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As I was finishing listening to my friend Guy Kawasaki’s book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions this weekend, I came across a section that I think would be good for all leaders to know. The title of this section is called “Listen to Brother Bob” and highlights Bob Sutton who wrote the book Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best . . . and Learn from the Worst.
Sutton complied a great list of the twelve beliefs of good bosses. Think of it as a Good Boss Manifesto; a checklist to determine how good a boss or leader you are.
On Wednesday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m., the House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), will hold a hearing entitled, “Reviewing the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal for the Department of Labor.” The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
“Working families continue to face significant challenges thanks to the president’s failed policies,” said Chairman Kline. “It’s time to abandon the status quo and enact responsible reforms that will help put more people back to work. The committee looks forward to hearing from Secretary Perez and hope he will outline areas where we can work together to grow our economy and expand opportunity for all Americans.”
In his Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal, President Obama requests $11.8 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Labor. Among other provisions, the president’s budget includes $565 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, $2.8 billion for grants through the Workforce Investment Act, and $265.8 million for the Wage and Hour Division. The president has also proposed creating four new job training programs funded through mandatory spending. These four programs would be in addition to the more than 50 job training programs already administered by the federal government.
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The Honorable Thomas E. Perez
Department of Labor
The Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology, under the chairmanship of Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), today conducted a field hearing in rural New York to discuss the need for expanded broadband access for small businesses.
The Subcommittee examined the strategy and role of the federal government in expanding broadband capabilities to small businesses, specifically in rural communities. Representatives from various Internet providers and the business community testified about wireless spectrum, federal broadband programs, Universal Service Fund reform, and other initiatives of the Federal Communications Commission.
"Small business owners and farmers in rural America can use technology to grow their businesses, but they need broadband Internet access,” said Chairman Collins. “When businesses invest, grow, and hire, whole communities will benefit. Lack of access to broadband is one more roadblock among the many economic challenges rural small businesses have to work hard to overcome. Today, we heard great insights about this problem from both the provider and small business perspectives. We appreciate this testimony to Congress, and look forward to working to remove regulatory and other barriers so that expanded rural access can become a reality.”
Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.
Mark Meyerhofer, Director, Government Relations of Northeast-Western New York, Time Warner, Lancaster, NY, said, “However, it remains extremely challenging to extend broadband to the most rural areas of NYS, where geographic isolation and topographic issues make it economically infeasible for companies to reach these areas – investment simply cannot be recouped before it is time to reinvest.”
Jill Canfield, Director, Legal & Industry and Assistant General Counsel, NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association, Arlington, VA, said, “While the Regulatory Flexibility Act directs executive agencies to consider more flexible approaches that could save small businesses money without undermining the purpose of regulation, in practice the FCC has been able to get away with minimal adherence to the form of the Act while disregarding its spirit and intent. Greater devotion to the intent of the RFA could direct millions toward investment as small businesses save the costs of battling and eventually complying with poorly drafted rules… The rural industry remains hesitant to invest while it awaits a more predictable and investment friendly replacement for the much derided caps and continues to seek its own broadband-focused fund that supports standalone broadband.”
Kendra Lamb, Owner, Lamb Farms Inc., Oakfield, NY, testifying on behalf of the New York Farm Bureau, said, “It might be hard for some people to imagine, but New York State has some very rural locations and we have large gaps where broadband access is just not available, including here in Western New York. In today’s age, with access to the internet, a small business can operate from anywhere. But similarly, it’s hard to imagine a small business surviving and thriving in a rural area if it cannot be competitive in a world marketplace.”###
This committee has convened numerous hearings in Washington to examine the challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s classrooms and workplaces. Whenever possible, we like to bring the voices of everyday Americans to the Capitol to learn their ideas on how to move our country forward. But it’s even better when we have the opportunity to get out of Washington and into local communities, which is why we are in Phoenix today.
My friend and colleague Matt Salmon invited the committee to Arizona’s 5th District to talk to area business leaders, education stakeholders, and state officials and learn how people are working together to prepare graduates in the Grand Canyon State for success in the workforce.
Arizona’s economy continues to show signs of improvement. The unemployment rate has declined over the last year, and in January the state created 8,300 new jobs. To continue this trend, it is critical more young people in Arizona have access to the training, education, and hands-on experience necessary to meet the needs of the local workforce and compete for in-demand jobs.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce last year advanced legislation we called the SKILLS Act to revamp the nation’s network of job-training programs, empower employers, and help put more Americans back to work.
The committee is now working to improve career and technical education, or CTE, by reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. We are also exploring opportunities to strengthen our higher education system through the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
One of our top priorities in both these endeavors is supporting innovation, whether by encouraging CTE schools to adopt technology that mirrors the tools used in the local workforce, or by championing policies that help students earn a postsecondary degree in less time, with less debt. In fact, Matt Salmon has introduced legislation known as the Advancing Competency Education Project of 2013 that lets colleges offer federal financial aid based on students’ prior experience and knowledge instead of credit hours – allowing students to advance in a degree program faster without accumulating as much debt.
