Interim Joint Committee on Education

 

Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 2nd Meeting

of the 2004 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> November 8, 2004

 

The<MeetNo2> 2nd meeting of the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on<Day> Monday,<MeetMDY2> November 8, 2004, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in<Room> Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Mary Lou Marzian, Presiding Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Senator Jack Westwood, Co-Chair; Representative Mary Lou Marzian, Co-Chair; Senators Vernie McGaha, R.J. Palmer II, and Gary Tapp; and Representatives Buddy Buckingham, C.B. Embry Jr, Bill Farmer, Mary Harper, and Charles Siler.

 

LRC Staff:  Jonathan Lowe and Lisa Moore.

 

Representative Marzian welcomed the members.  Senator Palmer made the motion to approve the minutes, which was seconded by Senator Westwood.  The motion was approved by voice vote.  Representative Marzian welcomed Dr. Dan Ash, the Louisville Mayor's Liaison for Education and Workforce Development and Executive Director of Metropolitan College. Dr. Ash made a presentation to the committee on the new education workforce initiatives in Louisville Metro.

 

Dr. Ash asked members to follow along with his PowerPoint presentation with the handouts in their folders.  He said the program is called the Workforce Education (WE) Initiative, and is Louisville's P-16 Council. He asked members to think of it as a general community effort to find ways of bringing together education, workforce initiatives, and employers.  The primary focus is on how Kentucky pulls together education interests and workplace interests.

 

Dr. Ash said WE focuses on several purposes: 1) educational attainment; 2) aligning secondary experience with postsecondary expectations; 3) creating meaningful transfer across postsecondary institutions; 4) providing a forum for collaboration; and 5) disseminating information.  The WE structure is comprised of education, business, and community-based organizations, and government.  It is a regional effort, with 10 people representing Louisville and 10 people representing Indiana and surrounding counties.

 

Dr. Ash said the WE issues include: 1) articulation and transfer (includes 34 counties with 26 postsecondary institutions); 2) secondary-postsecondary alignment; 3) Go Higher (TeN transfer study and stop-out study); 4) development of education/work certification milestones such as WorkKeys, Kentucky Employability Certificate (KEC), and ANCOR; 5) work with higher education roundtable (Presidents/CEO's of 26 regional postsecondary institutions; 6) education-workforce advocacy to mayor and regional governmental leaders; 7) student achievement gaps; 8) English as a Second Language (ESL); and 9) having a responsive workforce system such as building foundations, building transitions, and building connections. 

 

Dr. Ash said roughly 80 percent of students in college must also work while in school now.  The average debt a student has nationally when they graduate college is $20,000, and one of the fastest growing ways that people are funding their education is through credit cards.  He said families need to be reached earlier in order to get them focused on financing their children's education in order to avoid paying higher interest rates on credit cards.

 

Dr. Ash said that while the WE initiative focuses on postsecondary preparedness, in fact Kentucky needs to find ways to help people to prepare before they enter into college.  He said students do not necessarily know how to plan for their education upon enrolling into postsecondary education. Dr. Ash said the WE initiative also focuses on work preparedness, which involves preparing students to understand what it means to go to work.  He said human resources directors in the workplace want new employees to understand work schedules and habits, and other issues upon entering the workforce.

 

Dr. Ash said the WE initiative is committed to building transitions.  This is designed to reach individuals who are out of school to get them into educational settings, help them to move from secondary to postsecondary education, and then from postsecondary to work.  He also said the initiative wants to build strong connections by creating educational settings within the workplace and workplace settings into the educational effort.  An example would be the Every1 Reads program, which is sponsored by the Jefferson County Public School System, with the idea that all students in the system should be able to read at the appropriate level by 2008.  Jefferson Community College (JCC) also has a wonderful transition program in cooperation with Kentucky Adult Education that allows people to complete their GED's and attend college at JCC simultaneously.

 

Dr. Ash said the building connections programs include an effort called Project CREW. He invited all members to come and visit Project CREW in Louisville.  JCC, prior to Project CREW, had one person in place to administer workplace advising for 13,000 students.  Dr. Ash said this was simply inadequate, and JCC students needed more connections between the workplace and education.  He began working with Michael Gritton, KentuckianaWorks, to create a program where folks go into the classroom early in the semester and show people the ways they are connected to work.  Students go through a process where they can explore career opportunities, work, and education.  Dr. Ash said most students encounter one of two fundamental problems when they begin their education.  The first one is knowing what to pick as a major, but having no idea on how to connect that with a job.  The second problem is having a career in mind, but not knowing what to study in school in order to get the appropriate training. 

