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National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Welcome to new Delaware State CTE Director Luke Rhine

October 16th, 2014

cte-socialmedia-delawareWe are pleased to welcome Delaware’s new State Director of Career Technical Education Luke Rhine!

State Director Rhine’s career in CTE began as a career technical educator. After years in the classroom, he transitioned into leadership as a program specialist with the Maryland State Department of Education, building statewide programs of study in Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology as well as Arts, Media and Communication. He moved into his current role as State CTE Director of Delaware late this summer.

With his on-the-ground experience as an engineering CTE instructor and years spent programming in Maryland, State Director Rhine understands the crossover between CTE and traditional core courses. He highlights aligning CTE and academic courses—particularly STEM—as a key touchpoint for the development of CTE in Delaware and across the country.

State Director Rhine sees Delaware as uniquely positioned to exploit the integration of CTE and traditional courses, as the state already requires public school students to complete a career pathway (three credits in a related area) in addition to the courses traditionally required for high school graduation. This requirement, he says, is usually met with a mix of CTE and relevant academics. The entire process is mapped out within the framework of a customizable five-year student success plan, providing flexibility in the development of career pathways while emphasizing the importance of long-term pathway planning.

Learn more about Delaware CTE here, and be sure to welcome State Director Rhine at the 2014 Fall Meeting!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Adobe’s Hiring for the Future Report Carries Implications for CTE

October 15th, 2014

Last month, Adobe surveyed 1,068 American hiring managers seeking insight into what the gatekeepers of tomorrow’s careers believe are the most critical skills, habits and credentials for job-seekers in the 21st century labor market.

The result? An overwhelming number of responses emphasizing the importance of digital literacy, creative thinking, problem-solving and flexibility. Hiring managers rejected the notion that students in technical fields fundamentally lack the creativity succeed (only 36% agree), but even more believe that positions requiring technical skills also benefit from creative thinking (81% agree).

Technical skills are still viewed as one of the top three factors identified as having gained the most value over the last five years (46% identified as one of top three skills gaining value), suggesting that competency remains crucial to employer hiring decisions. Also in the top three, however, were problem solving/critical thinking (51%) and creativity/innovation (47%).

Taken as a whole supports the need for more high-quality CTE, with its emphasis on skill building through career pathways and comprehensive, integrated programs of study. modern approach

Unsurprisingly, many policies prioritized by CTE programs of study, including internships, mentors and courses specifically designed to prepare students for the world of work by teaching both broad and specific skills, ranked high on the list of proposed solutions to boost preparedness (see chart, at right).

Other findings concur with similar past surveys of employer needs, including the impression that students are underprepared for jobs when entering the workforce, with 69% of hiring managers agreeing that new job seekers lack the necessary skills for success and 61% calling lack of communications skills as a top factor in underpreparedness.

Read the full report here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Introducing Dwight Johnson, State Director of Idaho

October 9th, 2014

Photo of DwightWe are pleased to welcome Idaho’s new State Director of Career Technical Education Dwight Johnson!

Officially the Administrator of Idaho’s Division of Professional-Technical Education, State Director Johnson has worked for decades in the Idaho Departments of Labor and Commerce on workforce development, and also spent 18 months as the interim executive director of the Idaho State Board of Education.

State Director Johnson emphasizes the cross-cutting nature of his experience, bridging the worlds of work and education among labor, industry and education. He sees collaboration between all three as vital to making CTE learning that works for Idaho.

“It’s crucial to connect systems and create more seamless transitions between education providers,” he said in an interview with NASDCTEc last month.

During the same conversation, State Director Johnson repeatedly cited the need to integrate CTE with workforce development priorities and workforce data to ensure that at every level—secondary, postsecondary and beyond— CTE serves students and stakeholders reliably and adaptively.

Learn more about Idaho CTE here, and welcome State Director Johnson at the 2014 Fall Meeting!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Reminder: Webinar next Tuesday on Open Badging!

October 3rd, 2014

Next Tuesday October 7 @ 1 pm ET, NASDCTEc and NOCTI will be hosting a webinar on  Badging 101: The What, The Why & The How. This webinar will explore what badges are, why they are emerging as a major innovation in education (both in and outside the classroom) and how they are being implemented in a variety of settings, including through a recent multi-site pilot. There will be a wealth of knowledge shared so this webinar is not to be missed!

