NCATC Friends and Colleagues,
The “New Normal” is what all of us are working hard, smart, and safely to define, refine, and adjust to as we move through spring, into summer, then fall of 2020.
Through all of the pain COVID-19 has and continues to cause in the world – we all have a chance to imagine and build a much better “New Normal 2.0”. The one thing we can control—right here and now—is our perspective.
There’s no better time than now to begin this process. More than at any time in recent memory, these issues have our attention. There is widespread acknowledgment that these are changes — at both the collective and individual level — we can no longer postpone. So, let’s all take advantage of that.
For the foreseeable future, our economy will stumble through a slow thaw and millions of people will be out of work. Now is the time to help these unemployed workers and young first-time college students acquire the skills they will need to thrive in our tech-powered economy.
The urgency to get people back to work means that a short-term program in cloud computing, for example, might be far more important to some underserved learners than the deferred payoff of a conventional four-year degree. Millions of Americans don’t have the luxury nor the means of waiting.
Higher education is built around the credit hour as a measure of learning time. We build courses and programs on the number of credit hours required, assign faculty workloads on credit hours, allocate classroom space on a time basis tied to the credit hour, and disperse over $150 billion of federal financial aid on the basis of time.
The problem is: time is a poor measure of learning – the credit hour is pretty good at indicating how long someone sat in a classroom, but not what they actually learned – and it often hurts the poverty stricken.
The “future of work” is changing at a ferocious velocity and we will all be learning and re-learning throughout our careers. Higher education’s “New Normal 2.0” task is to offer just the right kind of learning in just the right amount in just the right way. We’ll know we have it right when students can:
On May 1st, the House Committee on Education and Labor introduced the $15 billion Relaunching America’s Workforce Act (RAWA), the first round in the fight for a better post-Covid-19 future for America’s workers. The proposed legislation builds upon precedents established by the Great Recession-era American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) as well as the workforce system streamlining authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.
NCATC will continue to expand, explore, and exploit all of the important, emerging technology trends in advanced technology related and industry-driven workforce development needs for the 21st century together with all of our education, workforce and strategic industry partners and members.
We are committed to minimizing the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining quality membership value and benefits. We appreciate your ongoing connections, memberships and partnerships with NCATC during this difficult time in our Nation’s history.
While we have taken prompt, decisive, and appropriate steps to postpone all NCATC in-person events originally scheduled for June and September 2020 – we will be offering several virtual Future of Work and Industry 4.0 related sessions and a new “Summer 2020 – NCATC Virtual Micro-Conference” in the very near future for all NCATC members. Look for those announcements in your inbox very soon!
And as always, we encourage you to stay regularly connected and up to date on all ATC related “New Normal 2.0” activities and guidance, via the weekly updated NCATC website, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and quarterly e-newsletters.
J. Craig McAtee, NCATC Executive Director & CEO