- II. Strategic Elements
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a Strategic Planning Elements section that analyzes the State’s current economic environment and identifies the State’s overall vision for its workforce development system. The required elements in this section allow the State to develop data-driven goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce and to identify successful strategies for aligning workforce development programs to support economic growth. Unless otherwise noted, all Strategic Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.
II. c. State Strategy
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include the State's strategies to achieve its strategic vision and goals. These strategies must take into account the State’s economic, workforce, and workforce development, education and training activities and analysis provided in Section (a) above. Include discussion of specific strategies to address the needs of populations provided in Section (a).
1. Describe the strategies the State will implement, including industry or sector partnerships related to in-demand industry sectors and occupations and career pathways, as required by WIOA section 101(d)(3)(B), (D). “Career pathway” is defined at WIOA section 3(7) and includes registered apprenticeship. “In-demand industry sector or occupation” is defined at WIOA section 3(23)
2. Describe the strategies the State will use to align the core programs, any Combined State Plan partner programs included in this Plan, required and optional one-stop partner programs, and any other resources available to the State to achieve fully integrated customer services consistent with the strategic vision and goals described above. Also describe strategies to strengthen workforce development activities in regard to weaknesses identified in section II(a)(2)
The State of Alabama workforce system has set many ambitious goals including establishing a statewide longitudinal database, strengthening career pathways, expanding apprenticeship programs, producing 500,000 new credential holders within the next five years, and many others. Each of the agencies in the workforce system are aligned to support these goals. Workforce system partners include the Alabama Department of Commerce (Title I), Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education – (Title II, Perkins V), Alabama Department of Labor (Title III, Trade Act, JVSG), Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (Title IV), Alabama Department of Human Resources (TANF, SNAP E&T), Alabama Department of Senior Services (SCSEP), and the Alabama Department of Education (Perkins V).
There is a high level of cooperation among the agencies to serve their common client base. This includes communication and planning activities through various State Workforce Board and Local Area Workforce Board committees. The level of communication and data sharing will be strengthened as the longitudinal database is implemented. Currently Title I, Title III, Trade Act, and JVSG is operating together in a new shared case management and data tracking system, which started in April 2020. There are plans for other programs such as apprenticeship to be added. Each partner agency will have the opportunity to join in this data sharing system as it progresses. Agreements for data sharing of the common elements have been put in place with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Service (Title IV) and the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education - Adult Education (Title II). The Alabama Department of Human Resources (TANF and SNAP E&T) historically has had an existing data sharing agreement with the Alabama Department of Commerce and Alabama Department of Labor to share data and coordinate shared client services. Details are now being worked out on how to transfer this to the new data system.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources' TANF program is an especially important partner in the workforce system.The JOBS Program, which is DHR’s welfare to work program, is operational in all 67 Alabama counties. The Program provides services and work supports to parents receiving cash assistance to help them find and retain employment. These services and supports seek to address barriers such as lack of adequate child care, poor access to transportation, domestic violence and substance abuse, all which greatly limit the ability to obtain and retain employment. Services also include employability assessments, job readiness and job skills training, disability assessments and adult education. Following an initial interview which involves individual and family assessments, JOBS case managers provide services directly or by referral to other agencies. This program continues to operate its own separate physical locations, but there is close coordination between it, the Alabama Career Centers, and other workforce partners to serve common clients and ensure that current and potential clients have access to all of the workforce programs available through initial screenings for eligibility and referrals.
Alignment of these programs will support the following state workforce strategies and goals:
State Strategy: State Strategies to Achieve Goals
Alabama’s strategies for achieving its strategic workforce development goals have evolved from a two-year task force study by the Alabama Workforce Council appointed by the Governor on July 2, 2014. The study by Alabama’s leaders of industry, business, education and government, recommended these strategies in their report to the Governor on January 31, 2015:
⦁ Develop and implement a robust longitudinal data system (P-20W) for use by all stakeholders to inform decision-making and planning to meet changing workforce training and education needs. The P-20W data system will collect data from state education agencies, the Department of Labor, industries, and other parties to evaluate education and workforce trends. The system will serve as the centerpiece of the education and industry “feedback loop.”
⦁ Create and launch an awareness campaign to change generational misperceptions about long-term careers in the skilled trades and raise awareness about long-term career opportunities in Alabama. The campaign will serve as the marketing centerpiece for the state’s workforce development efforts to educate students and adults about career pathways and opportunities, and to direct them to a one-stop-shop online resource for more information about educational programs, industry websites, and other workforce development programs.
⦁ Develop and implement a “One Stop Shop” online workforce information resource -- a single online resource for all information about state workforce development efforts and career opportunities. Separate portals within the main site will deliver content relevant to each of the identified target demographic groups - (1) students, (2) adults seeking to re-enter the workforce, (3) parents, and (4) educators.
(a.) The Career Cluster Strategy
The Alabama Committee on Credentials and Career Pathways (ACCCP) was created by Alabama Act 2019-506 to identify credentials of value associated with in-demand occupations withing the 16 career clusters. The ACCCP is tasked with promulgating regional and statewide list of in-demand occuaptions and credentials of value associated with those occupations. The ACCCP also is tasked with identifying career pathways by connecting occupations in a sector from entry-level to advanced level. The career pathway approach connects levels of education, training, counseling, support services, and credentials for specific occupations in a way that optimizes continuous progress towards the education, employment, and career goals of individuals of all ages, abilities, and needs. Career pathways fully engage businesses to help meet their workforce needs. In turn, customers are encouraged to choose among a full range of education and work-based learning opportunities that allows them to earn marketable credentials. Ultimately, the goal is to connect the customer to a career pathway that taps their talents and leads to long-term economic security. Career pathways are most effective when they are highly informed by businesses in a regional economy and when they are supported by system partners. These pathways can offer a mechanism for those with barriers to employment to move more efficiently into jobs. The workforce development partners can identify potential participants and provide the support services for these job seekers to succeed in their education and training. Business input can help the education system better tailor and update curriculum based on regional industry needs and trends.
(b.) Secondary to Postsecondary Transition & Alignment
Alabama offers dual enrollment and statewide articulation to ease the transition from secondary to postsecondary through the Accelerated High School program, the Early College Enrollment Program, and general dual enrollment opportunities.
Alabama has statewide articulation agreements in the following Career Clusters:
⦁ Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career Cluster
⦁ Architecture & Construction Career Cluster
⦁ Arts, AV Technology & Communications Career Cluster
⦁ Business Management & Administration Career Cluster
⦁ Education & Training Career Cluster
⦁ Human Services Career Cluster
⦁ Information Technology Career Cluster
⦁ Manufacturing Career Cluster
⦁ STEM Career Cluster
⦁ Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Career Cluster
Recognizing a major shortage of craft professionals within Alabama and a need for better career pathways for students, Alabama’s legislature signed into law a requirement for all of ALSDE’s CTE programs to have industry-supported advisory programs to ensure students are career ready upon graduation.
(c.) Industry Collaboration
In 2013, ALSDE created industry committees in response to new legislation requiring Alabama CTE programs to have advisory programs to ensure industry has influence on the training process. Feedback from all industry advisory committees indicated a strong demand for industry-recognized credentials, so the committees established Career Readiness Indicators, which equate to credentials or certifications that demonstrate a student is ready for career placement.
(d.) Career Preparedness
To better facilitate career-based decision making among its students, ALSDE requires every student to take a one-credit career preparedness course in ninth grade that focuses on academic and career planning prior to graduation. The career preparedness course has three integrated areas of instruction: academic planning and career development, financial literacy, and technology. Students define their career goals and plan their coursework through grade 12. This four-year plan is a dynamic document that can be updated, but it serves as a compass for students’ career paths. The course allows students to spend a year looking at careers and what it takes to get there. In addition, ALSDE employs career coaches to better educate students on the options available to them. Career Coaches in Alabama high schools act as liaisons between industry, students, and parents in each of ALSDE’s schools. More students are earning in-demand industry credentials than ever before. The ACT WorkKeys assessment is administered to all high school seniors in Alabama public schools.
