#CTEMonth @Capitol Hill

February 11th, 2016

Yesterday, employers visited Capitol Hill to explain how businesses and educators are working together to deliver innovative Career Technical Education (CTE). The Congressional staff briefing, Career and Technical Education: The Employer Perspective was sponsored by the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus with co-chairs Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and partners including the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Industry Workface Needs Coalition and Opportunity America.

While the employer panelists represented a range of sectors and included small (100 employers) to multinational ($12 billion in revenue), what they all agreed on was the importance of strong CTE programs and the need for employers to be directly involved in supporting those programs and students. That involvement can range from hosting tours for students to providing externships for teachers to building programs with high schools and community colleges.

Employers expressed the necessity of students obtaining both academic and technical skills, and nearly all of the companies represented got involved in CTE because they needed to be more proactive about building a qualified pipeline as the current system wasn’t serving them.

Kaine, Portman and Baldwin all stressed the importance of CTE and expanding access by investing in good programs and removing unnecessary barriers to access, a sentiment that was echoed by the Senate’s unanimously passed CTE Month resolution.

For those of us that couldn’t make the standing room only event, the briefing was broadcast live and CTE was celebrated from Capitol Hill to classrooms.

 

 

 

 

 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

February 5th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

February is CTE Month, a celebration of all things CTE! To learn more about how states, schools, partners and students are raising awareness for and celebrating CTE, follow our weekly blog series.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

White House to Seek Nearly $6 Billion for Youth Unemployment, Job Training
It is expected that next week’s FY 17 budget request will include a proposal for $3.5 billion for communities and employers to build partnerships and connect a million young people to jobs, $2 billion to help students obtain a diploma, jobs and internships, and $200 million for youth apprenticeships.
Read More

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

President Obama speaks about his proposed Computer Science for All Initiate, designed to provide all students with the opportunity to learn computer science, a skill necessary to succeed in today’s economy.  The proposal would provide $4 billion in funding for states and $100 million for districts in his upcoming budget. Watch

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Innovative Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Partnership Webinar
On February 24, the Southwest Transportation Workforce Center and NASDCTEc will co-host a webinar highlighting teachers, administrators and industry partners who will provide insights and best practices about innovative education programs and teaching modules for grades 6-12 students when delivering transportation-related curricula. Register

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Kicking Off #CTEMonth

February 4th, 2016

CTE Month is off to an incredible start! Only four days in, the #CTEMonth hashtag has already been used 1,500 times on Twitter in posts that feature CTE facts, photos of students at work, resources to use during the month, and support from advocates in fields spanning education, policy, funding, business, media, research, and more.

We asked NASDCTEc members and Learning that works for America campaign users how they were celebrating, and are blown away by the submissions. During the month of February, you can expect to see a post every Thursday showcasing how people are simultaneously raising awareness for and celebrating CTE at the local, state and national level around this year’s theme, “Opportunities for Career Success.” 

For our inaugural 2016 CTE Month post, we’ll kick off by highlighting how a few states are promoting CTE during the month.

Tools to Raise Awareness & Educate

Wisconsin is encouraging their networks to celebrate CTE Month in variety of ways, one of which includes providing accessible and easily adaptable tools for schools and CTE organizations to use such as the 2016 CTE Month logo, a state-wide social media calendar, and a variety of proclamations from FBLA, FCCLA, FFA and SkillsUSA declaring February CTE Month. They also have support from Tony Evers, the State Superintendent, who authored an editorial discussing the importance of CTE in Wisconsin.

Maryland also supplied a ton of resources to their state network including a sample news release, template to create a student profile, CTE Month certificate and a public service announcement. Additionally, they suggested ways to acknowledge CTE Month at both the high school and middle school levels.

While students and educators are clear audiences to engage, Maryland is also acknowledging the value of school counselors as partners in promoting CTE, and invited school counselors across the state to participate in a free webinar sponsored by Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce called, “What Counselors Should Know about 21st Century Competencies.”

Missouri is utilizing the radio to get their CTE message across, by launching 30 second radio spots running in large, medium and small markets throughout the month to provide the general public with more information about CTE.

In Michigan, all Department of Education employees were asked to use the Learning that works for Michigan logo in their e-mail signatures. You can join the campaign and receive your own state-specific Learning that works logo here.

Recognizing & Honoring Success

CTE Month is not only about raising awareness, but also celebrating the successes of all that it takes to makes a CTE program great.

Oklahoma is honoring the contributions made by CTE teachers by distributing a hardcopy booklet, which was given to legislators at the Capital during CTSO day on February 2. A digital version is featured on Oklahoma Horizon, a weekly television show’s website, and throughout their social media.

Pennsylvania is partnering with the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators to recognize each of the student organizations at a celebratory dinner for CTSO students and Pennsylvania legislators. Additionally, award recipients of the state’s newest awards program –  the Career and Technical Education Excellence Award, which recognizes high schools and career and technical centers where 75 percent of students have achieved advanced technical assessments – will also be in attendance.

