Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Advocates > Bill's Blog > default
Bill's Blog
      Bill's Blog
May 19
DNA of Human Performance

We've been doing a lot of work with CHE Trinity Health, the Health Professions Network (HPN), and the Health Professions Pathways (H2P) Consortium to think deeply about the competencies related to health care jobs and their relationship to job performance. We completed detailed O*NET based job analysis at CHE Trinty Helath for 17 job families. And, we've had the opportunity to collaborate with HPN and H2P to align our understanding of competencies with the Health Care Core Curriculum. This presentation titled the DNA of Human Talent is an overview of that work.

May 19
Joyce Foundation Evaluation of Shifting Gears

Joyce Foundation published their evaluation of the Shifting Gears ​project last year. Shifting Gears invested $8 million across 6 midwest states to improve education and skills development systems for adult learners: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

May 01
Lumina 2014 Stronger Nation Report Released

Lumina released the 2014 Stronger Nation Report (218 pages) yesterday and an interactive web-based summary. ​If you only have time to read one page, read page 2. It provides an overview of the top-level data and projections. The Lumina data is encouraging and especially valuable because they include associate degrees and estimates for certificates. Many good paying jobs are middle-skill jobs, with postsecondary education represented by a certificate. Tracking of certificates will become more accurate as the U.S. Census Bureau begins to include certificates in educational attainment reporting. Lots of good news here. Take the time to look at this report.

April 30
Investing in Frontline Hospital Workforce

Joyce Foundation, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and Jobs for the Future published CareerSTAT: A Guide to Making the Case for Investing in the Frontline Hospital Workforce in April 2012.​ A list of common features of programs is provided on page 3 and a list of employer needs that drive investment is provided on page 10. Organization performance metrics to justify investments are provided on pages 11 and 13. This is a great starting point for individuals wishing to design a program to invest in the front line.

April 29
Principles for Competency-Based Education Programs

Johnstone and Soares published Principles for Developing Competency-Based Education Programs in Change Magazine this month. The authors are from Western Governors University (WGU). The article describes the work of WGU over the last year to share their CBE model with eleven community colleges across the country.​

April 20
Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN)

​The Competency-Based Education Network, a national network for developing higher education models, has selected an initial cohort of colleges and universities to address shared challenges to designing and developing competency-based degree programs and related business models. The cohort includes 18 institutions. The network is supported by Lumina.

April 19
Competency-Based Credentials Now!

Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW), Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), and several others issued a call to move the nation to a competency-based credentialing system. Read more on the Jobs for the Future blog or the full ​Call for a National Conversation on Creating a Competency-Based Credentialing Ecosystem.

April 13
Education to Employment Systems

McKinsey Center for Government published Education to Employment: Designing a System that Works in December 2012. ​This is a fantastic report for those of you at the table for policy discussions. A team from McKinsey sought to understand the crisis and paradox of high youth unemployment levels and high numbers of unfilled jobs - commonly expressed as the skills gap. They looked at systems across nine countries - Brazil, Germany, India, Mexico, Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States - to frame the situation and look for promising practices to scale up. Take a look at the six highlights in the executive summary on pages 18-21, and spend a few minutes with the diagram of their framework on page 26. Their survey and this report seek to provide data in a space with little data. I was particularly encouraged how well their findings dovetail with our vision of Talent SCM. This is a wonderful contribution. If you're at the policy table, spend some time with this report.

April 12
Cracks in the Credit Hour

December 2012 we passed an important milestone in our Nation's journey from the time-in-seats model to a competency-based model of education. "The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching on Tuesday announced that it would use a $460,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to study the Carnegie Unit, which forms the basis of a time-based measurement of student learning." reported by Inside Higher Ed, December 5th, 2012. Previously, in September 2012, the New America Foundation published Cracking the Credit Hour providing fuel for this journey. This report is both valuable and timely.

April 12
Competency-Based Education: Who's Doing What

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) published Competency-Based Education: Who's Doing What in September 2013. For those of us working on competency-based career pathways using stackable certificates this is an encouraging list. Thanks to Vincent Scudella at ECS for pulling this together.

