Staff Reflections of the 2016 Fall Meeting (Continued)

October 24th, 2016

Last week, Advance CTE held its 2016 Fall Meeting bringing together attendees from across the country to take a deep dive into all things Career Technical Education (CTE). Advance CTE staff reflects on the Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in this two-part series. 

Breakout Sessions Create Space for Shared Learning

Each year, Advance CTE’s convenings bring together experts, administrators and researchers from around the country to learn from one another and share ideas about how to improve the quality of CTE programs in their respective states. This is why the concurrent breakout sessions, which each cover a relevant and challenging topic in CTE, are so valuable – because they create an opportunity for attendees to learn from and engage with leaders in this work.

The breakout sessions at the Fall Meeting were oriented around different components of a high-quality CTE system, highlighting specific strategies that have been successful in other states. Topics included:

  • College-and career-ready accountability frameworks;
  • Understanding what your data is telling you to drive change;
  • Mapping Upward: Stackable credentials that lead to careers; and
  • Building and scaling effective work-based learning programs.

I had the pleasure of organizing and attending the last session on work-based learning, which was led by Heather Justice, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education at the Tennessee Department of Education. Tennessee has covered significant ground in recent years towards a new, collective vision for work-based learning. Heather shared a little bit about the state’s vision – a student-centered approach that aims to equip students with relevant skills along a continuum of exploratory and immersive experiences – and explained how her state plans to track student progress and ensure program quality. She also addressed some common myths about work-based learning, such as the belief that employers can’t work with minors (in Tennessee, students as young as 16 can participate, and the state’s workers’ compensation policy protects students, regardless of age).

All in all, the sessions provided ample opportunity for attendees to connect with counterparts in other states and learn about strategies to address common challenges.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Collaboration Roundtables Explore Opportunities to Lead through Change

All of our members are facing uncertainty and potentially big changes in their states over the next year. Whether or not Perkins is reauthorized this year, states are still facing policy shifts as CTE and career readiness continue to gain more attention from the public. For this reason, in addition to sessions that discussed specific policies, we designed a few sessions about how to manage these changes as a system.

First, Ellyn Artis, Strategic Consulting Program Manager at Hobson’s, kicked off the first full day of the meeting with a session on leading through change. She reminded us all that we can either resist change, be acted upon by change, or lead change – but no matter what, the change will happen. She then introduced several tools to help with this work, all of which can be found in her slides here. The tools and framework introduced help to ground her discussion of change management in a way that would allow any education leader to understand and discuss it with others.

This theme of change management was followed up later in the day with our collaboration roundtables. For this meeting, we designed each interactive roundtable to focus on a theme around implementation. Topics included setting a statewide vision, secondary and postsecondary alignment, state and local alignment, quality and access in rural regions, targeted stakeholder messaging and telling your story with data. Participants in these sessions heard examples from states on how they tackle these issues, and then joined in facilitated activities and discussions on various topics. Each roundtable finished with staff asking participants how Advance CTE can help in this area, and we received a lot of great ideas and requests, which we will take with us into our planning for 2017.

As Advance CTE Board President Jo Anne Honeycutt stated when introducing Ellyn Artis, state efforts do not need to be driven by Perkins or other federal legislation. Rather, states can develop and implement their own visions for change and reform, and leverage federal and other initiatives to support that vision.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Transition: An Underlying Theme at the Fall Meeting

Fall is a time of transition. The beauty of the season belies its reality, which requires us to let go of some things we have grown to have comfort with and to prepare for an unknown and unpredictable future.

I felt it was fitting that transition ended up being an underlying theme at the Advance CTE fall meeting.  Looming before us is a new federal CTE law and a new administration. This set on the backdrop of ever-changing expectations of the workplace and economy. And yet, to me this transition is not daunting. Why? Our shared vision for the future of CTE ensures we have aligned goals and collective focus. And at the meeting, I observed a steadfast commitment to equity, access and quality and the willingness to effort the leadership necessary to thrive in this time of change. I am optimistic for the future. Together, we are advancing CTE.

Kim Green, Executive Director

A Topical Wrap-Up: Industry Experts and Credentials of Value

Our annual meetings are often the perfect opportunity to dig into many of the most pressing issues our members and the broader CTE community are facing. This past fall meeting was no different, with sessions on critical topics like work-based learning, career-ready accountability indicators and stackable credentials.

