessed it – apprenticeships. It’s no surprise, considering that more and more organizations are embracing apprenticeships, from construction, where they are helping more women enter the field, to the high tech space.

Speaking of women in the workforce, a new paper from the National Bureau of Economics Research indicates the pandemic may not have marked a mass exodus after all – at least not for women with college degrees

Not every good job requires a college degree, but every good career requires a pathway linking work-relevant learning with in-demand occupations. Indiana (where Strada Education Network happens to be based) is developing a new dashboard to assess high school performance, and it will include career exploration and work-based learning as KPIs alongside traditional metrics like standardized testing. I think this will be helpful in keeping the focus on integrating educational and career pathways.

As awareness grows about just how important linking learning and work is, more and more is published on that topic. One example is last year’s book by William B. Bonvillian and Sanjay E. Sarma’s, Workforce Education: A New Roadmap. Here’s a thoughtful summary of the book through the lens of sustaining a skilled manufacturing workforce. 

Regardless of the sector, workforce education can’t happen without collaboration between education and industry. In fact, there are strong arguments that a lack of such collaboration is creating troubling issues both ethically and economically.

Grant opportunity: Strada Education Network has launched the Employer and Community College Partnership, a $4 million initiative that will award grants in support of "innovative partnerships between employers and community colleges to meet regional workforce needs, boost employment and earnings outcomes for students, and drive enrollment for community colleges." Submit proposals by Aug. 15. 

I can’t end without some kudos for one of our members, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, whose Women’s Center recently held its traditional ceremony celebrating adult learners completing their first degree

Interested in learning more about CAEL memberships? Please visit us, and always  feel free to contact us with questions or comments on any topic at cael@cael.org.

Until next time, happy reading.

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