June 19
Low "Engagement" Costs Employers Billions

​Gallup released the 2013 State of the American Workforce report. It provides the most recent data on employee engagement and insights for business leaders. The related Gallup blog entry provides an introduction and executive summary to the full report. Career coaching is a tool that would certainly help improve levels of engagement. Note Question 6 on page 19.

June 14
Lumina - A Stonger Nation Through Higher Education

Lumina released the 2013 annual report A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education today. This report includes for the first time estimates of the percentage of American's with high-value postsecondary certificates in addition to college degrees (see pages 2 and 3 of the report).​

June 05
The Reality of College Readiness 2013 by ACT

Annually, ACT provides each state with The Condition of College & Career Readiness, a report that details the college readiness of students who took the ACT® college readiness assessment. Based on extensive empirical research, ACT has defined “college and career readiness” as the acquisition of knowledge and skills a student needs to enroll and succeed in credit-bearing first-year college courses at a postsecondary institution without the need for remediation. This definition has been adopted by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. This report, The Reality of College Readiness 2013, is a companion to The Condition of College & Career Readiness.

June 03
DOE Endorsement of SNHU Competency-Based Program

Southern New Hampshire University's (SNHU) College for America (CfA) associate degree program is the first competency-based program approved by the Department of Education for Title IV funding. Learn more about this important step forward for competency-based education at Community College Week. See a list of competency-based education pioneers.

May 30
CSW Benchmarking Project Report for CBOs

​Community-based organizations (CBOs) help people prepare for and find good jobs. This new report provides helpful data so CBOs can evaluate their effectiveness in this important work. Click here to read Apples to Apples: Making Data Work for Community-Based Workforce Development Programs.

May 30
ACT Standards and Benchmarks for Work Readiness

ACT ​released a new report today entitled Work Readiness Standards and Benchmarks. This is an interesting report that is based on the empirical data from ACT's JobPro database. So, this is a "real world" definition of readiness based on foundation skills. More at the ACT website. This is an excellent contribution to an important topic. For more, look at "The New Definition of Career Readiness" covered in the October 19th blog post below.

May 22
WIA Performance Metrics for NCRC Holders

Frank Neely, Research Analyst, Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri recently published findings that higher NCRC certificate levels indicate improved job placement, improved earnings, and improved job retention. Read the Southwest Missouri WorkReady Communities annoucement and download the full report for more information. It is interesting to note that individuals with less than high school education and a Gold certificate earn more than individuals with an Associates degree and a Silver certificate. The market pays for skills. NCRCs help people secure and keep good jobs.

November 29
NPR Educators Worry Revamped GED Will Be Too Pricey

NPR recently published Educators Worry Revamped GED Will Be Too Pricey. It is interesting to note that many people return to school to improve skills to get a better job. NPR said it this way ... so when somebody gets an epiphany and says, "I need to get my high school diploma so that I can get a job ..." The NCRC is an employment focused credential. It seems that states ought to consider the NCRC as an alternative to the GED. Since the NCRC is better aligned with skills people need to perform at work, they might find the NCRC is better, faster, and cheaper.​

November 05
AIR College and Career Readiness: Quick Stats Fact Sheet

This new report by the American Institutes for Research National High School Center is the worst report in recent memory. This is an example of the "Bachelor Degrees for All" movement that adopted the phrase "College and Career Readiness" in name only. This report totally ignores the voices of employers. Here are two blatant fouls: (1) Under the title College and Career Aspirations there is not a single point on careers, and (2) ​under the title Preparation for College and Work the only work referenced is college-level work. People please. Work is something we do for our employers to earn a paycheck. And, good careers are best defined as a series of good jobs. Please look up the words work and career in a dictionary and use them correctly.

November 04
Credentials for College and Career Readiness

Ray Henson provides an excellent overview in his recent article published in the NCDA Career Convergence web magazine. Take a look at Documenting College and Career Ready Students. Ray provides a clear case why Career Readiness Certificates are a good and valuable companion to college readiness tests.​

November 03
Year of the MOOC

MOOC - Massive Open Online Course​s - are upon us. Read more about the Year of the MOOC in this New York Times article. It will be interesting to see how this market - the new knowledge market - will be organized. Somehow we will all need a reliable way to validate that people actually new competencies as a result of these classes. Some indicator of accomplishment will be needed so that employers can recognize the capabilities created in the classes.