As baseline data for Alabama’s CTE programs the following information for the 2014-15 school year is presented in the table below.
|Item/Feature of CTE in Alabama||Number, Amount or Percentage|
|Number of public high schools||376|
|Number of public high school offering CTE courses||72|
|Students enrolled in public high schools||262,062|
|Students enrolled in CTE courses||170,448|
|Students identified as high school CTE concentrators||81,341|
|Number of public community colleges||26|
|Number of full and part-time students enrolled in public community colleges||125,477|
|Number of post-secondary CTE concentrators||39,932|
|Total Perkins funds received||$19,175,065|
|Percentage of Perkins funds distributed to secondary schools||70%|
|Percentage of Perkins funds distributed to post-secondary||30%|
The Department of Commerce’s Workforce Development Division is dedicated to assisting the growth of Alabama businesses and the workers that sustain their operations. By directing individuals toward job skills improvement programs, education, and training, the Workforce Development Division equips workers with the tools and talents that employers demand. The Workforce Development Division has two prongs to serve businesses and industry, job seekers, and employees. The Alabama Industrial Development Training agency (AIDT), one of the nation’s top state workforce training agencies, offers comprehensive pre-employment selection and training, leadership development, on-the-job training, and assessments — all specific to each company’s needs. AIDT has worked with thousands of businesses and trained more than 600,000 workers. The second prong of the Workforce Development Division is the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and are responsible for several workforce programs, including the Alabama Career Centers (Which are jointly funded by the Alabama Department of Commerce and managed by the Alabama Department of Labor) and various training programs.
The division also oversees the state’s seven (7) RWCs and five (5) of the seven Local Workforce Development Boards. The five Local Workforce Development Boards that are administered by the Workforce Development Division currently contain some of the same membership and the Regional Workforce Councils, which provides the integration and consistency desired at the local levels. Each of the Boards works with the Regional Councils to share information and seek information from local businesses and industry to ensure WIOA training programs are targeting the skills and gaps identified in each local area. Career centers, local workforce investment boards, employers, and other partners will collaborate to develop pathways for populations that may have barriers to entering the workforce. The Alabama Department of Labor manages the Alabama Career Center System that is funded by WIOA in Alabama. The respective staffs of these agencies are fully engaged and integrated as we serve the citizens.
ACCS Adult Education Office is Alabama’s eligible agency for adult education and is responsible for the administrative and programmatic oversight of the Title II AEFLA funds distributed to eligible, competitively selected providers. Under WIOA, ACCS Adult Education eligible providers’ services may include all of the following:
⦁ adult education and literacy;
⦁ workplace adult education and literacy;
⦁ family literacy;
⦁ English language acquisition;
⦁ Integrated English literacy and civics education;
⦁ workforce preparation;
⦁ integrated education and training (IET).
ACCS Adult Education will focus on expanding low-skilled individuals’ access to career pathways in high-demand occupations. With this focus, the integrated education and training (IET) activities and the contextualized curriculum and materials used for IET will be aligned to Alabama’s College and Career Readiness standards for ELA/Literacy, science, and math. In addition, workforce preparation activities will align to OCTAE’s Employability Skills Framework, and any occupational training components provided will be based on business and industry standards. All low-skilled job seekers will have access to these Pathways through a “no wrong door” approach to career center services.
(e.) The Strong Start, Strong Finish Initiative
Governor Ivey launched the Strong, Start Strong Finish education initiative in July 2017 to integrate Alabama’s early childhood education, K-12 education, and workforce development efforts into a seamless educational journey for all Alabamians. Strong Start, Strong Finish is composed of three major strategies: Pre through Three (P-3); Computer Science for Alabama (CS4AL); and Success Plus. Pre to Three is focused on securing state-wide saturation for the Alabama First-Class Pre-K Program and ensuring that all of Alabama’s third-graders are proficient readers by 2022. CS4AL will ensure that a rigorous computer science course is offered at all of Alabama’s middle and high schools by 2022. Success Plus will prepare 500,000 more Alabamians to enter the workforce with high-quality postsecondary degrees, certificates, and credentials by 2025. With the passage of the Strong Start, Strong Finish legislative agenda (Act 2019-523, Act 2019-389, and Act 2019-506), Governor Ivey has delivered on the most sweeping and transformative education agenda in over 50 years.
Governor Ivey’s strategic vision Alabama’s education and workforce system includes five benchmarks to ensure that all Alabamians are prepared for a strong start and a strong finish to their education journey—no matter what phase of life they may find themselves. The five Strong Start, Strong Finish benchmarks are:
⦁ pre-k readiness to ensure that all of Alabama’s four-year-old children are prepared for an excellent early childhood education experience;
⦁ school readiness to ensure that all of Alabama’s five- and six-year-old students enter kindergarten and/or first grade with advanced skills;
⦁ literacy and numeracy by age eight to ensure that all of Alabama’s students are prepared to persist through difficult coursework;
⦁ career exploration and discovery so that all students understand how to connect their interests and aptitudes with academic skills they learn in the classroom; and
⦁ college and/or career readiness so that all students graduate high school prepared to enter into postsecondary education or into an in-demand occupation.
The three Strong Start, Strong Finish strategies—P-3, CS4AL, and Success Plus—are composed of initiatives designed to make progress against two or more of the five benchmarks. P-3 is composed of strategies that address the first three benchmarks—pre-k readiness, school readiness, and literacy and numeracy. CS4AL is focused on benchmarks three through five (literacy and numeracy, college and career exploration, and college and/or career readiness). Success Plus highlights fourth and fifth benchmarks of career exploration and discovery and college and career exploration.
(f.) Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation (GOEWT)
Governor Ivey established the Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation (GOEWT) to ensure that the attainment and labor force participation goals are met through an equity-based framework. The GOEWT will work to braid Alabama’s federal CTE and WIOA funding streams through the combined 2020 state WIOA plan to develop career pathways based on work-based learning and credential attainment. The GOEWT will use data from the Alabama Terminal on Linking and Analyzing Statistics (ATLAS) on Career Pathways, Alabama’s P20-W system, to assist the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways (ACCCP) in establishing competency-based career pathways and stackable sequences of valuable credentials in all sixteen industry sectors.
(g.) Alabama’s Education and Workforce Transformation
To achieve the Alabama attainment goal and to ensure that participants in Alabama’s workforce development programs have access to in-demand career pathways that lead to valuable, portable, post-secondary degrees, certificates, and credentials, Governor Ivey is committed to meeting the Alabama postsecondary attainment goal of adding 500,000 credential holders to the workforce and raising Alabama’s labor force to the national average by 2025 through human capital development, shifting more federal resources to directly support job training, and a new social compact between the workforce and Alabama’s employers. Stackable, trackable, portable, and transferable industry-recognized credentials that are linked to fast-growing, high-wage, and high-demand career pathways. This will will create career pathways for in-school youth based on work-based learning and credential attainment and will provide multiple points of entry and exit from the workforce for adults who need to earn competency-based credentials to reenter the workforce or upskill. A currency of credentials of value will create a reciprocal feedback loop between employers and the workforce by signaling progressive wage increases, upward mobility within a firm, and the potential for lateral transfers within and between industry sectors. A credential currency will also signal to many people who are disengaged from the workforce, who are also economically disadvantaged and socially at-risk, that entry into a skill- and competency-based career pathway is also a path into economic security.
