US - EURO - NET
Work - based Learning / Training Networks / Learning - based Work
UNITED STATES EUROPEAN NETWORK for EDUCATION and TRAINING
120 Little Quarry Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878 USA
Tel: 301.216.0811 / email@example.com / Fax: 301.216.2212
Jeff King, PhD
|TO:||NEW YORK STATE WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD,|
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INCUMBENT WORKER TRAINING
||MAY 1, 2001|
||RECOMMENDATIONS FOR POLICY DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
Per your request, please find below my written responses to the April 23 meetings of the State Workforce Investment Board, the Subcommittee on Incumbent Workers, and our subsequent meetings April 24.
Please note that the points below are a preliminary set of responses. They may be useful as an outline or set of starting points for later fuller analysis to support more detailed proposals on policy development and program options in New York, based on additional state and national data.
The major problems, difficult for all states, center on fragmentation of policy responses, in disconnected policy and program silos. Hence the major need is for an integrated response and an integrated system in New York. New York is more fortunate than most states in already having in hand many of the elements, in quantity and especially in quality, needed for this integration.
Per discussions with Greg Moreland and Paul Cole, I will be glad to help all I can to assist New York in its effort to advance this agenda and related work, at local, state, national and international levels.
ANALYSIS & ESSENTIAL STARTING POINTS
New York's workforce education and training needs center first and foremost on the imperative to bring greater coherence and system integration to its multiple agendas and programs, to achieve not only greater efficiencies in costs and benefits, but also far stronger synergies, focus and effectiveness for individuals seeking skills, qualifications and jobs, and for firms and communities needing stronger workforce skills in New York.
This entails state-wide policy agendas that recognize and act on key issues comprehensively and systematically:
- Incumbent Workers, Emerging Workers, and Transitional Workers have education, training and (re)-qualification aspirations and needs which are connected, not separate--especially seen over time.
- Many of the problems of Incumbent and Transitional workers are due to insufficient basic preparation.
- The churning problem--low-skills workers stuck in patterns of dead-end, low-wage, part time andtemp jobs with no significant skills gain--is real--especially for young workers in the decade or so following high school. In the US, the risk of being stuck in this pattern--in low-wage temp jobs, but needing a full time position with benefits--is as great for anyone from ages 20 to 30 as it is for high school drop outs. The rates differ by less than 1 percent. This unmet policy need is central to any serious integrated high skills strategy.
- Programs intended to help at-risk and special populations are well meant, but have a pervasive unintended consequence: they tend to isolate these populations in low-skills qualification groups that high-wage employers avoid. New mechanisms are needed to link these groups to respected pathways to respected skills and credentials in primary labor markets for adult full time middle class jobs.
- We know that the majority of students, not motivated in high school, do not obtain adequate skills on average, and do not get a higher education degree; that half of those entering college fail to complete a degree, while tuition costs and debt keep many from entering; that both public and private sector job training programs generally are not training for world class competitive skills but are diverted by disproportionate needs for costly remedial and basic educationproblems in all states, demonstrating chronic patterns of inefficiency in skills formation, and making new approaches and instruments urgent.
- Even highly successful school and college graduates lack concrete and applied work skills employers want.
- Research shows that employers tend not to hire young workers full time and do not give pay and promotion rewards to high school graduates who take rigorous academic courses and get good grades. Employers use college degrees they don't need as a screening device and surrogate for knowledge and skills they do need.
- This makes clear an important and neglected policy gap: Employers in adult full time primary job labor markets find the high school diploma too general and too low a qualification; leaving the college degree as a screening device default credential, despite being actually too high--and in any case far too expensive, for individuals and society, as a way to fill sub-baccalaureate skills needs. Thus some new, but recognizable and creditable strong intermediate level qualification standard, endorsement, or credential is needed, as a more efficient skills market clearing device, to build the quantity and quality of mid-level sub-baccalaureate skillsand skills marketsneeded. The current system needs to combine available components in new ways and / or create new mechanisms, to effectively add this dimension as publicly recognized and used.