October 19
The New Definition of Career Readiness

A new entry on the Gallup Blog by Tim Hodges announces The New Definition of Career Readiness.​ Within the blog is a link to a new website CareerReadyNow by the Career Readiness Partner Council. The definition of career ready put forth here is: "A career-ready person effectively navigates pathways that connect education and employment to achieve a fulfilling, financially-secure and successful career." There is also a link to the report What it Means to be Career Ready. Most of us have figured out that the relabeling of College Readiness as College and Career Readiness is not the answer. Education anchored in readiness for freshman year at college is not sufficient. We need to anchor college and career readiness in careers ... careers that are a series of good jobs that provide a sound financial footing and quality of life. This is a significant step forward in that conversation. And, a lot of the right people are at the table. Very encouraging.

October 17
Work-Life Earnings Infographics

The Census Bureau has an excellent set of online infographics for just over a dozen career pathways. In two or three minutes you can quickly interact with the data to compare the value of various pathways and educational levels.​

October 14
Education at a Glance, OECD Indicators

​The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published their annual education indicators report Education at a Glance last month. This report compares education indicators for the 34 OECD member countries and a few others. It contains some very interesting graphics. It is a comprehensive report, so if you are in a hurry, start with the graphics on pages 26, 28, 29, 30, and 32. Our standard of living is in large part based on the productivity of our citizens. Political stability and education are key drivers of productivity. Our standing in the world is changing and this report illustrates one of the key reasons.

October 13
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Competency-based education is here now. The transition from "time in seats" to "competency based" and is sure to accelerate. To learn more about this exciting innovation in education read the new CLASP report Giving Credit Where Credit is Due. For a quick introduction, start with the blog of George Lorenzo at​ The NCRC is a competency-based credential that employers can trust. It represents content areas of reading, math, and locating information. And, overall it represents competency in critical thinking. Colleges need to embrace the NCRC and begin to provide credit where credit is due by implementing the ACE recommendation to offer three college credits for individuals that earn an NCRC. And, secondary systems should develop articulation agreements with community colleges so that high school graduates with NCRCs have the advantage of three NCRC-based college credits earned during high school. Read the ACT Press Release on the ACE recommendation.

June 25
Teachers Merit Increases Based on MME WorkKeys

Take a look a this article in the Free Press on the new teachers' contract in St. Clair. This is wonderful to reward teachers for building the skills that improve the earning power of students. Very encouraging.​ Thanks to everyone involved.

June 25
Let's Get Serious About Our Nation's Human Capital

The Center for American Progress published Let's Get Serious About Our Nation's Human Capital; A plan to reform the U.S. workforce tranining system this month. ​If you're in a hurry just read the five principles to reform the workforce system on pages 27 and 28. Fans of career coaching will find the ideas on Career GPS on pages 53 to 58 interesting.

April 06
Best Colleges Online and New College Majors

There is an interesting organization with an informative website Best Colleges Online. ​They posted a recent blog 12 College Majors We Hope to See Soon that has an interesting list of emerging occupations. We highlight the need for more blended learning models in the Talent SCM 2025 Vision Statement. And, of course, everything we do is related to evidence-based credentialing. As colleges and universities move more to online and blended learning models, the data that comes from job analysis will become more valuable. We need solid empirical evidence of the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that are in fact the basis for competency and performance on the job. And, colleges and universities need to align curriculum and assessments to assure that those competencies are fully developed in their graduates.

March 16
Deloitte Survey - Talent is the Top Challenge

Deloitte recently released their 2012 Top Five Total Rewards Survey. By Total Rewards, they mean total compensation package. The survey gives us a view into the mind of the employers as they think about how they provide compensation and how they communicate to employees about compensation so they are attractive to top talent.​ If you're in a hurry, just read pages 3 and 4 to see the key points on the talent shortage priority. And, read the related article in Widening Skills Gap Threatens Employers' Ability to Compete in Employee Benefit News.

February 27
Illinois to Add Third WorkKeys Test to PSAE

Illinois is working to add Locating Information to the Prairie State Achievement Exam in addition to WorkKeys Math and Reading. View the Winnetka Talk article here.​

February 27
New NCRC Plus Presentation from ACT

Click here to download a PDF of the new NCRC Plus presentation from ACT.​

February 24
Forbes, Manpower Opinion, and Talent SCM

Read the Manpower CEO opinion on the skills gap and Talent SCM in Forbes​ Magazine. And, learn more about Talent Supply Chain Management here.

