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Feds seek input on career pathways training models

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President Barack Obama chats with a student studying mechatronics at the Community College of Allegheny County during his visit last week. 

More photos from the event

Photo: CCAC

​Three federal agencies charged with improving the federal workforce system are seeking public comments on how to do that.

The U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services are accepting feedback to better align federal grants and services in order to develop high-quality career pathways programs for job training participants. The interagency collaboration builds on President Barack Obama's focus on job-driven training.

"This joint effort will produce new ideas and new opportunities that will enhance job training programs and further improve how we serve individuals and communities," U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a press release. "Improving the link between workers and jobs that need to be filled will help strengthen our economy and the middle class."

The administration’s career pathways initiative is designed to link and coordinate education and training services in ways that enable workers to attain industry-recognized credentials and employment. The departments are working together to better align their programs at the state and local levels to support robust career pathways systems.

Submitted comments will also help the departments on policy development, investments and technical assistance.

Last week, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announced the concentrated effort at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania. The president noted new guidelines to participate in the final round of the Trade Adjustment Assistance and Community College and Career Training grants program and said $100 million would be made available to encompass more apprenticeships in job training efforts. Biden announced the apprenticeship initiative at the American Association of Community Colleges’ annual convention earlier this month.

Under the interagency effort, the departments will collect and analyze information that is expected to yield important insights on:

  • the benefits of and challenges to aligning diverse funding streams
  • programs and stakeholders around career pathway systems
  • the current and potential future use of career pathways systems to help at-risk populations gain skills and access the middle class

The response period is open until June 9.

The departments will also host a webinar on May 1 to give an overview of the career pathways program and instructions on how to submit comments.

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