Economic and workforce


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Article describing the connection of 21st Century Learnign Skills and the impact on skill jobs and the economy.

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Economic and workforce

  1. 1. economic and workforceDEVELOPMENT - K THROUGH 12 EDUCATION ISSUEBy Richard K. Delano and Katherine C. Hutton everal workforce trends are con-S verging which could represent a "perfect storm" for the economicgrowth of unprepared communities.• 21*" century workplace and technical skills have become more important than land and buildings. Critical, trained human capital must be developed through a complex educational system.• 21* century workplace skills are becoming as or more important than basic technical skills. Educators are starting to recognize this and determining how to teach these skills.• The retirement of baby boomers in key occupa- tions is impacting the job market, resulting in potentially disruptive labor shortages. !inMN(S.|iMii(i. Ilk an inviduable resource for career academies. High MIUHII •.inJcm^ j• Many high-tax, high-cost communities will have Cathedral City, CA, were paired with aduh mentors from ihe Coachdla Valley Economic to "grow their own" critical skilled workers as Partnership who arranged special programs like (his lour of VSC. their markets become uncompetitive.• Workforce and economic development is workforce development system, largely vo-tech and increasingly a K - 12 issue and many communi- On-the-Job-Training, accommodated these needs. Richard K. Delano is ties lag behind in understanding how business In 2007, the global economy has clearly rede- president of Social and schoots must work together to make the K - fined the workforce skill set required for the 21" Marketing Services, 12 workforce connection. century workplace. Critical thinkers and problem LLC in Btidgehampton, This article will focus on workforce development solvers with attainment in reading and math are New York.and K - 12 education. It describes a leading high required for high-wage, high skill redesign strategy called "career academies" Workforce development must be focused on litera-and illustrates how economic and workforce devel- cy requirements needed to manage innovation Katherine C. Hutton isopment organizations are lining up behind this 21^ through teams using advanced communication and economic developmentcentury education redesign strategy. problem-solving skills. Todays workforce develop- manager for the City of ment system in most communities has not been Scottsdale, Arizona,THIS IS NOT YOUR FATHERS fully mobilized and aligned to produce the employ-VO-TECH EDUCATION ees with 21" century skills that expanding or relo- and is a Certified cating companies need and expect. Economic Developer. Forty years ago, the subject of K - 12 educationwould arise in economic development circles when In many communities, business leaders and eco-discussing school quality for relocating managers. nomic development officials are concerned aboutThen, employment demands were focused on line why the educational system can not deliver to theworkers with a reasonably good work ethic. The workplace job-ready employees or college-readySMART DEVELOPMENT GROUPS ARE MAKING THE CONNECTIONThe career academy is orc oj ihe most successful education-based models for developing the skills required fortodays workjoree and developing a worhforce that meets the needs oj the local business eommunity. The marketsneed for high skilled, technaJogy savvy workers and the exodus oj boomers from the workplace sparked economicdevelopers lo become the ccKal^St for ihe creation oj career academies. Econoniic developer driven, educator driv-en, and business partners models oj career academies are examiried with hest practices for building and maintain-ing a career academy. Career academies are in 2,000 high schools nationwide and are viewed as key to educationreform jor both low perjorming schools and students. Economic Development Journal / Spring 2007 47
  2. 2. students needed for our companies who are • Selection of a successful secondary-school engaged in global competition and faced with a redesign strategy. Business and education need retiring workforce. This is particularly challenging to come together around a redesign model because it is difficult to define and clarify a solution. proven to help educators meet the educational Employers often blame education in general; col- goals that local, state, and federal authorities leges blame high schools, who blame middle define for them. schools, who blame elementary schools, who blame parents. The education establishment often looks at Coachella Valley Economic Partnership the business community, wondering why it is nol The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, doing more. Business points to the substantial located in the southern California desert, received a investment it makes in remedial training for grant from the James Irvine Foundation to fund a employees. career pathways initiative aimed at increasing the number of talented work force and college ready CAREER ACADEMIES SUPPORT ECONOMIC high school graduates in three fast-growing business DEVELOPMENT AND WORKFORCE GOALS clusters. Working closely with its three area school Career academies differ from traditional academ- districts, it embarked upon improving the future ic and vocational education high schools by prepar- workforce needed to attract its desired business ing students for both college and careers. base. Academies provide broad information about fields According to the Partnerships chairman. Bob such as biosciences, finance, engineering, media, or Marra, "we found ourselves in a situation where we health care. They weave the career themes into were outgrowing the capacity of our workforce here. academic curricula that qualify students for admis- It is hard to both fill the jobs that are needed to sion to four-year colleges or universities and prepare make this economy continue to tick, and to also them for the associated workplace. Students self attract the new companies we need to continue to select for the program and are typically moderate or grow. We need to do both." marginal students in terms of academic perform- With the grant, the Coachella Valley Economic ance. Studies have found that students in career Partnership is expanding the number of students academies perform better m high school and are learning in three high wage, high skill pathways that more likely to continue into post secondar educa- have been identified as essential to the valleys con- tion, compared to similar students in the same tinued growth. These pathways are: health, energy schools. and environmental technology, and multimedia. Career Academy programs have a number of suc- Career academies are playing a central role in cess stories in meeting the challenges previously forging the link between the regions business com- described. Three examples of career academies illus- munity and its three school districts. According to trate how passionate educators along with business Marra, "career academies are exactly what we need leaders can build this educational model necessary here in the Coachella Valley because young people for the demanding 21" century workplace, achieve in the region are looking for something where they No Child Left Behind mandates, and reduce the can really dig into these career see remediation burden for schools and business alike. what it is like to be a nurse, to be an engineer." These examples illustrate how relevance and rela- tionships can drive student engagement and success and are a clear option to remediation. Each case is unique but all three build on several common themes: • Urgency of the workforce situation. There is no greater motivator for prompting change than demand. These three communities realized the importance of fundamental change. • Senior-level business and academic engagement. Certain roles can not be delegated. Leadership is one of them. In each case, leaders made a per- sonal commitment. • Alignment of business, institutional and philan- High school students explore health careers at Eisenhower Medical thropic investment toward requirements defined Center, Rancho Mirage, CA. by the school systems redesign strategy. Funding for effective programs can be redirected within Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce the system toward a set of needs that K - 12 and The goal of Alignment Nashville in Tennessee is post secondary leaders define. to create a system to bring community organizations and resources into alignment so that their coordi-48 Economic Development Journal / Spring 2007
  3. 3. nated support to Metropolitan Nashville PublicSchools and District priorities has a positive impacton student achievement and public school successand the success of the community as a whole. According to Tom Cigarran, operating boardchair of Alignment Nashville and chairman ofHealthways Inc., "aligning all this good will, peoplepower, behind strategies of the school system willhave a major impact on the success of our publicschools." This alignment of support behind NashvilleMetro schools preceded a more recent develop-ment, the receipt of a $6.75 million five-year SmallLearning Communities grant from the USDepartment of Education. The grant provided theimpetus for the creation of the Office of Redesignand Innovation. One of this offices main charges is developingand unplementing plans for the creation of careeracademies and other small learning communities intheir comprehensive high schools. The Nashville Brittany Johnson, a senior ai Mesa High School, works on cloningArea Chamber of Commerce is responsible for eco- Ils.sui/rdm a fem in ihe schools biotechnohgii academy lab.nomic development within the region and hasdefined target industries that, through Alignment students are introduced to biotechnology and fol-Nashville, will assist Nashville Metros Office of low a seamless transition from high school to com-Redesign and Innovation in defining the types of munity college to academies it will select. Additionally, it was announced in late 2006 thatMesa School District some Mesa students in the academy will be work- In Mesa, Arizona, Xan Simonson, a biology ing on a research project that involves decoding theteacher at Mesa High School, saw the need for train- genome of a bacteria and publishing the high school students in biotechnology ioilowing This project is a result of a $900,000 grant from thethe Translational Genomics Institute (TGen) deci- National Science Foundation that will be conduct-sion to choose metropolitan Phoenix as its home in ed in conjunction with Arizona State Universitys2002. Arizonas bioscience efforts were accelerating Biodesign Institute and Polytechnic campus andat a significant pace with TGens location decision Mesa Communiiy College.and studies warned of a shortage of a qualifiedworkforce in this now accelerated industry. CAREER ACADEMIES Simonson started a biosciences academy pro- It is not enough for business and education togram at Mesa High School believing that her stu- want to work together. They need a concrete plandents education should align with the states bio- built around a well-researched redesign strategy tosciences initiatives and the increase in demand for make their lime and energy pay off through aworkforce in the biosciences. In three short years, process they can manage. Each of the examples ofthe program has grown from her grassroots efforts business and academic engagement is being builtinto a singular biosciences career academy in her around the career academy redesign model. Careerclassroom to biotechnology programs at three other academies bring together the dual benefits of aMesa district high schools and $5.2 million in new smaller learning community where studentslabs and wet lab space being built by the district to become part of a family with contextually-richsupport the biotechnology program. career themes that answer the question all high The construct of the program allows for stu- school students ask at one time or another:"Why dodents, after two years, to make the transition to a 1 need to know this stuff?"two-year or four-year program. Mesa graduates may Statistical evidence indicates that career acade-continue studies at Mesa Community College or mies improve high school attendance, grades, grad-one of the three Arizona universities. Recent studies uation rates, college going, and economic successconducted in conjunction with the state of Arizona after high school and college. Career academies areshow an immediate need for qualified bioscience also believed to raise test scores, reduce remedia-laboratory technicians with demand outstripping tion, and increase English language by four-fold. Studies also reveal that the lack Academies can be scaled up to any portion of or allof skilled technicians coincides with the lack of of the student population.a true "2+2+2 program" in which high school Economic Development Journal / Spring 2007 49
  4. 4. The balance of this article provides an overview environment proved itself out as enrolled students of career academies, describes the statistical improved and excelled. improvement that is possible, and introduces a set In the past three decades, academies have both of best practices for scaling up and sustaining a net- grown and evolved. There are active career acade- work of career academies. These "indicators of suc- mies in an estimated 25 percent of high schoots cess" were developed by Social Marketing Services according to the federal Department of Education. in 2006 with support from Ford Motor Company The nature of the curriculum has expanded to Fund and are being adopted by economic develop- include everything from auto mechanic training and ment agencies, chambers of commerce, and their machine tooling to the biosciences, engineering, education partners in communities across the coun- finance, and law. Today, academies exist not only in try. In adopting these best practices, communities inner city schools but suburban schools in relative- can qualify for a Ford Fund Career Academy ly affluent areas as well. In fact, an increasing num- Innovation Community (CAIC) status which brings ber of elite high schools are adopting the academy technical support and modest grants. Career acade- model to improve the college/career choices their my networks provide a new perspective and rich university-bound students are making. possibilities for communities regardless of location, size, or economic condition. CAREER ACADEMIES TODAY Career academies need to be organized around trade and professional themes relative to the needs of and as defined by the community, with students Career academies differ from traditional academic and self-selecting for application to academies. Most vocational education high schools by preparing students academies teach between 100 and 300 students in grades 9 or 10 to 12. Academy students are sched- for both college and careers. Academies provide broad uled together with a team of teachers each academ- information about fields such as biosciences, finance, ic year. In the best career academies, the team of engineering, media, or health care. They weave the academic and career teachers work together to enrich the academic courses through the integration career themes into academic curricula that qualify of contextual projects and ihemes. Students students for admission to four-year colleges or universities enrolled in the academy typically participate in career-related experiences such as internships and prepare them for the associated workplace. beyond the classroom instruction. In 1995, career academy experts and their respective organizations agreed upon a common definition for career academies with three critical THE EVOLUTION OF THE CAREER ACADEMY components: The Academy Model was developed in • Small, safe, and supportive leaming environ- Philadelphia in 1969 by Charles Bowser, the execu- ments that are personalized and inclusive of all tive director of the Philadelphia Urban Coalition in students. alliance with the Philadelphia Electric Company and Bell of Pennsylvania. The goal was to create a • Challenging, rigorous, and relevant curriculum program that would provide a new paradigm for that prepares students for college, careers, and students relative to the social and racial discontent- productive citizenship. ment sweeping the community of Philadelphia and • Collaborative partnerships among educators, nation at that time. Career academies were imple- parents, businesses, and other community mented in order to create employment opportuni- resources that broaden learning opportunities. ties for students in Philadelphias disadvantaged eth- Several institutions support schools, districts, and nic groups and income groups while providing local businesses in developing career academies in their employers with a qualified entry level workforce. communities. The Career Academy Suppon Network The original academy model reduced the scale of at the Cal Berkeleys Graduate School of Education a high school student body into smaller learning (http://casn.berkeleyedu/), the National Career communities - a school within a school. Course Academy Coalition (, the National work is coordinated around a career theme and Academy Foundation (, and Career designed to prepare students with a full curriculum Academies ( provide that supported the student in their career endeav- resources, infonnation, advice, and support for ors. This in-school effort was coupled with the cre- career academies to utilize, access and contribute. An ation of a linkage between the schools and area integral value to academies is the absence of hard employers - proving employers with a skilled, local- rules for their creation, development, and manage- ized workforce. Students self selected themselves ment. Academies are designed to comply with local for the program; additionally, the students were typ- standards and policies defined by state education ically at-risk or marginal students. The academy departments and local school districts. While this50 Economic Development Journal / Spring 2007
  5. 5. design model is Ilexible, its success rests on funda- MDRC, a non-profit, research organization basedmentals that must exist: in New York, determined that career academies sub-• Common planning time for academy teachers to stantially improved the labor market prospects of discuss their students and how to integrate aca- young men, a group that has experienced a severe demic courses. decline in real eamings in recent years. Through a combination of increased wages, hours worked, and• Academy leaders should be provided release employment stability, the young men in the Academy time to plan the activities of the academy stu- group earned over $10,000 (18 percent) more than dents and build external relationships. those in the non-Academy control group over the• Academy students should be scheduled together four-year follow-up period. The sample of 1,400 stu- to the extent possible and consistently taught by dents are 85 percent black and Hispanic. Full results the academic team in at least two academic can be obtained at: http://www,!ica- courses. tions/366/overview. html The next horizon in career academy evolution isthe creation of high-quality, integrated curriculum STRATEGIES AND BEST PRACTICESunits. These units should be designed to teach The best practices in career academies wereappropriate academic standards for academic teach- observed in how education and external partnersers through contextually based projects built are working together in active career academy com-around the career pathway. munities. The more successful career academies programs exist, the more defined the best practicesSTATISTICAL EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS are - providing a stronger foundation for developing The academic challenges and need for change in a more effective design for and more effective careertodays high schools is pan of todays social and academies.political fabric. Low graduation rates and college- The strategies and best practices identified ingoing rates are only two of the fault lines in public career academies serve as the underpinning for theeducation. The promise of career academies can be Ford Career Academy Innovation Community (Fordmeasured by accounts from several career acade- CAIC) recognition program designed to supportmies. Active since 1969, roughly 10 percent of academy communities. This Ford Motor CompanyPhiladelphias students attend 34 career academies. Fund hopes, through its actions, to increase the num-These students regularly achieve a 90 percent grad- ber ol students engaged in career academies and touation rate with 60 percent moving on to college, sustain the students career academies.year after year. By focusing on communities and not on individ- A study of Bay Area, CA, career academies by ual schools or districts. Ford Fund believes busi-Maxwell and Rubin found that students enrolled in ness, civic, and educational leaders can be engagedacademies had the following success compared with in the shared objectives of workforce and economicnon-academy students in the same schools; development. In 2005, Ford Fund proided the• GPA nearly .5 of a grade higher resources to determine strategies for building and• Test scores 30 - 40 percent higher sustaining career academies and best practices for career academies to provide guidance and informa-• Drop out rate 50 percent lower tion to existing and emerging career academy• 8.2 percent more continue to two- and four-year programs. colleges• 15.9 percent more go to four-year colleges 12 Best Practices for Scaling Up and Sustaining In the Sacramento City district, a Gates/Carnegie Career Academy Networksgrant supported a district-wide system wherein 1. Ensure the Establishment of a Careernearly all students learn in small leaming commu- Academy Master Plan.nities and career academies. What makes the fol- Career academy success requires the creation oflowing results particularly impressive is that all stu- a master plan that sets forth career academydents, not just those who self select, learn in acade- annual and five-year growth goals. The mastermies. We have the opportunity to observe the career plan should be advised by economic develop-academy "effect". ment and community infrastructure needs and developed with the participation of the external 2000/01 2004/05 and education partners. Dropouts 24% 14% 2. Look to the Career Cluster Framework to Graduation Rate 79% 84% Prioritize and Standardize Career and Suspensions 1,852 1,292 Technical Education Expulsions 44 5 The State Directors for Career and Technical Students sitting Education have organized all job specialties into for the SAT 718 1.489 81 career pathways and 16 career clusters that Economic Development Journal / Spring 2007 51
