A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation
Neb. Town Plots Retention Plan For Teachers
SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (AP) — Officials are working on a program to encourage Scottsbluff High School students to train to become educators so they will return to the area to teach future Scottsbluff students.
Justin Shaddick, an assistant principal at Scottsbluff High School, said the Grow Our Own Teacher program is being prepared because Scottsbluff struggles to retain teachers. Teachers from around the state often are recruited to Scottsbluff but stay only two or three years because they don’t have ties to the area, he said.
“The best recruiting we can do is with the students who graduate from Scottsbluff or Gering or anywhere in the valley,” said Shaddick, “Then it would be a greater likelihood for retention.”
Shaddick and other district officials are working with Western Nebraska Community College and Chadron State College to develop the pathway for prospective teachers. A student’s curriculum would be geared from his or her junior year in high school toward graduating and then earning a college degree in elementary or postsecondary education. The program is scheduled to begin in spring.
District Superintendent Rick Myles told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald (http://bit.ly/2f2fg Nm ) said incentives will be provided by the Scottsbluff Public Schools Foundation.
District officials think some of the best teachers are already in Scottsbluff as students, Myles said.
“We want our most gifted, potential teachers to stay here and be great teachers for us and for the next generation,” Myles said.
Ky. Confers Record Number Of Credentials
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education says colleges and universities have conferred a record number of degrees and credentials.
A statement from the agency says there were 65,829 degrees and credentials obtained during the 2015-16 school year, which is a 2.7 percent increase from the previous year.
Council President Bob King said Kentucky’s higher education institutions have been using strategic initiatives designed to help more students graduate. He says that increases the number of educated workers, which helps improve the state’s economy.
According to the statement, the number of bachelor degrees earned at public universities increased by 3.6 percent and the number of certificates earned at Kentucky Community and Technical College System grew by 4.7 percent from the previous year. The number of associate degrees increased by 0.3 percent.
Wash. College Savings Program Is Delayed
SEATTLE (AP) — A new, state-sponsored option for investing for college won’t be ready until next year, so those enrolled in Washington state’s current prepaid tuition plan have until at least Sept. 1 to pull their money out without penalty.
Some members of the committee that runs Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition plan had hoped to set up a second traditional 529 college savings plan by the end of this year.
Now, it’s more likely that the new plan will be in place by summer, The Seattle Times reported (https://goo.gl/nn4PzV ). The state’s prepaid college tuition plan, known as GET, is temporarily closed to new enrollments and tuition “unit” sales but it is still scheduled to reopen to new investors by July 1.
The Legislature decided earlier this year that the GET program should reopen and the state should start a more traditional 529 college savings plan alongside it.
The state has been looking for a company to manage the new 529 college savings plan. Washington runs one of the few college-savings programs in the country that allows parents to buy tuition units in advance.
Traditional 529 plans allow participants to invest in mutual funds or make other investments, much like a 401(k) plan, but without guarantees. Both allow people to save for college and not pay federal income taxes on their investment earnings.
La. Program To Assist Transfers
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — High-achieving students at Louisiana's community colleges will be eligible for scholarships to move to Southern University’s campuses in New Orleans and Baton Rouge for further coursework.
The Pathway Scholarship transfer agreement was announced by Gov. John Bel Edwards and college system leaders.
The program will guarantee admission to Southern and provide up to $1,500 annually for certain students who complete an associate degree at Louisiana Community and Technical College System campuses.
Students must be members of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society to be eligible.
Officials said they hope the program will encourage students to continue their education after finishing a community college degree.
The money will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, paid by Southern University. The amount to be set aside for the scholarships hasn’t been determined.
Labor Shortage Grows in Minnesota
ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Labor economists said businesses in southeastern Minnesota will have to outbid other potential employers to get the workers needed to meet demand.
A recent survey found nearly 500 construction positions and 8,000 total jobs open in southeastern Minnesota, a region with a 2.4 percent unemployment rate, Minnesota Public Radio (http:// bit.ly/2gNr2bY ) reported.
Area businesses are begging for skilled trade and service workers to help build in Rochester both for the present and the future.
The problem is likely to get much worse with a downtown medical center project expected to add 30,000 more jobs over the next two decades.
In September, officials opened a new facility which houses a vocational program to help students find careers that don’t necessarily require a four-year degree.
Labor market economist Steve Hine said the region is adding 600 workers annually, less than half of what it needs. With pay rates slowly rising up again since the Great Recession he said Rochester must attract employees by paying higher wages.
“That just kind of raises the bar on efforts like DMC (downtown medical center) here to not only match but exceed those wage increase if they’re going to be successful in attracting people from the Twin Cities or other parts of the Minnesota or outstate,” he added.
According to Hine the local programs that cultivate younger employees are crucial to helping improve the issue, as long as the newly trained workers stay local.
NY Invests $16M To Fight Poverty In Rochester
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state is investing nearly $16 million into efforts to fight poverty in Rochester.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the funding during a visit to the city.
Some of the money will go to a new workforce development center operated by Monroe County Community College at Eastman Business Park.
Another portion of the funds will support a two-year mentoring program that will assist adults who are currently living below the poverty line but who want to become self-sufficient.
A final chunk of the money will fund a work-scholarship program for local high school students. The initiative combines academic help, college preparation, career development and a part-time job.
The state’s investment is being matched by private funding.
La. Center Replicates Workplace
GONZALES, La. (AP) — The $9.2 million technology training center being built at River Parishes Community College will give students a preview of the petrochemical plant environments they might be working in one day.
Chancellor Dale Doty tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/ 2g203qW ) welding and pipe fitting students, along with those studying millwrighting and industrial testing, will work side by side in a large, open-air space in the way that they would at a plant.
At the current location of the community college’s technical skills classes those programs are taught in separate areas. Beginning with the spring semester, that will change.
Doty says the community college will move its technology training program into the new center in Gonzales, which also has regular classrooms and labs. The training center is expected to be completed in December.