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- Skills Mismatch
This week, the federal government released a summary of responses to its Spring 2014 Request for Information (RFI) on Career Pathways. Nearly 150 responses from a diverse range of organizations were received in reply to the RFI, which was jointly issued by the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services.
Among the issues most frequently cited by respondents were several that National Skills Coalition has championed:
The summary notes that some of the recommendations put forth by respondents to the RFI are already beginning to be addressed. In particular, in the time since the RFI comment period closed in June 2014, Congress enacted the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and the White House released its Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity report. Both the legislation and the report contain elements that will advance the issues described above.
In addition, one issue highlighted by NSC and other respondents was partially addressed by Congress in the so-called “CRomnibus” appropriations bill passed in December 2014. This was the “ability-to-benefit” provision of Title IV of the Higher Education Act. This provision allows students lacking a high school diploma or its equivalent to access federal financial aid if they are enrolled in an eligible career pathway program and can demonstrate college readiness.
NSC is gratified to see the depth and variety of organizations adding their voices to this important policy discussion. We look forward to continued conversation on career pathways issues as WIOA implementation moves forward.