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CAEL Newsletters

Summer 2019 Newsletter

Are You Ready for the 2019 CAEL Conference?

CAEL is excited to bring together advocates, provocateurs, innovators, trailblazers, creators, pioneers, and experts devoted and enthusiastic about groundbreaking adult pathways to success. The conference is right around the corner, November 5-8, in Chicago. We are looking forward to seeing everyone and are excited about the many things the conference offers:

  • Our amazing Panels, Workshops, Learning Labs, Ed Talks, Research Stories and Roundtable Discussions. 

  • Dynamic keynote speakers, including Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College; Van Ton-Quinlivan, Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Stanford University mediaX, and Executive Vice Chancellor Emeritus, California Community Colleges; Janet Salm, Managing Director of Research, Strada Institute for the Future of Work; and Seth Harris, former Deputy and Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor.

  • Various learning paths in stackable and micro credentials; career services; serving adult military and veterans; prior learning assessment; adult teaching and learning; outreach and marketing to adults; and connections to employers. 

  • Livestreaming, so you don't miss out on the content or information if you cannot join us in person. 

  • Film Screening, “Rerouting” – An eye-opening road trip across America exploring people who are successfully navigating life's turns without traditional four-year degrees and communities keeping ahead of the curve through alternative forms of education and training.

The CAEL conference is the place to be for discussion, collaboration, and connection. Don’t miss this opportunity to network with other leaders to create a new ecosystem to support working adult learners. Visit cael.org/conference for details. See our packed agenda, which includes experts from postsecondary education providers, employers, and workforce and economic development.


Marie A. Cini

First Ever Livestream!

CAEL members receive a free livestreaming pass with conference registration for viewing access of the conference for up to two weeks after the event plus another pass to share to enable the virtual attendance of a colleague. More information about Livestreaming is available here.

Former Director of the Council for Accelerated Programs Now Leading Membership Engagement at CAEL

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As most CAEL members already know from direct interaction with her, Jeannie McCarron, M.N.M., has assumed the role of Director of Membership Engagement at CAEL. As part of a renewed focus on listening to members, CAEL created the role earlier this year.

Jeannie previously served as Director of the Council for Accelerated Programs (CAP), which joined CAEL effective July 1, 2018. CAP is an international membership organization serving professionals who lead, teach, and conduct research in accelerated programs in higher education. As an advocate for accelerated education, CAP enhances collaboration and shares best practices and research findings among its members to design and deliver the most effective accelerated learning for adult and nontraditional students.

Jeannie's prior roles also include serving as Director of Higher Education at CAEL. Before that, Jeannie held leadership positions in communication and conference services and membership programs in the higher ed and national nonprofit spaces.

Membership Corner

Not a Member Yet? No Time Like the Present to Join

CAEL is committed to providing the highest level of value to its members by working toward a future when every adult has a pathway to lifelong learning and meaningful work. CAEL supports members as they build new approaches to serving adult working learners and provides members with state-of-the-art connections, solutions and tools. 

With a renewed focus on membership, we are proud to include representatives from more areas that shape the journey of lifelong learning. These include postsecondary education institutions, other learning providers, employers, workforce and economic development professionals -  anyone who has a stake in the relationship between working, learning, and earning. For more information on the benefits of membership, click here.

Higher Education Corner

CAEL AL360 Webinar Features Success Stories From Kennesaw State University

In September, Barry Nickerson, CAEL’s Director of Higher Education Consulting Projects, conducted a webinar to walk participants through the ten crucial principles for adult learner success--and the surprising truths we have learned in our journey helping adult learners succeed around the world. 

“The Art and Science of Supporting Adult Learners” covered how to identify gaps institutions can address to significantly improve adult learners' satisfaction. It also examined why schools make incorrect assumptions about what adult learners need to succeed and how to fix those assumptions. Co-presenter Darrin Theriault, Director of Academic Testing & Prior Learning Assessment at Kennesaw State University, shared how his institution has taken these insights and applied them to a comprehensive PLA database to maximize adult learner success.

CAEL-Excelencia in Education Partnership Helping Increase Degrees Awarded by HSIs

CAEL, in partnership with Excelencia in Education, has begun a new effort to help Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) increase the number of degrees awarded to adult Latino students. Funded by The Kresge Foundation, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates, and the Greater Texas Foundation, the initiative will provide 15 HSIs with diagnostic tools and programmatic support to implement researched-based practices to improve outcomes for the institutions’ rapidly growing populations of adult Latino students. Beginning this summer and building upon the results of individual Adult Learner 360 reports, efforts have focused on finalizing individual action plans, holding Evaluation Planning Calls, and completing evaluation plans to measure the impact and success of action plan items.  The project will run through 2021.