(h.) The Alabama Attainment Goal
Governor Ivey has set a postsecondary education attainment goal of adding 500,000 credential holders to Alabama’s workforce by 2025. Alabama is committed to meeting the Alabama postsecondary attainment goal through human capital development, shifting more federal resources to directly benefit job training, and a renewed social compact for Alabamians. Using the combined 2020 WIOA plan and the Alabama Career Pathways Model, Alabama is working to establish a wage premium for individuals who presently are unable to enter the labor force due to barriers such as a lack of childcare or transportation or disillusionment regarding the prospects of upward mobility. The career pathway model will provide a feedback loop between employers and employees that will signal to individuals who currently are not betting on work to take a chance on a competency-based career pathway. A currency of credentials of value will also signal progressive wage increases, upward mobility within a firm, and within and between industry sectors. The 2020 WIOA Combined Plan will ensure that Alabama’s workforce system is driven by data and by the needs of industry and special populations to serve two customers: employers and job seekers.
The global economy is changing rapidly, and there is an increasing need for workers who possess skills and training beyond a high school diploma. Workers with a post-secondary credential have taken 8.4 million jobs since 2011 in the United States, but workers with a high school diploma or less took only 80,000 jobs, after losing 5.6 million jobs in the last recession. The Lumina Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to increasing the number of Americans who hold quality post-secondary credentials, has set the goal that 60 percent of Americans will hold a high-quality degree, certificate, or credential by 2025. Between now and 2025, assuming current rates of degree and certificate production continue, about 24.2 million Americans will earn postsecondary credentials. To reach the 2025 goal, 16.4 million more high-skilled workers need to be added to that total. Alabama’s attainment gap is similar to the national numbers. Alabama’s 2017 attainment rate was 43 percent, while the experts project that Alabama’s demand for post-secondary education attainment in 2025 will be 51 percent.
Based on recommendations from the Success Plus plan, Governor Ivey has set five absolute priorities for reaching the post-secondary educational attainment goal: 1) All Alabama residents will understand the importance of earning certificates, credentials, and degrees and will know how to find information and resources to start or continue their education and training; 2) all Alabama residents will have access to education and will receive the continuous support they need to complete certificates, credentials, and degrees; 3) career pathways from education and training to high-demand jobs will be defined; 4) partners at the state, regional, and local levels will work together to increase post-secondary educational attainment in Alabama; 5) progress toward Alabama’s goal for post-secondary educational attainment will be tracked and shared regularly using data and evidence-based practices. To measure progress against each of the Success Plus absolute priorities, five key metrics have been identified, which will be tracked and shared regularly: 1) Post-secondary educational attainment rate; 2) college and career readiness; 3) participation in work-based learning; 4) enrollment and completions for all levels of education and training by population, race/ethnicity, gender, and workforce region; and 5) the employment and workforce participation rate. Alabama’s attainment efforts will focus on high school students (Grades 9–12); out-of-school youth; post-secondary students (18-24 years old); adult learners; veterans; individuals in the corrections system; and populations with significant barriers to post-secondary educational attainment opportunities in Alabama, including disabled and special needs individuals, English language learners, first-generation college students, low-income individuals, minorities, rural residents, and women. Governor Ivey’s Consolidated State Workforce Development Strategic plan will help achieve each of the Success Plus absolute priorities by aligning federal workforce development funding streams, increasing the amount of federal funding workforce regions must use to directly support job training opportunities, enabling data-driven workforce development decisions, and by scaling access to valuable credentials and work-based learning.
|Success Plus Metrics||Purpose||Data Source|
|1||Post-secondary Educational Attainment Rate||Measures progress toward overall post-secondary educational attainment goal||Educational Attainment Data Dashboard|
|2||College and Career Readiness||Indicates readiness of high school graduates to continue along pathways to continuing education opportunities and high-demand jobs||ALSDE College and Career Ready Dashboard|
|3||Participation in Work-Based Learning||Serves as an indicator for career success||Alabama Community College System, Alabama Department of Commerce, and Alabama State Department of Education|
|4||Enrollment and Completions for All Levels of Education and Training by Population, Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Workforce Region||Measures progress toward closing attinment gaps for particular populations and regions||Alabama Commission on Higher Education|
|5||Employment and Workforce Participation Rate||Demonstrates alignment between workforce preparedness and business/industry demand||Alabama Department of Labor|
(i.) Braiding Federal Workforce Development Funding Streams
Federal investment in workforce development comes primarily through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (CTE) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which succeeded the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), is the primary federal legislation that supports workforce development. WIOA was enacted to bring about increased coordination and alignment among federal workforce development programs. Most of its provisions went into effect on July 1, 2015, and the law authorizes appropriations for WIOA programs from FY2015 through FY2020.
(j.) The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which succeeded the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), is the primary federal legislation that supports workforce development. For program year 2018, the federal government appropriated more than $7.4 billion to states for the six core WIOA programs: youth ($899.6 million); adult ($842.5 million); dislocated worker ($1.257 billion); Wagner-Peyser ($663.6 million); adult education and family literacy ($542.9 million); vocational rehabilitative services ($3.184 billion). For Program Year 2018, Alabama received a total of $139.4 million for the six core WIOA programs (about 1.9 percent of total national funding), including $16.3 million for adult programs, $19.3 million for dislocated workers, $16.8 million for the youth program, $8.9 million for Wagner-Peyser, $9.5 million for adult education and family literacy, $275,000 for integrated English language and civics education (IELCE), and $68.3 million for vocational rehabilitation. The five titles of WIOA include six core programs—adult, dislocated worker, and youth programs (Title I of WIOA), adult education (Title II), the employment service program (Title III), and the vocational rehabilitation program (Title IV). The six core programs are administered by multiple agencies. The Department of Commerce is responsible for implementing the Title I programs, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) manages Title II, the Alabama Department of Labor oversees Title III, and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) oversees Title IV.
WIOA Core Agencies
⦁ Alabama Department of Commerce (Title I youth, adult, dislocated worker)
⦁ The Alabama Community College System (Title II adult education)
⦁ The Alabama Department of Labor (Title III Wagner-Peyser and the Employment Service)
⦁ The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (Title IV Rehabilitation Services)
WIOA Partner Agencies
⦁ The Alabama State Department of Education (Perkins CTE)
⦁ The Alabama Department of Human Resources (SNAP and TANF)
⦁ The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs
⦁ The Alabama Department of Senior Services
More strategic local boards, creation of career pathways and sector strategies that allow the business community to engage with all education and workforce agencies to create aligned opportunities for special populations across all agencies; data-driven decision making; validate data and provide work-based learning opportunities aligned to labor market data; allowing the employer community to tell their story once throughout the entire system rather than having to go to each agency.
State and local boards must be composed of at least 51 percent business and industry and at least 20 percent worker organizations, which means 71 percent of the board is composed of customers. WIOA also creates planning regions. Each state determines whether the planning regions and local areas are concurrent.
WIOA includes five titles:
● Title I—Workforce Development Activities—authorizes job training and related services to unemployed or underemployed individuals and establishes the governance and performance accountability system for WIOA;
● Title II—Adult Education and Literacy—authorizes education services to assist adults in improving their basic skills, completing secondary education, and transitioning to postsecondary education;
● Title III—Amendments to the Wagner-Peyser Act—amends the Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933 to integrate the U.S. Employment Service (ES) into the One-Stop system authorized by WIOA;
● Title IV—Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973—authorizes employment-related vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities, to integrate vocational rehabilitation into the One-Stop system; and
● Title V—General Provisions—specifies transition provisions from WIA to WIOA.