As the committee continues to examine ways we can boost innovation and support a 21st century workforce, it’s important we hear from students, educators, and state and local leaders about challenges and opportunities facing the workforce and education system. Your feedback helps inform and strengthen our work in Washington, and we are grateful for your input.
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Here in Arizona, we not only enjoy fantastic winter weather, but also great traditions of educational opportunities and a pro-growth business environment. In fact, today we will hear from some of our great educational institutions on the innovative ways they are working to deliver education to our students, as well as, how they connect with local businesses to fill the pipeline for tomorrow’s workforce.
Arizona’s economy has a rich history. We need only look to the Great Seal of the State of Arizona to find where our economy was at the beginning of our statehood. The 5 C’s include: Cattle, Cotton, Copper, Citrus and Climate. These C’s are still important to our economy, including Copper, which accounts for two-thirds of the nation’s output. However, Arizona continues to evolve and thrive. Our education and business communities have further developed Arizona into the diverse economy it is today with health care, transportation and innovative industries being core drivers of employment throughout the state.
Today, we will hear from the City of Chandler on the state of the local economy, as well as how the education community ties into local businesses. Chandler is known for its high-tech industry, which makes up 75% of the manufacturing employees, while the national average is at 15%. Every city in the nation is host to unique workforce industries, so it is important to connect with local businesses to ensure we are meeting the needs of employers. We can then better prepare students with the skills they need to enter the workforce today and to be equipped to adapt to the trends of the future.
We will also hear from Intel- one of the world’s largest high-tech semiconductor chip manufacturer. Intel has numerous inventions that most of us use on a daily basis, including the processors found in most personal computers. They have had a large Arizona presence since 1979. Intel employs almost 12,000 Arizonans alone, and is the largest employer in Chandler, AZ. They continue to grow with the expansion of their $300 million research and development site. Without employers like Intel, our high tech industry in Arizona would not be where we are today.
I am also looking forward to the testimony of the University of Phoenix, who has worked for years to make higher education more accessible and recently won accolades as a top 10 online MBA program. Phoenix actively engages the business community through their Industry Strategy Group as well as their Workforce Solutions department, including engaging businesses such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems.
One of the largest community college systems in the nation is with us today as well- Maricopa County Community Colleges, with their Estrella Mountain Campus. Also with us is Pima Community Colleges. The community colleges have been an important part of higher education. They work closely with our local high schools with dual enrollment programs, as well as with our universities for seamless transitions toward degrees. Another important aspect is their work with community businesses, with career and technical education tracks. Chandler-Gilbert Community College, just next door to this campus works in tandem with local authorities in law enforcement, fire safety, aviation, nursing, and other in-demand career fields to prepare their students.
We are also fortunate to have representatives from three of our esteemed public universities- Christy Farley from Northern Arizona University out of Flagstaff, Dr. Anne Hart from the University of Arizona out of Tucson, and of course from my Alma Mater- Dr. Michael Crow from Arizona State University out of Tempe- Go Sun Devils. I would like to thank ASU for opening their doors for this committee field hearing here at the Polytechnic Campus, which encompasses high tech research and education including their renowned algae laboratory.
ASU is one of the largest, if not THE largest university in the nation and is redefining higher education through the “New American Model.” One of ASUs student-business partnerships is with Intel and they work together to develop a customized engineering degree for some of the chip maker’s Arizona-based employees.
The University of Arizona is the state’s first university, operates the state’s public medical schools and is the largest research institution in our great state. U of A connects with businesses, such as Raytheon, to work toward inspiring the next generation of innovators.
Northern Arizona University stays connected with the business community through its business outreach boards locally, as well as, nationally. All of the institutions here today provide an excellent educational environment for students and continue to be pioneers in higher education. All work to think outside the box with new concepts, interdisciplinary collaborations, and academic programs that educate our students, provide important research and help U.S. industry prosper.
It should come as no surprise to anyone in this room that the cost of higher education is on the minds of most families and students approaching admission to college. In an effort to help address this challenge, I recently introduced bipartisan legislation to start a pilot project for higher education institutions to pursue the competency based education model, something NAU offers through their “Personalized Learning.” My bill, H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency Based Education Project of 2013 allows institutions to tailor instruction to students’ unique needs and learning pace. Students will progress when they have mastered the requisite knowledge and skills necessary for a course, rather than time spent in the classroom. This controlled demonstration program would reduce costs and provide opportunities for students to earn their degree on time or early in some cases. Perhaps most importantly, this bill would allow certainty and accessibility for a broad array of higher education institutions to provide this 21st Century learning environment.
The goal for the vast majority of students entering postsecondary education is to obtain the skills necessary to be competitive in the job market, with the critical thinking skills to adapt with an ever-changing workforce. I look forward to hearing from the experts in these fields today on how we can best work together towards this goal.
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Our economy faces many challenges. Millions remain out of work, and the labor participation rate has declined to thirty-year lows. Here in the Silver State, families struggle with 8.8 percent unemployment - one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Unemployment among young people ages 16 to 19 is even higher, at 29 percent.
