Putting Afterschool to Work: Career Exploration in Out of School Settings

June 24th, 2019

As a middle school student, Jesse Eberly first discovered his interest in computer science at an afterschool and summer learning program in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania called Schools and Homes in Education (SHINE). Now a senior at the Carbon Career & Technical Institute (CCTI), Jesse remembers building a shed the summer he joined SHINE as his first hands-on learning experience. The next year, he began taking afterschool computer classes in drafting and design on the CCTI campus, and the rest was history.

His experiences in afterschool led him to attend CCTI and specialize in Information Technology, computer engineering and networking, while still connecting with SHINE as a volunteer. Now a recent graduate of CCTI, he wants to build upon the credits he has already earned to complete a degree in cybersecurity and eventually work at the Pentagon. Jesse knows it is time to do away with the old stigma around tech schools. “If the career you want to have is offered there” he said, “it’s great.” And through his early experiences in SHINE’s afterschool and summer programs, Jesse knew what career he wanted to have.

Early Career Exposure Through SHINE

Afterschool programs like SHINE give elementary and middle school students the opportunity to explore and prepare for different careers by delivering developmentally appropriate curriculum. They are effective in building student’s academic and technical skills as well as social and emotional development, including employability skills like teamwork, communication and critical thinking. In fact, 77 percent of parents nationally agree that afterschool programs can help students develop workforce skills. These programs can reinforce and strengthen learning in the classroom and should be critical partners for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs or other career-focused learning.

Activities in the SHINE program, for example, are focused around high-priority occupations in health care, engineering, and green energy, giving students a chance to see how they can apply their education to in-demand careers. The program began as part of a community-wide plan to create seamless educational services from the elementary through high school system, including the area’s career and technical center and on to college.

Afterschool programs can also expose middle school students to different career opportunities they might not have considered otherwise. Skyler, another recent graduate of CCTI, has volunteered and worked in the SHINE program through all four years of high school.  She helped establish two-week summer camps with a focus on exposing middle schoolers to non-traditional careers. The camps provide opportunities for girls in carpentry, auto collision repair and engineering, and for boys in culinary arts, cosmetology and nursing. Last year at CCTI, Skyler ran into one of her former campers, a young man entering his freshman year, who had just signed up for a rotation in nursing. ‘If you hadn’t come to the camp would you have tried nursing?” She recalls asking. “Absolutely not”, he responded.

 

State Strategies to Expand Career Exploration Opportunities in Afterschool Programs

All elementary and middle school students should be able to access programs like SHINE, and state leaders play a critical role in supporting and expanding these opportunities. Many afterschool programs like SHINE are funded through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)’s 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program, which gives states the flexibility to set priorities and determine how funds will be used at the local level. With ESSA’s focus on well-rounded education, several states have opted to promote career exploration and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in afterschool programs.

In Pennsylvania, where SHINE is based, the state set the following priorities for ESSA-funded afterschool programs in its state plan: STEM education; workforce, career and college readiness; and planning for transitional, vocational/technical services. Pennsylvania is also elevating career exploration up as a statewide priority by holding schools and districts accountable for career exploration through school and district report cards, encouraging students to complete an individualized career plan by eighth grade.

Opportunities for Alignment with Perkins V

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which was reauthorized last year, also give states the opportunity to connect CTE and afterschool programs. One significant change under Perkins V is that states can now invest Perkins funds in middle school CTE programs, allowing them to begin career exploration activities in even earlier grades. To maximize the effectiveness of these activities, state leaders should consider how to bridge afterschool career exploration with school-based content and curriculum to reinforce what students are learning in the classroom.

State leaders can also take steps to foster collaboration between afterschool and CTE programs through Perkins V by engaging state afterschool leaders, aligning curriculum and resources, and encouraging local Perkins recipients to engage afterschool programs as they develop their local applications. In the national effort to expand career exploration and prepare learners for career success, afterschool programs can play a critical role.