Speakers include:

  • Jade Forester, Marketing & Community Manager, Badge Alliance
  • John Foster, CEO, NOCTI and NBS
  • Marie Perotti, Project Coordinator CTE TEACH, Colton, Redlands, Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program
  • Russ Weikle, State CTE Director, California Department of Education

Register here today!

Achieving Excellence in the New School Year: Union County Academy for Performing Arts

October 2nd, 2014

This summer was one of progress and change at the Union County Academy for Performing Arts (APA), with program administrator Scott Rubin moving on to East Hanover School District and supervisor Kelly Douglas-Jackson taking over in his place. In spite of turnover at the top of this innovative program, Ms. Douglas-Jackson reported that APA has only gotten stronger from last year, when it earned our Excellence in Action award for the Arts, A/V Technology and Communications Career Cluster®.

Deepening its partnership with Kean University, which sees APA students spend their entire senior year attending college courses while earning full credit toward their high school diploma, APA students amassed over 1,500 credit hours at Kean with 3.4 collective GPA. APA was also ranked as one of the top high schools in America by Newsweek.

APA also has set a course for expansion, inviting more industry professionals to the school to teach master classes and will add a Technical Theatre program including, scenic design, lighting design, sound design, and costume design. The new major will coincide with another bump in enrollment putting the program at its highest enrollment in its six-year history.

Continuing with their tradition of extremely high postsecondary placement, APA recorded a 100 percent graduation rate and a 100% postsecondary placement rate in the 2013-2014 school year. Check out all the details of APA’s Excellence in Action award here. Also, keep an eye on the Learning that Works Blog for the opening of Excellence in Action application period this fall!

CompTIA: The IT Industry Trade Association

October 2nd, 2014

CompTIA_Logo_PantoneCompTIA is the voice of the world’s information technology (IT) industry. As a non-profit trade association, we advance the global interests of IT professionals and IT channel organizations and enable them to be more successful with industry-leading certifications and business credentials, education, resources and the ability to connect with like-minded, leading industry experts.

Learn about our focus areas and find out who we are and what we do.

Membership

Becoming a CompTIA member indicates a commitment to learning, growing and personal and business success in the IT channel. All of our benefits are aimed at providing our members with a wealth of resources that, when leveraged, result in measurable impact to the member organization.

Education

You can’t get a job or successfully run a business without all the right tools. In the ever-changing IT industry, education is essential. CompTIA’s educational efforts include a comprehensive suite of channel training, a variety of events and meetings and a steady stream of research and market intelligence studies. Everything is designed to help you succeed.

Certifications

It all started with A+. Back in 1993, we developed a revolutionary IT certification that was not tied to a particular manufacturer, but vendor-neutral. The concept took off and today CompTIA offers four IT certification series that test different knowledge standards, from entry-level to expert.

Public Advocacy

TechAmerica, the public sector and public policy department of CompTIA, champions member-driven business and policy priorities that impact the entire continuum of technology companies – from small IT service providers and software developers to large equipment manufacturers and communications service providers.

Philanthropy

The shortage of IT workers in the U.S. stands at about 300,000 and there continues to be high demand for motivated and capable employees. It’s the job of CompTIA’s philanthropic arm, the Creating IT Futures Foundation, to help unemployed individuals and populations under-represented in the field obtain the right training for an IT role; not just a job, but a foothold into a career. In order to help supply the IT worker pipeline, Creating IT Futures is exploring ways to nudge more youth in the direction of tech careers.

Click here to learn more about CompTIA and get involved today!

CompTIA is a gold level sponsor at the NASDCTEc 2014 Fall Meeting

One Week Left: Register Today for NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting

October 1st, 2014

With registration closing on ONE WEEK, time is running out to register for NASDCTEc’s annual Fall Meeting.

The theme of this year’s meeting is Preparing for the Future, which refers to preparing for Perkins reauthorization but also to positioning your state or organization to best meet the evolving needs of students, employers and the entire CTE community.

