US Ed Dept adds reporting requirement for small colleges asking additional CARES aid

The U.S. Department of Education has announced new details on how it will distribute a $350 million pot of federal coronavirus relief funds among colleges that didn’t initially receive a significant amount of aid. To get their share of the funding, some of the schools will need to submit information to the department about the financial stresses the virus has caused. The new reporting requirements follow criticism the department did not carefully allocate the money. This is the latest update in a months-long saga over the distribution of funding set aside for colleges through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Of the roughly $14 billion of CARES funding allocated to higher education, about $350 million was earmarked for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to give to colleges she determines have been substantially disadvantaged by the coronavirus. The law instructs her to prioritize those that didn’t receive at least $500,000 in other CARES aid.

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Continuing Education

Collaborative Classroom and FluentSeeds Merge to Expand Impact from Birth Through Grade 8

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

Today, Collaborative Classroom and FluentSeeds announce a merger into a single nonprofit organization to serve educators and other adults responsible for nurturing children's language, literacy, and social and emotional learning from birth through grade 8. With this merger, Collaborative Classroom is uniquely positioned to provide seamless support for children from birth through early childhood and beyond, ensuring kindergarten readiness and long-term academic success. Collaborative Classroom's evidence-based literacy and social and emotional learning programs and wraparound professional learning serve students and educators in grades K–8, with some programs extending through grades 9–12. Collaborative Classroom is one of the largest education nonprofits in the country, supporting educators in all 50 states in over 1,000 school districts. FluentSeeds supports adults, including parents, family and community members, child care providers, and other educators, with ©SEEDS of Learning, a rigorously-researched and proven set of literacy and social and emotional frameworks for children from birth through age 5. FluentSeeds currently serves more than 4,000 adults and 30,000 children in a variety of environments including home, community child care, pre-kindergarten, transitional kindergarten, and K–2. On a daily basis, this newly merged organization already impacts nearly 2 million children across the nation. Collaborative Classroom President and CEO Kelly Stuart says, "Bringing FluentSeeds into the Collaborative Classroom family of programs is especially exciting because it allows us to support children throughout their earliest years—a long-term goal of our organization. We know how crucial the first five years are for children's social, emotional, and early literacy development. FluentSeeds' expertise and offerings perfectly position us to serve even more children." Stuart adds, "Collaborative Classroom's and FluentSeeds' instructionally aligned and consistent, research-based frameworks are already used together with great success in schools and districts across the country. Recently, The Oakland REACH released a study on the impact of their tutoring programs that utilize SEEDS and our SIPPS® program. We are confident this merger will impact children from the beginning of their literacy journey and ensure their success as confident, fluent readers." FluentSeeds Executive Director Kate Horst says, "The gift of SEEDS and its impact on early literacy and social-emotional development will continue to spread in an ever-widening circle, thanks to Collaborative Classroom's mission, people, programs, and professional learning. Their deep literacy expertise and commitments to evidence and impact align with our strong foundations of birth to kindergarten professional development and SEEDS quality interactions. We are delighted to bring our FluentSeeds staff, friends, and partnerships into Collaborative Classroom's excellent programming and far-reaching impact." The new organization will operate under the banner of Collaborative Classroom, and Kelly Stuart will continue to serve as President and CEO. FluentSeeds' Executive Director, Kate Horst, will serve as both a senior advisor and a member of the Collaborative Classroom Board of Trustees. Susan Wally, Chair of the Collaborative Classroom Board of Trustees, says, "On behalf of the entire board, I want to welcome Kate Horst to our board and share our excitement and optimism as Collaborative Classroom expands its ability to support young learners through this merger with FluentSeeds. These two extraordinary organizations share a commitment to helping all those who teach and support young learners to access high-impact, evidence-based strategies and quality resources. We look forward to using our combined expertise and expanded scale to build vital literacy and social-emotional skills for our youngest children, as well as those who have already begun their K–12 journey."

