Reporter’s notebook

Photo: Matthew Dembicki

  • ED challenge program focuses on pre-apprenticeships
  • State systems selected as overseeing entities for IRAPs
  • More on proposed digital learning and employment records

ED challenge program focuses on pre-apprenticeships

The U.S. Education Department (ED) on Thursday launched a $750,000 competitive program to expand career opportunities for adult learners through pre-apprenticeship programs.

The Rethink Adult Ed Challenge, with prizes totaling $750,000, will help Adult Education and Family Literacy Act-funded adult education providers create innovative and high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs in any industry, according to ED.

“This pre-apprenticeship challenge gives local education leaders the opportunity and encouragement they need to rethink adult education to match this new reality and ensure students are prepared for success,” U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a release.

Community colleges, correctional facilities, libraries, community-based organizations, and other eligible providers interested in entering the challenge should complete a Stage 1 submission by November 25. Curated resources are available at to support entrants as they prepare submissions. ED also will host a virtual information session on October 15.

The grand-prize winner will receive $250,000, and up to five runners-up will each receive at least $100,000.

State systems selected as overseeing entities for IRAPs

Two state community college systems and an apprenticeship program operated by another state two-year system were selected by the U.S. Labor Department to serve as entities to oversee the development of new industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs).

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS), Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana and ApprenticeshipNC (which is part of the North Carolina Community College System) will serve as so-called “standards recognition entities,” which are third-party industry and workforce organizations that will evaluate and recognize IRAPs.

The Colorado system will focus on the manufacturing, information technology, real estate and rental leasing, and healthcare and social assistance industries. Ivy Tech will focus on manufacturing. ApprenticeshipNC will serve the manufacturing, information, healthcare and social assistance, and accommodation and food services industries.

“This approval will allow us to aggressively scale apprenticeship development across our 13 colleges,” said Michael Macklin, associate vice chancellor of workforce development at CCCS.

While CCCS already supports dozens of registered apprenticeship programs through the Labor Department, IRAPs will help to expand opportunities beyond traditional programs, provide additional flexibility and customization, and bolster apprenticeship creation across all sectors, according to the system.

More on proposed digital learning and employment records

The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board this week released a new white paper on its proposed digital learning and employment records (LERs).

The 25-page document contains brief summaries of three projects testing LERs — including one that has Central New Mexico Community College as a partner — as well as an overview of challenges with LERs and a list of recommendations.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.