Reporter’s notebook


  • House leaders want proposed overtime rule withdrawn
  • Illinois community colleges launch brand campaign
  • New Jersey colleges expand workforce centers

House leaders want proposed overtime rule withdrawn

Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina) and Kevin Kiley (R-California) are asking U.S. Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su to withdraw the department’s proposed overtime rule, citing potential negative effects on workers, small businesses, nonprofits, colleges and universities.

In a November 7 letter to Su, the House Education and the Workforce Committee chairwoman and Workforce Protections Subcommittee chairman said the changes are not necessary as overtime regulations were last revised by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in 2019, and the current proposal would make “changes as extreme as they are unnecessary.”

“DOL should reconsider this dangerous effort, spend more time hearing from workers and employers about the effect this rule will have on their industries, and withdraw the proposed rule,” said the letter, which was signed by 14 other House Republicans.

At colleges and universities, reclassifying employees as nonexempt would reduce flexibility and limit career development and advancement opportunities, the lawmakers wrote.

“Setting up new systems to track employees’ hours will make it harder for employers to offer remote work arrangements, and higher administrative costs are likely to force institutions of higher education to reduce services and hike tuition rates,” they said.

The American Association of Community Colleges has argued that the proposed rule could hit two-year college administrators.

Last month, Foxx asked Su to extend the comment period on the proposed rule. The Republican said the department has not yet granted the request.

Illinois community colleges launch brand campaign

The 48 community colleges of Illinois are teaming on a statewide campaign to raise awareness of the value of the institutions to the state, from workforce and economic development, to student success and quality of life.

The group on Tuesday announced the “For Every Student, For Every Community” campaign, which will share student, alumni, faculty and staff stories on the Community Colleges of Illinois Facebook, Instagram (@illinoiscommunitycolleges) and LinkedIn channels with hashtags #4everystudent4everycommunity and #ilcommunitycollegeproud. The colleges began rolling out the brand on campuses this fall; digital advertising starts this week.

The Illinois community college system is the third largest in the country, serving over 600,000 students each year, according to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).

“Our community colleges continue to serve our students as gateways to better lives through the quality education and training they provide,” said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham. “It is that training that, in turn, fuels the industries that call Illinois home and creates economic prosperity for our communities.”

New Jersey colleges expand workforce centers

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) last week announced new Centers of Workforce Innovation as part of its collaborations with business and industry in the state to prepare a much-needed skilled workforce.

The announcement of the centers — which is part of “Year Two” of the New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities Initiative — was made at Raritan Valley Community College during the kickoff of its Center of Workforce Innovation for Aseptic Processing and Biomanufacturing, in partnership with Middlesex College and Mercer County Community College. The seven new centers are in the sectors of health services, infrastructure and energy, technology and innovation, and manufacturing and supply chain management.

“We are committed to building on the incredible momentum of this initiative to continue the broad partnerships among the community colleges, as well as the wide array of industry and education partners to expand opportunity to more New Jerseyans for years to come,” said NJCCC President Aaron Fichtner, who thanked the governor and legislature for their support of the initiative.

Among the initiative’s first-year accomplishments was creating 10 Centers of Workforce Innovation in four sectors — health services; technology and innovation; infrastructure and energy; and manufacturing and supply chain management. The work of the centers included 20 high schools, 17 community colleges, nine four-year colleges and universities, eight labor unions, and four professional and community organizations, according to NJCCC.

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.
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