The five titles of WIOA include six core programs—adult, dislocated worker, and youth programs (Title I of WIOA), adult education (Title II), the employment service program (Title III), and the vocational rehabilitation program (Title IV). In Alabama, the Department of Commerce is the fiscal agent for WIOA. The Department of Commerce Workforce Development oversees the data collection and performance indicators for all six core programs. WIOA adopted six uniform performance indicators for all of the WIOA core programs. The six primary indicators of performance in WIOA are:
A. the percentage of program participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the program;
B. the percentage of program participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after exit from the program;
C. the median earnings of program participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the program;
D. the percentage of program participants who obtain a recognized postsecondary credential (or secondary school diploma or equivalent) during participation or within one year after program exit;
E. the percentage of program participants who are in an education or training program that leads to a recognized postsecondary credential or employment and who are achieving measurable skill gains toward such a credential or employment; and
F. the indicators of effectiveness in serving employers established by the Secretaries of Labor and Education.
|Service or Program||Programs and Activities|
|Alabama Career Center System||Operated as a partnership between the Alabama Department of Commerce ((WIOA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth) and the Alabama Department of Labor (Wagner-Peyser, UI, TAA and Veterans). The Career Center System also collaborates with Adult Education, Rehabilitative Services, TANF, SNAP and Title IV of the Older Americans Act (SCESP). Statewide there are 31 Comprehensive Career Centers and 20 affiliate sites in the system. In PY 2018 Alabama Career Center System provided 192,993 individuals with Wagner-Peyser labor exchange services and 7,924 individuals with WIOA training services, serving low-income adults, youth, and dislocated workers. Wagner-Peyser funding for PY2018 was $8,908,780 and Workforce Investment Act funds totaled $32,090.579.|
|Adult Education||The WIOA Title II Adult Education array of educational and training services are administered through the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) network of twenty-five eligible, competitively selected providers. The overarching goals focus on attainment of a high school credential or it’s recognized equivalent, college and career readiness to promote successful transition to postsecondary education, training, and/or employment. Adult Education services, includes integration of basic literacy and numeracy skills, employability skills, integrated English literacy civics education and career pathway skills leading to industry-recognized and in-demand credentials. Adults are afforded opportunities for apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. The myriad of adult education services are also extended to the incarcerated or institutionalized population in a limited, yet targeted format. Adult Education is a central core partner within the local workforce board areas and an active member of the Alabama Career Center system.|
|Alabama DepartmentofLabor-Wagner-Peyser, Unemployment Insurance, Trade Act, and Veterans Services||The Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) houses the Wagner-Peyser program (Employment Service), Unemployment Insurance, Trade Act, and Veterans Services programs. ADOL Wagner-Peyser and WIOA Title I programs have been collocates as part of the Alabama Career Centers since 2001. The Alabama Job Link (AJL) is provided by the ADOL. Alabama Job Link is the online job seeker and employer registration system that provide job seeker skills, abilities and work history with employers posting job openings in the system. ADOL provides Trade Act services and Veterans employment representatives in the Career Centers.|
|Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS)||The Department of Rehabilitation Services Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) provides specialized employment and education related services and training to assist teens and adults with disabilities to become employable. Services include skill assessments, counseling, training programs, job placement, assistive technology and transportation. For Program Year 2014 funding for the VRS totaled approximately $25,000,000; and for the same period 31,244 job seekers with disabilities were provided services. Since 2001 the VRS has been an active partner in the Alabama Career Center System.|
(k.) The Carl D. Perkins Act
The Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins V) is the preeminent source of federal funding for secondary and post-secondary career and technical education. The Perkins Act provides nearly $1.3 billion annually to CTE programs across the nation. Perkins Basic State Grants provide formula funding to states. The basic grant awards are divided between high schools and community colleges. States are given discretion on how to split the funds between secondary and postsecondary education, but a minimum of 85 percent of these grants must be distributed based on a formula to local secondary and postsecondary institutions that target disadvantaged students. The Division of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development at the ALSDE is responsible for overseeing secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in Alabama’s middle and high schools. Secondary CTE standards are designed for specific “career clusters,” which organize CTE programs of study to prepare students for further education or employment in pathways such as health care, business, and manufacturing. Alabama has adopted the National Career Clusters Model and is implementing standards and programs across all 16 career clusters. At the postsecondary level, CTE is delivered through Alabama's community colleges. With 24 colleges and 76 locations, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) reaches almost every corner of the state. In 2015, 64,053 postsecondary students participated in CTE. The Alabama Community College System offers dual enrollment and statewide articulation agreements to ease the transition from secondary to postsecondary CTE programs. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education coordinates transfer agreements between Alabama’s community and technical colleges and the four-year public institutions for advanced CTE programs.
(l.) The Combined 2020 State WIOA Plan
Under WIOA, the Governor of each state must submit a Unified or Combined State Plan to the U.S. Secretary of Labor that outlines a four-year strategy for the state’s workforce development system. At a minimum, a state must submit a Unified State Plan that includes a plan for the six core WIOA programs. However, a state may also submit a Combined State Plan that includes other workforce development programs, such as secondary and postsecondary CTE programs funded under the Carl D. Perkins Act. Alabama submitted a combined state plan for 2016-2019; however, CTE programs were not included in the plan.
The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), the fifth reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), reduced the length covered by a state’s CTE plan from six years to four years to encourage alignment between the core WIOA programs and the optional partner programs, such as CTE. Prior to the recent reauthorization, the divergent number of years covered by the WIOA and CTE state plans created a barrier to including CTE in a combined state plan. Although all States have approved WIOA Unified or Combined State Plans for Program Years (PYs 2016- 2019), WIOA requires that states review their plans every two years and update state plan strategies based on changes in the labor market, economic conditions, or other factors affecting the implementation of the state plan. Alabama will include Perkins CTE programs in the 2020 Combined Plan, which will produce the alignment necessary for apprenticeships for in-school youth to flourish in Alabama. Furthermore, Alabama recently requested and received a waiver from the U.S. DOL to allow in-school youth to receive ITAs. Allowing at-risk, in-school youth who are participating in an apprenticeship program to access WIOA funding will enhance the viability of pre-registered youth and industry-recognized apprenticeships that are aligned to credentials of value and in-demand career pathways. Including CTE in the consolidated state WIOA and expanding apprenticeships by allowing in-school youth to receive ITAs will align Alabama’s workforce development programs around in-demand career pathways linked to credentials of value.
(m.) The Alabama College and Career Exploration Tool (ACCET)
The Alabama College and Career Exploration Tool (ACCET) will be an interactive online dashboard available to students, employees, and employers. Jobseekers will be able to seek training and open positions using the ACCET, and employers will also use the tool to find potential employees. The ACCET will be designed to serve as a one-stop digital dashboard, which will enable Alabamians to compare all college and career options before choosing a career pathway. The ACCET will guide students through a digitally-delivered exploration and survey all 79 pathways within the 16 CTE industry clusters, an interest and career profile, and a graduation plan. The ACCET will allow CTE concentrators to map career pathways that will lead to graduation with industry-recognized credentials, postsecondary credit, and work-based learning experience. The ACCET will include a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion and college application tool. Students will be able to access the WIOA eligible training provider list (ETPL) through the ACCET in order to receive WIOA funding for postsecondary education and training. Employers will begin including recognized non-degree credentials in job descriptions and providing pay increases for attaining those credentials, which will reduce employee turnover and increase the productivity and skill level of the workforce. The ACCET will also serve as a verified, digital resume to display industry-recognized credentials and progress against established competency models. Credential information displayed through the ACCET will signal to employers that a worker or student possesses the requisite skills for either an entry-level job or progressive wage increases as a result of mastering the next competency within a stackable sequence. The ACCET will allow employers to auto-populate a list of the individuals who possess the credentials and competencies best suited for each job posting, which will reduce hiring costs and will incent employers to add credentials to job descriptions. The ACCET will also serve as an integrated case-management and intake system for the public workforce system that will faciltate the cross training of employees and a no-wrong-door approach to the public workforce system.
