“In recent years, policy‐makers have increased their focus on the potential of community colleges to train America’s workforce to compete effectively in the global economy. For example, in October 2010, the White House hosted the first‐ever Summit on Community Colleges....Another example is the Community College and Career Training Initiative (2010), which is part of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. This initiative provides $2 billion over four years to help increase completion of degrees, certificates, and other credentials at community colleges. This project continues the administration’s emphasis on finding ways to improve collaborations between One‐Stops and community colleges that can increase the effectiveness of training the American workforce” (p.1-2).
After providing an overview of the structure of One-Stop Career Centers and community colleges, the authors then describe the research methodology of the study, which was published in 2011. First, they conducted a literature review “…to obtain a baseline understanding of how One‐Stops and community colleges currently collaborate and to identify gaps in this collaboration” (p.22). Through this literature review, the authors learned about promising strategies for effective partnerships between One-Stop Career Centers and community colleges. “For example, some promising strategies include sharing [Labor Market Information] and participating in joint strategic planning” (p.23). Next, they discuss how they selected the 15 sites to ensure they were representative of the entire country. Last, they describe how they conducted their qualitative data analysis and identified major themes, including:
· “One‐Stop Career Center strengths,
· Community college strengths,
· Factors that enhance collaboration, and
· Factors that inhibit collaboration” (p.34).
The last three sections of the report discuss key findings, lessons learned, and offer recommendations for future research that may help improve the efficacy of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.
Abstractor: (Author and Website Staff)Full publication title: Improving America’s Workforce Through Enhanced Collaboration between the Public Workforce System and Community Colleges
Major Findings & Recommendations
The authors discuss some of the following key findings: • “ … that the major focus of One‐Stop activities is helping job seekers and dislocated workers rapidly find and hold good jobs through a combination of training, case management, job search assistance (JSA), and other services” (p.v). • “… that the accountability systems set up by the states under mandates in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) provide accurate and comprehensive information about the labor market outcomes (employment, retention, and earnings) of One‐Stop customers” (p.vii). • “…that America’s more than 1,100 community colleges are highly heterogeneous having highly diverse organizational and funding structures, and differ greatly in enrollment, number of separate campuses, and physical appearance” (p.vi). They also present lessons learned from their site visits, which include: • “… community colleges and One‐Stops find it valuable to have One‐Stops or One‐ Stop case managers on campus. The colleges recognize that One‐Stop customers receive exceptionally valuable services. They feel collocation extends the reach of these services because the colleges lack the resources to provide those services broadly” (p.ix). • “…community colleges offer many high‐quality career‐oriented programs, but that they are not necessarily organized in a way that rapidly gets disadvantaged adults and dislocated workers into and out of the programs” (p.x). Finally, the authors provide various recommendations to guide future research. Some of these recommendations are: • “…to stimulate innovation through competitive grants that require collaboration between One‐Stops and community colleges and also require rigorous evaluation so positive results can be verified and widely disseminated” (p.xi). • “… to fund demonstrations designed to assess the value of case management services received by virtually every ITA recipient when applied to a much larger number of career‐oriented community college students” (p.xii). • “…to launch demonstrations designed to improve training outcome information to facilitate improved decision‐making by program operators and their customers. We suggest providing grants to use databases that combine education and workforce data already funded by USDOL under the Workforce Data Quality Initiative, to develop measures suitable for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of specific programs” (p.xii). Abstractor: (Author and Website Staff)