  6. 6. provide a useful framework for prioritizing a district provide conflicting communication career academy theme selection and helping channels and unneeded competition within a students decide on career pathways. The frame- district lor business attention. work provides the opportunity to clearly and 7. Prioritize Eunding Sources to Expand the visually explain the workplace to parents, stu- Number of Career Academies and Increase dents, educators, and business people. the Quality of Existing Career Academies 3. Aim High - Seek out Growing Array of Direct Perkins monies, small learning commu- Academically Challenging Career and Tech nity grants, and foundation funding to launch of Curricula new career academies. Invest available new Take advantage of new developments in aca- funding toward the expansion of your career demically rigorous curricula. Ford Partnership academy system. for Advanced Studies and Project Lead the Way 8. Look to Growing List of National Career are excellent examples. Dubbed "new CTE", Academy Supporters - Look for Resources these challenging new curricula provide a real from National Employer Associations opportunity to both integrate contextual con- A growing set of National Employer Associations tent in academic courses and teach 21" century and leading businesses are supporting the career workplace skills. academy high school redesign strategy, providing 4. Make Sure Career Academy Entrepreneurs a community with a set of prospective partners. Are Part of Master Plan 9. Develop Career Academy Marketing Plan Career Academy Entrepreneurs are hired by the Everyone in the community needs to know district or the local business community to about the academies...parents, students, busi- fundraise for the career academies and ensure ness leaders and educators, particularly early in business participation. As career academy net- the academys evolution. Great marketing plans works evolve, these entrepreneurs also balance reach down to elementary and middle schools, support among academies and offer business a are presented in a variety of languages, and sup- single point of contact. port academy visits by younger students. 5. Use Career Academy Evaluations for 10. Maintain Business Leaders Engagement Continuous Improvement Keep business leaders at the table alter the mas- A career academy evaluation rubric will ensure ter plan is constructed. They have a vital role to academies are successful. Academy leaders use play in creating a sustainable "culture" for acade- the rubric to guide improvement. On-going mies. Great career academy networks need on- evaluations also serve as a professional develop- going, steady leadership from companies who ment tool for academy leaders, their administra- understand the value of staying involved with tors, and the business advisory community educational leaders who value their commitment. 6. Centralize Magnet, Choice, Small Learning 11. Understand, Defend, and Fund What Makes Communities, Career Academy and Career Career Academies Special Technical Education Operations under One Leader Develop a funding plan to ensure key academy ingredients remain a part of the career academy A career academy system should align all Career such as common planning time, release time for Technical Education and choice programs under academy leaders, professional development, and a single district leader to focus reform energies priority scheduling. The improvement in gradu- toward a unified set of goals. Networks have ation rates and all other measures is ultimately failed because multiple points of contact within worth the minor "diseconomies of scale" which Career academy success requires the creation of a master plan that sets forth career academy annual and five-year growth goals. The master plan should be advised by economic development and community infrastructure needs and developed with the participation of the external and education partners.52 Economic Development Journal / Spring 2007
  7. 7. are likely when large, efficient, but often failing schools evoive into career academies, A carefully designed plan provides students with12. Ensure Career Academy Provides Students with College Credit a clear path to their future by ensuring that each A carefully designed plan provides students high school career academy is affiliated with a with a clear path lo their future by ensuring that post-secondary institution that will reward students each high school career academy is affiliaied with a post-secondary institution that will with college credit. Encouraging close bonds between reward students with college credit. high schools and post secondary is a primary strategy Encouraging close bonds between high schools and posl secondary is a primary strategy in in addressing our cycle of remediation. addressing our cycle of remediation.CONCLUSION not making smart choices about the career choices when they go to college. The examples noted here Workforce and economic development are likely provide solid evidence that business and educationto face some of their most serious challenges in the can unite around a high school redesign model thatnext 10 years as the baby boom retires and global both prepares students for smart college and careercompetition grows. A 21 century US workforce choices and prepares a workforce locally that busi-ready to meet this challenge is unlikely io evolve nesses can count on. ^Irom a 20" century school system in which so manystudents are failing and even successful students are TOOLS FOR YOUR COMMUNITY lEDC ADVISORY SERVICES & RESEARCH CAN HELP YOUR COMMUNITY SUCCEED. For over 20 years, lEDCs Advisory Services and Research department (ASR) has offered technical assistance and customized analysis to local and state economic development organizations, federal agencies and many others. ASR delivers cost-effective economic development solutions in: Strategic Planning Organizational Development & Program Analysis Real Estate Development INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOIMENT Finance and Funding COUNCIi. Technology-led Development The Power of Business Attraction, Retention Knowledge and Leadership and Expansion Neighborhood & Commercial Revitalization For more information, contact Ed GilUland at 202-942-9461 or Economic Development Journal / Spring 2007 53