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Recommended reading from the Dept. of Labor September 7, 2006

Posted by Tom in Education, Media, Research, Workforce.

Courtesy of Kevin Thompson at the Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration, edited only to clean up code in the transfer between Outlook and WordPress. I received this note over a week ago, but it regretfully was caught up in my recent move. Apologies, Kevin. Here’s his note:

The MetLife Foundation-supported Alliance for Education released a new issue brief this week – Paying Double: Inadequate High Schools and Community College Remediation.

The authors note:

Because too many students are not learning the basic skills needed to succeed in college or work while they are in high school, the nation loses more than $3.7 billion a year. This figure includes $1.4 billion to provide remedial education to students who have recently completed high school. In addition, this figure factors in the almost $2.3 billion that the economy loses because remedial reading students are more likely to drop out of college without a degree, thereby reducing their earning potential.

Page 6 of the report presents, by state, the annual savings and earnings benefits from a reduced need for Community College remediation.

Annual remediation savings were estimated by multiplying the cost of one course by the number of students under twenty-five years of age who take at least one remedial course. The College Board estimates that student tuition covers one-fifth of the cost of education. Therefore, to calculate the full cost of a community college course, annual tuition was multiplied by five. The resulting number was then divided by ten, which is the average number of courses a student takes over two semesters. To estimate the number of students under twenty-five years of age who enroll in at least one remedial course, the percent of students under twenty-five years of age (52 percent) was multiplied by the percent (42.5 percent) of public, two-year students who report enrolling in at least one remedial course (NCES, 2004c). District of Columbia data is based on the University of the District of Columbia, which has open enrollment.

To calculate additional annual earnings, the salary difference between students who attend “some college” and students who earn a Bachelor’s degree was multiplied by the number of students who would have graduated if they didn’t need remedial reading (potential new graduates). Using 2004 NCES data, the number of potential new college graduates was calculated by multiplying the remedial student count (above) by the percentage (20 percent) of community college freshmen enrolled in remedial reading and by 41 percent, the difference in Bachelor degree attainment between those who enroll in remedial reading (17 percent) and those who do not (58 percent). This new graduate count was then multiplied by the average earnings difference between “some college” and “Bachelor’s degree,” as listed in 2005 Census data.

The Workforce Strategy Center has published a new report: Career Pathways: Aligning Public Resources to Support Individual and Regional Economic Advancement in the Knowledge EconomyThis report is the first in a series called Pathways to Competitiveness. It presents “the economic justification for career pathways, describes the process involved, and sets the stage for the remaining reports.”

  • Section I: Context and Need
  • Section II: Career Pathways — to Make the Pieces Fit
  • Section III: Moving Forward: Opportunities and Challenges

In Section II, the spotlight is placed on the efforts of Kentucky’s Elizabethtown Community and Technical College and the local Workforce Investment Board — in response to “documented demand from employers” — to create pathways for respiratory therapy and transportation careers.

In its conclusion, this volume notes that “the next report … will be a guide to developing and implementing career pathways for practitioners and state agencies. The guide will explore in greater detail how localities and states are grappling with these challenges and what they are learning in the process.”

Departmental August 31 News ReleaseThe U.S. Department of Labor today released “America’s Dynamic Workforce 2006,” a new report highlighting major trends in the American labor market and the importance of education and skills training to maintaining the competitiveness of America’s workforce.

“The American economy is strong and growing, unemployment is low and more than 5.4 million new jobs were created from August 2003 through the first half of 2006,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said. “More Americans are working now than ever. The majority of new jobs created over the next decade will require some kind of post-secondary education. The Department of Labor is committed to providing American workers with the tools and protections they need to succeed in the 21st century economy, including a stronger pension system.”

Here are some of the current trends that illustrate the state of the economy and importance of education and job training: Many of these figures were compiled from the newly released “America’s Dynamic Workforce 2006.” A highlight sheet is also available.



1. TheBizofKnowledge - September 7, 2006

Many thanks for linking to that report! I glanced through it and took a look at some of the state by state savings projections if there weren’t a need for remedial classes. Wow, what an eye opener! I’ll definitely have to spend more time with this report over the weekend. Thanks again!

2. Tom - September 7, 2006

My pleasure. This blog has opened up some nifty new doors – perhaps the most surprising and pleasing has been the back and forth that I have with the ETA. Kevin Thompson has been very kind and forthcoming with information about what’s new at the Dept. of Labor and the Employment and Training Administration. But I get a sense that there is a community of interest around the topic of workforce and its integral role in economic development…hopefully the comments will begin to reflect what I’m seeing in the daily blog hit counter.

I might regret saying this, but I’m surprised that the ETA doesn’t have an in-house blog for exactly the same type of material that Kevin forwards to me. Not that I want him to stop writing…anything but that!

Your note about the state by state savings is right on point. Indiana stands to save nearly $18 million, with “additional annual earnings” of $22 million. $40 million extra every year can pay for a lot – buildings, technology, instructors, economic development-related outreach and partnership building…

My new home state, Ohio, could potentially see an end financial benefit of $132 million. That’s a lot.

Thank you for the comment. Glad to know you use the blog!

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