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Education Technology, Talent Development

WiCyS Partners with N2K Networks for Pioneering Cyber Talent Study

PR Newswire | January 11, 2024

N2K Networks, a leader in strategic cyber workforce intelligence, is proud to announce its partnership with Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in cybersecurity. This collaboration will result in a comprehensive Cyber Talent Study that leverages skills data from the professional members of WiCyS, with an aim to deepen the collective understanding of cybersecurity competencies within the industry. A Commitment to Empowerment and Insight The study is designed to diagnose and analyze cybersecurity skills across the WiCyS professional member community, leveraging the advanced N2K NICE Workforce Diagnostic assessment. Under this initiative, N2K will provide WiCyS professional members complimentary access to the NICE Diagnostic, allowing them to assess their knowledge-area strengths and weaknesses aligned to the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. In addition to providing participants with personal insight into skills gaps and opportunities for professional development, the study will help identify commonalities in skills, potential gaps in knowledge and abilities, and other corollary findings that will provide strategic value to the entire cybersecurity industry. By delving into the talent landscape, the initiative seeks to illustrate and compare data in novel ways to establish an understanding of the alignment between member skill sets and the roles they actively occupy, as well as industry expectations of similar roles. "This partnership between N2K and WiCyS is the demonstration of our shared commitment to empower cybersecurity professionals through enhanced knowledge and understanding," said Simone Petrella, President of N2K Networks. "WiCyS brings a wealth of expertise and community building to the field, and by embracing the data-driven approaches we use at N2K, we can unlock hidden potentials, identify skill gaps, and illuminate the unique skills and talent that women bring to the forefront of cybersecurity." "What I value about this project is that we are providing a tool to deliver insight to our members on their career path and professional development," states Lynn Dohm, Executive Director of WiCyS. "By utilizing N2K's assessment, our members will be able to make informed choices about next steps in their employment path and which areas they need to focus on for growth advancement in their careers. Through data-driven programs like this, we can continue to contribute our efforts to overcome the critical cybersecurity workforce shortage." A Future Envisioned The partnership between N2K Networks and WiCyS marks a significant step forward in deepening our understanding of the capabilities of the cybersecurity workforce. By joining forces, both organizations affirm their dedication to creating a more informed, skilled, and resilient cyber landscape.

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Education Technology, Online Education

Stiegler EdTech Announces Grant from Live Oak Bank to Expand its Newly Launched Varsity Esports & STEM League to Eastern NC

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

Stiegler EdTech announced today that its latest Charlotte-based technology workforce program Varsity Esports & STEM League (VESL) is expanding to Eastern NC thanks to the leadership and continued support of Live Oak Bank and its philanthropic commitment to education and workforce development. "We are thrilled to support the continued expansion of VESL across North Carolina," said Kate Groat, Live Oak Bank's Director of Corporate Philanthropy. "This program provides students with workforce-ready skills while keeping them engaged in learning. We are proud to empower youth in our community to further their education and career potential." VESL aims to teach valuable coding and technology skills to meet the talent needs of the tech industry in North Carolina. All North Carolina high school students are eligible to participate in VESL where they will be given the opportunity to learn critical STEM skills while participating in Esports & STEM competitions through their schools. Thanks to the grant funding from Live Oak, more students in Eastern NC will be able to gain access to scholarships, earn needs-based aid, and support additional financial incentives and opportunities to pursue higher education and technology careers. "This partnership offers our community a competitive advantage both in terms of the impact VESL will make directly with New Hanover County students as well as the long-term confidence it will provide employers who invest in North Carolina that there will indeed be great technology talent to hire locally moving forward," adds Luke Waddell, Wilmington City Council Member. "Live Oak Bank's commitment to the region through programs like VESL is an exciting investment in the next generation of tech talent in Eastern NC." The funding supports events such as regional tournaments, including one planned in Wilmington this winter, following the success of a state-wide championship tournament held in Charlotte last year, which brought together thousands of students and fans. "Americans are underskilled and employers have to be a part of the solution," says Tariq Bokhari, Charlotte City Council Member and Chairman of Stiegler EdTech. "Vital funding like Live Oak's grant gives us the ability to empower young minds to learn highly sought after skills and think innovatively about real-world problems that directly impact our future. This means better students, better outcomes, and more opportunities for our next generation."

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