On the last day of our meeting in particular, we had the chance to focus on two particularly acute challenges faced by states – how to recruit qualified industry experts into the classroom and how to identify quality industry-recognized credentials. Offering a preview of research to be released later this year, Advance CTE’s state policy manager, Ashleigh McFadden, and Catherine Jacques from AIR’s Center for Great Teachers and Leaders shared some early insights into potential strategies and barriers to recruiting industry experts into secondary classrooms. Based on a survey of 45 State CTE Directors and almost 300 local CTE leaders and partners, they identified a few early trends, including the pervasive use of alternative certification, which, on its own, is proving to be insufficient to address the CTE teacher shortage. A major takeaway is that states and locals can and should be creative and think outside the box and consider bringing experts into high schools in less formal roles like mentors, advisors or part-time instructors.

In addition, a panel featuring a number of national initiatives to make sense of the “wild world” of industry-recognized credentials raised a number of important questions like: what makes up a quality credential, what are processes that can be put in place for evaluating credentials, and how can we build out data systems and supports to actually measure credentials’ impact on students? Led by Workcred’s Roy Swift and ACTE’s Catherine Imperatore, participants got an update on key efforts like the Credential Transparency Initiative and the Certification Data Exchange Project.  The session was moderated by Rod Duckworth of Florida, a state leading the nation in industry credential validation, recently featured in Advance CTE’s brief “Credentials of Value: State Strategies for Identifying and Endorsing Industry-Recognized Credentials.”

While both sessions only scratched the surface on these critical but incredibly complicated issues, they generated important questions and lessons from the audience and will continue to be priority for Advance CTE’s research, resources and events moving forward.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

This Week in CTE

October 21st, 2016



Harvard Political Review published an article making the case for Career Technical Education as an important option for students who want a pathway to a successful career:  “Students often leave CTE programs with certifications that allow them to immediately enter the workforce. Surprisingly, some see this as CTE’s greatest failing. Yes, welders might make up to $140,000 dollars a year, but how can the government support “condemning” students to blue-collar labor? The reasoning of many against CTE programs seems misguided at best.”


Join us for a webinar on November 10 taking a deep dive into the application process for the 2017 Excellence in Action award. You will hear from past award recipients and a member of the selection committee on what makes an award-winning program, providing insight into how to create a successful application.


National Skills Coalition released a report on the importance of providing supports to low-income people for postsecondary education and training, citing Arkansas’ Career Pathways Initiative as a model program.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Staff Reflections of the 2016 Fall Meeting

October 20th, 2016

This week, Advance CTE held its 2016 Fall Meeting bringing together attendees from across the country to take a deep dive into all things Career Technical Education (CTE). Advance CTE staff reflects on the Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in this two-part series. 

Perkins Reauthorization and Looking Ahead

The Carl D. Perkins Act and related reauthorization efforts in Congress were top of mind throughout our meeting. During a general session on Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to participate on a panel with Alisha Hyslop, the Association for Career Technical Education’s Director of Public Policy, and speak to the current reauthorization processes in both chambers of Congress. With an overwhelming vote of support from the House, activity and focus has centered on the Senate where the parties remain locked in negotiations over the issue of secretarial authority. Following this, Kimberly Green, Advance CTE’s executive director, led a reaction panel with distinguished set of state CTE directors from Washington state, Iowa, and Maryland. With the prospects for Perkins uncertain in this congress, the discussion focused on what states can be doing now, using current law, to promote their respective visions for high-quality CTE.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

Fall Meeting Provides Opportunity for CTE Leaders from Across the Nation to Come Together 

Networking is one of the greatest benefits of attending an Advance CTE meeting. This year’s Fall Meeting was no different – with 150 attendees gathering from 40 states, one territory and D.C. Consistent with our new name and tagline, “Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work,” attendees included State CTE Directors, counterparts, state staff, as well as local and national CTE leaders.

This meeting was made possible thanks to financial support from our many longtime sponsors:

  • Diamond-level sponsors: Certiport, Kuder, and the National Center for College and Career Transitions.
  • Gold-level sponsors: NOCTI and Today’s Class
  • Bronze-level sponsors: CTECs, MBA Research, Realityworks

Many attendees had the opportunity to take part in a special networking opportunity thanks to the generous support from Kuder, who sponsored a dinner cruise along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

With all of the excitement and energy around CTE, we are looking forward to seeing this community of bold CTE leaders continue to grow during our next in-person meeting. Save the date – May 2-4, 2017 in Washington D.C. for our 2017 Spring Meeting!

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Membership Engagement

Advance CTE and Meeting Attendees Lean into Putting Learner Success First

Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE was a central topic throughout 2016 Fall Meeting, which provided participants with insight into how to share and implement the vision including solid state, local and partner examples of the fantastic work already being accomplished. The meeting kicked off with a dinner and opening session that brought together all attendees to learn more about the multitude of resources Advance CTE and partners have developed, the sign on campaign, which has been supported by over 30 states, and the growing list of national partners. We heard from one of our newest supporters, Goodwill, Inc., who described CTE’s importance in serving all learners to bring them successfully into the workforce, the Association for Career and Technical Education who reiterated the success of the vision in speaking to the necessity of high-quality CTE educators, and FCCLA who continues to commit to the success of all learners. We also heard from states including Wisconsin and Nebraska who have worked hard to spread the vision far and wide in their states, and use it as a resource when strengthening their own state visions. We are thankful to our partners, members and meeting attendees who have wholeheartedly adopted this vision for CTE, and continue the imperative work of carrying out vision principles and strategies as we strive to ensure all learners are prepared for a lifetime of career success.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

Prepare for the 2017 Excellence in Action Award

October 20th, 2016

For the past three years, we have celebrated innovative programs of study from across the country through our Excellence in Action award, which2017ExcellenceinAction_final recognizes programs of study that exemplify excellence in the implementation of Career Cluster-based programs of study, show a true progression from secondary to postsecondary education, provide meaningful work-based learning opportunities, and have a substantial and evidence-based impact on student achievement and success. Applications for the award will run October 26 – December 14, 2016.

In preparation for filling our your application, join us November 10, 11 a.m. – noon ET  for a webinar where you will hear from past award recipients and a member of the selection committee on what makes an award-winning program, providing insight into how to create a successful application. Can’t join at that time? We’ll have the webinar recorded for your review on our webinars page.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

New Credential Registry Aims to Bring Transparency to a System in Crisis

October 18th, 2016

We’ve seen a lot of activity this year at both the national and local level to expand and systematize the use of industry-recognized credentials (including our own brief on credentials of value, which you can check out here). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics even released a helpful guide that describes different types of credentials and their prevalence in different industries. While credentials can serve as a useful signal of workforce competency that is recognized by both educators and employers, many learners face a credentialing marketplace that is as confusing as it is expansive.

To address this crisis, the Lumina Foundation in 2015 helped launch the Connecting Credentials Initiative, a collaboration designed to advance a well-functioning and sustainable credentialing system. Last month, the initiative revealed a 7-point action plan, based on input from more than 100 stakeholders, that articulates a vision for such a system.

credential_registry_2016One group already working to advance this vision is an organization called Credential Engine (formerly the Credential Transparency Initiative), which last month announced the launch of a national credential registry. The registry is designed to allow job seekers, employers and educators alike to access information about myriad credentials in various industries. The registry uses common terminology and guidelines for organizations to publish comparable information, and provides free and open access. While the system is currently being piloted in 60 sites with plans to expand in the future, we look forward to seeing how employers, job seekers and third-party accreditors alike will use the platform to contribute to a more transparent credentialing system.

Transparency is a key element in a successful credentialing system, particularly when it comes to identifying stackable credentials. According to new research, longer-term credentials are associated with higher earnings, though the return varies on a sliding scale depending on the length of time and effort required to earn the credential. Job seekers must be equipped with the right information to obtain stackable credentials that enable them to enter and exit the labor market at various points, building on their education and experience as they go.

