BROUGHT TO YOU BY
National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Happy Holidays from NASDCTEc!

December 24th, 2014

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All of us at the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium wish you a happy and safe holiday season! We thank you for your continued support and advocacy for Career Technical Education in your communities, helping to create opportunities for a better future for all CTE students.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

December 19th, 2014

TWEET OF THE WEEKblog-thumbnail-thiswek
Opportunity Nation @oppnation Almost 98% of CEOs said the #SkillsGap threatens their businesses. Enter, #STEM #CTE #wkdev. #justsaying http://bit.ly/1yjgGAv

VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Success in the New Economy: How Prospective College Students Can Gain a Competitive Advantage
This great new video highlights the skills gap and workforce needs, making the case for CTE.
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ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Governor Enacts Career and Technical Education Legislation
Governor Chris Christie signed into law five bills that will advance career and technical education and address the workforce needs of New Jersey employers.
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ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation opens scholarship application process for both students and educators for 2015 
The application deadline for scholarships is May 2015. Scholarships for students are primarily focused on high school students pursuing post-secondary studies involving the hospitality/restaurant/food service sector. Scholarships for educators are for those who teach in culinary programs.
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INTERNATIONAL RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
The OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Development (FPLD) new website is now live
The new website includes a new, comprehensive database of Forum materials, including country fact-sheets on partnership models, examples of local development projects, thematic handbooks, publications and events proceedings.
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PARTNER UPDATE OF THE WEEK
Show us your STEM
Change the Equation launched a new crowdsourcing effort bringing together individuals, STEM programs and business to showcase how STEM impacts students across the country. You can share a story, engage online, make a video or a Vine.
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CTE Research Review

December 17th, 2014

GAO Study on State Funding of Public Collegeschart

In a report for the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a new study examining how state funding and policies have affected college affordability.

Between 2003 and 2012, the report found that state funding across all public colleges decreased by 12 percent, citing the recession’s impact on state budgets as a likely reason. At the same time, median tuition rose 55 percent, and as of fiscal year 2012, became a greater source of revenue for public colleges than state funding.

The GAO provided recommendations in particular about how the federal government could incentivize state action from Federal Student Aid changes, new federal grant programs, and providing consumer information on college affordability.

iNACOL State Policy Framework for Competency-based Education

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), which advocates and supports quality blended, online and competency-based learning opportunities, has released a five-point state policy framework to support competency-based education.

According to the report, 36 states have adopted policies to enable competency based education such as allowing for proficiency-based diplomas, waiving seat time requirements or creating credit flexibility. As the impetus behind its policy framework, iNACOL predicts that the move toward mastery and competency will only increase moving forward.

To reach sustainable systemic change, iNACOL recommends the following:

  • Create competency-based education systems
  • Improve student access and equity
  • Measure and assure quality from inputs to outcomes
  • Support innovative educators
  • Support new learning models through connectivity, data systems and security

Nanodegrees and Stackable Credentials

On Tuesday, the Center for American Progress convened a discussion about reimagining the path to the workforce through nanodegrees and stackable credentials. The panel featured Eugene Giovannini of Maricopa Corporate College, Clarissa Shen of Udacity, and Anne Wintroub of AT&T. The event also focused on the think tank’s 2013 report, “A Path Forward.”

You can watch the discussion here.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Legislative Update: Cromnibus Edges Through Congress, Administration Announces New Apprenticeship Grants

December 15th, 2014

CapitolBy narrow margins in both the House and the Senate, Congress managed to pass omnibus appropriations legislation over the weekend to fund most of the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. Totaling $1.1 trillion, the legislation will fund the majority of the federal government until October 1, 2015.

Earlier in the week, House Republicans had introduced the 2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 83)— hybrid legislation that combined aspects of a continuing appropriations resolution (CR) and more comprehensive appropriations for all federal departments and agencies with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Known as a cromnibus, this legislation was heatedly debated in the House on Thursday night and passed by a margin of 219 – 206. Following the vote the Chamber adjourned for the rest of the 113th Congress and is not expected to return until the start of the new 114th Congress beginning in early January.

With the December 11th deadline for the most recent CR having come and gone, Congress also passed another short-term CR to avert a government shutdown while the bill worked its way over to the Senate for further debate this past Friday and Saturday. Despite strong opposition from conservatives and liberals alike, the cromnibus was approved in the Senate by a 56 – 40 vote late Saturday night.