We need to do more to help these families rebuild and recover from the lingering effects of the recession. One of the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s priorities for the 113th Congress has been strengthening the nation’s network of job training services. Last year, the House approved the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act, legislation to revamp the federal workforce development system and help more workers learn in-demand skills.
The committee is now examining career and technical education, or CTE, in preparation for the upcoming reauthorization of the Perkins Act. As you may know, the Perkins Act provides federal funding to states to support CTE programs that allow high school and community college students to access valuable training programs and hands-on experience necessary to gain an edge in the local workforce.
There are a number of great CTE schools in Nevada, and we’re fortunate to be holding today’s field hearing at one of the best. The Southwest Career and Technical Academy is renowned for its rigorous coursework and hands-on training in a number of fields, including nursing, culinary arts, automotive technology, and web design, just to name a few.
I believe my colleagues and I have the opportunity after the hearing to take a tour of the school, and I look forward to meeting with students, visiting the classrooms, and seeing firsthand the quality training available here at the academy.
As the committee works to strengthen career and technical education, it’s important we hear from students, educators, and state and local leaders in the business and education communities about the challenges and opportunities facing CTE programs. Your feedback helps inform and strengthen our work in Washington, and we are grateful for your participation and your input.
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I recently visited Southwest Career and Technical Academy here in Nevada's Third District and met with students, teachers, and administrators to learn about the school and the courses they offer.
I also got the chance to hear firsthand from students about their experiences with career and technical education and how they think it will help them in the future. The overall impression I got from them was clear.
They are eager to do well and graduate. They are eager to learn skills they know are in-demand right now and they are eager to take those skills into the working world or on to college.
I even ate lunch provided by the Culinary Arts students and let me tell you; It was delicious. I am sure all of you who stick around for the tour of the school will be just as impressed as I was with the students, the facilities, and the quality of the educational experience students receive at Southwest.
But Southwest is just one of a number of highly successful schools here in the Clark County School District offering students educational opportunities in fields ranging from computer science and information technology to law enforcement and nursing.
In fact, the Clark County School District is home to 25 Magnet Schools and Career & Technical Academies dedicated to providing students a variety of pathways leading to both careers and higher education.
17 of these schools, including Southwest, were recently recognized as either a school of excellence or a school of distinction by the national organization Magnet Schools of America. During the 2012 school year, nearly 40,000 students in CCSD were enrolled in career and technical education courses, representing 44% percent of the high school student population.
Students enrolled in CTE have demonstrated themselves to be high-performing, highly-motivated individuals who, according to information we received from Clark County School District, graduate at a higher rate than their traditional high school peers.
While enrolled, CTE students are choosing courses of study that will lead them down a path to success in the increasingly-advanced global economy.
On the Committee, we are always talking about the importance of STEM education - education focused on science, technology, engineering, and math.
Well our CTE students have heard the message. Among the most popular courses of study are information technologies and the skilled and technical sciences.
And the skills learned in our magnet and career and technical academies are helping sectors of our economy - like manufacturing and health care services - erase talent shortages and fill available jobs.
CTE programs also prepare students for critically important careers in public service. Our communities need individuals well-schooled in criminal justice, law enforcement, early childhood development, and emergency medical services.
A competent, highly-trained workforce in these areas will make our state and our local communities safer and healthier.
Finally, career and technical education extends all of these opportunities to those who have been disproportionately affected by the recession and the slow pace of our economic recovery.
Fifty three percent of CTE students are Hispanic and African American while another 8% are Asian Americans.
These demographic groups are a growing, thriving part of the diverse culture and economy of the Las Vegas Valley and by enrolling in CTE programs, these students are learning skills and acquiring knowledge that will help put them on a path to success as well as strengthen and diversify our local economy.
Clearly, career and technical education academies are critically important now more than ever. Our students thrive in them and our economy relies on them.
Yet as CTE is moving this region's economy forward, a recent proposal by the Obama Administration threatens to drastically reduce CTE funding for our state.
Included within the President’s budget proposal, guaranteed formula funding for CTE programs in Nevada would be cut by nearly 50%, while CTE programs in other states would only be cut by less than 1%.
This large disparity in cuts is caused by an outdated funding formula included in the 2006 Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.
The bill established a funding formula largely based on population and poverty; however, there is also a hold-harmless provision included within the formula that guarantees states will receive the federal funding levels provided in 1998.
However, since that time Nevada’s population has increased from 1.8 million to more than 2.75 million causing our state to face disproportionate cuts to federal CTE funding under the current hold-harmless provision.
Nevada will not be able to adequately fund our thriving CTE programs on 1998 funding levels and we should not be punished simply because we have experienced population growth.
So I joined with Congressman Raul Grijalva, my Democratic committee colleague from Arizona, in introducing the Career and Technical Education Equity Act which protects critical CTE funding by requiring states receive at least 90% of the funding amount allocated the previous year.
This bill will protect CTE funding and continue to provide students around Nevada and the nation with opportunities to learn the skills to help them find in-demand jobs. I am hopeful we will discuss the critical question of funding for CTE programs during this hearing.
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