GED® Test Evolves to Better Prepare Adults for Success in the Workforce
As more and more communities struggle to fill available jobs with a skilled and educated local workforce business and higher education have realized the need to join forces in tackling the talent and skills gap issue. Read what GED Testing Service is doing to help students and adults meet current and future workforce demands.
In response to feedback from employers and colleges across the country, the GED® test is making a dramatic change in 2014, aligning with college and career readiness standards and focusing on the skills adults need to be successful in the workforce.
Over the past five years, report after report have come out and highlighted that adult learners need more than just a high school diploma to succeed in today’s economy and to earn a family-sustaining wage. There are not enough low-skill jobs for low-skill workers and adults are recognizing that the jobs that are available are middle-skill jobs – jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a Bachelor’s degree.
We have also seen that too many high school students are not graduating with the right skills needed to be successful in the next step in life – going to college or enrolling in a job training or certificate program. Groups like state and local Chambers of Commerce have been outspoken in their support of raising standards for high school graduates, which is important to ensure employers have access to adults with the right skills to be successful in today’s economy.
As the primary high school equivalency test provider for adult learners, GED Testing Service also heard that message loud and clear from employers and colleges across the country. After reviewing our program and looking at the changing economic landscape, we joined the effort to raise standards and improve the resources available to adults so that they can be successful after earning a high school equivalency credential.
New Benefits of the 2014 GED Test for Employers
Below are some of the significant features of the new GED® Test that will be released in 2014 that are most valued by employers:
· 2014 GED® test aligned with Common Core and college and career readiness standards – GED Testing Service worked closely with employers, colleges, workforce professionals and researchers to ensure that the 2014 GED test is aligned with college and career readiness standards and measures the problem solving and critical thinking skills most valued by employers and colleges. We have also demonstrated that our new test is strongly aligned with the college and career readiness standards outlined by the US Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education.
· Provides college and career readiness target goals – While we will continue to measure high school equivalency, the 2014 GED® test will also measure where a test-taker’s performance level is in relation to college and career readiness in each of the four subject areas.
· Detailed score report – The 2014 GED® test will provide a wealth of information in the new detailed score report, which will outline the skills an individual has demonstrated and provide feedback on areas that need to be improved to demonstrate either high school equivalency or college and career readiness. This new feedback will better help employers, colleges, adult education instructors, and individual test-takers better understand the skills and competencies of a test-taker.
· Computer-based Testing – The 2014 GED® test will only be offered on computer, allowing adult learners to demonstrate basic technology skills and take advantage of some significant benefits like same-day score reports, online scheduling and a more flexible testing experience.
· GED Portal – The 2014 GED® test will also have an online portal that will help adults navigate the path of preparing for the GED® test, taking the test and connecting with jobs, college or certificate programs in their local community.
· GED Analytics – The 2014 GED testing system will provide states with a sophisticated analytics system that will allow states the ability to evaluate and report on the success of their adult education programs.
Some States Might Drop the GED® Test to Avoid College and Career Readiness Standards
While all of the new changes to the GED® test likely align with the education initiatives of your Chamber, some states are looking to replace the GED® test to avoid moving to college and career readiness standards. Given the leadership that Chambers have taken on this issue and the respect they garner from the states, we are hoping to partner with individual chambers to ensure that adult learners have access to a high school equivalency test aligned with college and career readiness standards.
GED Testing Service is excited to exhibit at ACCE’s 2013 Convention in Oklahoma City. Please stop by our booth to learn more about the changes and how you can help make sure your state is moving in the right direction.
Visit www.gedtestingservice.com for more information about the 2014 GED test.
Need Professional Networking Help?
With the largest networking event for chamber professionals—the ACCE Convention—coming soon, this recent article from Bloomberg Business Week is a must-read. It shows how one woman made it her job to be your networking buddy, or your “professional wingman.” If you consider yourself a so-so networker or simply hate the process (you’re not alone), you can hire her for $250. She’ll accompany you to a networking event, and do the work that so many find difficult or just plain awful. The article offers important networking tips. Read it here.
The Coming Jobs War
The email below from Janet Steele, ACE, IOM, president of the Albany Area (OR) Chamber of Commerce, alerted ACCE about her chamber's effort to raise awareness of the impact of creating jobs and job opportunities.
