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New Year, Same Focus on Workforce and Economic Development

It’s a new year and though the holiday revelry is fading, we’re still toasting a year’s success for economic growth and workforce development in regions nationwide. Last year proved to be an encouraging one for communities looking to improve their workforce ecosystem, in the myriad ways stakeholders can spur the development and investment they seek.

We spent the year hard at work with partners across the country who are excited to share the progress they’ve made transforming their communities in 2017. 

Of course, we aren’t resting on our laurels, and we hope to make 2018 a year of even greater sustained transformation for communities. We’re excited for the opportunity to work with you to make that happen. 



CAEL Joins the Strada Education Network

The year began with exciting news for CAEL: We have joined the Strada Education Network!

Our alignment with Strada, an organization that shares our commitment to building strong communities by building purposeful pathways from education to employment, will enhance our efforts to create the conditions for business attraction, growth and retention in all the communities we serve.

We are excited for the opportunity to work with Strada and its affiliates to create robust and talented workforces nationwide. With Strada, we'll continue to offer the valued solutions and services across the education-to-workforce pipeline that we're known for, now enhanced by a strong network of like-minded partners. Stay tuned as we share the fruits of this partnership in the months to come.

CAEL’s President and CEO Pamela Tate talks about the new partnership in the video linked below.


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Helping Communities Grow

We are actively engaged in projects throughout the country, helping communities grow and prosper. Here are a few of our current projects.

  • Aligning entry and middle-skill worker requirements across healthcare employers in Chicago
  • Creating career awareness and advising support tools across Tennessee
  • Helping college/workforce board partnerships to facilitate credential completion in Miami, Seattle, Philadelphia and Norfolk
  • Mapping transferable retail skills to other demand sectors nationally
  • Facilitating transfer of military STEM skills into high demand civilian occupations in Seattle and D.C./Maryland
  • Helping colleges across Missouri to align their programs with national assessments and industry certifications
  • Helping colleges in Mississippi, Colorado, Illinois and West Virginia improve their prior learning assessment (PLA) programs and grant college credit for work-based learning

This is where the CAEL Workforce and Economic Development team will be through the summer months. Will you be attending any of these events? Let us know!

New Orleans, LA | 1/30-2/2
Nashville, TN | 2/20-2/23
Austin, TX | 3/5-3/8
NAWB The Forum 2018*
Phoenix, AZ | 3/24-3/27
Washingotn, D.C. | 3/25-3/27
New Orleans, LA | 6/13-6/14
*CAEL will be attending
**CAEL will be among the presenters

Client Corner - Philadelphia Works

CAEL has been working with Philadelphia Works to develop a prior learning assessment (PLA) strategy with partner the Community College of Philadelphia. PLA, which encourages student completion toward a degree or credential by granting credit for demonstrated college-level knowledge or skills, can be an effective tool for upskilling a workforce.

CAEL recently spoke with Sue Hoffman, Senior Associate of Innovation at Philadelphia Works, to learn more about how this project will help Philadelphia’s workforce.

CAEL: Please briefly describe the project.

Hoffman: We’ve partnered with the Community College of Philadelphia to make sure that the customers of our workforce programs gain access to college credit when the workforce training that we invested in provides them with the certifications and learning they’ve earned.

Since spring 2017, CAEL has helped us determine how to structure the referral process, how to communicate with customers of the workforce system and how work effectively with the college to make sure that they understand the workforce training. CAEL also provided a consultant to the college to document that the learning and certifications that come out of workforce training are equivalent to the college coursework and are eligible for college credit.

CAEL: What kind of feedback have you received so far?

Hoffman: Philadelphia Works oversees the PA CareerLink® Philadelphia system, which is the American Job Center in Pennsylvania. The workforce advisors from the PA CareerLink® are very excited to be able to offer their customers the opportunity to advance their careers by earning college credit in a way that’s going to save them time and money.

The feedback we’ve gotten from the college has been similarly positive, telling us that this has really pushed them to connect the credit and non-credit side of their work, and they’re very excited that those conversations and those relationships are stronger than before CAEL started working with us.

CAEL: What has Philadelphia Works gained through participating in this initiative?

Hoffman: We really care about creating career pathways for our customers and making sure that skilled workers are available to business. So by creating this crosswalk and this ability to have workforce customers move from workforce training to college credit, we can really make the career pathway real.

This work has also enhanced our initiative to promote apprenticeships as an important training model and career pathway. From this project we now have documentation  that the learning that has happened through the college as part of the Computer Support Specialist apprenticeship program can now be credit-bearing. This makes an apprenticeship more enticing for someone to enter, as apprentices are not only paid while they’re being trained but they’ll also get college credit toward a degree.

CAEL: How has engaging with CAEL impacted this work?  

Hoffman: We would not have been able to do this work without CAEL, especially because of the effectiveness of the consultant who actually worked with the college to crosswalk the skills and content from workforce training into college courses and credits.

The onsite help from Jade (Arn) and Wilson (Finch) to help us nail down the referral process, identify gaps in those processes and their hands-on assistance was essential in helping us get to this place where we now have a structured referral process that Philadelphia is piloting. CAEL also provided language and education on how to talk to customers and students about PLA, which has proven instrumental in the project’s success. 

CAEL: What does success look like for this project?

Hoffman: Success means that we can offer our workforce customers an articulated step on their career pathway so that when they are considering entering an apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship or vocational training, we can say ‘you may already be eligible for credit for the work you are doing now, and here’s the next step.’ It also means that more of our customers will advance in their education and training, and become skilled for the jobs that are being created in Philadelphia that now require postsecondary training. 

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