Career Readiness – Recommendations

CAREER READINESS WORK GROUP

As part of its initial charge, the Career Readiness work group sought to:

  • Identify and examine the impact of strategies and related policies to increase college completion rates.
  • Identify and examine the impact of post-secondary career readiness strategies to provide work experience, training, and career credentialing opportunities for young adults with a high school diploma.
  • Identify and examine the current sector-based employment programs and policies, community college-based partnerships, and strategies for opportunity youth ages 18–24.

Recommendations

The Career Readiness work group put forth the below set of initial, strategic recommendations to move the needle on our key indicators for this outcome. The group monitored the following progress to date:

RECOMMENDATION 1

Increase college completion rates by implementing a large-scale guaranteed scholarship model for four-year colleges/universities and conducting further research to understand the impact of tuition guarantees on the population of students who attend community colleges to pursue associate degrees and/or transfer to four-year institutions.

Progress to Date:

  • The set of scholarship model criteria developed was shared with city leaders as they considered the development of a guaranteed scholarship model.
  • Further research was conducted to understand strategies that provide wrap-around support addressing academic and non- academic needs during the high school advising/matching phase, transition from high school to college matriculation, and year-to- year retention during college.
  • A small task group with representatives from the institutions of higher education commonly attended by BCPS graduates was created to implement retention elements identi ed as best practices through research.

RECOMMENDATION 2

Improve the quality of data collected on training completion, job placement, job retention, and wages. Develop a mechanism to inform consumers and policy makers about outcomes related to workforce training.

Progress to Date: The work group is actively pursuing strategies toward the further development and implementation of this recommendation including:

  • Actively promoting career credentialing/skills training for high demand occupations in growth sectors as a viable alternative to and/or a rst credential on the way toward a degree. For example, a mini-pilot of web-based career assessment and guidance tool, My Best Bets, is underway at three Baltimore out-of-school youth- focused organizations, per the coordination of TheCONNECT.
  • Supporting the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board (BWIB) and its staff at the Mayor’s Of ce of Employment Development (MOED) in building the capacity to serve as the local repository for performance data on tuition-free, community-based occupational skills training programs.
  • Supporting the Baltimore Educational Research Consortium (BERC) as it conducts research to better understand the educational and employment trajectories of BCPS students, using administrative data assembled by the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center (MLDSC).
  • Exploring effective interventions to increase cohort-level completion, job placement, and the consistent collection and public reporting of wage data regarding for-credit and non-credit tuition-based certi cate and degree programs. For example, BERC and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) are analyzing educational pathways and completion rates of graduates of city schools that enroll at CCBC.

RECOMMENDATION 3

Expand opportunities for tuition/supports for credentialing programs in conjunction with expansion of existing effective training programs and the creation of new training programs.

Progress to Date: A proposal to create the Baltimore Fund for Occupational Training via the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board was developed. The Fund will help sustain, strengthen, and expand the existing network of high-quality, tuition-free, community-based credentialing programs that meet employers’ needs for skilled workers and align with jobs in growth sectors. The proposal was shared with a state lawmaker for possible inclusion in the 2016 legislative package, but corresponding legislation was never introduced. The work group has revised this recommendation in an effort to support a two-year initiative to double the number of opportunities for 18–24 year olds to participate in occupational skills training that leads to career track employment. The updated recommendation will be adopted as a demonstration model in the coming months.