I thought I'd brag a little about our Chamber. This past Monday [June 10], seven Board members and I delivered the book The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, to every Oregon House and Senate member, plus the Governor's office. The initial reaction was very positive and we learned today that the Governor is going to read the book.
This is a book I first heard about at the WACE conference this past February. Upon finishing it I asked my Exec Board to read it, they thought so much of it that in turn they asked every Board member to read it for our strategic planning retreat in April. They spent much of the retreat discussing the relevance of the book and how our mission/vision/programs could be directed more in line with pro-job strategies. I started giving out the book to other community leaders - the president of our community college had his key leadership staff read it, our key manufacturers have read it and shared it with staff. I gave it to our City Council and County Commissioners and the list keeps growing. We know the book doesn't have all the answers, nor should it, each chamber/community needs to decide what their vision and mission should be. But, this book continues the conversation we've been having with our members and community around jobs. "Business is a 4 Letter word - Jobs", and "Without Business there is No Community". They are more than tag lines they are a message that needs to go out to everyone.
I know I'm preaching to the choir but - someday we hope everyone will understand how important Jobs are to our communities and how we need to work together to bring jobs back to Albany, Oregon, and the USA.
Chambers... Still on Top
It’s like deja vu. Late last spring I wrote a blog post praising chambers of commerce and their affiliates for dominating the list of top performing economic development groups. A year goes by and I’m writing practically the same blog post.
- Austin Chamber of Commerce
- Baton Rouge Area Chamber
- Economic Futures Group at the Spartanburg Area Chamber
- Metro Atlanta Chamber
- Mobile Chamber of Commerce
- Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
- Siouxland Initiative at the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce
- Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance
That’s right folks, 8 out of the top 10 economic development groups in the country are chambers of commerce or are affiliate entities housed at chambers. The dominance continues in the second 10 where half are chambers of commerce or similar private sector lead regional entities.
- Cincinnati USA Partnership
- Dallas Regional Chamber
- Greater New Orleans Inc.
- Indy Partnership
- Nashville Area Chamber
What’s the basis for all this recognition you ask? Well it’s pretty rigorous. Here’s how Site Selection describes the ranking process:
“As in past years, the top performers were evaluated on a variety of criteria, with four objective measurements counting the most: jobs, capital investment, jobs per capita, and investment per capita. In addition, Site Selection looked at creativity of economic development strategy; depth and breadth of project activity; ability to generate breakthrough deals; and the ability to properly document the contributions of the economic development organization to actual project results.”
Objective criteria, creative innovation, breakthrough deals and documented leadership… if you want to model the best in economic development, you have to look at chambers.
Is your chamber social media friendly?
The staff at OnlineMBApage.com recently published its ranking of the top 100 most social media friendly chambers of commerce. In compiling the list, this social education community searched the most popular social media sites and recorded the number of followers, likes, pins, etc. for around 550 chambers of commerce that met their minimum requirements for consideration. Did your chamber make the list? View the rankings (and the requirements for consideration) here.
Bonus! If your chamber is included in the top 100, you are invited to post a badge promoting your achievement on your website or your social media accounts.
Convention Scholarship Recipients Announced
ACCE is pleased to announce this year's recipients of convention scholarships in the names of Mike Hauser and Shelia Lee -- leaders of the chamber movement and ACCE. Many thanks to those who donated to these scholarship funds! We look forward to seeing you in Oklahoma City, July 23-26, for ACCE Convention 2013.
Mike Hauser Scholarship:
- Shannon Viera - Brunswick County (NC) Chamber of Commerce
- Mandy Senn -Chattanooga Area (TN) Chamber of Commerce
Shelia Lee Scholarship:
- Christine Sortino - Greece (NY) Chamber of Commerce
- Amy Mattison - Jacksonville (AR) Chamber of Commerce
Employment Growth Snapshot
Garner Economics this week released a report digging in to the jobs picture for 372 regional economies in the United States. As you’d expect, the finding are a mixed bag.
First, the good news: employment figures are up in 80% of U.S. metro regions in Q1 2013 compared with Q1 2012. The majority of regions are adding jobs year over year and that’s an unequivocally good thing.