Adult Learner 360 to Launch at More Than 20 Institutions This Fall 

CAEL’s Higher Education support team is busy this fall with a record amount of Adult Learner 360 deliveries. Twenty-four institutions (ten of which are part of systemwide efforts) will be looking to identify areas for improving services for adult learners in the ten areas identified in the tool, which includes surveys for students, faculty, and staff. Results help pinpoint disconnects and flag areas where institutions can improve their services for adult students. 

Workforce and Economic Development Corner

Work Learn Earn Partnerships Now Available Throughout Country

In early October, CAEL announced the expansion of its Work Learn Earn solution, which is designed to help communities nationwide strengthen their talent pipelines by leveraging the collective power of education, workforce, and industry partners. The initiative, Work Learn Earn, expands a proven model initially deployed across the state of Tennessee, the New York City area, and the Gulf Coast, where it has helped build up local talent bases in high-demand industries such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, healthcare, oil and gas, and financial services. CAEL also launched an informative microsite dedicated to Work Learn Earn.

Sessions at the upcoming CAEL conference will highlight the various applications of Work Learn Earn, and CAEL will be hosting future webinars about the new solution. Updates will be published to our website and emailed to members.  

Inclusive Development Network Convenes in Spokane, WA

The Inclusive Development Network (IDN)—a competitively selected cohort of five communities developing inclusive workforce strategies through technical assistance from national experts and peer-to-peer learning—met in Spokane, Wash. for the second of five in-person convenings. Hosted by Greater Spokane Inc., the convening opened with a welcome from CAEL advisory council member and IDN partner Dr. Christine Johnson, Chancellor of Community Colleges of Spokane. Dr. Marie Cini addressed the group with remarks showcasing why the IDN is a timely and important initiative that helps advance CAEL's vision of pathways to lifelong and meaningful work for every adult. Participating communities attended a social event with remarks from the city’s mayor, a walking tour showcasing recent investments in the community, and two productive days of technical assistance from CAEL and IDN partner BurningGlass Technologies. Visit the IDN website to learn more about how effective, inclusive, and strategic approaches to workforce development are critical to community prosperity and meaningful opportunities for those who live, work, and learn in any region.

Employer Corner

CAEL Featured in Aspen Institute Employer Engagement Toolkit 

In July, the Aspen Institute published the Reimagining Employer Engagement toolkit. Based on three years of partnerships in the Chicago area that support stability and mobility for retail workers, the toolkit offers solutions that help employers implement proactive strategies that go beyond simply filling job vacancies. For example, the toolkit contains reference materials and other resources for improving employee retention, boosting engagement and productivity, and improving the overall work experience for both frontline employees and managers.

Although the toolkit emerged from partnerships oriented to the retail industry, it offers best practices applicable to any sector seeking to enhance engagement between companies and workforce development organizations. 

The toolkit highlights several CAEL solutions. It notes our specialization in providing occupational overviews, applying skills to the labor market, and skills transfers, citing our publication Competency Mapping Resources for Retail & Adjacent Industries. 

It also notes CAEL’s understanding of retail career pathways and its offerings in talent management, specifically for improving HR, business strategy, and organizational development.

Veterans Corner

Veterans Higher Education Affinity Group

The Veterans Higher Education Affinity Group (VHEAG) was pleased to kick off the academic year by hosting Dr. Larry Phillippe and Mr. Blayne Alaniz from the Disability Services Office at Texas Tech University on Sept. 21. Dr. Phillippe and Blayne shared key insights surrounding strategies for preparing faculty and staff to work with student veterans from a disability perspective. Their presentation included critical information for better understanding what the ADA requires of institutions serving student veterans as well as guidance regarding reasonable accommodations, privacy guidelines, best practices for informing faculty, and the use of service animals on campus. 

CAEL's Veterans Team is also pleased to announce the launch of the VHEAG website, a one-stop repository of information that VHEAG members can use to reference best practices and relevant data regarding military prior learning assessment, advising student veterans, support programming, local and regional veteran-service organizations, and current data/research in the field. This resource will go a long way in providing members with the tools and knowledge they need to effectively advocate for student veterans across their campuses. Many thanks to the Robert R. McCormick Foundation for their support in the creation and launch of this site!

Employer & Education Partnership Corner

Congratulations on NACTEL’s 20th Anniversary

2019 has been an eventful year for the National Alliance for Communications Technology Education and Learning (NACTEL). Not only did the alliance observe its 20th anniversary, but it also launched a new brand and a digital badging program in coordination with education partner Pace University. 

NACTEL, formerly known as the National Coalition for Telecommunications Education and Learning, partners with Pace University to offer approximately 100  jumpstart courses, badges, certificates and degrees designed to fill demand for emerging skills in the communications industry. Through micro-credentialing, adult learners who complete a series of courses on a particular topic, like data analytics or information technology, will earn badges from the digital credentialing platform Credly. The badges, verified by Pace University and employers, accumulate as students ladder up to a NACTEL Bachelor of Science degree in telecommunications or business technology leadership.

NACTEL, administered by CAEL, is a  collaboration of industry employers and unions. It works with higher education to create and sponsor online education programs that meet the needs of current and future telecommunications professionals. 

CAEL and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education join forces on a new grant

CAEL’s legacy is grounded in prior learning assessment. Ten years ago, Lumina Foundation funded a special research project to examine the relationship between prior learning assessment and adult student outcomes at the undergraduate level. That study examined the records of more than 62,000 students at 48 institutions. In the report, “Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success,” CAEL found that adult students with PLA credit were two and a half times more likely to have completed a degree over a seven-year period, compared to similar students without PLA credit. 

Many of you may work at institutions where that research finding was instrumental for getting your PLA program started or an existing one expanded. This past year, CAEL and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) joined forces on a new grant, funded by Lumina Foundation and Strada Education Network, to revisit the PLA study. The CAEL-WICHE team has been hard at work this year recruiting institutions and collecting their student record data. We are pleased to report that this study will have data from 71 institutions, of which 29 are community colleges. The number of student records in the study will be many times more than the number we examined ten years ago. We look forward to sharing the results of that study in the spring of 2020.

In the News & On the Road

CAEL Supports Kickoff of National Governors Association’s Educate for Opportunity Initiative

CAEL staff participated in the launch, held Sept. 18-20,  of the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Educate for Opportunity initiative, which is supported by the Strada Education Network.  The effort, which includes broad state teams from Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming, focuses on supporting state efforts that connect and align their postsecondary institutions to state workforce needs. The project has a strong focus on the engagement of adults in education and training pathways.  

CAEL, along with its longtime partners from the University of Memphis and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, participated in a panel discussion at the event on the topic of recent innovations in higher education for adult learners.  There were also a variety of other panels and presentations at the event, ranging from big data to wraparound social support services for returning adults to adult basic education.  Each state is supported with funding from NGA through 2020 to focus on different concerns related to adults and to work on developing a state plan to tackle those issues.

AdvancingCities 2020 Opportunity

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) is relaunching its AdvancingCities Challenge with a new two-track focus, and CAEL is ready to help communities secure the three-year grants of up to $5 million each that are available under the program. The grants will be awarded to “collaborative efforts designed to unlock solutions to the persistent opportunity gaps facing communities that have been left behind at a time when many cities are benefiting from rapid economic growth and new investment.” 

Nearly 250 cities/MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) are eligible to submit proposals seeking grants. To partner with CAEL in pursuing a grant to benefit their local community, representatives can contact CAEL at cael@cael.org. Proposals must be submitted by January 15. 

CAEL participated in additional events this past quarter, including:

Learning Leaders (9/8-9/10) in Washington, DC, where CAEL president, Marie A. Cini spoke. And Becky Klein-Collins presented on adult students at #Real College (9/28-9/20) in Houston, TX. CAEL’s workforce development team presented an update on our Inclusive Development Network (IDN) initiative at IEEC in Indianapolis, IN (10/13-10/16). CAEL leadership also hosted a panel discussion at HERDI (10/13-10/16) in San Francisco, CA, and Marie A. Cini also delivered the keynote at the CloseIT Summit: Innovate & Educate (10/15-10/16) in Santa Fe, NM, and Becky Klein-Collins presented at CBE Exchange (10/22-10/25) in Palm Springs, CA. 

Later this month, Marie A. Cini and Lewis Brown will co-present with Lisa Schumacher from McDonald’s Corporation on innovative employee retention strategies at Learning 2019 (10/27-10/30) in Orlando, FL.