Reporter’s notebook

Screenshot of interactive tool developed by the Dallas College Research Institute to gauge ROI for attending college and economic mobility.

  • Tools help to understand, compare economic value of colleges
  • Business group launches cybersecurity workforce initiative
  • DOE grants for clean energy workforce development
  • Georgia covers students’ GED exam fee

Tools help to understand, compare economic value of colleges

Dallas College has developed interactive tools to help education leaders, policymakers and prospective students and families better understand the value of specific colleges and universities.

The (Return-On-Investment) ROI Dashboard and Economic Mobility Index for Two-Year Colleges constructed by the Dallas College Research Institute analyze federal data to evaluate the economic mobility opportunities provided by specific institutions, especially community colleges and those in Texas. (The tools draw information from the U.S. Education Department’s College Scorecard and U.S. Census Bureau.)

The dashboard allows users to view ROI across different institutions, programs of study and demographic groups. An integrated custom calculator allows users to estimate ROI based on demographic factors, such as student age, time to completion and income earned during college.

The Research Institute also recently completed a report on Dallas College’s ROI in the broader context of Texas community colleges. One metric in which the college excels is gender equity, according to the report. Of all institutions in the analysis, Dallas College has the smallest gap between male and female students.

Business group launches cybersecurity workforce initiative

The Business Roundtable on Thursday announced an initiative to help companies strengthen cybersecurity talent pipelines, with a particular focus on entry-level roles for those without four-year degrees.

The Cybersecurity Workforce Initiative will support companies in building a cybersecurity workforce both inside and outside their companies, addressing a skills gap in a critical discipline while expanding opportunities for workers, according to the Roundtable. The initiative will also include outreach to U.S. military veterans and military spouses.

DOE grants for clean energy workforce development

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $72 million for workforce development to support clean energy efficiency and emissions reductions in commercial and institutional buildings.

With funding via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE will use about $19 million to establish up to five regional Centers of Excellence and $54 million to create new Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) at community colleges, trade schools and union training programs, and a new Building Training Assessment Center (BTAC) program.

The selected centers will serve as regional hubs for the IAC Program, advising other IACs and collaborating with government, nonprofit, labor and industry entities to support small- and medium-sized manufacturers in their regions, according to DOE. Applications are due February 17.

“These new IACs and BTACs will build upon the demonstrated success of applied learning environments and hands-on training approaches of existing IACs while drawing on the unique strengths, geographic reach, and faculty/student composition of trade schools, community colleges and union training programs,” the department said in a release.

Georgia covers students’ GED exam fee

Eligible Georgians can now earn their high school equivalency diploma for free.

Earlier this year, Georgia lawmakers passed a bill establishing the HOPE High School Equivalency Examination Grant Program, which will provide up to $200 to cover exam fees for the GED exam. There are more than 1 million adults ages 18 and older in Georgia without a high school diploma or equivalency, according to the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).

“High school equivalency diplomas give Georgia residents greater access to employment and higher education opportunities,” TCSG Commissioner Greg Dozier said in a release. “By providing the funding to cover the costs of testing, we are opening the doors to life-changing opportunities for our fellow citizens.”

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.