On the whole, H.R. 83 largely maintains funding levels from the previous fiscal year for most programs and departments, although it cuts approximately $166 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) discretionary budget. Fortunately the Carl D. Perkins Act’s (Perkins) basic state grant program (BSG) was excluded from these reductions. Instead this legislation level-funds the BSG program at $1.118 billion— the same amount the program received in FY 2014.

Although NASDCTEc and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) recently urged lawmakers to fund the program at slightly higher levels, maintaining current investment levels for the BSG program is a minor victory in the context of the changing political and fiscal dynamics on Capitol Hill— particularly at time when other programs in the discretionary side of the federal budget have been forced to shoulder even larger reductions over the past several years.

H.R. 83 also contained a number of controversial policy riders— provisions unrelated to appropriations— that were the focus of much debate on the legislation. Nearly all of the most contentious riders, such as changes to campaign finance and banking laws, were ultimately included in the legislation. Despite these riders, President Obama has publicly committed to signing the legislation into law sometime this week.

Of particular interest to the CTE community was the partial restoration of the federal Pell Grant program’s “ability-to-benefit” (ATB) provision— something that NASDCTEc has been advocating for in the context of the Higher Education Act’s reauthorization. This change affords students who do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent, access to the federal financial aid program if they are also enrolled in a career pathways program as defined in the new law. An additional $6 million in funding was also set-aside for a competitive grant program under ED to improve data system coordination and quality at the local, state and national levels and is expected to roll-out in the coming year.

Despite the late night passage of the bill in the Senate, the Chamber remains open today and possibly further into the week as lawmakers there work on last-minute legislation and confirmations for many Obama Administration nominees for various government posts.

DOL Unveils Apprenticeship Grants

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new $100 million competitive grant program to support the expansion of apprenticeship programs in high-growth and high-skill occupational areas. The American Apprenticeship Grant (AAG) program, is the successor to last year’s Youth CareerConnect grants and are funded through H-1B visa fees. Administration and Department officials hope the program will spur an expansion of apprenticeship programs into sectors of the economy which has not traditionally used them, such as information technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.

Approximately 25 grants will be awarded to public-private partnerships consisting of at least one public and private entity. Eligible entities include employers, industry associations, joint labor-management organizations, labor organizations, training providers, community colleges, local and state governments, the workforce system, non-profits and faith-based organizations. Grant amounts will range from $2.5 million to $5 million each and must make efforts to align and coordinate with other postsecondary education programs and career pathways available in a state or local area.

Applications are due April 30, 2015 and more information on how to apply, including program factsheets and checklists, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager 

This Week in CTE

December 12th, 2014

TWEET OF THE WEEKblog-thumbnail-thiswek
@codeorg: Today Obama became the 1st US President to write a computer program #HourOfCode @WhiteHouse http://www.wired.com/2014/12/obama-becomes-first-president-write-computer-program/ …
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ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
The Year of Career Pathways: Congress Restores the Ability to Benefit
Mary Alice McCarthy, Senior Policy Analyst in the Education Policy Program at New America, discusses the gains congress made in Career Technical Education (CTE) this year, including the reauthorization of Workforce Investment Act of 1998, now the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, as well as moving forward in supporting adult students who may have not completed high school through the Pell grant. “In a time when Democrats and Republicans can agree on precious little, they are finding common ground on the need to help Americans build postsecondary skills and credentials,” said McCarthy.
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INTERNATIONAL ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Why UK Women Miss Out on Science and Technology Careers
Women in the UK are highly underrepresented in STEM careers, especially compared to several countries in Latin America and South Asia who have much higher proportions of women working in STEM professions. Women make up only 13 percent of STEM professionals, even falling behind some developing countries.
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REPORT OF THE WEEK
The Certification Revolution
As part of last week’s Education for Upward Mobility event, Tamar Jacoby prepared a paper and presented on how CTE impacts anti-poverty and education-reform agendas.
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VIDEO OF THE WEEK
ACTE announced the 2015 PSA winners.
You can find the first, second and third place PSA’s on ACTE’s YouTube page.
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WEBINAR OF THE WEEK
WIOA Consultation: Integrated Management Information System
December 16, 2014, 2 – 3 PM ET
A listening session opportunity for stakeholders to provide input and feedback on the provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) regarding guidelines for the states to develop and establish a fiscal and management accountability information system.
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Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

CTE Research Review

December 11th, 2014

The Manufacturing Institute’s “State Responses to the Skills Gap”: The Manufacturing Institute has collected promising state-level Research Image_6.2013best practices that encourage and promote a skilled manufacturing workforce in its newest report.