(n.) Expanding Competency-Based Career Pathways in Alabama
(i) Developing Pathways to the Middle Class by Developing a Currency of Quality Non-Degree Credentials
Non-degree credentials (NDCs), such as certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeship certificates, and occupational licenses are a key component of meeting the Success Plus postsecondary education attainment goal of adding 500,000 credential workers to Alabama’s workforce by 2025. In 2016, the Adult Training and Education Survey (ATES) found that 27 percent of adults held an NDC, with 18 percent holding licenses, 8 percent holding postsecondary certificates, and 6 percent holding certifications. The number of workers nationally participating in registered apprenticeship programs increased by 56 percent between 2013 and 2018. Postsecondary certificate holders earn 30 percent more than individuals with a high school diploma alone, on average, but not all NCSs are created equal. Making the value of NDCs in the labor market transparent is key to ensuring NDC quality assurance. There are four types of NCDs:
⦁ Certificates are credentials awarded by an educational institution based on completion of all requirements for a program of study, including coursework and tests. They are not time-limited and do not need to be renewed.
⦁ Apprenticeship certificates are credentials earned through work-based learning and postsecondary learn-and-earn models. They are applicable to industry trades and professions. Registered apprenticeship certificates meet national standards.
⦁ Industry certifications are credentials awarded by a certification body (not a school or government agency) based on an individual demonstrating, through an examination process, that he or she has acquired the designated knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform a specific occupation or skill. It is time-limited and may be renewed through a re-certification process.
⦁ Licenses are credentials that permit the holder to practice in a specified field. An occupational license is awarded by a government licensing agency based on pre-determined criteria. The criteria may include some combination of degree attainment, certifications, assessment, apprenticeship programs, or work experience. Licenses are time-limited and must be renewed periodically.
Developing an aligned definition of an NDC of value can help provide for a common accountability framework for knowing whether a credential meets the definition of a “recognized postsecondary credential” under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Carl D. Perkins Act, or the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program. Alabama participated, along with Iowa, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, as a round one state in the National Skills Coalitions NDC quality assurance project. The National Skills Coalition’s NDC Quality Assurance Project led to the acceptance of several general principles for the definition of a NDC of quality, including the need for the definition to be student-focused, to support equitable credential attainment, to be flexible while safeguarding quality, and should include a public process for determining which credentials are quality credentials.
The National Skills Coalition has developed the following consensus definition for a quality NDC. A quality non-degree credential is one that provides individuals with the means to equitably achieve their informed employment and educational goals. There must be valid, reliable, and transparent evidence that the credential satisfies the criteria that constitute quality. The criteria that constitute quality include three required and one that is strongly preferred but need not always be in place. The three required criteria include (1) substantial job opportunities, (2) transparent evidence of the competencies mastered by credential holders, and (3) evidence of the employment earning outcomes of individuals after obtaining employment. The strongly preferred criterion is stackability to additional education or training. Some quality credentials required to obtain employment in an in-demand occupation are stand-alone credentials, such as a registered apprenticeship completion certificate, which is not stackable but is also quality. Setting earnings thresholds is an important tool for maintaining quality as well. Often, earnings thresholds are based on a wage premium above the average earned by someone with a high school diploma alone. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average annual earnings of an individual in the United States with a high school diploma alone between the ages of 25 and 34 is $28,000. The Lumina Foundation recommends at least a 20 percent wage premium over a high school diploma, or $33,600 nationally.
Alabama has focused on non-degree quality assurance and transparency to develop a credential currency that enables Alabamians to progress through a career pathway and earn wage increases by earning a sequence of stackable credentials that denote mastery of workplace competencies aligned to occupations that are part of a career pathway. By identifying credentials of value that are portable, trackable, stackable, provide a wage premium, are recognized by employers, and are integrated into a career pathway progression, Alabama has developed a competency-based approach to human capital development that helps Alabamians with weak labor force attachment due to benefits cliffs or others barriers to entering the workforce use credentials of value as a means of attaining economic mobility by progressing from an entry-level position, to middle-skills jobs, to advanced-level occupations.
(ii) Using Data to Establish Employer Signals and Career Pathways Based on Stackable Credentials
Alabama is collaborating with the Lumina Foundation, the National Skills Coalition, and the Workforce Data Quality to establish a standardized protocol to inventory and publish credentials. The ATLAS on Career Pathways, the state’s longitudinal database system, will serve as Alabama’s credential registry. Alabama won a grant from Credential Engine in June 2019 to establish a standardized protocol to inventory and publish credentials. As part of the process of vetting a credential for inclusion on the state’s list of credentials of value (the Alabama compendium of valuable credentials), relevant credential data will be published to the ATLAS on Career Pathways. Each credential application submitted to the ACCCP for review will be referred to a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The TACs will publish information on each credential, whether or not it is selected for inclusion on the Alabama compendium of valuable credentials. Each industry sector is represented by a TAC, and each TAC has develop an industry-endorsed competency model for each occupation within its purview. The competency models developed by each TAC will establish credential attainment as the “common denominator” between progression from secondary to postsecondary education and training programs. Alabama will reach the “tipping point” goal of publishing over half of the credentials in the state to the ATLAS on Career Pathways by 2022. Enhancing credential transparency is key to Governor Ivey’s workforce development strategic plan. By providing a standardized process for vetting and publishing data on credentials of value and mapping credentials to workforce competencies, stackable sequences mapped to competencies, and traditional degrees will make non-degree credential attainment an indelible component of Alabama’s workforce system and labor market. Vetting credentials through the ACCCP, publishing data on credentials submitted to the ACCCP to the ATLAS on Career Pathways, and then enabling students and workers to display credentials of value they have earned through their profile on the ACCET will provide for a credential currency in Alabama that could result in a paradigm shift in relations between individuals and the education and workforce training system and between the workforce and employers by signaling to employers that they should reward employees with progressive wage increases and increased responsibility for mastering advanced competencies. Creating a market language for credentials through credential transparency will produce a more intentional pathway for Alabamians determined to pursue a competency-based education as a pathway into the middle class.
(iii) The Five-Star Rubric Test for In-Demand Occupations
The state list of in-demand occupations will be compiled by first assigning each occupation regionally, and then statewide, with one to five stars, based on a rubric that awards one star for occupations that include one or more of the five criteria included on the rubric for evaluating the regional lists of in-demand occupations. Occupations that are awarded three or more stars will be included on a regional list. The state list will include all career pathways that appear on at least two of the regional lists. The TAC for each career cluster shall evaluate each occupation within each of the career pathways under its purview with the rubric below. The rubric contains five categories. Occupations that possess the characteristic in the category are awarded a star for that category. An occupation will receive one to five stars based on how many of the five characteristics the occupations possess on the rubric. The five criteria are whether an occupation: (1) pays at least 70 percent of the mean regional wage; (2) the occupations to career cluster with an annual regional Success Plus attainment goal that is ranked in the top eight out of the 16 clusters; (3) the occupation is projected to have positive annual growth and positive growth over the next decade (2016 to 2026); (4) the occupation is on the regional “Top 40 In-Demand Jobs List” or the occupation is in at least the 75th percentile of the average regional wage; and (5) the occupation requires a postsecondary degree, certificate, or credential for initial employment. Earning a star for three of the criteria is mandatory. For the first two required criteria, earning a star for criteria (1) and criteria (3) is mandatory, and an occupation must possess one or both of criteria (4) or (5) to pass the five-star rubric test. Passing the five-star rubric test with three, four, or five stars does not imply value. Whether an occupation receives three, four, or five stars only provides the TAC with additional information needed to make decisions regarding the final list on in-demand occupations. Furthermore, a TAC may determine not to include an occupation that has passed the five-star rubric test on the final list of in-demand occupations if the occupation is deemed to not provide adequate economic mobility or progression across a career pathway.
|Characteristic||Criteria I Occupation Must be at Least 70 percent of Mean Regional Wage||Criteria II The Occupation Belongs within a Career Cluster that is ranked in the top eight for the annual regional Success Plus attainment goal||Criteria III Positive Annual Growth Over Decade||Criteria IV Occupation is on the Regional To Forty In-Demand Jobs List or occupation is at least in the 75th Percentile of the Average Regional Wage||Criteria V The Occupation Requires a Post-Secondary Degree, Certificate, or Credential for Initial Employment|
|Earning a star for three of the criteria is mandatory. For the first two required criteria, earning a start for criteria (1) and criteria (3) is mandatory, and an occupation must possess one or both of criteria (4) or (5) to be included on a regional or statewide compendium of valuable credentials.|
(iv) Developing Competency Models and Career Lattices
Once the TACs have reviewed the list of occupations for each region that have passed the five-star rubric test, then each TAC will determine how the occupations in each cluster fit into a career pathway that progresses from an entry-level occupation, to middle-skills occupations, and then onto advanced level occupations. In the process of developing career pathways, the TACs may choose to include an occupation that forms part of a career pathway sequence but did not pass the five-star rubric test on the final list of regional or statewide in-demand occupations.