 

Dr. Ash said CREW stands for Connecting Resources, Education, and Workforce.  Project CREW offers a unique partnership offering of full array of career development services to: Metropolitan College participants at all three partner institutions; all students at JCC and Jefferson Technical College; and serves as a core "one-stop" career center for residents of Louisville Metro. Project CREW wants to reach students at the beginning of their education, and not at the end. 

 

Dr. Ash said Project CREW did not wait until there was funding available to start the initiative.  He said many people pulled together to begin the work.  Project CREW has seen a tremendous amount of success, and they are looking for ways to build upon this initiative to model it in other places such as Carrolton, Shelbyville, and western Louisville.

 

Dr. Ash said there are three phases of Project CREW.  They are: 1) exploration; 2) planning; and 3) placement. In the exploration phase, Project CREW does alot of web-based career assessment, counsels the students, provides workshops and classroom instruction, and works with students to help them transfer. In the planning phase, Project CREW helps the students specifically with resume writing, mock interviews, internships and coop education, and helps them with their academic major plan. In the placement phase, Project CREW assists students with a web-based job search, job search skills, and helps to establish relationships with local employers. 

 

Dr. Ash discussed the matrix available on www.greaterlouisvilleworks.com through the Occupational Outlook icon. The website provides detailed career information for the Greater Louisville bi-state region, including the education and skills required for success.  It helps individuals make informed career and educational choices, and assists educators, and workforce/economic development professionals with career counseling and strategic planning.  The Kentuckiana Occupational Outlook site also provides a list of the fastest growing occupations. The existing Occupational Outlook shows the trends from 2002-2012.  It also allows students who click on a certain occupation to see what educational institutions offers the degree or certification for that job.

 

Dr. Ash discussed the education-friendly employers network.  It is a huge benefit for students to know which employers are willing to offer educational and tuition assistance. Over the next six months, the Metropolitan College will be sending out surveys to human resource managers in the region to find out what, if any, tuition assistance the workplaces are offering to employees, as well as professional development, child care assistance, money for textbooks, flexible scheduling, and any other valuable benefits and services to employees.

 

Dr. Ash said colleges do not have a handle right now on what educational levels employers are expecting of job applicants. Do they require a high school diploma or a bachelor's degree? The Metropolitan College is also trying to determine if employers are working with high schools in any way through internships, coops, etc.  He said it has been proven that if students can begin working in the summer between their junior and senior year, and in the summer after their senior year, this has a tremendous impact on cutting down on the number of dropouts. 

 

Dr. Ash said the Metropolitan College worked with UPS to help increase its employee retention rate.  The employee retention has not only increased, but it has been sustained.  The retention rate for employees at UPS prior to the program was about eight weeks, and now it is well over 94 weeks.  He said workers are staying at UPS much longer than anticipated.  Dr. Ash said a higher proportion of workers at UPS are also students now.  The original goal was 35 percent by 2007, and in 2001 the goal was increased to 59 percent by 2007, and the current retention rate is now closer to 80 percent.  As student hires have increased, the turnover rate has decreased.  UPS finds this data the most beneficial from the Metropolitan College.

 

Dr. Ash said academic retention rates have benefited from the program as well.  At JTC, 25 percent of the students enrolled in the fall of 2000 were still enrolled in the fall of 2001.  The retention rates from year to year are increasing over time.  Dr. Ash said the retention rate at the Metropolitan College is 66 percent versus the 36 percent retention rate at JTC.  He said the retention rate at JCC was about 35 percent in the fall of 2000, and is up to 47.5 percent in the fall of 2003.  He said similar results are occurring at the University of Louisville (UofL).  He said UofL's typical retention rate was 70 percent and the Metropolitan College's was at 42 percent.  Now, the Metropolitan's College retention rate is at 74 percent, which is almost the equivalent of the UofL.   

 

Representative Siler said he lives on the opposite end of the state from Louisville.  He said he did not see in Dr. Ash's model a concerted effort to recoup older workers.  In Representative Siler's region, Eastern Kentucky University has opened an extended campus and over 1,100 of its students fall into the older worker category (people who left school, and went into some other field, and now have lost their job, and are back in school).  Dr. Ash said he is working on the adult education component with Dr. Cheryl King, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), to help students finish their GED and move on.  He said getting adults into an educational setting to improve their quality of life is an absolute key.  Mr. Gritton said the Kentuckiana College Access Center serves anybody 19 and older who are looking to enroll into postsecondary education.  Representative Siler said many of these people probably would not have returned to the educational setting had their industries not downsized, shutdown, etc.  He said this population has great potential and just reminded Dr. Ash not to leave them out.

