Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For shared prosperity, build education and job opportunities for working poor families

The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development recommends systematic attention to families that, even with hard work, are not earning enough to make their families self-sufficient.

Arguing that opportunity for those families is "a path to shared prosperity in the commonwealth,"  MACED provides an overview of their current challenges and policy proposals for education, job creation, and other supports.

Here are the education recommendations:
• Kentucky should overhaul its financial aid programs to prioritize need-based programs like CAP with increased funding, and should restructure financial aid to make it more accessible to adult students, including those attending part-time.
• Kentucky should expand its Career Pathways strategy with dedicated dollars in order to better link education and training to long-term job opportunities with career ladders based on key sectors in particular regions.
• Related to Career Pathways, Kentucky should offer more flexible delivery of edu cation so that working families can more easily access the training and credentials they need.
• Kentucky should move adult education funding to national average levels in order to close the gap in basic literacy and educational attainment and help students reach the first rung of the ladder to good jobs and stronger economic contributions.
• The state and the Council on Postsecondary Education should work to avoid unreasonable tuition increases that put an unfair burden of the cost of higher education on students and families that increasingly cannot afford it.
Two further notes:  First, I had the pleasure of working with MACED on early drafts of this report.  Second, it has wonderful maps showing how Kentucky challenges spread out across regions of the state, and I'm planning to blog several of them in the coming days.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!