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The Penn Foster Blog

Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

Last week, Penn Foster had the opportunity to attend the 2015 National Job Corps Association (NJCA) Leadership Summit. The event, which brought together Job Corps leaders, policy makers, and partners from across the country, focused on the challenges and opportunities for Job Corps heading into 2016. Here are Penn Foster's top three takeaways from the event:
High school teachers prepare students for a successful future, one that usually includes going onto college or entering the workforce. Unfortunately, our teachers are doing this amid tough circumstances - increasing class sizes, diminished budgets, low pay, lack of parental involvement - all while preparing students for standardized tests and worrying about performance metrics.
The college completion agenda is picking up across the nation. States are seizing the opportunity to set new goals for increasing the number of citizens who hold postsecondary certificates or degrees. The ultimate aim of this initiative is to generate a more skilled, qualified and credentialed pool of candidates to infuse into the workforce, thereby creating a more robust and thriving economy. But is the standard for postsecondary education the right benchmark to be aiming for all citizens?
Although tuition costs continue to rise and student loan debt remains at sky-high levels, a college education still offers higher earning potential and greater financial opportunity in the long run. Yet without ways to help mitigate the extravagant costs, fewer families can afford to enroll their children in college. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees at a private, nonprofit, four-year university was $31,231 in 2015. For public four-year schools, tuition and fees accumulated to about $9,139 this year.1 American families and students still realize the long-term benefits of a college degree, which leaves many students and families forced to borrow funds to meet the steep costs. The total cost of borrowed funds from loan programs averages $100 billion a year, and the outstanding total student debt stands at more than $1.2 trillion. Forty million borrowers incur an average balance of $29,000, and with the average entry level position paying $42,963,2 and a high unemployment rate of 11.9 percent for recent college graduates ages 20-24,3 they are left holding debt with limited means to repay.4
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Next week, Penn Foster will head down to Washington D.C. to take part in the National Job Corps Association (NJCA) 2015 Leadership Summit. The event, held November 2nd " 4th, brings together over 200 leaders of the NJCA representing all 126 Job Corps centers to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Job Corps in the upcoming year.
The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act has sparked debate about alternative education programs for states. Policymakers are currently convening to explore ways in which schools can be incentivized to improve rather than be forced to improve, regarding title IV funding. Both sides of the aisle are interested in investing in non-traditional learning models, with a greater focus on outcomes vs. access to education.
Penn Foster is happy to be returning to the Career Colleges and Schools of Texas (CCST) Annual Conference for a second year. Held from November 9th - 11th in The Woodlands, TX, this three-day event gives career college administrators from Texas and surrounding states the opportunity to learn about a variety of industry issues and network with fellow postsecondary education leaders. This year's conference celebrates "Mission Possible: Driving Outstanding Career Education for the 21st Century," and will feature sessions on accreditation, government regulation, and admissions.
Sixteen to 20 percent of students suffer high levels of anxiety before a test, and another 18 percent struggle with moderately high anxiety, making it the most common cause of poor educational performance, according to the American Test Anxieties Association.1 A variety of issues with teachers, study environment, subject matter and motivation can also contribute to poor test performance. High school teachers can't control all these factors, but we can help our students better prepare for tests by addressing some of the most common causes of test anxiety and poor performance.
Parental involvement in student life is proven to improve education performance,1 but it tends to taper off in the high school years. Some of this is only natural - as children grow into teens, it's normal for a bit of distance to develop between them and their parents. In lower grades, parents are often required to attend parent-teacher conferences and sign off on report cards and homework, but this doesn't always continue into the higher grades. We think it should - more parental involvement in school correlates with higher grade point averages and further sets students up for success.
Each year, the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) Conference gives member institutions the opportunity to learn about accrediting changes, and share best practices with one another. ACCET strives to promote quality-oriented continuing education and training through the establishment of standards and through their support of an independent accrediting commission. This year, the conference is hosted from October 26-28 in Hershey, in Penn Foster's home state of Pennsylvania. Below we've put together a list of must-see attractions for visitors to the Keystone state.

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