Each TAC will develop a regional and statewide list of in-demand occupations. The statewide list will be composed of occupations that have been included on two or more regional lists. After identifying the regional and statewide in-demand occupations, the TACs must create an industry competency model and a competency-based career lattice for each of the occupations among the 79 career pathways within the 16 career clusters on a regional or statewide list of in-demand occupations. Each TAC shall commission a statistically-significant survey to determine which workplace and academic competencies are required by employers for each occupation within its purview no later than March 30, 2020. The survey shall also determine whether there are industry-recognized credentials associated with each of the occupations under the TACs purview.
Each TAC shall recognize an industry-recognized credential of value, which shall be submitted to the ACCCP for approval, for each occupation with three or more stars on a regional or the statewide list of in-demand occupations no later than December 31, 2020. No later than 30 June 2020, each of the sixteen (16) Technical Advisory Committees shall create an industry competency model and competency-based career lattice for each occupation on its regional and statewide lists of in-demand occupations. Each of the industry competency models and competency-based career lattices must include:
⦁ A description of the progression of coursework and industry-recognized credentials needed to ascend from entry-level to higher-level jobs within the occupation;
⦁ The sequence of personal effectiveness competencies, workplace competencies, industry-recognized technical competencies, sector-specific competencies, occupation-specific competencies, and management-level competencies in that occupation;
⦁ The curricula, skills assessments, and certifications needed to develop incremental training modules as a sequence of courses leading to industry-recognized credentials or certifications that also progressively lead to a traditional postsecondary degree to provide participants with multiple points to enter and exit the training and education programs over the course of a career to earn progressively advanced certificates and credentials that lead to positions of increased responsibility and higher wages.
(v) The Alabama Competency Taxonomy
The ACCCP will develop a five-tier credential taxonomy that will include the following information: Career Cluster (each of the 16 career clusters will be given a numeric code); Career Pathway (each of the career pathways will be given a numeric code); Division (Secondary of Postsecondary); Category (Basic or Advanced); and Classification (Complementary, Regional, or Statewide). The TACs will also map all related competencies to the credential during stage two review.
|Career Cluster-Career Pathway-Occupation-Competency||KNO- Knowlege SPE- Specialized Skill PER - Personal Skill SOC - Social Skill COM - Competency||Rate of Decay (in months)||Level of Proficiency||Date of Current Assessment||Summative Assessment Format|
A - Artifact
E - Exam
P - Performance
Alabama has developed the Alabama Competency Taxonomy, which is a seven-tiered system for coding each individual skill, or competency, that composes an occupation. There are personal effectiveness competencies, academic competencies, workplace competencies, industry-wide competencies, sector-specific competencies, occupation-specific competencies, and management competencies. Through the Alabama Competency Taxonomy, each of them can be coded, organized, and mapped onto a credential of value so that the credential of value can be recognized as certifying the mastery of that competency. The first tier of the competency taxonomy details the career cluster, career pathway, and specific occupation in which the knowledge, skill, attitude, or competency exists. The competency identifier consists of four alphanumeric digits that are specific to the assigned competency. The code will be assigned as follows: career cluster—career pathway—occupation and occupation-specific competency model—occupation-specific competency (0-0-0-0). The second tier of the competency taxonomy consists of three alphanumeric characters that reflect the knowledge, specialized skills, personal skills, and social skills as articulated in the Lumina Beta Credential Framework. They include: (1) KNO – Knowledge – What a learner knows, understands and can demonstrate in terms of the body of facts, principles, theories, and practices related to broad general or specialized fields of study or work; (3) SPE – Specialized Skill – Skills that are occupational and discipline-specific; (2) PER – Personal Skill – Competencies required to act in an independent and responsible manner in various situations, to exercise judgment, demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving, reflect on one’s own actions and on the actions of others, and to continue to develop his/her own competencies; (4) SOC – Social Skill – An individual’s ability to be aware of the behavior of others and of differing viewpoints, to communicate with others effectively, and to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and points of view; and (5) COM – Competency – A learnable, measurable, role-relevant, and behavior-based characteristic or capability. The third tier of the competency taxonomy includes a two-digit rate-of-decay code will be reflective of the number of months between the time of initial certification or recertification of the competency and the time that the individual earning the competency will need to be recertified. The fourth tier of the competency taxonomy is the proficiency indicator, which is based on an eight-level proficiency system identified in the Beta Credential Framework. The scale of proficiency from one to eight does not reflect the level of individual mastery, but, rather, it reflects the level of proficiency needed to adequately perform the underlying occupation. The fifth tier of the competency taxonomy reflects the last date on which proficiency for the competency was assessed, if applicable. These eight characters represent the date, using Gregorian calendar notation, on which the proficiency was assessed by the validating agency, credential provider, or TAC, as determined by each TAC. The data format follows a yyyymmdd date schema. The sixth tier of the competency taxonomy details the type of assessment used to determine the proficiency achieved by the learner. There are three assessment types identified: artifact, exam, or performance. These three methods represent the majority of assessments that would measure and validate proficiency of a knowledge, skill, or competency. The seventh tier of the competency taxonomy includes a nine-digit Dun & Bradstreet (D-U-N-S Numbers.) Because there is no central repository for all institutions, organizations, and employers, this portion of the code is difficult to detail. For this reason, the Dun & Bradstreet (D-U-N-S Numbers) system will be used, as these are both international and non-sector specific. This nine-digit number is required of all entities that do business with the federal government. Because these numbers are assigned without a fee, it would appear to be a strong solution for many of the institutions and employers likely to verify knowledge, skills, and competencies.
(vi) The Alabama Compendium of Valuable Credentials
Based on the regional and state in-demand career pathways, labor market information, and program completion and employment data, the ACCCP will also create annual Compendia of Valuable Credentials. The Alabama Compendium of Valuable Credentials will be composed of the regional and state lists of credentials that are mapped onto the regional and state in-demand career occupations with three or more stars. The ACCCP will adopt the procedures by which the TACs shall review and vote to recommend credentials to the regional and statewide compendia of valuable credentials in accordance with the procedures as follows:
⦁ An industry or trade association group, the Alabama Workforce Council, the Alabama State Workforce Investment Board, the Alabama State Department of Education, the Alabama Community College System, the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship, and the Alabama Commission on Higher Education may apply to the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways to include a credential possessing one or more of the ten characteristics of a valuable credential, described in tier-one review, on a regional or statewide Compendium of Valuable Credentials.
⦁ The ACCCP will refer each application, by career cluster and pathway, to a TAC for stage one review.
|Career Cluster (01-16)||Career Pathway (01-79)||Division (Secondary or Postsecondary)||Category (Advanced or Basic)||Complementary (C), Regional (R), or Statewide (S)||Competencies Mapped to the Credential (Not included as part of the five-digit taxonomy for the compendia of valuable credentials.)|
Each credential undergoes a two-tier review process by the TAC. Tier one review includes reviewing the credential application against the following criteria:
⦁ The TAC shall classify the underlying credential referenced in the application as either required by law, including any credential mandated by the laws or regulations of the State of Alabama or the United States of America; mandated by industry, which shall include any credential mandated by two (2) or more firms within an industry sector; or preferred by industry, which shall include any credential endorsed, but not required, by two or more firms within an industry sector.