These areas, including state examples, are:

  • Industry Credentials
  • Industry Partnerships
  • Credit Articulation
  • Dual Enrollment
  • Comprehensive State Strategies

ACT Policy Platforms: Testing giant ACT recently rolled out a series of policy recommendations for K-12, postsecondary and workforce development.

“With more than 50 years of data to draw upon, ACT research suggests that for far too many individuals—often those from low-income, first-generation, or minority backgrounds—success along the K-career continuum is out of reach,” according to ACT.

In short the three platforms are:

  • K-12 policy platform: Focus on readiness for all students, support the implementation of a high school core curriculum and rigorous coursework and promote the use of high-quality student assessment systems.
  • Postsecondary: Support postsecondary readiness, advance efforts that reduce information barriers and adopt holistic approaches increasing postsecondary completion.
  • Workforce development: Improve foundational workplace skills, ensure that training is valuable to employers and employees and help individuals attain credentials.

Linked Learning 5th Year Evaluation: SRI International released its fifth annual report on California’s Linked Learning Initiative, which blends rigorous academics with career preparation including work-based learning.

This year’s report focused on the students themselves – Who participates? What are their experiences? How does their participation in a Linked Learning pathway affect their high school outcomes?

As such the report found:

  • Student Equity and Access: There is a pattern of disproportionately low female enrollment in engineering pathways and disproportionately high enrollment in health sciences. Also nearly 80 percent of all students who started out in a pathway in the lower grades remained in the same pathway in 11th
  • Student Outcomes: Students outperformed their non-Linked Learning peers in credit accumulation and to remain in the school district; there was no evidence of higher scores on standardized achievement tests, but minority student subgroup perform at least as well if not better on credit accumulation and test score outcomes than their peers at traditional high schools.

For another California-centric study, be sure to check out the new report from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, “Recognizing College and Career Readiness in the California School Accountability System.”

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Upcoming Webinar: Strategies for Financing CTE

December 11th, 2014

financewebinarslider

January 15, 2015 from 2 – 3 PM ET, authors of the new report, “State Strategies for Financing CTE,” will unpack the study’s important findings. Co-hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, this webinar will explore the ways in which states are financing CTE at the secondary and post-secondary levels using state and federal funds, including a closer look at performance-based funding approaches. For an overview of the report, check out our blog post.

Speakers include:

  • Steve Klein — Director, Center for Career & Adult Education and Workforce Development, RTI International/Principal Investigator for the National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education
  • Laura Rasmussen Foster — Program Director, RTI International/National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education

Register Today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

December 5th, 2014

TWEET OF THE WEEK blog-thumbnail-thiswek
Vice President Biden @VP “My wife has an expression, she says community colleges are the best kept secret in America.” — VP Biden at #CollegeOpportunity summit

RESEARCH REPORT OF THE WEEK
The State of Employer Engagement in CTE
We released a new report exploring how employers are partnering with the Career Technical Education (CTE) enterprise to help prepare students for success in careers. The report drew from a survey of 47 State CTE Directors as well as a dozen interviews to understand how and in what ways employers were engaging with CTE across the country and to illuminate the state’s role in fostering employer engagement.
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RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Complete College America Launches Powerful New Data Portal
Click your state to see a snapshot of its progress and student success data in college completion. Then visit in the coming months to see a comprehensive, up-to-date collection of state and campus-level data.
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ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Importing the German Approach to Career Building
Amy Liu, Co-Director and Senior Fellow at Metropolitan Policy Program discusses her recent trip to Germany and how their dual learning program combines academic and work-based skills. “Rather than limit teenagers’ life choices, the system provides young people with opportunities to attain a college degree or management training alongside paid, practical work experience,” said Liu.
More

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Congress Considers a Cromnibus, ED Announces Start of P3 Initiative

December 5th, 2014

CapitolA new term is quickly entering the beltway lexicon this holiday season— a hybrid funding approach known as a “cromnibus” is now under consideration by House Republicans which would fund most, but not all of the federal government for the remainder of the 2015 federal Fiscal Year (FY). As we have shared previously, Congress failed to enact the necessary appropriations legislation earlier this summer to fund governmental operations in FY 2015.