Let us know what you are doing for CTE Month by emailing kfitzgerald@careertech.org, or tagging us in your Twitters posts @CTEWorks.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate  

State Policy Updates: Massachusetts Governor Calls for Major CTE Investment

February 3rd, 2016

Another 15 governors have issued their budgets or State of the State addresses since January 19. You can catch up on our analysis of the first 15 speeches here.

Here are a few CTE highlights from the most recent round:

Following his first State of the Commonwealth address, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker called for an $83.5 million investment in the career technical education, including the state’s technical high school system, which has long enrollment waiting lists. The investments are proposed to come from the governor’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget, a capital grant funding bill and a portion of the state’s federal Perkins allocation.

The proposed funding boost includes:

  • $75 million in grants over five years for equipment to expand and improve CTE programs
  • $7.5 million in grants to support work-based learning, including nearly doubling current funding for the state’s school-to-career Connecting Activities and STEM-focused dual enrollment initiatives
  • $1 million in Perkins-funded grants to strengthen relationships among vocational high schools, comprehensive high schools and employers

Additionally, a group of Massachusetts employers, community organizations and educators announced the formation of the Alliance of Vocational and Technical Education, which aims to increase access to high-quality CTE in Massachusetts. The group commissioned Northeastern University to conduct a comprehensive study about public perceptions of CTE in the state. You can read the full report here.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell praised the state’s new Pathways to Prosperity initiative, which he announced during his 2015 State of the State address and now involves 29 high schools and 5,000 students across 10 pathways including manufacturing, computer science and health care. He also announced the state’s newest pathway to support the agriculture and food production industries.

Along with joining the call to raise teachers’ salaries, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez asked the legislature to support a “Students Work” internship portal. This online portal would allow New Mexico employers to post internships through a shared website to connect them with college and university students.

Coordinated with his State of the State address, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced a legislative package aimed at college affordability. The package includes:

  • A $1 million increase in need-based grants over two years for students attending technical colleges
  • $320,000 in emergency grants to students at technical colleges
  • Bolstering internships by funding positions within the Department of Workforce Development and the state’s university system to build relationships between employers and the institutions
  • Requiring all institutions offering at least an associate’s degree to mail cost, loan and other financial information to students

2015 Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE

Did you miss our newest publication, “Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE”? Not to worry – you can catch the full report here, as well as the companion webinar that unpacked this year’s findings and put the spotlight on Colorado’s Ready to Work legislative package. The paper and webinar were released in partnership with our partners, the Association for Career and Technical Education.

As a special benefit to NASDCTEc members, you can access our state policy trackers from 2014 and 2015 to create your own analysis.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

This Week in CTE

January 29th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

236 students across the country were nominated for the 2016 inaugural class of Presidential Scholars in CTE. See who was nominated from your state.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Workforce Data Quality Campaign launched their online state pages resource featuring information about higher education and workforce data in each of the 50 states and D.C. Learn more.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

The AT&T/DECA Mentoring Project released a video this week showcasing the impact the mentoring project has made in its first year, providing more than 31,000 hours of mentoring to 11,500 students in 20 schools across the United States. Watch the video.

REPORT OF THE WEEK

America’s Promise Alliance released the 2016 Building a Grad Nation Data Brief, which provides an overview of the 2013-2014 high school graduation rates across the country. While the nation hit a record 82.3 percent graduation rate in 2014, there are still major discrepancies in graduation rates for minority students, those from low-income families, and students with disabilities. Read the report.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Welcome Rita Johnson, Kansas’ Newest State CTE Director!

January 28th, 2016

Rita Johnson, Kansas’ newest State CTE Director, has had a lifelong career in education. She began teaching in 1973, and after a stint as an executive assistant and office manager outside of the education sector, Johnson returned and served in a variety of roles including business and computer studies coordinator, college competency-based curriculum specialist, director of admissions and student affairs, director of administrative services and as an institutional effectiveness specialist. While serving in these roles she also managed the Carl D. Perkins grants for both a large urban school district as well as the local technical college. After working on the Perkins grant for a number of years, Johnson made the leap to the Kansas Board of Regents, where she had to quickly shift focus from a local to state perspective, further expanding her growth and knowledge of Career Technical Education (CTE). Now as the Regents Vice President for Workforce Development and Perkins State Director, Johnson is witnessing a resurgence in strategies that were popular when she began her career such as work-based learning, employer engagement and apprenticeships.

