Monday, September 29, 2014 News

SPARC Attends White House Event for Career Training Grant Program

This morning I represented SPARC at a White House event announcing the winners of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program’s fourth and final round. The event featured remarks from Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.

Co-administered by the Departments of Labor and Education, TAACCCT provides about $2 billion in funding over four years for community colleges and other eligible institutions to boost education and career training programs that help job seekers get the skills they need for in-demand jobs. To maximize the impact of the program, each of the four grant rounds condition funding on the use of a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) for all education and career training resources developed with the federal grant funds. This requirement ensures that all of the great new textbooks, curricula, online courses, and other materials that stem from the program will be openly licensed and shared online so that students, colleges, businesses and the public can freely use and build upon them.

At this morning’s event, Creative Commons USA‘s Mike Palmedo and I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. We expressed our support for the inclusion of open licensing in TAACCCT, and Secretary Perez’s enthusiastic response says it all: “Indispensable. Got to take it to scale.”

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Picture: SPARC’s Nicole Allen with U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez (CC BY 4.0 by Creative Commons USA

Policies that promote the open sharing of government-funded resources support creativity and innovation, provide an infrastructure of free flexible content that can improve the efficiency of education, and ensure that taxpayers get the full benefit of their investment in grants.

The Obama Administration has shown increasing support for policies that advance open licensing of publicly-funded materials. Since announcing the first round of TAACCCT in 2011, the Department of Labor has gone on to include CC BY licensing in several other grant programs. Earlier this year, the Department of Education included a similar policy in its First in the World grant program. Just last week, we wrote about the White House itself making its first formal commitment to open education through a new initiative in the U.S. Open Government Federal Action Plan. SPARC is committed to advancing this trend as we carry this momentum forward into the 114th Congress and the next two years of the Obama Administration.

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