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Highlights of Measure's Skills-Standards Provisions

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WASHINGTON--Following are highlights of the national skills-standards board proposed by President Clinton in the "goals 2000: educate America act.'' The Administration is seeking $15 million for the board in fiscal 1994.

Composition

  • The board would comprise 28 members, including the secretaries of Labor, Education, and Commerce; the chairman of the proposed National Education Standards and Improvement Council; eight representatives from business and industry; eight from organized labor; and eight from educational institutions, technical associations, community-based groups, and state governments.
  • The chairman would appoint an executive director, who would appoint any staff members. Federal employees could be assigned to the board.

Functions

  • By Dec. 31, 1995, the board would identify broad occupational clusters representing a substantial portion of the workforce and insure an initial set of skills standards.
  • For each cluster, it would "encourage, promote, and assist'' in the development and adoption of voluntary national skills standards and a related system of assessments and certificates.

The board would also help develop systems to revise and update the standards, assessments, and certificates; evaluate their implementation; and encourage their use.

  • At a minimum, the standards must take into account those used in other countries, the content and performance standards recognized by the National Education Standards and Improvement Council, and the requirements of high-performance work organizations.

The standards must also promote portability among firms and labor markets; not discriminate by race, gender, age, ethnicity, disability, or national origin; and be in a form that allows for updating.

  • Similarly, the system of assessments and certificates must, at a minimum, take into account the methods used in other countries; employ a variety of evaluation techniques; include methods for validating the fairness and effectiveness of the assessments and certificates; and be designed to avoid disparate impacts against individuals based on race, gender, age, ethnicity, disability, or ethnic origin.
  • The board would have to obtain the "full and balanced'' participation of all groups affected by the standards, including business and industry representatives, organized and non-unionized labor, and representatives of educational institutions, technical associations, community-based groups, and state governments.
  • After public review and comment, the board would endorse skills standards and related systems of assessment and certification that met the requirements and were appropriate for an occupation or industry.
  • It would also conduct workforce research relating to skills standards; identify and maintain a catalog of standards used by other countries, by states, and by leading firms and industries; serve as a clearinghouse for the sharing of information on the development of skills standards; and develop a common nomenclature.

In addition, it would encourage the development and adoption of curricula and training materials for attaining the standards; provide technical assistance; and develop long-term strategic plans relating to the development and use of skills standards.--L.O.

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