This event took place on June 1-2, 2016. For a summary, complete with videos of the event, please click here.
Upskilling for Economic Mobility: How Community Colleges Are Tackling the Middle-Skills Challenge
June 1-2, 2016
Can increased middle-skills training hold the key to advancing the American dream? Welders, computer programmers, certified nursing assistants, electronic technicians, and other middle-skills jobs, which require more than a high-school diploma but less than a four-year college degree, constitute the backbone of America’s workforce. Yet, only a minority of Americans hold such credentials, even as employers increasingly seek workers with post-secondary education to fill existing jobs and meet anticipated future demands.
Community colleges, which serve nearly half of the undergraduates across the nation, are reimagining how we can make the dream customizable and attainable for the mostly minority, low-income, and first generation college students who come through their doors. Innovative community college leaders across the country are dismantling the educational and technical barriers that so often derail low-skilled adults from gaining the training and credentials needed to secure middle-skills jobs. They are piloting and expanding models that deliver in-demand job skills more efficiently and effectively. Participants joined The Philanthropy Roundtable to explore these innovative strategies that equip people to compete and secure jobs in a continuously evolving economy.
Schedule of Events:
JUNE 1, 2016—Optional Site Visit
1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Career Training at Valencia College -- Valencia College achieves exceptional student graduation and work outcomes by offering clear pathways to in-demand jobs and careers. On this tour, participants visited training programs in architecture, engineering and technology, EMT/paramedic, dental hygiene and cardiovascular technology. Participants had the opportunity to see firsthand the elements that led to Valencia’s recognition for high achievement and performance by the Aspen Institute’s Prize for Community College Excellence.
6:00 p.m. Reception at the Grand Bohemian Hotel
JUNE 2, 2016—Program
8:30 – 8:40 a.m. Welcome
• Jo Kwong, director of economic opportunity, The Philanthropy Roundtable
8:40 – 9:10 a.m. How are Leading Community Colleges Responding to the Changing Skills Landscape?
• Welcome and Introduction – David Odahowski, president and CEO, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation
• Sandy Shugart, president, Valencia College
9:15 – 10:30 a.m. Session: Building Targeted, Accelerated and Guided Pathways to Jobs
In contrast to the traditional cafeteria menu of options, community college leaders are offering targeted courses of study that provide a clear roadmap and a guided approach from start to finish. Successful community colleges are intentional about training and aligning students with jobs that employers seek to fill. Speakers discussed what we know about the students who enroll at community college and examined the approaches that work in helping them complete programs and secure jobs.
• Marcia Ballinger, president, Lorain County Community College
• Davis Jenkins, senior research associate, Community College Research Center
• Monty Sullivan, president, Louisiana Technical and College System
• Discussion Leader – Amber Garrison Duncan, evaluation officer and strategy officer, Lumina Foundation
10:45 – 11:45 a.m. Session: Advancing Low-Skilled Adults into Careers, ABE and Remedial Education
Imagine the frustration of those who apply to community colleges only to be told they need to complete classes before acquiring school credit. The academic needs of many adults are so great that they face extensive adult basic education (ABE) class loads before they start building credits toward a certificates or associate’s degree program. Outstanding community colleges are making it possible for even the lowest educated students to get on track, stay on track and secure in-demand educational and technical skills.
• Chris Bustamante, president, Rio Salado College
• Jon Kerr, director of adult basic education, Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges
•Discussion Leader – Barbara Endel, senior director, Jobs for the Future
11:45 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch Session: The Long-Term Outcomes of Associated Degree Holders in Work and Life
Gallup and USA Funds conducted the first large-scale representative study of Associate Degree holders in the U.S. looking at their long-term outcomes in work and life. Particpants learned how they fare overall and in comparison to bachelor degree holders. Many surprising findings, which will guide and shape higher education practice and policy for years to come, were revealed.
• Brandon Busteed, executive director of education and workforce development, Gallup
• Carol D’Amico, executive vice president of national engagement and philanthropy, USA Funds
• Wendy Joy Oliver, director of grants, Dr. Phillips Charities
1:00 – 2:15 p.m. Session: Jobs Connections: Leveraging Labor Market Data and Employer Partnerships
Employer partnerships are essential to the success of guided pathways and other middle skills training programs. Today, community colleges use data-driven information about local workforce dynamics, including wage and hiring data, to build strategic partnerships with employers. Speakers shared their experiences in co-developing classes, accelerated degree programs and certificate trainings in collaboration with employers to expand job opportunities for both new and incumbent workers.
• Mary Enroth, chairwoman, Palmer Foundation
• Todd Oldham, vice president of economic development and innovative workforce services, Monroe Community College
• Eduardo Padron, president, Miami Dade College
• Discussion Leader – Liza Cowan, executive director, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Session: Crossing the Jobs Finish Line through Complementary Support Structures
Most community college students have children, full-time jobs and other competing demands on their time and resources. The best-structured educational career pathways can be derailed by a single child care crisis or a medical emergency. Additionally, those who do successfully complete their training programs often face hiring challenges due to weak professional “soft” skills. How are community colleges building complementary support structures, ranging from mentors and apps to collaborations with nonprofit organizations, to help low-income students cross the jobs finish line?
• Rosa Maria Castaneda, senior associate of Family Economic Success, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
• Art Gibel, president and CEO, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina
• Robert Templin, president emeritus, Northern Virginia Community College and senior fellow, Aspen Institute
• Matthew Muench, senior program officer, The Joyce Foundation
For more information about the content of this program, please contact Jo Kwong, director of economic opportunity programs, at jkwong@PhilanthropyRoundtable.org or 202-822-8333.
This TPR event for donors was held at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida.
There is no fee to attend the program. This solicitation-free event is open to individual donors, private foundation's trustees and staff, and corporate foundation staff who annually distribute at least $100,000 in charitable donations.