While the role of employer engagement in CTE remains a priority, her major focus is strengthening the connection between secondary and postsecondary education programs throughout the state. Though students should absolutely have a broader-based education and the chance to explore a variety of careers and pathways in high school, Johnson wants to ensure there are realistic intersections to pathways where learners have a multitude of options. Pathways should enable high school graduates to continue their education or jump into the workforce with the ability to re-enter the education system at any time to gain more skills as they advance through their careers. “Students should be able to find a pathway that is within their passion and interest,” said Johnson. “As they explore a wide swath of careers, I hope we strengthen these connections so that students can see a pathway to where they want to go.” In addition to creating strong pathways, Johnson described the work to be done in educating students, parents and guidance counselors about the vast opportunities that CTE provides.

As Johnson reinforced the idea that education should be a lifelong pursuit, it was clear this concept is evident in her own life as she describe her excitement at beginning this new chapter as the State CTE Director in Kansas.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Inside International CTE: South Korea

January 26th, 2016

This is part of our ongoing series examining international education systems in partnership with Asia Society’s Global Learning blog on EdWeek 

Last week Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposed an increase of $83.5 million for career and technical education (CTE or VET—vocational education and training—as it is called in most other countries around the world) in his state. In Oregon where I live, Governor Kate Brown authorized $35 million last year to improve CTE programs. These are just two examples of how policymakers, at the urging of business and industry, are turning to CTE to fill the skills gap and improve our economy.

South Korea once had a strong vocational education system—so powerful it rebuilt its shattered economy. But today that is no longer the case. As we work to improve our CTE system in the United States, it behooves us to look at why VET lost favor in South Korea and examine the innovative solutions that are being implemented to improve education, training, and career options there.

From High Demand to Low Demand
After the Korean War, the economy of the newly divided Korean peninsula was devastated. However, you would never know it when you look at South Korea today. Gleaming skyscrapers dominate the Seoul skyline, internationally famous songs invoke the high life, and high-tech industry proliferates throughout the country.

It was no easy path to get this far in such a short period of time. It took comprehensive reforms that were anchored in education, and more specifically, vocational education and training.

In the 1970s and 1980s, vocational education in South Korea was more than socially acceptable, it was the primary way to succeed in obtaining a steady job with a decent income. Forty-five percent of students were enrolled in VET programs* compared to 11.4 percent in universities. With the shift to a more knowledge-based rather than industrial economy (known as the “tiger years”), the university degree grew in prominence to employers and, therefore, parents.

Current Situation
Today, the perception of VET has quickly fallen, and in 2013, only 18 percent of students were enrolled in VET programs.* Part of this is due to the prestige of university—affluent families can afford the tutoring that is now required for students to pass the entrance exam and be able to attend college. Students from families who cannot afford these tutors simply have fewer options in higher education.

Read the full article on Education Week’s Global Learning blog. 

 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

$75 Million Investment Puts CTE on a National Stage

January 21st, 2016

On Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase announced a $75 million initiative, New Skills for Youth, to support Career Technical Education (CTE) in the United States and abroad including $35 million dedicated to improving state CTE systems through a competition co-led by NASDCTEc and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This announcement has made its way through social media channels, on blogs and in national and local publications, placing CTE front and center on the national education stage. We’ve pulled together some of the best Tweets, articles and information from the announcement.

A variety of op-eds were picked up including one by Freeman Hrabowski, President of UMBC, and Jamie Dimon, President and CEO of JPMorgan Chase in USA Today, and Chauncy Lennon, Head of Workforce Initiatives at JPMorgan Chase on U.S. News.

Additionally, Chicago Tribune and Politico highlighted the new initiative, and an article in Education Week focused on the state competition grants. CBS News released a video of Dimon speaking about the benefits of this investment. The Seventy Four reported the $75 million investment pushed education philanthropy to $1.2 billion so far in 2016. To keep up-to-date with New Skills for Youth be sure to check our Newsroom, and learn more about the initiative including the state competitions here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

State Policy Update: It’s that Time Again

January 15th, 2016

That’s right, it’s time again for state legislatures to begin work on yet another year of lawmaking. It’s also time for our annual publication of “2015 Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE,” a joint venture of NASDCTEc and the Association of Career and Technical Education. You can find the report here on January 21.

Have you signed up for our January 21 webinar yet? Join us as we unpack the policy trends from 2015 and take a deep dive on major efforts in Colorado with state Senate Minority Leader Rollie Heath and Dr. Sarah Heath, Assistant Provost for CTE with the Colorado Community College System.

Looking ahead to 2016, several statehouses are already off to a fast start. In fact, 30 legislatures have already begun their work, and as many as 16 governors have already given their annual State of the State or budget addresses. We will continue to provide updates as the remaining governors give their speeches and unveil their budgets. (Note: Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas do not have legislative sessions this year.)

The governors’ addresses often provide a window into the major issues that will dominate the year’s legislative agenda. Already, it seems to be a mixed bag fiscally with some governors citing the acute budget crunch facing their states. Others are reveling in their surpluses and proposing major increases to core services such as education and health care that were often neglected as the states recovered from the Great Recession.