 

Mr. Gritton introduced Mr. Jack Howard, deputy director, KentuckianaWorks, who has partnered with the adult education providers to assist employers in determining if their employees need adult education help, or remedial help in math or english, to find your way to a GED or back into the workforce.  He said Louisville Metro is doing everything they can even in the midst of funding gaps and shortages to ensure they are serving everyone.

 

Representative Farmer discussed retention rates, but wondered about graduation rates.  He thinks there should be a correlation between retention and graduation rates.  Are there success stories?  Dr. Ash said he would have get the graduation rate data for the students in the Metropolitan College to Representative Farmer.  He said to keep in mind that staff tells students not to attend college full-time while working.  It is suggested that students carry no more than 9 credit hours while working, and usually raising a family.  Therefore, Metropolitan College students tend to take longer to graduate.  Dr. Ash will get the graduates rates to LRC staff who will distribute to the committee.

 

Representative Marzian said she was very impressed with the Kentuckiana Occupational Outlook chart that allows employers and high school students to see what job opportunities are there, and how to direct their education towards a specific career.  She said this information should be included in the roundtable discussions with the 26 postsecondary presidents so they can disseminate this information out in the state.  Dr. Ash said this has only been used for the Louisville Metro area.  Mr. Gritton said the Office of Employment and Training (formerly the Department of Employment Services) has created tools like this Occupational Outlook at the state level.

 

Representative Marzian asked how the schools have handled the cuts in the education budget.  Dr. Ash said it has created a real strain on the system.  He said JCC has great challenges with adjunct faculty funding, and there is not enough faculty in key areas such as healthcare.  He said JCC also does not have the facilities to offer the coursework to educate people in key areas.  Representative Marzian said Kentucky colleges are seeing these same problems across the state.

 

Representative Marzian said nurses are not filling their program capacity across the board.  Dr. Ash said these are mock up numbers he has provided as an illustration of how to use the tool.  He does not want to mislead members into thinking the numbers in this example are accurate.  Representative Marzian said that potential nursing students nonetheless are having a hard time taking the courses to meet the requirements to get into the nursing program, and she is afraid that some of these students may give up.  Mr. Gritton said he and Mr. Howard have been working with some healthcare employers over the last couple of weeks, and JCC has a waiting list of over 400 students waiting to get in line to take the gateway courses to healthcare careers (anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry).  He said Louisville is trying to grow in the areas of healthcare and biotech, and people are wanting to enter into these fields because they know that is where the jobs are.  He said funding cuts are affecting capacity because people cannot begin their training, since JCC is telling them to take a number and wait until a slot opens up.

 

Senator McGaha asked about the advanced courses requiring proficiency in mathematics and the students waiting for these courses.  He said it is alarming that a high percentage of students require remediation coming out of high school and entering postsecondary education. He said students are required to meet certain levels of competencies in secondary education, and immediately are required to meet new levels upon entering postsecondary education.  Has the postsecondary and secondary worked together to coordinate this?  Where does the business community fit to solve this problem?  Where is the connection? 

 

Dr. Ash said there is not enough connection right now.  He meets with employers on the workforce education initiative who suggest the same sort of problem of disconnection.  Dr. Ash recommended two things.  They are: 1) Kentucky needs to offer college level coursework for those students who can do the math work earlier in high school; and 2) Kentucky needs a closer relationship with the community college personnel and employees, and students should complete the WorkKeys assessment to determine where they are on their math skills so that can be directly addressed to what employers need.  Mr. Gritton added that employers are stupefied and dumbfounded when they learn that students are measured by grade point average and Commonwealth Assessment Testing Service (CATS) scores all the way through the K-12 education system.  He said the misalignment of what higher education requires for a student to begin college level work and CATS has got to be fixed.  He said to the state's credit, and to the CPE's credit, they are working to accomplish this through the American Diploma Project, and other initiatives. 

 

Senator McGaha discussed the UPS retention rate, which is purpose driven, and is sky high.  He said CATS is not looked at as an evaluation tool after high school and this is a problem.  He wondered if the 400 students on the waiting list at JCC are ready to enter into college coursework.  Mr. Gritton said he doubts it.

 

With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.