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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

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.
Under the U.S. Department of Education's new Gainful Employment regulations, graduates of career colleges must exceed specific earnings-to-debt ratios for their institutions to continue to receive federal student aid. One challenge colleges seeking to meet these requirements face is employers are often looking for skills not taught in textbooks. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2015 survey, the skill set most frequently sought by employers screening candidates' resumes is leadership and teamwork.1 And Hart Research Associates found that 93 percent of employers weigh skills in areas such as critical thinking, communication and problem-solving more heavily than an academic major when considering candidates.2 These findings suggest that career colleges should incorporate such job skills into their curriculum to improve their graduates' gainful employment outlooks.
Only 10.9 percent of low-income students who are first in their family to attend college achieve a Bachelor's Degree within six years, according to Pell Institute data.1 This contrasts starkly with 24.1 percent for non-first-generation low-income students and 54 percent for students who are neither first-generation nor low-income. First-generation students face additional obstacles for various reasons, including absence of role models and social support, insufficient academic preparation, lack of specialized academic support, greater financial burdens than other students, and language barriers. Career colleges can help alleviate some of these factors by adopting measures to assist first-generation students.
Starbucks made headlines in early June when the coffee giant announced plans to offer employees full tuition to Arizona State University's online program. The company's current college achievement program already offered two years of undergraduate tuition at ASU, and now baristas can earn a free bachelor's degree.

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