Wednesday, October 24, 2012

News & Upcoming Events from JobsFirstNYC (Oct. 19, 2012)

Upcoming Changes to GED® High School Equivalency (HSE) Credential addressed at October 5th CBO Meeting
As you likely know, changes are underway regarding the GED® (formally the General Educational Development test). The GED® Testing Service is a privately owned assessment tool that was recently purchased by the Educational Division of Pearson, which, in acquiring the GED® Testing Service, has plans to make structural changes to the test itself as well as to the process by which organizations can prepare people for and administer the test. The change in ownership of the GED® as well as Pearson's plans to make changes to it happened relatively quickly, and as of now, changes to the test will be in effect by January of 2014. While that is still over a year away, it is a very short time frame given the complexity of the issues at hand. 

The possibility of transition from the GED® to an alternative high school equivalency credential in New York State might be one of the most important changes underway that will directly affect young adults that are out-of-work and out-of-school in New York State. The transition underway represents a hasty shift from current standards for obtaining a HSE diploma to standards focused on career and college readiness.  

Given the very tight time table to implement changes, the State Education Department has taken a critically important step in this process by recommending to the Board of Regents (in a letter written last month (PDF)) that New York State issue a request for proposals from potential vendors to create and institute a new high school equivalency credential. The provisions of the upcoming RFP are outlined in the above letter.  
At our most recent CBO Network Meeting, practitioners in the field who work day-to-day with young adults in GED-Plus and Young Adult Workforce Programs throughout the City got to hear from and direct their questions to a panel of experts on this issue.  We were joined by Kevin Smith, Deputy Commissioner for Adult Career and Continuing Education Services at the New York State Education Department - who is on the front-line of these important changes in a leadership capacity at the state level - who spoke to us about the State's role in this process and discussed what we can expect in the coming months, and what we can be doing to help practitioners and young people prepare for what comes next.  
While in some respects this conversation left many of us with more questions than answers, it was a very important and engaged discussion, and it was clear that those in attendance and those presenting are very committed to making this process as smooth as possible, and that we will need to work together in the coming months so that those who can be tested now in advance of the changes expected in January of 2014 can pass the exam. And for those that will be facing an entirely new test in 2014, the focus needs to be on getting the right information to practitioners and young people alike so that they can prepare for the changes. 
As a next step to this process, JobsFirstNYC is planning to host a webinar in order to provide information and updates for those that were unable to attend this meeting but who are concerned about this topic. Please stay tuned for announcements regarding this in the near future. 

All of the handouts/presentations from the October 5th meeting are now zipped and available for download on our website. You can access them here. 

We want to especially thank: Bruce Carmel of F*E*G*S, Kevin Smith of the NYS Education Department, Sierra Stoneman-Bell of Neighborhood Family Services Coalition, and Venu Thelakatt of the Literacy Assistance Center for their important contributions to this discussion. We also want to thank Jacque Cooke, independent consultant and adult literacy expert, for assisting us to moderate this event.
JobsFirstNYC to Facilitate Workshop on the LESEN at Fall 2012 NYATEP Conference October 29-31
The staff of JobsFirstNYC are looking forward to the upcoming Fall 2012 NYATEP Conference in Syracuse, NY, which will take place October 29-31.

The conference will include a workshop on the Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN), facilitated by JobsFirstNYC's Deputy Executive Director Evelyn Fernandez-Ketcham, and LESEN Coordinator Gaspar Caro.   

Individuals participating in the JFNYC/LESEN session will learn how the LESEN pilot is currently being rolled out, what has been learned so far about the collaborative process, and how the Network uses labor market information to help inform its current strategy. Additionally, it will be demonstrated how this represents a coordinated way to work with employers much more effectively (and to the employers' benefit) and that it is also a way to achieve a scale in terms of fulfillment that individual institutions may not have.  

The conference is right around the corner, but the good news is, there is still time to register! Click here to register for the conference.     

Information regarding workshop topics, descriptions, speakers, and time slots is now available from NYATEP online. You can view the full agenda for the conference by clicking here.  

JobsFirstNYC Events on the Horizon
Stay tuned for other announcements coming from us in the coming weeks. Plans are underway to host another Job Developer Networking Breakfast (with our colleagues at WPTI), and to additionally host another "Meet the Employers" event. We are also continuing to host practitioner work groups. You can learn more about these meetings and other events at by visiting our website. 

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