⦁ The TAC shall determine whether the credential is required to obtain a job (counts toward attainment goal and is an advanced credential on the compendium of valuable credentials); part of stackable sequence leading to a credential that is required for employment (included on the compendium of valuable credentials as a basic credential, but these credentials do not count towards the attainment goal); complementary credentials with skills that are affiliated with the career pathway but are not directly aligned to the credential sequence (can be included on the compendium of valuable credentials as a complementary credential but are not included in credential sequences and do not count towards the attainment goal);
⦁ Accredited or recognized by a statewide or national industry-recognized accrediting bodies, such as a sector or industry association;
⦁ Aligned to an occupation on a regional or statewide list of in-demand occupations;
⦁ Achievable by students in a secondary and/or the postsecondary level of study;
⦁ Earned after a minimum number of hours of instruction time, as determined by the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways, and awarded after achieving a passing score, as determined by the sponsoring industry sector, on a proctored examination;
⦁ Stackable in a sequence of aligned competencies that progress along with the rigor of advanced training programs;
⦁ Valuable as determined by leading to at least a twenty (20)-percent wage premium over a high school diploma;
⦁ Traceable and trackable by the ATLAS on Career Pathways; and
⦁ Portable across or within an industry sector to establish the qualifications of individuals in multiple geographic areas, among multiple education and training institutions, and by diverse employers.
Credentials that possess one or more of the characteristics reviewed during tier one review and that are vetted and receive a majority vote of approval by the TAC proceed to stage two review. Each TAC should make the following considerations when moving a credential forward for two-tier review if the credential is not complementary, if the credential does not possess the following tier-one criteria:
⦁ If a credential is not mandated by industry, required by law, or preferred by industry, the credential must be complementary.
⦁ Only credentials that are required to obtain a job can be counted towards the attainment goal and to be counted as an advanced credential for tier-two review. Stackable credentials that are not required to obtain a job are counted as basic credentials for tier-two review.
⦁ A credential is complementary if it does not denote mastery of one or more competencies required for one or more occupations on one or more regional or the statewide list of in-demand occupations.
⦁ A credential is complementary if it is not nationally, regionally, or locally recognized by business or industry.
⦁ A credential that is not achievable at the secondary or postsecondary level is complementary and a credential only achievable at the secondary level is basic for tier-two review.
⦁ A credential that is not achievable through 130 hours of coursework or through a proctored examination should include an artifact or performance-based examination to move forward for tier-two review. A TAC may, on a case-by-case basis and with the recommendation of relevant members of industry, lower the required number of hours for a time-based credential.
⦁ A credential is either complementary or a stand-alone credential of value, such as an apprenticeship completion credential or a long-term certificate, if it is not stackable.
⦁ A credential is either complementary or basic if it does not provide at least a 20-percent wage premium over a high school diploma.
⦁ A credential is trackable by the ATLAS on Career Pathways if it has been registered into the Alabama Credential Registry, which is required before Tier One review may begin. Credential providers who refuse, or who cannot provide the information necessary to register credentials onto the Alabama Credential Registry, will not be able to process an application for inclusion on the Compendium of Valuable Credentials.
⦁ A non-portable credential is either regional or complementary. A non-portable credential may be basic or advanced.
During stage two review, credentials are placed in the five-level credential taxonomy:
⦁ credentials are categorized by career cluster;
⦁ credentials are categorized by career pathway;
⦁ credentials are categorized into either the secondary or postsecondary division of the Alabama Compendium of Valuable Credentials. Secondary are high school credentials and below, and postsecondary credentials are at the college level;
⦁ credentials in both the secondary and the postsecondary divisions will be classified as either basic or advanced. Basic certifications are the first level or industry certification, or a relevant stand-alone certification. Advanced credentials are part of a stackable sequence of credentials that are linked to an occupation on the ACCCP’s list of regional and state in-demand career pathways;
⦁ basic and advanced credentials will be categorized as either a statewide, regional, or complementary credential. Statewide credentials must be linked to an in-demand career pathway on the ACCCP’s state list of in-demand career pathways. A regional credential must be linked to a career pathway on the ACCCP’s regional list of in-demand career pathways. Complementary credentials, such as first aid or digital literacy, have value across industry sectors.
A subgroup of credentials on statewide or regional compendia of valuable credentials classified in the secondary, basic and complementary divisions may be endorsed by the relevant Technical Advisory Committee as a “Success Credential” that may be designed to provide basic, foundational, or essential skills. Credentials deemed as “Success Credentials” shall be duly noted. A subgroup of credentials on statewide or regional compendia of valuable credentials classified in the secondary or postsecondary, advanced, and the regional or statewide divisions of the compendia of valuable credentials, that also lead to no fewer than 12 postsecondary credit hours towards a postsecondary degree aligned to a career pathway on a regional or statewide list of in-demand career pathways, may be designated by the relevant Technical Advisory Committee as a “Success Plus” credential. Credentials deemed “Success Plus” credentials shall be duly noted.
For each year, except the first year after the organizational meeting of the ACCCP, each of the 16 Technical Advisory Committees shall complete the stage one and two review of all credential applications referred by the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways for review and shall compile a final list of credentials for recommendation for the regional and statewide compendia of valuable credentials no later than the 30th day of September in each year. No later than the 31st day of the month of October in each year, except the first year after the organizational meeting of the ACCCP, the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways shall vote to adopt or reject, in whole, the final list of recommended credentials for submission to the regional and statewide compendia of valuable credentials from each Technical Advisory Committee. A Technical Advisory Committee may resubmit a revised list of recommended credentials to add to the regional and statewide compendia of valuable credentials within 30 days of notice from the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways that the Technical Advisory Committee’s initial recommendations were rejected. Credentials included on a Regional or Statewide Compendium of Valuable Credentials do not require an initial application or stage one review but must undergo stage two review for inclusion on the next iteration of the same Regional or Statewide Compendium of Valuable Credentials. Furthermore, credential providers must report annually, at the time of annual review for inclusion on a regional or statewide compendia of Valuable Credentials, data on the number of individuals who earned the credential in the previous year, the number of people who were employed in an occupation that requires the credential in the previous year, and the percentage of successful completers who attempted a written or competency-based assessment required for the attainment of the credential in the previous year. Credentials shall be removed from a regional or statewide compendium of Valuable Credentials when the provider of credential fails to provide a report to the ACCCP, under the provisions of this subsection, within sixty (60) days of the annual deadline established by the ACCCP. The aggregated approved lists of Technical Advisory Committees shall be promulgated by the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways as the Regional and Statewide Compendia of Valuable Credentials no later than the 1st day of January in each year. The Regional and Statewide Compendia of Valuable Credentials promulgated on the 1st day of each year shall become effective on the first day of July in each calendar year, except the first year after the organizational meeting of the ACCCP. The final Regional and Statewide Compendia of Valuable Credentials shall be available for access to the general public at no cost and shall include a unique code, based on the five-tier credential taxonomy to provide for common identification for each credential included on the Regional and Statewide Compendia of Valuable Credentials, which shall also include the codes for each competency (based on the Alabama Competency Taxonomy) for which the credential denotes mastery.
