Policy Series Reports

Many states across the country are replicating the successful models profiled above to create their own initiatives to increase access to educational and workplace opportunities for students. States profiled below have drawn up or recently enacted legislation to increase apprenticeship, internship, and work-based learning opportunities for high school and community college students, and supported dual enrollment affecting students across their state. The following state initiatives are ones to watch in 2014 and beyond:

While agriculture is a major economic driver in Iowa, Governor Terry Branstad understands that to attract top talent, the state must continue to diversify its economy and provide training opportunities for students. In response, in May 2014, the Governor signed the Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training Act.  This legislation triples the state’s funding for apprenticeship programs and allows students to earn a paycheck while gaining hands-on training. The bill will build on the 662 already-registered apprenticeship programs in the state, which employ over 8,100 apprentices. 

Georgia enacted the Work Based Learning Act on July 1, 2014. This will increase dual enrollment opportunities for students to earn credits through the Technical College System of Georgia as well as expand work-based learning opportunities for high school students that are linked to their career pathways. The program replaces and improves the Youth Apprenticeship Program by bringing together employers, students, and public schools to produce students with real-world experience.

The Superintendent of Education John White proposed the Jump Start - Career Education program in early 2014. The goal of the program is to enable students to master basic literacy, numeracy, and career readiness skills, while also earning industry certifications that enable them to attain employment in high-wage career sectors. The program promotes collaboration among school districts, colleges, and businesses to provide high school students with access to career courses and workplace experiences, while preparing high schools to help students attain certifications in career fields most likely to lead to high-wage jobs.  To ensure that teachers have adequate training for these career and technical courses, the state created the Jump Start Career Development Fund (CDF).  The CDF provides a 6 percent adder to a school district’s Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. CDF funds may be used to defray the cost of materials, equipment, and teacher credentialing/training for “technical” CTE courses in high-wage, high-demand job sectors.  In addition, the state provides a Super Summer Institute Training to ensure teachers have the necessary training and credentials in their field, including certifications such as NCCER

To help school districts and charter schools launch their Jump Start efforts, the 2014-2015 state budget includes about $7.5 million in supplemental course allocation funds and approximately $4 million in CDF funds, contingent upon enrollment figures. The state hopes this will have the effect of catalyzing enrollment in CTE courses. In addition to these funds, approximately $845,000 in competitive Jump Starting JumpStart grants will be awarded to support two specific innovations: regional workplace experience exchanges, and the promotion of career counseling.  Additionally, legislation signed into law in June 2014 calls for the creation of the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy (WISE) Fund, which will fund postsecondary programs in high-demand fields through matching contribution from industry partners.

North Carolina

In addition to the many initiatives North Carolina has embarked on to increase access to employability skillsets in their high schools and community colleges, there are two new initiatives coming out of the state that deserve future attention. The first is NCWorks Career Pathways, which aims to bridge CTE from high school to community colleges through well-defined pathways. The second initiative addresses the dropping number of apprenticeship opportunities in North Carolina through the promotion of the Work-Based Learning Toolbox to local industry. The Department of Commerce, public school system, and North Carolina Community College System will work together to promote and find ways to integrate the Toolbox, which includes Registered Apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, co-op, paid and unpaid internships, job shadowing, and simulated work centers.

In an attempt to increase the number of high school students graduating with college credit and boost postsecondary transitions, Ohio’s legislature passed House Bill 487, which contains legislation for College Credit Plus. This bill requires all school districts to make opportunities at public colleges and universities available at no cost to students while setting a floor and ceiling for the costs higher-education institutions can charge school districts for dual enrollment. This enables a school or “home” district to retain a portion of state funding to provide services to the student. The goals of the legislation are to enhance opportunities for participation, improve access to dual enrollment opportunities across the state, ensure quality and applicability of courses offered, and improve communication and data collection. 

In July 2014, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order creating “The New Virginia Economy.” This new workforce initiative will be led by the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, in alignment with Virginia’s Workforce Development System, and will focus on four initiatives to increase postsecondary and workforce credentials, better align education options with workforce needs, increase employment opportunities for veterans, and diversify the economy. The first initiative, “Pathway to 50K” sets a target of 50,000 STEM-H credentials, licenses, apprenticeships, and associates degrees that are in demand in Virginia. The second, “Our Patriot Pledge,” will partner with 10,000 businesses to create commitments for hiring veterans. “A Diversified Dominion” and “Real-Time Resources” will work to better diversify the state’s economy and provide analysis on Virginia’s workforce needs through the creation of the Commonwealth Consortium for Advanced Research and Statistics (CCARS). While these new initiatives will take time to establish, the state has put forward timely action plans to get the systems in place in 2015. 

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