- Research shows that middle and high school youth often have highly unrealistic, ill-informed conceptions of their skills, labor market value, and future education and career options, often believing school grades and course choices won't impact college access; having little or no contact with or knowledge of the skills-and-career relationships of full time adult work; thus their early decisions are not strategically well conceived.
- The critical distinction is not older vs. younger workers but formal and informal education, training and qualifications--and career ladder links between experiential work-based learning and education and training to formal credentials. Both formal and informal dimensions are needed; the key is how they are linked to mutually support and leverage each other for individuals and for firms and industry sectors.
- All types of workers need strong initial qualification linking academics to work-based learning and skills. New York has the institutional instruments for academic education, but not yet for work-based learning.
- Research shows that federal programs for Tech Prep and School to Work, well intentioned, have at best only very marginal impact: only about three percent of students benefit, experience work-based learning or achieve a related technical degree. Federal programs help at the margins and set useful framework goals, but, as currently configured, cannot yet contribute substantially to state skills development needs.
- We know from research that local / regional community college degrees do not travel well and thus as typically configured do not strongly assist sectoral and state level high-skills labor market formation; that sector and industry cluster grouping of community college courses and degree programs are valuable to industry but rarely achieved; and that high skills strategies require coordination of colleges in groups.
- Incumbent worker "internal labor markets" have collapsed due to outsourcing, re-engineering within firms, greatly cutting chances for low-skilled workers to make lateral moves or "work their way up" to better jobs.
- A major factor of insufficient supply of strong technical / workforce skills is fragmented skills demand, due to lack of structured qualifications and skills markets linking work-based and sub-college education to jobs.
- Skills markets are systematically fragmented by mis-matched school-based and work-based qualification:
Result: non - matches of school-based and work-based education and training, aimed at isolated age and work experience groups, isolated knowledge (academic / adv. theoretical vs 'practical') groups, and isolated policy goals. This fails to generate the market in coordinated academic-plus-practical skills firms need.
- Companies train to remediate weak basic skills or for narrow firm-specific work skills--not deeper skills profiles coordinating work-based skills with academics good for college state-wide and nationally.
- Unions support work-based registered apprenticeships, but historically oppose state level and nationally articulated apprenticeships linked to college academics and options, open to all youth.
- Schools do not educate for state qualification linked to work-based learning in sectoral career clusters.
- Colleges typically have weak work-based learning programs, if any, even at community colleges.
- Job-training programs for displaced and disadvantaged youth and adults have very weak academics.
- Demand-driven skills and qualifications systems entail state-level shared curriculum and assessment content partnership committees linking education, labor, and industry at state not merely local levels.
- International evidence shows that effective education industry partnerships, integrated academic and technical or work-based education and performance assessments, and effective markets in integrated academic and technical / commercial skills and credentials cannot be successful based on local community-specific and company-specific arrangements alone. Effective skills and qualification markets require state (and/or national) level organization, acceptance, prestige, portability of skills and credentials -- so that :
Comparative success rates in different countries with different systems make this clear.
- education and business share an institutional feed-back loopthe essential 'social partnership' on substantive contentto create, maintain and improve quality curricula + performance assessments;
- youth, parents, incumbent and transitional workers will value and seek the system's credentials; and
- firms and colleges comprehensively accept, honor, use the credentials--creating a skills market in them.
- New York has among the nation's best K-12 and higher education systems; but it needs new instruments to make strong sub-baccalaureate, school-plus-work-based middle level technical skills and qualifications.
- New York has key industry clusters which could structure education and training, but analysis shows they are not organized statewide to aggregate training needs, shape qualification frameworks and make skills.