(vii) The Alabama Integrated Career Pathways Model
The Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation (GOEWT) is working to establish the two-pronged Alabama Career Pathways Model. Post-secondary credential attainment, dual enrollment, and work-based learning will be used as strategies to establish the two-pronged Alabama Career Pathways Model. Under the first prong, in-school youth may participate in a registered- or industry-recognized apprenticeship program, earn their associate degree, and earn stackable credentials at the time of high school graduation. Under the second prong, adults who are disconnected from the workforce or those who are underemployed may upskill or become basic skills proficient through multiple on and off ramps from workforce training and employment through stackable credentials mapped to a traditional associate degree. Shortened career pathways for in-school youth will hasten their ability to enter the workforce and lengthened career pathways, with multiple points of entry and exit, for adults will enable a flexible progression and persistence through a competency model and career pathway.
The purpose of the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways (ACCCP) is to develop career pathways that lead students to employment in the in-demand occupation. That is the “why.” The “how” component is met with the process of identifying the occupations that are in-demand at the regional and statewide levels through the five-star occupational taxonomy. Identifying the in-demand occupations is necessary, yet not sufficient to developing career pathways, however. Once the in-demand occupations have been identified, they must be “stacked” in a series of occupations within the same occupational pathway that increase in the level of skill and knowledge required to perform the occupation as one advances from the entry-level occupation within a pathway, to middle-skills occupations, and then onto to occupations that required advanced postsecondary education and training. Once the progression of occupations for a career pathway has been identified, the underlying competencies related to each occupation must be identified and coded, using the Alabama Competency Taxonomy, and developed into a competency model for each occupation within the pathway.
(o.) Alabama’s Apprenticeship Expansion Efforts
(i) The Alabama Industry-Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship (AIRRAP) Act (Act 2019-506)
To enable Alabama to meet the post-secondary attainment goal and to surpass the national average labor force participation rate, the Alabama Industry-Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship Program, or “AIRRAP,” Act established the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship to serve as Alabama’s state apprenticeship agency, established the Alabama Registered and Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program to expand access to apprenticeships for in-school youth and adult learners, and enhanced the Apprenticeship Alabama Tax Credit to incent employers to hire in-school youth apprentices. The Alabama Industry Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship Program Act (Act 2019-506) passed the Senate 32-0. It passed the House 97-0-4. Act 2019-506 was sponsored by Sen. Orr. Governor Ivey signed Act 2019-506 into law on May 30, 2019.
(ii) Provisions of the Alabama Industry-Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship (AIRRAP) Act (Act 2019-506)
Act 2019-506 provides for the establishment of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship (AOA) to register Alabama’s registered apprenticeships and to identify Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). On March 12, 2020, the AOA was granted status as the State’s Apprenticeship Agency and thus took over responsibilities for registered apprenticeships in Alabama. The AOA is currently applying through the Standards Recognition Entity (SRE) application process to be established as a USDOL authorized standards recognition entity for the purposes of recognizing and supporting IRAPs in Alabama. Act 2019-506 established the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways is established as a subcommittee of the Alabama Workforce Council, which includes 16 technical advisory councils (one for each career cluster) that will create annual lists of regional and statewide in-demand career pathways and regional and statewide lists of valuable credentials. Act 2019-506 increased the per capita Apprenticeship Alabama Tax Credit from $1,000 to $1,250; increased the cap on the number of eligible apprentices for each employer from 5 to ten apprentices; provided for a $500 tax credit enhancement for hiring in-school youth apprentices; increased the aggregate Apprenticeship Alabama Tax Credit from $3,000,000 to $7,500,000; and extended the Apprenticeship Alabama Tax Credit through 2025.
(iii) The Apprenticeship Alabama Tax Credit Act 2016-314
In 2016, Senator Orr sponsored the precursor to the AIRRAP Act—the Apprenticeship Alabama Tax Credit Act 2016-314. The Apprenticeship Alabama Tax Credit Act, which was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley on May 10, 2016, provides for tax credits for employers who employ apprentices and also established the Apprenticeship Alabama Office within the Alabama Department of Commerce, Workforce Development Division. Act 2016-314 provided for a $1,000 tax credit for up to five apprentices per employer. Act 2016-314 provided for a rapid expansion of apprenticeship throughout Alabama. Apprenticeship Alabama increased Alabama’s 2015 talent pool of 3,995 apprentices to more than 5,030 apprentices in 2018. Prior to this act and the creation of Apprenticeship Alabama, the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship averaged less than 9 newly registered programs per year. However, with the partnership with Apprenticeship Alabama 20 programs were created in 2017 and 15 were added in 2018.
(iv) Act 2019-527, the Eliminating Legal Barrier to Apprenticeship (ELBA) Act
Act 2019-527, the Eliminating Legal Barrier to Apprenticeship (ELBA) Act, sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, provides that if a licensing authority requires an examination for a license, the authority may not impose higher testing standards for apprenticeship completers than it does for any other applicant. Act 2019-527 removes existing legal barriers that currently are preventing 14- and 15-year-olds from participating in pre-apprenticeship programs, and the law lifts existing restrictions on apprenticeable occupations for 14- and 15-year-olds who are participating in pre-apprenticeship programs. Act 2019-527 removes existing legal barriers that prevent 16- and 17-year-olds from completing registered- and industry-recognized apprenticeship programs in apprenticeable occupations currently barred to them by law.
(v) The Alabama Office of Apprenticeship (AOA)
Under the provisions of the National Apprenticeship Act (50 Stat. 664; 29 U.S.C. 50) and 29 CFR Part 29 § 29.1-14, a state may use the National Office of Apprenticeship governed by the U.S. Department of Labor or may seek permission from the U.S. Department of Labor to establish a state apprenticeship agency (SAA) to register registered-apprenticeship programs operating within the state. Twenty-five states and territories currently operate an SAA.
(vi) Approving the AOA as Alabama’s State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA)
Alabama currently uses the federal Office of Apprenticeship to register its registered apprenticeships. However, Act 2019-506 established the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship (AOA) as Alabama’s SAA, which will be housed within the Department of Commerce Workforce Development Division. Act 2019-506 did not take effect until 1 September 2019; however, the Act required Alabama to submit its application for recognition of the AOA as Alabama’s SAA by 30 June 2019. To rectify this drafting error, Governor Ivey submitted an executive order establishing the AOA in lieu of Act 2019-506 until it took effect on September 1, 2019. Until the U.S. DOL approves Alabama’s application to become recognizes as a state apprenticeship agency (SAA), Alabama will continue to utilize the National Office of Apprenticeship (OA), which is based in Washington, DC.
(p.) The Alabama Terminal on Linking and Analyzing Statistics (ATLAS) on Career Pathways and the Alabama College and Career Exploration Tool (ACCET)
The ATLAS on Career Pathways will allow education and workforce data to be analyzed to develop data-informed adjustments to the workforce development strategic plan. The ATLAS on Career Pathways will be governed by the P-20W Council, which is composed of the agencies heads of all partner agencies to the system. Agencies must submit a request to the P-20W Council to generate a report. Once a request is approved, the Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation Division of Education and Workforce Statistics (a subunit of the GOEWT that will manage the ATLAS on Career Pathways) will determine the data needed from each partner agency to generate the report. Once a report is generated, then the P-20W council must vote unanimously to approve a report before it may be released.
Creating the Alabama Terminal on Linking and Analyzing Statistics (ATLAS) on Career Pathways will enable Alabama to use a data-driven process to review labor market data, wage records, and educational attainment data to determine the regional and state in-demand career pathways and credentials of value in which to concentrate braided WIOA and career and technical education funding. Aligning Alabama’s education and workforce development programs requires data-driven decision-making processes. All partner agencies in this federated system will warehouse their own data. Partner agencies will not have access to data maintained by other agencies, even if that data is shareable. During the data-matching process for the purposes of producing longitudinal reports, encrypted data sets will be transferred via a secure site in a password-protected file. Once data is downloaded, it will be run through a vigorous automated matching procedure, as the quality of the data is dependent on the match rate success for producing accurate and informative longitudinal analysis. The P-20W Council’s policies and procedures will strictly comply with FERPA regulations in every use of education data.