Promising Practices in Work-based Learning

Meanwhile, the National Skills Coalition (NSC) and New America have both sparked dialogue about engaging the nation’s youth in work-based learning. NSC recently released a report titled “Promising Practices in Work-based Learning for Youth” that profiles four exemplar programs using work-based learning as a strategy to engage underserved and at-risk youth. One of the organizations profiled in the report, Urban Alliance, is a youth services organization operating out of Baltimore, Chicago, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Urban Alliance not only connects youth with paid internships through its flagship High School Internship Program, but also provides professional development and linkages to career and postsecondary pathways as well. NSC draws on this and other examples to identify four common policy elements for a strong work-based learning program:

  • Paid work-based learning opportunities, with wages provided either through employer, provider, or combination of the two;
  • Strong partnerships with business and other community stakeholders;
  • Positive youth development and continued support services; and
  • Linkages to career pathways either through future employment opportunities or future education and training opportunities.

In a similar vein, New America announced a project to study opportunities and challenges facing the nation’s youth apprenticeship programs and to develop a set of recommendations. In a blog post, the organization lays the groundwork and begins to identify the most prevalent challenges to expanding apprenticeships to youth. For one, the American apprenticeship system is aimed primarily at adults. With the average apprentice at nearly 30 years old, New America aims to challenge the old guard and find a way to extend these opportunities to younger learners.  

Odds and Ends

pew collegeWhose Job Is It? According to the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of Americans believe the public K-12 education system is responsible for ensuring the workforce has the right skills and education to be successful in the economy. Interestingly, the same study found that 67 percent of four-year degree holders believe their education prepared them for the workforce, compared to 58 percent for two-year degree holders and 78 percent for professional and technical certificate holders.

Rate Yourself. Building on its College and Career Readiness Organizer, CCRS released a self-assessment scorecard to help state policymakers identify gaps and opportunities for preparing K-12 students for postsecondary success. Based on the needs identified in the survey, the scorecard provides additional resources to help states and districts in their college and career readiness efforts.

The STEM of Success. The Education Commission of the States released a STEM Playbook last month as part of its “SepSTEMber” campaign. The playbook identifies three core components of a successful STEM strategy: statewide coordination; adequate, reliable funding; and quality assurance or program evaluation.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

October 14th, 2016



The Pew Research Center and the Markle Foundation released a study on the changing attitudes of the workplace with some interesting findings.


Workforce Data Quality Campaign published, “Data Policy Toolkit: Implementing the State Blueprint,” highlighting policies states can enact to improve data infrastructure and use in their state.


On Tuesday November 15 at 2:30-3:30 pm ET, join us for an update on Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE and learn about ways in which you can help support this vision of career success for all learners. Register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Advance CTE Releases Guide for Building and Scaling Statewide Work-based Learning Systems

October 14th, 2016

WBL_GuideIn a recent nationwide education poll, 90 percent of surveyed Americans said it is extremely or very important for schools to help students develop good work habits. In turn, state education agencies have begun to focus on both college and career readiness to help prepare students for their futures. One popular strategy is work-based learning, which allows students to reinforce and deepen their classroom learning, explore future career fields and demonstrate their skills in an authentic setting.

Today, Advance CTE released a comprehensive guide — building on the “Connecting the Classroom to Careers” policy series — to help policymakers develop and implement a statewide vision for work-based learning. The guide provides key considerations and guiding questions to walk state policymakers through the steps of building and scaling a high-quality work-based learning system, drawing on examples from states such as Tennessee and West Virginia to highlight innovative solutions to common challenges. The paper not only builds upon earlier briefs in the “Connecting the Classroom to Careers” series, but also ties them together into one comprehensive and easy-to-use guide.

To get started, states must develop a statewide vision for work-based learning and get buy-in from all relevant stakeholders. Tennessee, for example, embarked on a campaign to overhaul its work-based learning programs and establish a framework that would be more inclusive and relevant for students in the state. This resulted in a new, shared vision that prioritizes career exploration, career advisement and hands-on learning for all students — not just those enrolled in Career Technical Education (CTE) classes.

Yet setting a vision is only the first step. To ensure the vision is implemented successfully, states must create a policy environment that allows work-based learning programs to thrive. One of the biggest challenges that states face in expanding work-based learning opportunities is overcoming legal barriers, such as child labor laws and safety requirements, that make businesses reluctant to hire high school students. New Jersey demonstrates how state agencies can work together to develop a regulatory framework that supports, rather than inhibits, work-based learning opportunities. One product of inter-agency collaboration in the state is the New Jersey Safe Schools project, a comprehensive health and safety training for CTE teachers.