RECOMMENDATIONS & ACTION STEPS:
The relevant unit of competitiveness is, in effect: New York Inc., in the first instance for state policy makers, but ultimately for all workers, companies, industries, and communities in New York. Unless the state succeeds overall, most constituent elementsindividuals, firms, communities, will not thrive. Some few places and enterprises may do well despite general stasis or even decline--but their human resource skills base and in-state markets and suppliers will not, unless New York thrives overall. Firms will do well if New York does well. The relevant policy goal for New York's citizens is: skills and qualifications adequate to achieve and maintain middle class job and career prospects, despite economic change and life-long-learning and continuing education needs. The relevant policy goal for New York's firms is: global competitiveness and productivity of firms in national and world markets, including small firms able to export; and national competitiveness of internal state economy firms, with rising levels of high skills-high-wage equilibrium jobs as a proportion of total employment.
As research shows nationally (for example, in federal evaluations of problems in Tech Prep and community college associate degree programs), a kind of vicious circle of interlocking problems troubles development of effective workforce qualification systems in the US, in virtually all states:
Because the quality of sub-baccalaureate technical education and training is perceived as weak, institutional development is routinely starved of resources and fragmentary in design. Yet because this institutional infrastructure of needed programs, facilities and resources is under-developed, comprehensive nation-wide and state-wide quality in shared and recognized curricula, standards, performance assessments, industry acceptance and portability of qualifications and credentials is difficult if not impossible to achieve.
This double bind contributes to the low-skills, low-wage equilibrium in some areas, and/or undermines a shift to a high-skills, high wage equilibrium. The need is to break out of this paradox or vicious circle and create a virtuous circle in which training quality and institutional infrastructures are mutually supporting. More than most states, New York has manybut not allof the tools needed. The missing pieces center on a few critical elements of institutional infrastructure. New York can craft the needed elements if it makes that a priority goal.
- New York can and should create education and training mechanisms systematically eliminating forced choices between job vs. study, by supporting simultaneous work and formal qualification in the same or closely related field(s). Commerce Dept reports see this forced choice as a crisis for US skills in IT. This problem is the bane of Tech Prep. Nationally, 70 % of Tech Prep students in community colleges work; absurdly, only 3 % have jobs connected substantively to the content of their technical college studies.
- New York must create a more focused market in middle level skills and qualifications--demand and supply. New York's Departments of Education, Labor, the SUNY system, and Empire State Development have a critically important role, as do NY's regions, big 5 cities, community and technical colleges and school districts: A strategic plan should link these systematicallyusing federal programs and resources tactically.
- Regents CTE options and endorsements, local schools, community colleges, state and local Tech Prep and STW programs, and key industry sectors and clusters can and should be elements of integrated strategies to create the missing links needed -- especially in combined school-plus-work-based curricula, instruction, and performance exams connecting high school and technical college associate degrees.
- Demand-driven skills and qualifications systems entail state-level shared curriculum and assessment content partnership committees linking education, labor, and industry at state not merely local levels. Demand and supply are always linked, and New York has skills demand now--but not the supply needed.
- Narrowly tailored and targeted ad hoc programs for specific education and training interest groups and political constituencies will likely continue to do less good than harm for the very groups concerned--by isolating their education, training and credentials from each other and away from mainstream pathways to college degrees, advanced skills work patterns, adult full time middle class job labor markets and careers.
FORMALLY LINK EDUCATION & TRAINING TO CONTEXTUALIZED + WORK-BASED LEARNING:
- New York's Emerging, Incumbent and Transitional workers all need a single shared system for education, training and workforce skills development offering rich opportunities for contextualized learning in high skills work-based training environments, as a path, with school and college, toward far higher academic skills and high skills generally, which in turn is a path to higher skills work, tasks and responsibilities, wages, and career advancement options.
- A state-wide system for contextualized work-based learning with high academic content--with credentials and qualifications to signal these integrated skills and create skills markets in them-- is the key.
- The critical missing policy and program element is state-wide institutionalization of integrated school-plus-work-based sub-baccalaureate qualification at high academic levels, co-managed and co-located in schools or colleges and firms or multi-firm networks; with systematic integration of project-based learning and production problem content in curricula and assessments; partial qualifications or step-wise gradations as stages toward full qualifications; plus systematic scanning of short-term training for new skills needs.
