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  • III. Operational Planning Elements

    The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an Operational Planning Elements section that supports the State’s strategy and the system-wide vision described in Section II(c) above.  Unless otherwise noted, all Operational Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.  This section must include—

    • a. State Strategy Implementation

      The Unified or Combined State Plan must include–

      • 2. Implementation of State Strategy

        Describe how the lead State agency with responsibility for the administration of each core program or a Combined Plan partner program included in this plan will implement the State’s Strategies identified in Section II(c). above. This must include a description of—

III. a. 2. H. Improving Access to Postsecondary Credentials

Describe how the State’s strategies will improve access to activities leading to recognized postsecondary credentials, including Registered Apprenticeship certificates.  This includes credentials that are industry-recognized certificates, licenses or certifications, and that are portable and stackable.

Current Narrative:

The four strategies described in Section (II)(c)(1) and (II)(c)(2) of this plan directly enhance access to post-secondary education and credentials: (1) improve public awareness of and access to the workforce system, (2) coordinate business services across partners to ensure delivery of streamlined and high-quality solutions, (3) serve rural and remote communities, and (4) refine career pathways/sector partnerships.

Items one, two, and four in the above paragraph are closely related, in that a complete and effective career pathway includes multiple entry-points, including Registered Apprenticeship opportunities and certificates, for students of all skill levels, promoting a “no wrong door” approach to education and training. Item four above directs the system to improve access to programs and classes, including those supporting Registered Apprenticeships, in rural communities to reach historically underserved populations there by promoting models such as the “CTE Digital” model mentioned in Part (G) above.

As outlined in Section (II)(c)(1), the State’s strategy for implementing well-aligned career pathways relies heavily on efforts already underway at the Idaho Division of Career Technical Education (ICTE). These efforts include articulation between secondary and post-secondary technical programs across the state, including pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship training opportunities, as well as the development of SkillStack®, ICTE’s micro-certification platform. Information about these projects is reiterated below, for ease of reference:

ICTE oversees approximately 701 secondary career-and-technical education programs in Idaho’s high schools, and the technical colleges housed within Idaho’s public higher education institutions. A statewide articulation is in place for over 70 percent of programs with a projected completion for all programs in FY21, allowing secondary students to articulate seamlessly into any Idaho institution that offers their program of study.

To support the statewide articulation framework, ICTE developed Idaho SkillStack® - a micro certification/badging platform that communicates the competencies/skills that Idaho high school and postsecondary students demonstrate. The micro certifications/badges are stacked towards the award of postsecondary credit (i.e. once a student earns predefined badges, by demonstrating competency, they are eligible to convert the badges to credit), industry certifications and common skills required by Idaho employers for job openings. These badges provide visual progress towards an individual’s career goals.

UI claimants have the opportunity to receive postsecondary credentials while attending WIOA Title I-B or TAA training programs. UI claimants retain eligibility for UI benefits when attending these approved training programs as verified by an AJC career planner.

TANF/SNAP recipients have the opportunity to receive postsecondary training and education to obtain necessary credentials for employment. Once an individual is determined eligible for TANF or SNAP benefits, they referred to the E&T program. The E&T program will then refer eligible individuals to community-based organization, providers, and state and local college partners who offer specialized training and education programs.

IDVR Title IV continues to adapt approaches to increase access to postsecondary credential opportunities including providing up to full support for tuition and books for two-year, four-year, and graduate degree programs.  Furthermore, the Division is advancing its approach to postsecondary credentialing through:

  • Engagement in the SAEEI Apprenticeship grant project which was awarded in 2021.  The SAEEI pilot project will embed a full FTE position within the agency specifically for the purpose of increasing access to apprenticeship programs for Title IV customers working closely with the Idaho Department of Correction and the Idaho Department of Labor. One agency goal for the project is to justify the utility of this position to advocate for sustained funding subsequently improving access to postsecondary credential opportunities.
  • A pilot project with Nampa and Challis School Districts and the IDVR Transition Team in conjunction with Title II CTE to improve access and utilization of CTE tools and services (including those leading to postsecondary credentials).

The Idaho Commission for Libraries continues to be a valuable partner toward expanding options for workforce participants, especially in rural communities, across the state. Libraries continue to invest in building digital access spaces to provide even greater access to those residents working to fulfill their education requirements, trying to ensure that all Idahoans have the skills, equipment, and support to participate fully in the digital economy.