You can download the draft agendahere, but there are a few features we wanted to point out:

  • Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education, will be kicking off Tuesday morning with a presentation on education, the economy and its intersection in the minds of the students, parents and the public. He’s a dynamic and not-to-be-missed speaker!
  •  An entire morning is being dedicated to discussing the challenges and opportunities around employer engagement in CTE, including the release of new 50-state data, a panel featuring policy and business leaders, and collaboration roundtables to dig in and identify creative, collaborative solutions.
  • All told, the agenda features presenters and resource experts from over 20 states and national organizations, as well as four leaders from the U.S. Department of Education, leveraging expertise from every corner of the country.

We hope you can join us! Register and find more information here!

Print or Online? What Is Best for Your Classroom?

September 30th, 2014

Remember when the only option was a print textbook? Times have changed as more and more schools are choosing to use online textbooks exclusively. What is the best choice for Career Technical Education (CTE) classes? It depends on classroom needs.

There are pluses and minuses to both print and online textbooks. Here are some considerations to take into account when making the choice.

Print Textbooks

  • Accessible to most students as technology is not required for use
  • Available at all times with no power required
  • Portable within a classroom, especially when dealing with utensils, tools, or machinery
  • Substantial when students have several textbooks to carry
  • Liable to wear and tear, as well as student damage

Online Textbooks

  • Flexible in location and time – use at school or at home when needed
  • Searchable for the instances when students need to find information quickly
  • Durable as there are no physical pages to tear or deface
  • Susceptible to downtime if there are Internet connection issues
  • Vulnerable to school technology and budgets as a computer or a tablet, in addition to Internet access, is required for use

There is no answer that fits every situation. When deciding between print and online, develop a list of specific needs for your classroom and evaluate each against what the formats have to offer. Maybe the answer is a blended solution that combines both, leveraging the advantages of print and online.

If you need assistance in making a decision, contact a publisher, such as Goodheart-Willcox, that specializes in CTE. They have helped many schools in similar circumstances and can provide free advice and recommendations to help you as well.

Goodheart-Willcox Publishing are gold level sponsors at NASDCTEc’s 2014 Fall Meeting

Legislative Update: Congress Passes Temporary Funding Measure, Obama Administration Unveils Round IV of TAACCCT

September 29th, 2014

CapitolAs we shared earlier this month, Congress continued to struggle to pass the necessary appropriations legislation needed to fund the federal government in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 set to begin October 1st, 2014. Despite topline spending caps put in place by the Bipartisan Budget Agreement (BBA) earlier this year, widespread disagreement on individual funding levels for certain programs ultimately derailed the budget and appropriations process which had been ongoing since the release of President Obama’s budget request to Congress this past March.

In order to avert another federal government shutdown similar to what happened this time last year, Congress passed a short-term Continuing Appropriations Resolution (CR) which extends current FY 2014 spending levels through December 11th, 2014. Currently, federal programs are being funded via the 2014 Omnibus spending package passed this past January which increased funding for the Perkins act by $53.2 million over FY 2013 levels.

President Obama has recently signed this legislation into law which will continue funding the Perkins Act at this level, at least until a longer-term agreement is reached. This is likely to occur sometime after the conclusion of the Congressional midterm elections this November. Following the passage of this legislation, both Chambers of Congress adjourned until after these elections— the results of which will largely determine the ability of Congress to accomplish its remaining legislative agenda for the year.

It is important to note that while this CR extends current funding levels, imbalances between FY 2014 revenue levels and those projected for FY 2015 will result in a small across-the-board reduction to all discretionary programs, including the Perkins Act for the duration of this CR. For the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the programs it oversees, this cut translates into a 0.0554 percent reduction in funding, which will require revisions to the FY 2015 budget estimates released to states for the Perkins Act basic state grant program.

As ED revises these estimates, NASDCTEc will keep the CTE community abreast to changes in Perkins funding and will continue to advocate for a full-year appropriations bill when Congress reconvenes in November.

Obama Administration Announces TAACCCT Grants

This morning, Vice President Joe Biden unveiled the winners of the fourth and final round of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants worth $450 million in total. This initiative traces its roots back to 2009, as part of the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which allocated roughly $2 billion in competitive grant funding for community colleges and other eligible postsecondary institutions to expand career training programs lasting two years or less.