- The critical missing education and training link for students and workers is connecting work-based learning in firms, for deep contextualization of academics, to significantly expanded high school and community college Tech Prep and similarly articulated programs at high academic levels,. NY firms and state agencies should unite to reorganize state and federal resources to make this happen. New York needs to build the missing school/college-plus-work-based institutional career ladder links it does not yet have.
- The critical industry side missing link is paid internships (at least at secondary labor market wage rates during the internship) connected to school-plus-work-based technical qualifications and AA college degrees harmonized state-wide by sectoral and industry cluster focus. This is the key to creating efficiently a far more value-added credential for high wage sectoral clusters, maximum portability and skills market critical mass. State legislation should expand and/or create business tax breaks supporting the wage and tuition costs for paid training internships and apprenticeships in firms or firm networks training to state standards.
- New York needs some key sector and industry cluster sub-baccalaureate skills formation and qualifications, standardized or harmonized across the state. NY community and technical colleges could offer such degrees. They need not displace but should leverageand be leveraged bycolleges' distinctive, 'center of excellence' programs, degrees and certificates serving regional and local strengths and needs. Both state harmonized / cluster programs and locally distinctive degrees should be coordinated with high school, Regents CTE, Tech Prep, Perkins Voc Ed, Career Cluster and other relevant state and federal programs.
- Create a new name: e.g. New York Technical and Industry Qualification (content & assessment) standards, so (meets) NY-TIQ (or something similar) becomes symbolic capital representing real human capital and skillscreating a market in both the qualifications and the skills in New York and mid-Atlantic region. Firms will want to locate and/or stay in NY if they know this kind of qualification has statewide validity.
- This does two things, and integrates them: (1) It gets production problem contextualized academics and higher order skills in front line workers supplying skills; and a tighter skills formation feed back loop for employers and multi-firm industry sectors and clusters using skills so they can also help make skills they need. And (2) it permits NY firms to use sectoral clusters simultaneously for technical education and training, and for high(er) value-added niche product line and targeted export development networks.
- The school-plus-work-based learning options suggested by the flexible Workforce Baccalaureate degree programs jointly proposed by SUNY Technical Colleges at Alfred, Canton, Cobleskill, Delhi, and Morrisville should be developed as key components of an integrated New York skills qualification system, articulated with NY community colleges to permit AA degree transfer into these new baccalaureate options.
- New York's State Workforce Investment Board, business and education leaders, should investigate the fully integrated high academic level workforce qualification and apprenticeship systems in Europe, including technical colleges and pathways to university, especially systems linked to small firm manufacturing and business networks, proven to help rural areas export globally and eliminate poverty and unemployment.
LINK EDUCATION & TRAINING TO INDUSTRY CLUSTER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES:
- Empire State Development analyzed New York State Industry Cluster Profiles; over a dozen major industry clusters exist to leverage sectoral school-plus-work-based education, training and qualificationand be leveraged by a stronger trained skills base. One lesson from cluster concepts originating in the very successful Italian industrial districts and small firm networks, also successful in Germany, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and parts of the US, is that the success of entire industry clusters and networks can be more important thanand can be the basis ofthe success of individual firms and communities, rather than being merely the incidental product of the latter. The cluster is the unit of competitiveness in global and continental markets, and can raise the success of member firms, and the communities supporting and supported by the sectors and clusters. This can assist and be assisted by an effective state level strategy for high skills workforce education, training and portable qualifications.
- On the model of the teaching hospital, New York needs teaching firms, to create demonstration projects at scale showing how firms can make as well as buy skills. New York should take advantage of research on teaching firms--large and small firms, and states--developed by the Teaching Firm Project of the Education Development Center. Small firms can group together in training networks to spread costs and share synergies of skills and technology dissemination. NY's large corporations and Empire State Development-identified clusters can form lead teaching firm consortia for training and qualification to state standards.
- Use European full system (integrated national qualification school-plus-work-based) training firms which operate branch plants and offices in New York state as teaching firms and state-standards and qualification development training firms, since they already train at home to standards as high or higher, and have for decades. "Import" their training and provide incentives for them to use home country training content and standards in NY--consistent with NY policy goals and criteria to develop similar content and standards.