Here’s a quick roundup of some gubernatorial highlights as they impact CTE:

  • Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe called for transforming the Commonwealth’s education and workforce development systems to better meet the demands of the future. McAuliffe hailed the bipartisan backing of his budget proposal Go Virginia, which seeks to foster regional collaboration among government, businesses and education. He highlighted the need to build an education system that emphasizes entrepreneurship, hands-on learning, early college courses and industry credentials. He also called for an end to an education system beholden to seat-time. He also called for more than $1 billion in new funds across all levels of education, including $139 million for K-12 education and $25 million to Virginia’s community colleges to produce more industry certifications and occupational licenses.
  • In Idaho, Governor Butch Otter proposed a 9 percent increase for the state’s community colleges as well as $5 million for college and career advising, and $1.1 million to develop a competency-based education system for up to 20 school districts. Other proposed spending includes grants for STEM and computer science.
  • Finally, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin proposed restructuring the state’s current innovation zone system with a new program, Innovation in Education, which reallocates $2.5 million to help schools develop new methods to increase student interest in STEM and entrepreneurship.

Other governors (California, Georgia and New York) proposed major K-12 funding increases, but it remains unclear how and if that will impact CTE. Similar, several governors (Georgia, Indiana, and South Dakota) also focused on increasing the salaries for K-12 teachers and other ways to recruit and retain teachers.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

NASDCTEc Legislative Update: President Obama Delivers Last State of the Union, Groups Call for Perkins Reauthorization

January 13th, 2016

United States CapitalLast night President Obama delivered his final State of the Union (SOTU) address to Congress. This particular speech was a bit different in tone and substance than previous addresses the President has annually delivered since 2009. Rather than outlining a policy agenda for the coming year, President Obama largely took a more introspective approach to his last speech to Congress, highlighting many of his policy achievements that have come to define his time in office while identifying some of the key challenges he argued the country must address once he departs from the White House.

This year’s SOTU address was organized around four big questions that related directly to these challenges. The first two of these related to the President’s economic opportunity agenda which he argued will provide “everyone a fair shot at success” primarily through education and training while the next question related to the nation’s ability to harness and leverage the potential of technology.

The President spoke to these questions directly last night highlighting the importance of supporting graduates in fields like engineering and computer science, while mentioning the recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as important achievement of his administration. He also emphasized the importance of students being “job-ready on day one”, as he underlined the progress his administration has made in maximizing the national high school graduation rate.

Significantly, President Obama renewed his call to increase college affordability by making the first two years of a college education tuition-free for eligible students. However, the majority of last night’s SOTU was devoted to other issues that will likely take center stage in the coming presidential election later this year.

350 Businesses, Employer Associations, and Education Groups Call for Perkins Reauthorization

Last Friday a national coalition of stakeholders interested in the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) sent a letter to Congress calling on lawmakers to reauthorize this important law in final session of the 114th Congress.

The letter garnered 350 signatures of support from groups throughout the country ranging from Fortune 500 companies such as IBM and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., to other well-known organizations such as the NAACP and the American Federation of Teachers. NASDCTEc was proud to be counted among this large, highly diverse group of co-signers and supports the four broad recommendations outlined in the letter for the law’s renewal:

  • Strengthening CTE program alignment to the needs of the local, regional, and state economy;
  • Supporting effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary CTE and employers;
  • Increasing student participation in experiential and work-based learning opportunities; and
  • Promoting the use of industry-recognized credentials.

As we have previously shared, Congress is in the early stages of consideration of the Perkins Act. The House Education committee recently held a Perkins-related hearing in late 2015— right around the same time the Senate Education committee released a set of bipartisan reauthorization principles that have guided efforts to reauthorize the law in that chamber.

The Congressional education committees have continued to prioritize the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in 2016, but a number of extenuating factors related to that effort keep the chances of further Congressional consideration of Perkins this year relatively high.

Be sure to check back here for more updates and analysis as Perkins reauthorization continues to take shape in the months ahead.

Odds & Ends

  • The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) is soliciting input from interested stakeholders for regulations or guidance on the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)— recently passed legislation reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Comments are due January 21, 2016 and more information is available here.
  • USDE recently sent a Dear Colleague letter to states clarifying the Department’s expectations for states transitioning to ESSA in the coming years. The letter covers a host of issues, including clarification on states’ annual measurable objectives (AMOs) along with other important topics related to ESSA implementation. Read the letter here.
  • Tomorrow Acting Secretary John King will begin his “Opportunity Across America” tour, which will start in Texas. The tour will be a launching pad for USDE’s policy agenda in the coming year. Read more about his trip here.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently updated their “occupational outlook handbook” for the coming year. The bureau has also published an article this month examining labor market trends in a number of in-demand industries which can be viewed here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

 

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