February 24
State of Iowa - Skills Gap - NAM SCS and the NCRC

Paul Gregoire is a vice president with Fisher Controls in Marshalltown, Iowa. Read his opinion on the Iowa Skills gap, the NAM Skills Certification System, and the NCRC in the DesMoines Register.

February 20
U.S. Manufacturing Shortage of Skilled Workers

The Washington Post article U.S. manufacturing sees shortage of skilled factory workers provides details on the skills gap.​

February 19
New NAM Skills Gap Report - Boiling Point?

The Manufacturing Institute, the education affiliate of National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), issued their new report in 2011. Download: Boiling point? The skills gap in U.S. manufacturing​, a report on talent in the manufacturing industry sponsored by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute.

February 13
The 1000 Worker Initiative - Elgin Illinois

View a short video of the Elgin 1000 Workers Initiative on YouTube.​

February 13
YouTube Video of Virginia's CRC Program

View the Virginia CRC program video on YouTube.

February 09
Postsecondary - Don't Fear the Free Market

Don't Fear the Free Market by George Leef and Jane Shaw at The Pope Center for Higher Education includes references to the NCRC as a market defining credential.​ For more on this topic, also read The Growing Potential of Free Market Education in Forbes magazine.

January 28
Merit Badges for the Job Market

There is a very interesting project being launched by the Mozilla Foundation with support from the MacArthur Foundation. This WSJ article Merit Badges for the Job Market provides a nice overview.​ For more visit Mozilla's Open Badges project.

January 27
Saginaw Michigan and Certified Work Ready Communities

Kathy Conklin, executive director of the Saginaw County Business and Industry Partnership along with the Great Lakes Bay Manufacturers' Association convened a broad-based community discussion on work ready communites yesterday. Here's a link to my presentation Using WorkKeys to Build a Talent Supply Chain.​

January 24
News on Certified Work Ready Communities

View the press release on Certified Work Ready Communities and the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board.​

January 15
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin Visits Elgin Manufacturers

​Pat Hayes and friends spent some time with the Senator to discuss the NCRC and WorkKeys. Read about the visit to Hoffer Plastics here. And, view a video here.

January 14
Central Louisiana Employer Engagement Event

The Rapides Foundation is sponsoring an event to help employers and community leaders to understand the benefits of using the National Career Readiness Certificate to build a work-ready region in Central Louisiana. More here.​

January 09
Governor Lynch Announces WorkReady New Hampshire

​View the Governor's press releases from October 4, 2011 and October 11, 2011 or visit the WorkReady NH website to learn more.

January 07
Kentucky Certified Work Ready Communities

​Kentucky made headlines with their commitment to join the Certified Work Ready Communites initiative. More here.

January 05
College Majors, Unemployment, and Earnings

Anthony Carnevale and Georgetown CEW team released a new report yesterday: Hard times, Unemployment, Majors and Earnings, Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal. It is an excellent overview of earnings and unemployment for various college majors. Download here (20 pages).​ If you only have one minute, just look at the graphics on pages 7 and 8. And here is a related article in the Washington Post.

November 26
Right Skills Now

Download a comprehensive information package on Right Skills Now.​

September 29
A Better Measure of Skills Gaps

ACT published a new research report on the "skills gap"' based on ACT Skill Profile data and assessment data. This report clarifies the skills gap at all levels in four major industry sectors. Find a link to the report on our Employers page or download the full report here.

August 24
Driving Innovation from the Middle

​National Skills Coalition published Driving Innovation from the Middle; Middle-Skill Jobs in the American South's Economy this month for the Southern Governors Association. This report contains specific appendicies for: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia.

August 08
Where Are All the Employers? - They're Here!

The Advocates recently compiled a list of employers - thousands of employers - that use certificates and WorkKeys in their hiring processes. If you know of employers that are missing from the list, please encourage them to sign up on their state certificate program website or send us a letter of support to post on our website. Letter of support forms can be found on our Employers page.

1 - 50Next


Bill Guest, Executive Director

National CRC Advocates