Career Learning for Adult Self-Sufficiency (CLASS)


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This is a message from the Division of Youth Services Division Chief- Gregg Weltz announcing the NEW Youth Community of Practice.

This summer we are excited to launch our new Youth Community of Practice (CoP).  You are the first to join us and to help build an online community where we will learn from one another, share successful approaches and models, and advance youth workforce development efforts.

As we launch this new virtual community, we look forward to learning about what the CoP could and should be for you - its members.  We aim to make the CoP a user-friendly resource and a tool that is part of your everyday routine.

Unlike a static website, the Youth CoP will be an interactive and dynamic platform driven by the needs and interests of members.   In this time of limited resources and the need to be resourceful with what we have available, the CoP offers a solution that still allows us to interact and share without having to travel to a central location.

The CoP’s content will be delivered through a blended learning approach that will include Webinars, moderated chats, discussion threads, Podcasts, blogs, and toolkits.  Members will be able to pose programmatic questions and receive answers to inquires in a timely fashion from members all over the country.

The CoP will be divided into the following four topic areas: Youth Workforce Connections; Building Youth Talent; Emerging Industries for Youth; and Hot Topics.

We hope this CoP will meet your needs and expand the ability of all of us to share knowledge, collaborate, and develop workforce solutions which will prepare, educate, and train youth. The strength and usefulness of our Youth Workforce CoP comes from the contributions of its members.

Thank you for your engagement, innovation and support.

Gregg Weltz
Division Chief, Division of Youth Services
U.S. Department of Labor – Employment and Training Administration

Under Secretary Solis’s guidance, we have been challenged to re-connect youth and disadvantaged populations to the workforce through multiple career pathways.  Two recent events show real potential for some strategic partnerships to help address some parts of this challenge:  (1) a briefing series on Community Colleges at the Department of Education, and (2) a symposium on Capital Hill highlighting the results of four TRIO programs (Upward Bound, Talent Search, Upward Bound – Math/Science, and Student Support Services).

During the briefing at the Department of Education, Diane Troyer from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation talked about a post secondary initiative she is leading for the Foundation.  The more she talked about the need for low income students to obtain affordable credentials that have value in the workplace, are portable, with opportunities to earn and lean, the more I thought about the tremendous partnership opportunities for the Registered Apprenticeship community.

Likewise, the TRIO programs provide support to a pipeline of low income and 1st generation college students that are eager for opportunities that will help prepare them to better their lives through education, and skill attainment.

The more we partner strategically, the more we position ourselves to provide youth and disadvantaged populations with a wealth of opportunities that provide them the with the education, credentialing and work skills necessary to truly boost our economy and maintain our future economic vitality.

Although, the ultimate goal for TRIO programs are for students to obtain Bachelor degrees, the role of the Community College in the students overall success was acknowledged and supported.  So why not encourage these students to obtain high school diplomas, Associates Degrees in conjunction with Registered Apprenticeship programs as well as Bachelore and Master’s degrees?


A March 16, 2010 USA Article asks: "What if a college education just isn't for everyone" by Marklein, USA Today.  

Marklein reports, "Long before President Obama vowed last year that America will 'have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world' by 2020, the premium placed on going to college was firmly embedded in the American psyche. ... And yet, there's an undercurrent of concern about a group of students - sometimes called 'the forgotten half,' a phrase coined 22 years ago by social scientists studying at-risk young people - who, for whatever reason, do not think college is for them." According to USA Today, what is "still getting lost, some argue, is that too many students are going to college not because they want to, but because they think they have to."  Do you think this is true?

"Expand Apprenticeships"  that's what Justin Lahart from the Wall Street Journal suggests as a solution. 

Lahart points out- "The March employment report showed that American workers aged 16-24 had an unemployment rate of 18.8%, nearly double the 9.7% unemployment rate for the population at large. Even though these young workers represent only about an eighth of the work force, they account for a quarter of America’s unemployed."

This rise in youth unemployment is seen worldwide and has huge consequences socially and financially.  Read Lahart's article "Youth Unemployment Surges World-Wide" and let us know your solution!