Earlier this week, I wrote about Gov. Kasich’s Office of Workforce Transformation, aka OWT, in this post. I wrote about it because it made tons of sense from a policy standpoint. Here’s a little refresher on Gov. Kasich’s OWT initiative:

Marketing Ohio’s In-Demand Jobs
Update in-demand jobs data regularly
Market in-demand jobs to students, job seekers, business and local workforce

Align Training Programs to Ohio’s Workforce Needs (Implementation)
Increase career pathway opportunities in our education system, from K-J (Kindergarten to Job)
Increase experiential learning opportunities
Expand and enhance career tech opportunities

Unify and Align State’s Workforce Programs
Improve support of businesses struggling to find workers
Prioritize veterans as a ready workforce by providing support to transitioning veterans and marketing opportunities to veterans and businesses

In other words, Ohio put together a policy that measures achievement while meeting Ohio’s workforce needs. In short, Gov. Kasich’s OWT initiative insists on institutional accountability and individual productivity. Ohio isn’t the only state that’s implementing policies that deliver excellence. Tennessee is moving in that direction, too. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission put together this report explaining why they scrapped Tennessee’s enrollment-based funding formula and implemented an outcomes-based funding formula. Jaimie Merisotis, the CEO of the Lumina Foundation, cites these important statistics about Tennessee’s community college system:

[Tennessee] now uses an outcomes based formula which accounts for 70% of higher education funding. Outcomes based funding drives postsecondary programs that produce graduates that are employable for the workforce.

70% of Tennessee’s community college students graduate. 80% of community college graduates get jobs.

Here’s some insight into how THEC put the plan together:

THEC convened a Formula Review Committee to discuss and debate the new formula design.

  1. The Committee included representatives from higher education and state government.
  2. Meetings each month in spring and summer 2010.
  3. Throughout the process, THEC consulted outside experts.

That’s one step in the process. Here’s another part of the process:

Formula Review Committee (FRC)

  1. Broad membership
  2. Multiple formal FRC meetings
  3. Explicit institutional feedback and input
  4. Regional town halls
  5. Staff background briefings with UT, TBR, Constitutional officers and legislative members
  6. External consultant input

In short, they employed the right process in arriving at a policy that apparently is working.

Ohio and Tennessee should be applauded for their insistence on accountability and productivity. It tells me that they’re using the taxpayers’ money wisely.

MnSCU’s Charting the Future initiative is an inferior model compared with Ohio’s and Tennessee’s models. Based on this information, CtF is built on the wrong foundation:

The current model creates competition among colleges and universities for continuing education and customized training opportunities. This internal competition hinders our ability to meet the growing competition from private training providers, for-profit higher education, corporate training departments and industry associations.

A system that’s built on the premise of collaboration instead of competition is missing the point. What if the plan that’s put into place doesn’t work? Then all of the schools suffer a setback, which costs money and time. That’s exactly the wrong method. Instead, MnSCU should establish a set of goals for their universities, community colleges and tech colleges to meet, then let those campuses establish a plan to meet those goals.

By establishing that process, each university, tech and community college is judged based on their results. Each school is responsible for achieving excellence. That implements the principles of competition, productivity and accountability into the system.

That’s the only method that will work in the 21st Century.

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