INTEGRATING AVAILABLE ASSETS TO FOCUS POLICY AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT GOALS:
New York should take advantage of sunk investments and development work in hand in the myriad technical education curriculum content, performance assessment, instructional design, and school-plus-work-based learning integration components already available or in development, to build a hierarchy of standards and content elementsto which NY can add its own elements as necessary, especially for work-based learning, where US Education Dept. and NSSB Career Clusters, and NSF / ATE programs are weak or non-existent. The available prior work which can be deployed as foundation elements for a New York strategy (beyond NY DOL / WIA initiatives, Regents and CTE programs, and SUNY Community Colleges) includes:
- National Science Foundation / Advanced Technology Education: 10 national model curricular and assessment programs including: IT, telecomm, advanced manufacturing / mechatronics, micro electronics and semi-conductors, environmental / eco-system management, bio-tech, marine technology, etc.
- US Education Dept. Career Clusters: 16 broad cluster areas for Tech Prep, voc. ed. and community colleges, including agriculture & natural resources; architecture & construction; arts and communications; business; education & training; finance, government; health; tourism; human services; IT, law & public safety; manufacturing; retail & wholesale sales; scientific research & engineering; transportation & distribution.
- National Skills Standards Board Voluntary Partnerships: 15 industry cluster skills standards frameworks: including: agriculture, forestry and fishing; business and admin. services; construction; education and training; finance and insurance; health and human services; manufacturing and repair; mining; public administration, legal and protective services; restaurants, lodging and tourism; retail and whole sale trade; scientific and technical services; telecomm, computers, arts and entertainment; transportation; utilities, environmental and waste management.
- Empire State Development: New York State Industry Cluster Profiles: 13 clusters, including: biomedical / biotech; business services; communications and media; distribution; fashion, apparel, textiles; financial services; food processing; industrial machinery and systems; information hardware and software; materials processing; optics and imaging; transportation equipment, travel and tourism.
- International Assets: US German and US Danish formal agreements between the US Department of Education and the Education Ministries in these two countries provide a set of official ministerial frameworks for cooperation so far very little used which can be leveraged by US federal funding in OVAE Perkins, OVAE Career Clusters, FIPSE, and other programs (perhaps also including DOL-WIA). Beyond this, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, as well as the UK/Scotland, have, via US-EURO-NET working groups, already offered to assist us in career cluster curriculum content and performance assessment development in any of hundreds of career and industry cluster areasincluding shared trans-Atlantic co-development of curricula, project based learning and performance assessments. A partial list of these co-development and shared benchmarking areas possible includes:
Areas of possible US EU best practice Benchmarking :
- Mechatronics & Adv. Manufacturing: Robotics, Automation, Software Programming (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)
- CNC Machining: self-paced PC + classroom desk-top CNC machines, national curric (Germany, Austria)
- Apparel, fashion & textiles: apprenticeship +technical colleges: very small firm networks and training consortia (Denmark, Italy)
- Information Technology & Telecomm; + Semi-Conductors (nation-wide access: German national curricula)
- IT Systems Electronics Technician; IT Systems Tech (1) Applications Development or (2) Systems Integration; (Germany)
- IT Systems Sales; IT Purchasing (IT-Manufacturing, IT-Medical Care, IT-Banking, IT-Insurance, IT-Trade / Export) (Germany)
- Printing, Publishing, Digital Voice-Text-Data-Image Integrated Media; Videotape Editor (new German curric.)
- Furniture Making, CNC-CAD, Cabinetmaking (incl. voc schools) (Germany, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland)
- Vehicle mechanics (& sales); Airport Management; (Germany), Airline mechanic (Scandinavian Airlines, Denmark)
- Retail Sales & Tech Consulting in Construction and Building Materials (Austria), in Sporting Goods (Austria)
- Construction: Home Building: Adv Environmental (Denmark); high quality / environmentally green home construction in small firm networks (Bavaria, Germany)
- Production Engineering Logistics: (Micro-Electronics + Fuzzy Logic production materials flow) (Switzerland)
- Banking (Switzerland: Union Bank of Switzerland /UBS); Insurance (Germany); Retail Chain & Grocery stores (Austria).
