Labor Announces $100M to Support Youth Workforce Initiatives

Providing students with industry-relevant education and skills is the idea behind the Youth CareerConnect grant program, which will provide $100 million to implement curriculum for high schools to strengthen the talent pipeline. In partnership with the Department of Education, the Department of Labor will award 25-40 grants for individual or multistate projects using revenues from the H-1B visa program. The goals are to integrate both career and academic learning, provide work-based learning opportunities, better engage employers, and elevate industry training. Grantees must demonstrate a strong public-private partnership, which includes a local education agency, a workforce investment system entity, an employer, and an institution of higher education. Read the announcement:

Regions Target Education Partnerships to Develop Next Generation Workforce

A recent report from Brookings suggests that, for a variety of reasons, the value of a traditional four-year degree is diminishing. At the same time, U.S. employers continue to reference a general lack of employable skills as a major obstacle to employment growth. Across the country, regions are using new, innovative approaches to develop their local workforce while also educating students to compete in a 21st century global economy.

Florida Session Ends with Efforts to Expand Tech Commercialization, Elevate Universities

Lawmakers last week passed a $74.5 billion FY14 budget that expands efforts to commercialize research and boosts funds for life sciences and space-related investments. Under a sweeping new education bill, universities can qualify and receive additional resources as preeminent research universities. The measure also designates some higher education funding based on performance, and allows colleges to create low-cost degree programs.

GA Colleges Detail Plans to Add 250,000 Post-Secondary Grads by 2020

Responding to Gov. Nathan Deal's Complete College Georgia initiative launched last year, all of the state's institutions in the University System and Technical College System have submitted plans for how they will meet the governor's goal of adding 250,000 post-secondary graduates to the state by 2020. For Georgia's research universities, graduating more students translates to more workers prepared to enter careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Some of the strategies include enhancing instructional delivery and improving access for underrepresented groups and military veterans.

President Wants $1B to Train 10,000 STEM 'Master Teachers'

A plan introduced last week by the president places the future of the nation's standing in math and science in the hands of highly-specialized teachers who would serve as national ambassadors and mentor fellow educators across the country. In exchange, STEM Master Teachers would receive an extra $20,000 per year on top of their annual salary. Funding for the initiative is part of the FY13 budget plan, which requires congressional approval. School districts can compete for $100 million available now, however, through an existing fund aimed at achieving similar goals of identifying and developing quality STEM teachers.

Explaining Results of Science Experiments Proves Challenging for Students

When testing fourth-, eighth- and twelfth-grade students on their ability to conduct science experiments and thoughtfully explain the results, investigators made three key discoveries that policymakers say may be troubling for future workforce needs. The National Center for Education Statistics Science in Action report found that when using limited data sets, students could make straightforward observations on the data. However, most struggled to explain the results and were challenged by parts of investigations that contained more variables to manipulate or involved strategic decisionmaking.

Election Results: Higher Ed Financing Measures Pass in LA, TX

Louisiana and Texas voters approved measures to provide funding sources for student loans while voters in Colorado rejected a measure that would have temporarily increased taxes to offset cuts for public schools and colleges. Meanwhile, Ohio voters repealed a bill passed earlier this year limiting collective-bargaining rights of state employees. Official results are outlined below:

Governors' Races and Ballot Preview 2011

In what is considered typical for an odd-numbered year, only 34 questions have been certified in nine statewide ballots this election year. Some of those measures include redirecting funds to support higher education, revenue enhancements for states, and repealing legislation that limits collective bargaining for public employees.

Centers of Excellence, Entrepreneurship Grants Funded in North Dakota Budget

Lawmakers last week passed the 2011-13 biennial budget, providing $12 million for the state's Centers of Research Excellence program. Although it is less than Gov. Jack Dalrymple's request of $20 million to expand the program and provide additional funding for three new centers, the legislature's appropriation will allow for continued investments in infrastructure and research capacity at a time when many states are reducing funding for TBED to help fill budget deficits. The approved budget also includes $1 million for technology-based entrepreneurship grants and establishes a program to provide matching grants for startup technology businesses.


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