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October 16, 2013 in Blog Posts, Career Pathways, Education, Jobs & Training, Uncategorized

Building Bridges with Career Pathways Courses

By Janet M. Paulovich

Virgina Tech Tower Sign

Photo Credit: Brooke Novak

Over the past year and a half, I have had the unique opportunity to work closely with a national team of educators and employers, along with a design team from Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI) and The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), to develop an innovative online STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Readiness course in an open educational format. The course is designed to strengthen “key skills” for workers who are retraining in new STEM Careers, and it is meant to quickly refresh basic skills in math, critical thinking, workplace communication and professional skills. Our team was able to work closely with a number of employer partners to help us design the course modules as realistically as possible. Students taking the course practice dealing with a variety of problems and situations that they will encounter on the job. The STEM Readiness course is currently available on Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative website for anyone to use and would be appropriate for a wide variety of learners, not just those interested in STEM Careers.  Read the rest of this entry →


October 11, 2013 in Blog Posts, Career Pathways, Education

New Technologies: Preparing Adult Learners

By Jenifer Baker Vanek

adult learnersThose in our society who effectively use the Internet can successfully make use of online banking, social media, information-sharing and even fantastic learning opportunities in Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) where they can access knowledge previously available only to students at elite institutions. In contrast, though not adequately prepared to do so, low-skilled adults are often required to use Internet to accomplish important tasks, like applying for social services, immigration status documents, or for jobs. Read the rest of this entry →


September 25, 2013 in Archives, Career Pathways, Jobs & Training

Will Minnesota Lose Lake Wobegon?

By Vickie Choitz

Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis, MN“All the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” Although Garrison Keillor’s hometown of Lake Wobegon is fictional, Minnesotans are often associated with the characteristics of its residents. There is, in fact, some truth to Keillor’s radio monologue. According to a report by the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, the Twin Cities is one of the most highly educated populations in the country, with a high median household income, strong job growth, and one of the lowest poverty rates among large metro regions. Unfortunately, the Twin Cities’ overall success hides bleak socioeconomic disparities that leave behind minorities, threatening the area’s economic competitiveness. Read the rest of this entry →