Since 2009, three rounds of grants have been awarded to a variety of institutions seeking to strengthen and expand workforce training partnerships across the country. This last round focused on bringing to scale in-demand job training programs through industry partnerships, promoting seamless transitions between education and training, and improving upon statewide employment end education data use.

In all nearly 270 community colleges partnering with more than 400 employers received 71 grants, which is co-administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor. More information can be found here.

Senators Introduce CTE Teacher Training Legislation

Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Creating Quality Technical Educators Act this month, legislation that aims to address an ongoing CTE teacher shortage in many states and local communities throughout the country. Specifically, this bill would amend the Higher Education Act to create a CTE teacher-training grant program to encourage partnerships between high-need secondary and postsecondary CTE institutions to recruit and train high-quality CTE teachers. Presently, HEA has a similar program in place to promote these efforts, but it does not currently focus on CTE specifically.

NASDCTEc applauds this legislation and is encouraged by the Senators’ continued commitment to the CTE enterprise. A press release with additional information on this bill can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager 

CTE Research Review

September 26th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013Spotlighting effective apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are increasingly gaining attention from policymakers and employers as an effective tool to fight the skills gap and provide workers with higher wages and employment outcomes. Through a recent series of white papers, Center for American Progress (CAP) is adding its voice to those calling for more and better apprenticeships in the United States.

The DC-based think tank recently spotlighted five innovative apprenticeships including programs in Vermont, South Carolina, Washington and Michigan.

In Washington, apprenticeships have proven to be a smart public investment. For every $1 the state invests in apprenticeships, taxpayers receive $23 in benefits, according to one state study.

Although there is clearly more than one way to structure a program that engages multiple employers, CAP offers a few lessons learned from these five successful examples:

  • A strong intermediary is key to a strong apprenticeship program;
  • A little public investment goes a long way; and
  • Industry-recognized credentials add value to apprenticeships in nontraditional occupations.

NACTE final report released

The U.S. Department of Education has released the long-awaited final report of the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education (NACTE).

The report focuses on the new features of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV). Although the NACTE is charged with evaluating the implementation and outcomes of Perkins IV, the actual report stops short of providing insight into the effectiveness of the new law. The evaluation period covered only the early years of Perkins IV and as such can only shed light on the new law’s early implementation. Also much of the outside data used in the report comes from before the new law was passed.

The NACTE spotlighted four major areas:

Programs of study: As a new feature in the 2006 law, the NACTE found that programs of study (POS) have been implemented in widely varying ways both within and across states. Also, states played a larger role in POS development on the secondary level, whereas higher education institutions tended to take the lead when developing postsecondary POS.

Funding: Despite sustaining a total funding loss of 24 percent between fiscal years 2007 and 2014, states continued to become creative with the funding levers available to them. For example, states increasingly began using the reserve option to facilitate further funding to rural areas or those serving large numbers of CTE students. Also, in fiscal year 2010, states divided their Perkins money to secondary and postsecondary grantees by a split of 64 percent and 36 percent, respectively. Of the funds allocated to postsecondary CTE, three-fourths of that money went to community colleges.

Accountability:  Though at least three-fourths of states met 90 percent of their performance targets in 2011-12 for secondary and postsecondary CTE, researchers said the flexibility in the Perkins accountability system makes it difficult to draw valid cross-state comparisons. They also raised questions about the validity of some student outcome data.

CTE programs and participation: The NACTE found that nearly all public high school students attended a high school that offered CTE instruction and 85 percent of graduates had completed one or more CTE courses. While the number of high school students taking three or more CTE credits in the same field was much smaller (19 percent), the most common subject areas were business, communications and design and computer and information sciences. At the postsecondary level, more than 8 million students sought a CTE degree or certificate in 2011-12. The most popular fields were health sciences and business.

In addition to mandating the NACTE report, Perkins IV also required an independent advisory panel be formed. The panel prepared its own report with findings and recommendations to Congress. The panel recommended:

  • Integrate CTE with broader education reform;
  • Develop greater coherence between secondary and postsecondary CTE; and
  • Gather robust, actionable information about the implementation and outcomes of CTE.

Calling CTE a part of America’s long-term solution to economic recovery and sustained prominence, the panel said CTE must continue to reposition itself as a pathway into postsecondary programs that links degrees and credentials to occupations.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

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