The guide further explores how states can expand work-based learning by partnering with intermediaries to facilitate partnerships between educators and employers for the ultimate benefit of a student’s career exploration and skill development. Intermediaries can be either independent organizations or, in the case of Georgia’s Youth Apprenticeship Program (YAP) Coordinators, individuals who are based within the school or district. Georgia’s YAP Coordinators are funded by a competitive state grant and help support the full range of work-based learning activities for local students.

WBL GraphicOnce a statewide vision is in place and early implementation has begun, state policymakers should consider how to measure and scale work-based learning. There are two common approaches states take to building a comprehensive measurement and data-collection system: a systems-level approach that examines and evaluates the quality of the program, and a student-level approach that measures student learning and skill attainment. Through its School to Career Connecting Activities Initiative, Massachusetts has built a system to collect pre- and post-evaluations of student skills to determine both the professional and technical skills that students gain over the course of their work-based learning experience. This allows the state to assess difficult-to-measure student outcomes such as accepting direction and constructive criticism or motivation and taking initiative.

Collecting and evaluating program data enables states to not only identify promising practices but also to scale them statewide so that all students can access high-quality work-based learning experiences. One example profiled in the guide is West Virginia’s Simulated Workplace program, which began in 2013 as a pilot program in 20 schools across the state. The Department of Education gradually scaled the program, spending time evaluating and refining processes and policies along the way, to reach 60 schools — and more than 500 classrooms — by 2015.

There is no single way to build and scale work-based learning programs, but Advance CTE’s latest publication, “Connecting the Classroom to Careers: A Comprehensive Guide to the State’s Role in Work-based Learning,” can help states get started. The guide identifies essential strategies in work-based learning programs across the states and provides key takeaways and guiding questions to help states tackle common barriers. While work-based learning is a proven strategy to help students build technical and professional skills, policymakers should draw on examples from other states to thoughtfully build and scale a high-quality work-based learning system.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate and Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Register Today: Upcoming Webinar on A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE

October 11th, 2016

In May, seven national organizations came together to support Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, establishing a bold vision for all of education. The vision calls for a systemic revitalization of the education system, and identifies Career Technical Education’s (CTE) strengths and role in this transformation, focusing on five key principles of change:

  • All CTE programs are held to the highest standards of excellence.
  • All learners are empowered to choose a meaningful education and career.
  • All learning is personalized and flexible.
  • All learning is facilitated by knowledgeable experts.
  • All systems work together to put learner success first.

Since the release of this vision, support has continued to grow – with four additional national partners signing on, leaders sharing the vision in all 50 states, and a wide array of activities and efforts underway or planned aligned with the vision’s principles and actions.

On Tuesday November 15 at 2:30-3:30 pm ET, join us for an update on Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE and learn about ways in which you can help support this vision of career success for all learners. Register today!


  • Stephen DeWitt, Deputy Executive Director, Association for Career and Technical Education
  • Erica Kashiri, Director of Policy and Programs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director, Advance CTE
  • Rich McKeon, Director of the Career Readiness Initiative, Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Bryan Wilson, State Policy Director, National Skills Coalition

What’s the ROI on Industry Certifications?: How industry certifications yield a high return on investment for employers, schools, and students

October 10th, 2016

There’s no such thing as a risk-free investment.Certiport-Pearson-Logo-Final (1)

Or is there?

As employers, schools, and students contemplate how to invest their dollars to yield the greatest return, they may want to consider recent studies on the benefits of earning professional industry certifications.

While it’s true that there’s no such thing as an entirely risk-free investment, the numbers don’t fib: earning professional software certifications yields a high return on investment (ROI) for the workforce, schools, and students.

ROI for the Workforce

The findings of a Burning Glass study drew the attention of The Wall Street Journal in an article titled, “The Key to a Good-Paying Job Is…Microsoft Excel?”

Study highlights show that it’s practically imperative for workers entering the workforce to possess Microsoft Office skills. “The most commonly required skills are also the most basic ones,” the report states. “Spreadsheet and word-processing software such as Microsoft Corp.’s Excel and Word.”

