Post-Secondary Education

While occupations in the science, technology, engineering and math—or STEM—fields may not make up a huge portion of total jobs, those positions are growing quickly. STEM jobs make up about 6.2 percent of all employment (8.3 million positions) and grew at a rate of just under 10 percent from May 2010 to May 2014 while total employment across all occupations grew by 6 percent over the same period. In Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington state, at least 9 percent of total employment falls under a STEM category. That’s compared to just 3 percent of jobs in Mississippi and Nevada.  

On July 27, state legislators and postsecondary officials attended the CSG Policy Academy on Innovative Delivery Models in Postsecondary Education addressing new strategies in postsecondary education as part of the CSG West Annual Meeting held in Vail, Colorado. 

On July 27, state legislators and postsecondary officials attended the CSG Policy Academy on Innovative Delivery Models in Postsecondary Education addressing new strategies in postsecondary education as part of the CSG West Annual Meeting held in Vail, Colorado.

Many education officials are turning to the business community to spark conversation about regional hiring needs, deficits in worker skills and the training necessary to allow for family-sustaining wages and for continued industry growth.

Undocumented immigrants in Connecticut may soon qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid due to separate pieces of legislation passed by the state’s House and Senate in May. The House bill, signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy in June, expanded a 2011 law that reduced the required length of in-state high school attendance from four years to two in order to qualify for in-state tuition. The Senate bill, which has been sent to the House for review, would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for various forms of financial aid, including waivers, grants and student employment.

Making the transition between military service and civilian life can be a difficult challenge for service members. Many find themselves without a job or the means to support a family without returning to school to further their knowledge and skills. But making the move from a battlefield to a college campus can be a difficult, isolating experience for student veterans.

The state of Vermont has begun collecting funds for a new program designed to guarantee a college scholarship for every child born to Vermont residents.  As part of House Bill 448, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation will allocate $250 per child and $500 if that child’s family earns less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level.  Once a birth certificate is issued, the VSAC establishes a savings account on behalf of the child through the Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan. 

Rural communities in the South continue to face serious challenges in getting highly educated students to return home after college graduation. Research indicates that education may be a cause and effect for this rural “brain drain” phenomenon, and also the key to reversing the trend. Studies have shown that efforts to improve rural education contribute to rapid economic development in those areas, while a more educated community can serve as a catalyst for business expansion and increased civic engagement. This complimentary webinar, presented by CSG South/SLC, highlights the impact of education on rural development and examines initiatives in rural communities to entice educated former residents to return and invest in their hometowns.

Navigating the array of credentials in the U.S. can be tricky. Employers sometimes find themselves trying to compare degrees, certificates, industry certifications and other credentials among job candidates without an apples-to-apples guideline. “We’re looking for a way to make that more understandable, a way to interconnect them,” said Larry Good, chairman, co-founder and senior policy fellow of the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, a nonprofit organization that partners with governments, businesses and community leaders to help connect workers to education and good jobs. Good was one of three presenters in a recent CSG eCademy webcast, “Using Stackable Credentials to Increase Job Earnings.” He said credentials should be transferable, transparent, useful and easily understood by students, workers and employers.

A 2014 report by the National Skills Coalition said middle-skill jobs—those that require more than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year degree—account for 54 percent of the United States’ labor market, but only 44 percent of the country’s workers are qualified for these types of positions. One way the skills gap—the gap between skills that employers seek and the skills available in the workforce—can be decreased is to use stackable credentials to improve worker capabilities and competencies. This FREE eCademy webcast, presented by the CSG National Task Force on Workforce Development and Education, highlights innovative programs that are helping students gain the competencies they need by offering stackable credentials and credits for talent development.