Workforce Essentials: Apps help schools and teachers reach students where they are – on their phones

580 190 Leah Grassini Moehle

Gaming in the classroom to learn about the Cold War and much more

Kahoot is a free game-based learning platform for teachers, where teachers can create interactive quizzes based on their lesson plans. These quizzes can be used in the classroom by allowing students to answer questions in real-time through their mobile phones.

This platform is intuitive, as it allows real-time results to be sent to the teacher, and the teacher can see the percentage of students who are answering the questions correctly. This can allow the teacher to figure out which topics may need extra reviewing. 


(Photo Credit: Michael Starghill/Flickr)

Need labor market data? Have labor market data? Check out this free research database

The shared regional investments of the $200-million Strong Workforce Program are designed to support regional efforts that align skill training programs with the needs of the local labor market. Review how Round 1 was invested for your region and contact your regional consortia chair to get involved with Round 2 (2017-2018).

Looking for labor market research to help inform your efforts? Doing What Matters hosts an easy-to-use database of labor market research, where you can search by sector, geographic area, report titles, and more. This is free for all to use. If you've already done your own research to understand an industry need, you can submit your own report to the Labor Market Research (LMI) library.

To help keep pace with the changing needs of California’s economy and assist with regional decision making, Doing What Matters also offers a Workforce Supply and Demand data tool. The tool generates five-year projections around whether hiring will increase or decrease, and offers introductory videos to help you understand how to navigate the supply/demand table.


(Photo Credit: Quinn Dumbrowski/Flickr)

Messaging app helps schools reach students where they are – on their phones

Signal Vine is an application that connects schools with students through its enterprise messaging platform. Since students are always on their phones, reaching them on their mobile device is an easy way to share important information and get them to actually read it.

Some examples are: text reminders sent to seniors and their parents about important tasks to complete before matriculating to college, nudges about renewing their FAFSA, providing college counseling through SMS to students, connecting incoming college freshman to peer mentors, and messages to schedule and confirm upcoming appointments with counselors.

Signal Vine claims a 70-90 percent student response rate, and with the support of scheduled text messages, the administrative burden is reduced by 60 percent. This app provides a direct line to administrators, peer counselors, and professors, enabling students to communicate in ways they feel the most comfortable.



Tech skills training center helps rural California students stay competitive

Autometrix, based in Grass Valley, employs software, mechanical and electrical engineers to manufacture automated cutting equipment for textile markets – and develops the computer software needed to control the equipment.

Like many employers, the company has struggled to find local qualified workers to fill job vacancies. Last year, the Nevada County Economic Resource Council (NCERC) and Northern Rural Training and Employment Council came together to figure out what was going on.

They found the local workforce needed more access to opportunities to learn the technical skills sought by the region's employers.

The most exciting development was how the research empowered the technology industry community to collaborate around the creation of the Connected Communities Academy – training center for technology skills.

Create Marketing Materials Like a Pro, Basics of Social Media Marketing, Website Management 101 are just a few of the courses offered at the academy, which range from $60 to $300, depending on the level and complexity.

This venture is a great way to help students and workers in the rural far north and Nevada region to keep up with a fast-changing economy. With industry professionals participating as instructors, the lessons stay relevant to the needs of the current workplace and provide an opportunity for rural Californians to gain skills that could allow them to work remotely – increasing their earning potential.

NCERC – the nonprofit organization that manages the academy – is working towards the goal of being recognized as one of the most economically competitive rural areas in United States. 

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Leah Grassini Moehle

All stories by: Leah Grassini Moehle