To avert another government shutdown, lawmakers passed a Continuing Appropriations Resolution (CR) in late September which temporarily extended FY 2014 funding levels into FY 2015 which began on October 1 of this year. Unfortunately, this extension resulted in a 0.054 percent across-the-board cut to all discretionary programs, including the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins) basic state grant program, because of lower revenue levels and lost savings elsewhere in the federal budget in FY 2015. Since that time, Congress has struggled to come to a longer-term agreement for how to fund the federal government past the current CR’s expiration date on December 11, 2014.

NASDCTEc and its partners in the Career Technical Education (CTE) community have recently called on Congress to pass comprehensive omnibus appropriations legislation in lieu of another temporary funding measure. An omnibus would replace the current CR with a consolidated package of the necessary 12 individual appropriations bills needed to fund the federal government— a move which would give greater certainty to the CTE community regarding future funding levels for the Perkins Act’s basic state grant program.

Despite a number of obstacles over the past several weeks, House Republicans now seem to be coalescing around the legislative strategy of a cromnibus—legislation which fuses an omnibus and a CR into one bill. In this proposal, eleven out of the 12 annual appropriations bills— including the legislation which funds the U.S. Department of Education and relatedly the Perkins Act— would receive funding for the remainder of FY 2015. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the primary federal agency tasked with implementing President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, would receive another temporary funding bill into the early part of next year.

In pursuing this strategy, House Republicans hope to leverage future concessions on immigration policy from the Obama Administration using a series of CRs to fund DHS moving forward. While a final version of this legislation has yet to be released, Congressional Democrats and President Obama have not said whether they would accept such a deal, although more recently both have signaled they may be open to such an approach. Democratic receptiveness to the cromnibus approach will likely hinge on the inclusion of other “policy riders” in the legislation— something that both parties in Congress are currently negotiating.

Check back here early next week when NASDCTEc expects further Congressional activity on federal funding.

U.S. Department of Education Announces P3 Initiative

As we shared earlier this year, the U.S. Departments of Education (ED), Labor (DOL), and Health & Human Services (HHS) announced a new initiative to more effectively support disconnected youth by granting additional flexibility to existing federally-funded programs to develop innovative solutions and strategies in local communities across the country.

Dubbed Performance Pilot Partnerships, or P3 for short, the agencies will select ten local applications to launch pilot projects using additional flexibility for existing discretionary grant programs administered by the agencies. Local Perkins grant recipients are among the programs eligible to participate in these pilots. An additional $700,000 in funding will be available for successful applicants who the departments hope will “braid” existing funding streams together in new ways to more effectively support disconnected youth.

Applications are due by March 4, 2105 and the winners of the project will be announced further into next year. More information on P3 can be found here and application details can be accessed here.

Senator Harkin Introduces HEA Proposal

Just before Thanksgiving last week, soon-to-be-retired Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, formally introduced the Higher Education and Affordability Act. The bill seeks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act which is set to expire in the coming year.

Although the bill will not move out of the HELP Committee prior to the new 114th Congress set to begin next year, the legislation does contain a number of promising proposals which NASDCTEc has been supportive of including:

  • Restoring the Pell Grant Program’s “Ability-to-Benefit” and “Year-round Pell” provisions
  • Repealing the ban on the creation of student unit record system and enable accurate measurement of postsecondary student outcomes
  • Strengthening support for early college and dual enrollment programs
  • Encouraging employer-community college partnerships

NASDCTEc applauds the Senator’s commitment to affordable high-quality postsecondary education and looks forward to reauthorization process of HEA in the New Year. More information on the bill can be found here and the text of the legislation is located here. The next incoming Chairman for the HELP Committee, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), is widely expected to prioritize the reauthorization of HEA in the next Congress.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager 

CTE & Upward Mobility

December 4th, 2014

Earlier this week, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute hosted a day-long conference on “Education for Upward Mobility.” Over the course of the day, researchers, writers and thought leaders shared reflections on how education can move students out of poverty – and how lack of a quality education essentially shuts the door on economic success.

What was perhaps most remarkable is that no matter what topic each presenter and panel covered was that the conversation kept coming back to the role of Career Technical Education (CTE) in breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Tamar Jacoby from Opportunity America, Bob Lerman from the Urban Institute, and Bob Schwartz from Harvard University were on hand to talk about industry credentials and certifications, apprenticeships and Pathways to Prosperity, respectively, but many of their peers also championed CTE, work-based learning, career academies and related efforts.

We encourage you to check out all of the associated papers here, watch the panels here and scroll through very lively Twitter feed here.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

 

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