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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

I had the pleasure of spending three days last week at the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) 2015 Annual Conference. This is my second time around and it was wonderful to see many friends from Penn Foster's partner schools - many of whom I directly work with - and some new faces.  
Chipotle Mexican Grill is the latest company kicking its employee benefits up several notches in an effort to attract and retain workers for entry-level positions. Starting July 1, the restaurant company now offers hourly workers full tuition reimbursement, paid vacations days and paid sick time. What started out as an unknown quick-service restaurant in 1993 has grown into a company that empowers its employees to become leaders and embark on a career path.
The number of college students who are 25 years or older continues to grow, and this number is expected to outpace younger students in the coming years. The National Center for Education Statistics predicts that adult students will actually become the new majority. Between 2012 and 2013, students younger than 25 increased by 12 percent, whereas students older than 25 jumped ahead by 20 percent.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was a reauthorization of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (the ESEA). The aim was to improve education for disadvantaged students and set in place accountability measures for Title 1 public schools.  Refreshingly bipartisan in nature, the Act was proposed by the Bush Administration, coauthored by Representatives John Boehner (R-OH), George Miller (D-CA), and Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Judd Gregg (R-NH). With the swift passing of the bill through both the House of Representatives and the Senate, it was clear that both sides of the aisle supported making education a priority.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a well-known national organization that, similar to Penn Foster, is in the business of changing lives. Through a matching process that pairs a caring adult " (the "Big") with kids in need of adults in their lives (the "Littles") remarkable relationships are formed and the lives of children are positively impacted in a big way.
On Monday, July 13, seventeen of the nation's largest corporate giants have joined Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, in launching a partnership committed to connecting 100,000 of our nation's young people to career opportunities by 2018. To address the plight of disconnected young adults, the coalition has launched the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative.
A new California bill, SB 172, passed by the state Senate on June 1st, is currently being reviewed by the state Assembly and is awaiting a vote. The new bill would to allow students to graduate high school without having to take the required California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE). The exit exam would be suspended  for three years starting in the 2016-17 school year, then a reevaluation would take place based on an advisory panel conducted by the State's Superintendent of Public Instruction. The panel would would decide whether to eliminate or replace the exit exam with another exam or with alternative requirements. The California School Boards Association and the California Teachers Association are in full support of SB 172.
Next week Penn Foster will head to Boca Raton, Florida to attend the Florida Association of Private Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) 2015 Annual Administrator Conference for the second year in a row. Celebrating "The Art of Education," this special two-day conference will host training, professional development and networking opportunities for over 300 school administrators, owners, and campus directors. While in Boca Raton, Penn Foster will also host an Admissions breakout session presentation to discuss How to Generate Qualified Starts with a New Enrollment Strategy.
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For some, going to college is merely a stepping stone on the road to a bigger goal, one that includes a clear career path and the means to achieving long-held dreams. Yet even for this privileged group of students, the high school-to-college transition is filled with insecurity and uncertainty. Add the extenuating circumstances that often plague low-income and minority communities, and it's easy to understand how for some, the route to college or a career is wrought with obstacles.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) recently published a first-ever national survey on college and university graduate "first-destination/post-graduation' outcomes. The survey based results from 207 member institutions utilizing the same survey methodology, measuring graduate outcomes from both bachelors and associate degree programs. With this new study, NACE hopes to provide a baseline to determine future trends in education and labor.

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