June 30, 2014

We all know that a significant trend in training today is toward increased competency and accountability — with the net result being better on-the-job performance. Clearly, competency-based on-line courseware, with integrated measuring capabilities, will be recognized and used as one of the tools for reaching those goals.

Another change is the impending fall of the wall between business and post-secondary education. That wall has separated the two sectors for many years, but the pressure of global economic competition is leading many to plan for that barrier’s demise. The historical separation lies between business and that sector of the educational system responsible for the 75% or so of high school graduates who are not likely to earn a college baccalaureate degree. These students eventually comprise the majority of America’s front-line workforce, and the prosperity of this country depends on them.

Compared to other countries, American front-line workers lag far behind in the sophisticated skills needed for a country to compete internationally: communications, math, science, conceptual thinking, flexibility, responsiveness, and technological expertise.

Today, we are turning to our community college system to address these learning challenges — and, with good reason.

Recently, a partnership between business and local community colleges has been recognized by the federal government as the most likely way to erase educated-worker shortcomings.

This new federally funded partnership has been summarized in The Community College Week Blog:

The first round of what eventually will be $2 billion in grants to expand capacity and job-training at community colleges was announced today by federal labor and education officials. . . .

‘This initiative will connect community colleges and businesses that are ready to hire but need a better-trained workforce,’ said Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter. Funding comes from $2 billion included in the health care legislation approved by Congress last year.

Said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis: ‘The purpose here is to make sure community colleges are working with a segment of the business sector where workers are needed.’

The initiative is a critical part of President Obama’s education agenda and grew out of the White House Community College Summit last year. Obama wants to ensure that by 2020 the United States has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world, and believes that every American should have at least one year of post-secondary education. . . . “

Both business and the federal government have acknowledged that a new “learning bridge” must be built — and, we can all only hope that it will be consistent with today’s prevalent television-based learning culture. Alongside simulation-based learning labs, media-rich e-Learning is destined to become one of the most effective means to achieving the goals of this new partnership in learning.

We’re finally moving in the right direction!

More on Wednesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning