With two meetings completed, the Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation, and a Strong Economy continues to move at a rapid pace to meet its July deadline. The Board of Governors convened the task force to make recommendations that will increase completion of industry valued credentials, keep community colleges responsive to business and industry, and connect funds from multiple sources to support this effort. What follows is an update on the progress of the task force including the January 22 and April 2 meetings as well as the Academic Senate’s efforts to support the faculty representatives.
Workforce Task Force: January 22 Meeting
One of the primary goals of the January meeting was to provide the task force members with background and context for the discussions to come in the subsequent meetings. As a result, the bulk of the meeting time was devoted to presentations on the status of California’s workforce, job skill requirements, and the challenges that employers face in hiring qualified individuals. Useful information was provided by organizations outside of the California Community College System, including the Aspen Institute, which presented “The National Imperative to Close the Skills Gap,” and Burning Glass, with “Help Wanted: California’s Middle Skill Jobs,”which together helped create a framework for the discussion that followed. In addition, task force members provided information, opinions, and perspectives from the constituent groups and organizations they each represented. By the end of the meeting, task force members were able to reach agreement on certain issues that California faces in developing a skilled workforce to build a stronger economy.
Workforce Task Force: April 2 Meeting
The progress of the task force continued during the meeting in April with a primary focus on workforce data and outcomes. To build upon the work from the prior meeting and refine the information that emerged through the 11 Regional College Conversations, 3 career technical education (CTE) Faculty Regional meetings, and 5 Town Hall events from November through March, which included the ASCCC CTE Regional Meeting Report summarizing the findings from the three Faculty Regional Meetings in March and April held at Solano College, Palomar College, and Clovis College, the chair and co-chairs created an “Issues Statement” document. Task force members spent the first half of the meeting reviewing the Issues Statement in small groups to determine the appropriateness of each issue and identify any missing components. The task force then reviewed the work of the small groups and refined the Issues Statement document.
The second half of the meeting began with a presentation by Kathy Booth of West Ed as a follow up to the background paper supplied to the Task Force titled “Moving the Needle: Data, Success, and Accountability for Workforce Programs.” Booth reviewed the information presented in the paper and answered questions from task force members. This activity prepared the task force for working in small groups on the issues directly related to data and outcomes. The groups reviewed the workforce data and outcome ideas that arose in the regional meetings and town halls to again determine the issues’ significance, identify any missing components, and draft possible recommendations for consideration by the larger group. Once the small groups reported out, the task force determined which recommendations were to remain under consideration. Finally, a small writing group was formed to refine the draft recommendations on workforce data and outcomes for review and possible adoption at a future meeting.
Support for the Faculty Voice on the Task Force
As the task force’s work has proceeded, the ASCCC Futures Committee has supported the faculty representatives by researching resolutions to determine ASCCC positions on the issues raised at the CTE regional meetings and in the task force’s Issues Statement as well as any other related concerns. Further, in attempting to anticipate the evolution of the task force’s work, members of the Futures Committee and the CTE Leadership Committee authored resolutions for consideration at the ASCCC Spring Plenary Session. After deliberation, the body passed two resolutions that will inform the work of the faculty serving on the task force. The first, Resolution 5.01 S15 Exploring the Funding Model, states,
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work toward possible improvements that may change the California community college funding model as long as those changes do not detract from existing services and programs and do not diminish success, access, and equity; and
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges support the establishment of differential apportionment tied to higher cost instructional areas, primarily laboratory and activity courses, as long as these changes do not reduce or redirect current allocations in both general and categorical funding.
The second, Resolution 6.02 S15 Support Funding of Career Pathways and Coordination of Long Range Planning, states,
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges support current and future public investments in California high school to community college career pathways; and
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work with interested legislators to include long range goals and resources for coordinating and investing in career pathways at the state level.
These two resolutions will be guiding positions for the faculty representatives on the task force as the work progresses, particularly for discussions regarding funding and regional and statewide coordination. In addition, the Futures Committee has compiled past and recent ASCCC resolutions to inform task force discussions and provide direction for the participation of the faculty representatives.
Looking Ahead: Future Work of the Task Force
The third meeting of the task force is scheduled for May 13 and will address curriculum development, instructor recruitment and hiring, structured pathways, and student support. To assist in preparing task force members to consider recommendations in these areas, the Academic Senate authored two detailed background papers: “Essential Elements for Strong Programs: Curriculum Development and Instructors” and “Structured Pathways and Student Support.” Additionally, ASCCC Curriculum Chair Michelle Grimes Hillman and Statewide Career Pathways Articulation Liaison Kris Costa will be presenting on curriculum processes and statewide career pathways during the May meeting to assist in framing and informing the conversation.
The task force will continue to meet through the summer, with the fourth and fifth meetings scheduled for June 11 and July 29. The Academic Senate has created an email address (CTETaskForceComments [at] asccc.org (CTETaskForceComments)CTETaskForceComments [at] asccc.org (@)CTETaskForceComments [at] asccc.org (asccc.org)) for faculty to ask questions or provide comments and information to the faculty representatives as well as the Futures Committee. The ASCCC welcomes your feedback as the task force moves forward in completing its charge. Additionally, the task force documents referenced in this article may be found on the task force page of the Doing What Matters Website at http://doingwhatmatters.cccco.edu/StrongWorkforce.aspx. This site includes a “Feedback” link for interested individuals to submit comments to individual task force representatives or to the group at large.
Local senates and faculty statewide should remain informed regarding the progress of the Workforce Task Force. However, the work does not end when the task force submits recommendations to the Board of Governors. Rather, the real work will begin as the system starts the process of implementation and looks to the leadership of the Academic Senate for assistance in fulfilling the recommendations that fall within faculty purview. At that moment, a strong and sustainable connection to CTE faculty statewide will be critical. In anticipation, the ASCCC passed Resolution 17.02 S15 Establishing Local CTE Liaison Positions, urging “local academic senates to identify a CTE faculty member to act as a liaison to facilitate communication among local CTE faculty, the local academic senate, and the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.” In addition, to facilitate communication with our CTE colleagues the Academic Senate has created a CTE Faculty Listserv with subscription open to all interested individuals. The Academic Senate urges all local senates to establish a CTE liaison position and have that individual subscribe to the ASCCC CTE Faculty Listserv to stay in contact with ASCCC. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing info [at] asccc.org if you have questions or concerns.
The ASCCC thanks the faculty who attended the CTE Faculty Regional Meetings as well as those who have provided comments and input into the task force effort thus far. Faculty participation in the process has been invaluable, and the Academic Senate will continue to rely on the expertise of faculty throughout the state as the task force’s work continues into the summer and beyond.