- Agricultural and Dairy products: small firm production and education / training networks (Italy, Switzerland).
A STRONGER NY CAREER LADDER PYRAMID: SYSTEM ASSETS
BUILDING INTEGRATED 'BUY AND MAKE' LINKAGES WITH SYSTEMIC DEPTH
||CREDENTIALS & QUALIFICATION CAREER LADDER COMPONENTS:|
||New York Stronger State-wide + Regional Knowledge Economy Skills
||NY Communities Stronger, more stable Education and Training Skills-base for local Economic Growth
|Firms Local and Regional
||Firms: Stronger, more stable, export competitive Workforce Skills, Plus cost-cutting / cost sharing links to other firms in sector or region
|Citizens: Educ+Career Life-Long-Learning
||Individuals Achieve success in formal degrees and Also self-managed integration of informal learning in work experience, Contributing to Communities-of-Practice professionalism & and career mobility
|College 2&4 yr degrees: SUNY
||SUNY: 4 Year degrees accept 2 yr credits, now, but 2 year AA degrees, with SUNY help, can & should accept academically strong Work-based Learning components, in-firm Internships, business process / industry / sector problem projects & exam components
|Specific Employers: public, private;SME + Lg firms
||Employers, incl. Small firms, could link to foundation systems via paid internships, or final year / final project Internship + Final (Endorsement) Exam / Project, combining high level academics, applied academics, focused on actual problems in firms or sectors, for credit in Comm Coll AA degree + Tech Prep + CTE Endorsement
|Sectoral & Regional Skills Alliances
||NYS Skills and training alliances / networks: business sectors and geographic regions could build cross-referenced alliances: combined CTE Endorsement + Comm. College AA degree + state & national industry skills standards and curriculum & performance assessment frameworks: to input curric. & skills needs: integrated statewide, also disaggregated at regional & local levels
|Economic Developmnt EconClusters
||Empire State Development analysis of NY economic / sectoral clusters, could be used, along with the STRAP program for networking by NY small and medium firms, to develop criteriaby sectorfor NY Technical and Industry Qualification skills endorsements, in key sectorshealth, IT, adv. manufacturing, bankingplus other important NY industry sectors.
||Apprenticeship countries: offer best practice cooperation to co-develop high academic content work-based learning qualifications by sector: Hundreds of world class curricula exist for NY use US-German + US-Danish agreements: US Dept Education links to secondary, tech college, apprenticeship curric, assessments, Certif content. USDept Educ/FIPSE $ comm collsß à EU
||Tech Prepà funding to schools & community colleges: 2 + 2 links of high school to comm. coll. AA degrees. But weak sectoral classes instruction, weak work based learning.
|National Science Foundation / Advanced Technology Education: à model national curricula: IT, Telecomm, Manufacturing / Mechatronics, Semi-Conductors, Environmental, & other curric
|Fed. Perkins funding à achieve Perkins Indicators in Voc Ed: Extend indicators to CTE and NYS Career Cluster Qualifications. Again, work on weak work-based learning
|US Dept Education Career Clusters: 16 Career Cluster concentrations by major sector. Building Linkages program links to States. Weak in work-based learning and qualifications.
|NSSB à Nat. Skills Standards Board Voluntary Partnerships: 15 industry skills standards frameworks by sector: integrate w/ academics
|STW à Use established Job Shadowing & (Boston) Pro-Tech models to extend career cluster academics option for all. ßLink local exper. to & Use One-Stops & O-NET.
|WIA à funding for Youth and special needs groups: Use to integrate them into integrated higher skills qualification paths
|High School Regents+
||NYS Regents Core Academics + CTE Endorsements. School districts can enable Incumbent & Transitional workers to get Regent's credentials + CTE Endorsements (incl past work exper).