Compare current employment averages with pre-recession figures and the picture is less rosy. Employment is still below Q1 2008 levels in roughly 70% of U.S. regions. Many are within 2-3 percentage points of pre-recession employment levels, only a handful are still 10-15% down.
Of the 102 regions that have exceeded pre-recession job levels and continue to grow, most of the strongest performers share a significant energy sector presence. Midland and Odessa, Texas lead the pack with 21.8% and 20.3% job growth since Q1 2008 respectively.
Breaking Records in Charlotte
The Charlotte Chamber is celebrating a new high watermark for their annual Total Resource Campaign - $5,114,261. More than $5.1 million in 12 weeks. That’s more than $425k a week…more than $85k a business day.
“These funds provide more than half the Charlotte Chamber’s annual operating expenses,” said Bob Morgan, president of the Charlotte Chamber. “They will be deployed toward our mission to grow the economy, to serve as a voice for business and to engage our members in providing innovate products, programs and services.”
Pretty impressive work by Bob and his team. Of course they had help. 26 corporate teams, involving 130 volunteers, connected with more than 1600 companies to sell memberships and raise revenue on the Chamber’s behalf. And when you consider some of the corporate teams leading the way - Bank of America, Bissell, Duke Energy, Wells Fargo, – it’s no surprise they set an all-time record.
On This Memorial Day: A Quick/Long Message
Is it proper to wish someone a ‘Happy’ Memorial Day? I’m always a little confused about that, but I do hope everyone has a wonderful long weekend. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we relocate. Actually, next week we move to new HQ across town. If phone service interruptions occur during the move (not anticipated), please dial temporary ACCE backup line: 202-596-1081.
IF YOU HAVE AN EXTRA MINUTE VERSION:
When it comes to a day devoted to visiting both cemeteries and barbeques, my feelings get muddled. Am I supposed to be popping a cold one on the back deck with friends, watching Pork Chop Hill on AMC, boosting the local retail economy, or posting genuinely sincere patriotic feelings on Facebook? Do I visit Arlington?
And what about this week’s tragedies affecting our members in Shawnee, Moore and suburban OKC? The stoic and optimistic survivor stories make my heart soar like a hawk (old movie reference), even as my eyes leak a bit when stories of those who lost a baby or a dad appear on screen. It is a comfort to know that the best problem solvers on the planet are on the job in OKC region. (Watch for imminent message re. Oklahoma business recovery from ACCE Chairman Roy Williams!).
In spite of my perennially confusing Memorial Day feelings, I’ll stay positive. My Oklahoma friends will figure things out. No doubt. We will each find our personal ways to remember those who have fought and died protecting us, but we won’t let that remembrance dampen the joys of life in America 2013. No doubt. And, we can each remember that there is a time for working hard and time to shut it down for a long weekend. No doubt.
Chamber Exec Named Father of the Year
Just in time for Father’s Day! Rick Baker, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, is one of five men who will be honored by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Father’s Day Council of Grand Rapids, Mich., as Father of the Year. The men will be recognized on June 6 for their commitment to help stop diabetes in West Michigan.
According to a press release issued by the Greater Michigan ADA, these fathers were selected as Father of the Year honorees based on their ability to balance their personal and professional lives and serve as a role model for their children, while making a positive difference in their communities.
"We are proud of these exceptional fathers who have demonstrated the ability to balance a high level of success in their chosen careers and serve as great role models in our community,” said Tiana Davidson, director of the Greater Michigan ADA. “They deserve recognition not only as fathers and community leaders, but for their commitment to change the future of all people living with diabetes.”
Baker, father to Jennifer (23) and Brian (21), is a native of Minnesota and has a distinguished 25-year career in chamber management. He has held executive positions with chambers in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota, and has been leading the Grand Rapids Area Chamber since April of 2011.
Baker is a graduate of the University of Colorado Institute for Organization Management and is an active member of ACCE and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the Boards of Directors of The Right Place, Inc., Downtown Alliance and the West Michigan Policy Forum. He also serves on the Heart of West Michigan United Way Campaign cabinet, City of Grand Rapids Sustainable Streets Task Force, the local government Collaboration Work Group and the State of Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives Advisory Council.