The Burning Glass study also found that:

  • Spreadsheet and word processing proficiencies have become a baseline requirement for the majority of middle-skill opportunities (78%)
  • Digitally intensive middle-skill occupations offer 18% higher wages on average
  • Digitally intensive jobs have grown 2.5 times more rapidly than middle-skill jobs that do not require spreadsheets, word processing, or other digital skills (between 2003 and 2013, 4.7% growth for digitally intensive jobs compared to 1.9% growth for other positions)

Despite these benefits, workers entering workforce often come without the needed baseline digital skills. “Effectively, entire segments of the U.S. economy are off-limits to people who don’t have basic digital skills,” the report notes, suggesting that schools and other training sites should go back to the basics.

Supply and demand dictates that employers will seek and pay for those who have these proficiencies. Industry certifications, such as Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), teach and test Microsoft software skills. Further, they provide recognized stamps of approval to those who earn their certification. For employers, the ROI on a digitally skilled employee will be greater than on one who enters the job at a remedial level.

ROI for the Education System

School systems have limited budget to invest in programs that will help prepare their students for higher learning and for pursuing a career.

As it turns out, the ROI is demonstrably high for school systems that invest in programs to train and certify students in Microsoft Office software.

The Florida Case

Florida schools have a CAPE program (Career & Professional Education Act). CAPE focuses on teaching professional-level skills that translate to workforce success. At Dunbar High School, for example, CAPE Academy students perform better than non-academy students. The school invested in a program to train CAPE students and help them earn industry-recognized certifications for Microsoft Office software.

CAPE Academy students who earned professional-level certifications—

  • Outperformed their peers in average GPA (see chart 2)
  • Showed lower dropout rates
  • Showed higher rates of graduation
  • Outperformed non-academy peers on Florida standardized testing (FCAT)

The conclusion? Industry-recognized certification works in academia to boost student performance and longevity. (Note: The study is not just for Microsoft certification, as CAPE Academy cuts across data for students studying in multiple industry segments and technology areas.)


Chart 2











ROI for the Student

The numbers show that student market value (salary) with industry certification is greater than without it (see chart 3).


Chart 3


What do industry certifications mean to me?

That’s the question asked by students, schools, and employers as they consider investing time and money into certification programs. While there’s no such thing as a risk-free investment, the numbers show that investing in such programs is about as close to a risk-free investment as one can get.

Would you like more discussion about this issue and how it affects you? If you happen to be attending the Advance CTE Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, on Monday, October 17, stop by our hospitality suite from 8:00-10:00 p.m. We’ll be in Suite 1026 of the BWI Airport Marriott. We look forward to seeing you!

Contact: Mike Maddock
Director of Strategic Accounts

This post was written by Certiport, a Pearson VUE Business, is the sole provider of industry certifications such as Microsoft Office Specialist, Adobe Certified Associate, Autodesk Certified User, IC3 Digital Literacy Certification, and others. Certiport is a sponsor of the 2016 Advance CTE Fall Meeting. Thank you Certiport! 

This Week in CTE: Happy Manufacturing Day!

October 7th, 2016



Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals makes the case as to why CTE, STEM education and apprenticeships are key to the American workforce, economy and manufacturing industry. Read more in their piece, The Economy of Manufacturing and Community.


Visit our Learning that Works Resource Center for the latest research, policies and reports on CTE and career readiness, including the Manufacturing Institute, SkillsUSA and the Education Research Center of America’s report, Attracting the Next Generation Workforce: The Role of CTE, which found that personal industry experience — through involvement with Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), internships, summer jobs and co-op study programs — can impact students’ future career interests.


Desert View High School’s precision machining and mechanical drafting program of study is a model program in the Manufacturing Career Cluster, demonstrating the incredible impact a strong employer and educational partnership can have on the community. A 2016 Excellence in Action award winner, this program of study was developed in partnership with the Tucson, Arizona business community to build a pipeline of skilled and qualified employees.

“When an industry comes forward and tells a district or administration, ‘our community needs this program, and we will support you,’ this becomes the leverage for change that enables the school to make those difficult decisions, to prioritize your program. Companies are moving to Tucson because they see a pipeline and workforce being built. This program has created an economic development change for our community,” said Kathy Prather, Director of CTE at Sunnyside Unified School District.

p.s. If you haven’t already, join 4,000 of your peers and cast your vote to include CTE in the next presidential debate on Sunday, October 9th!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications