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CAEL Newsletters

Winter 2024 Newsletter

New CAEL and The Evolllution Research Report Highlights Gap Between Aspiration and Action in Competency-Based Education

In collaboration with The EvoLLLution and Modern Campus, CAEL’s Lana Munip, senior research director, and Becky Klein-Collins, vice president of research and impact, authored Comprehensive Learner Records: Empowering Lifelong Learning in the Digital Age. The report explores the role of skills and competencies in higher education, assessing the degree to which these frameworks have been adopted. Among the findings is that even as a vast majority (86%) of higher education institutions acknowledge that postsecondary education models need to be designed around well-defined skills and competencies vital for today’s workforce, only 22% have fully implemented skills-based frameworks across all of their programs.

Earl Buford Reappointed Director to Federal Reserve Bank Board, Speaks at Third Annual Interagency Convening on Equitable Economic Growth

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has reappointed CAEL President Earl Buford as a director on its Pittsburgh branch board, effective January 1. One of 12 regional Reserve Banks in the Federal Reserve System, the Cleveland Fed contributes to national policymaking and focuses on workforce development and other issues key to the wellbeing of its service area, which includes Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

In November, Buford was a guest speaker at the Department of Commerce’s third annual Interagency Convening on Equitable Economic Growth. The event supported the Department’s work to further equitable economic development through collaboration among government, the private sector, and community organizations.


CAEL Course on Building Workforce Partnerships Launching Feb. 26

CAEL’s newest professional development offering explores how various education and employment stakeholders can and must collaborate on effective training that supports rewarding careers and enables equitable economic mobility. The Workforce Ecosystem: Building Partnerships for Community Growth, a four-week asynchronous online course, begins Feb. 26, along with CAEL’s additional instructor-led training. Sign up today!


New Award Adds to Annual Conference Highlights 

There was plenty to celebrate, including a brand-new award, when nearly 1,000 people attended CAEL’s 49th annual conference, which was held Nov. 8-10 in Baltimore. CAEL presented the first-ever Community Impact Award, which recognizes an outstanding organization within CAEL’s host community that positively impacts the lives of adult learners and workers. Employ Prince George's, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Largo, Maryland, took home the honors. This year’s annual conference, CAEL’s 50th, will take place Oct. 30 – Nov. 1 in New Orleans. CAEL expects to announce the conference’s call for proposals later this month.

Walter L. Simmons of Employ Prince Georges Inc. accepts the Community Impact Award. (3)

CAEL Report on Finance and Insurance Pathways Marks Major Build Better Careers Milestone

As part of the six-year, five-region Where It Starts: Build Better Careers Initiative, funded through Truist Foundation for $15.7 million and led by CAEL in partnership with several other local and national organizations, CAEL and its local partners have completed a report detailing priority occupations and associated career pathways maps. The report will be a key resource guiding planning and implementation in forthcoming phases of Build Better Careers in the Charlotte region.

Mustering Municipalities to the Cause of Education-Employment Pathways

The National League of Cities (NLC) and CAEL have partnered to create Municipal Action Cohort: Connecting Adults to Postsecondary and Workforce Success. Combining CAEL’s postsecondary and workforce development expertise and practice with NLC’s many decades of hands-on experience with city leadership across the country, the partnership will offer a wealth of technical assistance around connecting adults with education and training that lead to quality jobs.

Bridging The Talent Gap Case Study Debuts 

Talent Hub Convening-1

Doug Heckman and Bridgett Strickler, along with CAEL partners from One Acadiana and MacLaff Inc., presented a new case study on Bridging The Talent Gap (BTTG) at, appropriately enough, the Talent Hubs Annual Convening in Mobile, Alabama. The case study showcases an outstanding example of a regional partnership that is increasing economic mobility for workers and creating a thriving community. 

BTTG’s employee survey is a powerful tool for employers who want to support the career and education aspirations of their workers. The case study highlights One Acadiana's sponsorship of a BTTG employee survey at MacLaff, Inc., an owner operator of 45 McDonald's franchises employing more than 2,800 workers. Among the findings: 85 percent of crew members planned on pursuing a credential (inclusive of a high school diploma or equivalency), with 45 percent aspiring to a bachelor’s degree.

Since 2017, MacLaff, Inc. employees have been awarded over $1.5 million in tuition dollars through Archways to Opportunity. And year-to-date, MacLaff, Inc. employees have received nearly $200,000 in tuition with four percent of their employee roster participating (the highest participation rate in the region). Additionally, $5,500 in high school diploma tuition was awarded in 2023. And on top of this, South Louisiana Community College has provided an additional $19,250 in tuition waivers and scholarships to McDonald’s employees throughout Acadiana since 2019. 

In addition to its latest case study, BTTG boasts a fresh page at the recently revamped cael.org. 

CAEL-led Panel Energizes Discussion on Upskilling and Reskilling

In November, Kristen Himmerick, vice president of solutions at CAEL, moderated a panel at the CEWD Workforce Development Summit in Washington, D.C. Titled "Upskilling Today's Workforce for Tomorrow: Transitioning From Operations to Technology," the session included panelists James Goosby from Southern Company, Andrea Hale from DTE Energy, and Angie Lucas, CAEL's director of industry education solutions and the director of the Energy Providers Coalition for Education, one of CAEL’s industry-education partnerships. The panelists shared their expertise on re-skilling and up-skilling within the energy workforce and best practices in training and cross-training team members.


Welcome to Our Newest CAEL Employees!

Emmaline Armstrong, manager of initiatives
Shy Coleman, director of initiatives
William J. McKinney, senior director for higher education initiatives 

Newest CAEL Employees

Welcome New Members!

CAEL is honored by the addition of memberships representing the following institutions and other organizations:

Alaska Workforce Investment Board
Alverno College
APCO Worldwide
Arizona State University
Barry University
Butler University
CareerSource Broward
Center for Socioeconomic Mobility through Education at UNT Dallas
Central Washington University
Crater Regional Workforce Development Board
Davenport University
Edmonds College
Elizabeth City State University
Ensign College
Excelsior University
Florida Gulf Coast University
Fort Lewis College/ La Plata Economic Development Alliance
Fox Valley Workforce Development Board
Franklin Cummings Tech
Friends University
Greenville Chamber
Gulf Coast Workforce Board
Heroes for Healthcare
Indiana State University
Lincoln University
Lone Star College System
Macomb Community College
Marcella Consulting Corporation
Martin University
MarylandOnline, Inc.
Maximus, Inc
Michigan Reconnect
Midwest Urban Strategies
MKE Tech Hub Coalition
National Disability Institute
Newark Workforce Development Board
Nightingale Solutions
Northeast Lakeview College
Northern Arizona University
Northwest Vista College
OhioMeansJobs Defiance & Paulding Counties
Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association
Philadelphia Works, Inc.
Piedmont Triad Regional Workforce Development Board
RoboGarden Inc.
Salt Lake Community College
San Antonio College
Sophia Learning
St. John Fisher University
Strayer University
Suffolk County Community College
The New School
Tuscany Strategy Consulting, LLC
University at Albany, SUNY
University of Arkansas
University of Mississippi
University of Rhode Island
University of the District of Columbia
University of the People
Washington Adventist University
William Paterson University
Winthrop University
Workforce Alliance

Celebrating Our Recent Members of the Month!

Help us to celebrate our recent members of the month - 

In November we highlighted Radhika Krishnadas, CAEL's Member of the Month! Radhika is the AVP of Program and Learning Design at Louisiana State University in the Online and Continuing Education unit. Learn more about her here.

In 2024, we are highlighting individuals from key institutions whose commitment, vision, and contributions have played a pivotal role in shaping CAEL into the influential force it is today. January’s Member of the Month is Melissa DeBlois, Director of Prior Learning Assessment for the Vermont State Colleges System, a program administered by the Community College of Vermont. Learn more about her here.

Welcoming New CAEL Ambassadors

In January we officially welcome seven new CAEL Ambassadors! CAEL Ambassadors are CAEL members who serve as volunteer leaders. CAEL Ambassadors offer their experience and expertise to increase strategic interaction among educators, workforce organizations, and employers. CAEL views such collaboration as critical to making adult learner success the thriving link between learning and work and an engine of equitable economic mobility.


Holli Broadfoot, Experiential Learning Director, CUNY School of Professional Studies

Buffy Tanner, Director of Innovation & Special Projects, Shasta College

Jessica Bartlett, MS, Admissions Representative - Non-traditional Students, Jefferson College

Barbara Kent, Director, Military Student Experience, Purdue University Global

Allegra Fowler, Executive Director, Center for Prior Learning Recognition, Purdue University Global

Sierra Dimarco, Education Pathways Program Manager, Colorado Community College System

James Martin, Manager, Recognition of Prior Learning, Dalhousie University


Additional Recent CAEL Appearances  



CAEL Involvement

Dec. 12

Reimagining Post-Secondary Possibilities for Adults Over 50

Brooke Pirmann

Dec. 10-12

Complete College America Annual Convening

Scott A. Campbell, Ph.D., Matt Waltz

Nov. 4-7

American Association of State Colleges and Universities annual conference

Scott A. Campbell, Ph.D.

Oct. 1-3

Promise Net Conference

Bridgett Strickler


Recent Blog Posts and Other Thought Leadership Articles
Featuring CAEL

Intersect With Earl November 2023

The Latino Adult Student Success Academy and Austin Community College: Perspectives From a Participant

Building Pathways to Student Success: Expanding Community College and Four-Year Institution Partnerships

CAEL's Career Navigation Platform Helps Siblings Steer a Clear Course to Credential Completion

Member Matters November 2023

CAEL CPL Research Takes Center Stage in Kentucky Strategy to Engage Adult Learners

Q&A With CAEL Staff: Lori Babyak

Using Sequential Surveys To Create Consequential Improvements for Adult Learners

Opening Training & Learning Pathways for Speakers of Other Languages

Reimagining Post-Secondary Possibilities for Adults Over 50

Adult Learner 360 Is Giving Students a Clearer View of CPL at UCM

January 18 Webinar: Building Workplace Upskilling Programs that Work

Member Matters December 2023

Making a World of Difference: SAU’s Student Global Leadership Fellows Institute

Moving the Needle for Adult Learner Support Through Data-Driven Decisions

Q&A With CAEL Staff: William McKinney

January 25: The ALCEF Initiative and SNAP E&T Info Session

February 9: The ALCEF Initiative and SNAP E&T Info Session

2024 Cohorts Offering Free Technical Assistance for Community College SNAP E&T Participation Now Open

Can Microcredentials Bring Stop-Outs Back to College?

Report: Microcredentials Not a Strategic Priority for Many Colleges

Seizing the Meauxment for Statewide Education Attainment in Louisiana

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