This blog post is the first in a series on the intersection of CTE and afterschool programs, exploring strategies and opportunities to bridge learning both in and out of the classroom. It was written by Jillian Luchner from the Afterschool Alliance, Christopher Neitzey from the Afterschool Alliance and Austin Estes from Advance CTE.

House Passes Appropriations Bill and Holds Hearing on Higher Education

June 21st, 2019

This week, the House of Representatives passed a Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations bill. Read below to learn more about this appropriations update, the latest House hearing on higher education and the new accreditation handbook issued by the U.S. Department of Education.

FY2020 Appropriations Bill Passes in the House

On June 19, the House passed the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20)  $1 trillion minibus appropriations bill, H.R. 2740, that included funding for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) on a 226-203 vote. Bundled into this minibus were the funding bills for Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water. The bill included close to $1.3 billion for CTE State Grants, also known as Perkins Basic State Grants- leading to a total increase of $47 million over the amount provided by Congress for FY19.

It is important to note that the final House bill is unlikely to pass into law. The Senate Appropriations Committee has still not yet released their FY20 funding bill for Labor-HHS-Ed. In addition, Congress has not yet agreed on the overall levels of spending for defense and non-defense discretionary spending, which must happen before final allocations for the FY20 appropriations bills can be determined. Congressional leadership and administration officials met this week to attempt and come to an agreement, however, talks are ongoing.

Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available.

House Holds Hearing on Pathways to a College Degree

The House Committee on Education & Labor held a hearing in preparation for Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization on “Innovation to Improve Equity: Exploring High-Quality Pathways to a College Degree.” In their opening remarks, both Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) both discussed how the traditional higher education landscape has changed, and innovative postsecondary practices must be implemented to meet the needs of each and every learner.

The panel of witnesses included:

  • Judith Marwick, Provost, William Rainey Harper College
  • Tomikia LeGrande, Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Charla Long, Executive Director, Competency-Based Network
  • Sameer Gadkaree, Senior Program Officer, Joyce Foundation

The witnesses spoke about a variety of topics, including competency-based education, dual enrollment, student support services, and the persistent equity gaps in higher education.

You can watch the full hearing here and read statements from Congressman Scott and the witnesses here.

U.S. Department of Education Issues New Accreditation Handbook

On June 20, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a revised Accreditation Handbook to be referred to by college accrediting agencies. The guidelines are not required, but are how accreditors will be evaluated by the U.S. Department of Education. Secretary DeVos shared the intention to streamline requirements with this handbook- this new version is 28 pages, compared to the last one that was issued in 2012 and was 88 pages. One of the new additions to the handbook is a site visit to the accreditor by a department staff member.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

June 21st, 2019

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

FY2020 Appropriations Bill Passes in the House

On June 19, the House passed the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) $1 trillion minibus appropriations bill, H.R. 2740, that included funding for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) on a 226-203 vote. Bundled into this minibus were the funding bills for Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water. The bill included close to $1.3 billion for CTE State Grants, also known as Perkins Basic State Grants- leading to a total increase of $47 million over the amount provided by Congress for FY19.

To make sure you get the latest news and resources about federal policy that affects Career Technical Education (CTE), sign up for our Legislative Updates!

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Jacket Manufacturing is a student-run business at Perham High School in Minnesota established in 2018. This program provides students with the opportunity to learn real-world skills critical to the manufacturing industry such as sales, marketing, logistics, record keeping, customer service, and a wide range of machining and production techniques. The program was developed in partnership with local manufacturing businesses who provide equipment and manufacturing expertise to the class. Watch the video here

Want to learn more about these unique opportunities? Read 2019 Excellence in Action Award winner profiles that include information on student-operated businesses.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

The Workforce Playbook: A Community College Guide to Delivering Excellent Career and Technical Education

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program shares new research in The Workforce Playbook: A Community College Guide to Delivering Excellent Career and Technical Education. The research highlights a set of practices, processes, and mindsets that distinguish colleges that are effective at ensuring that diverse learners succeed in the labor market and make a significant, positive difference in their communities. They traveled the country visiting top-performing community colleges to learn what the best schools do to build effective workforce programs.

The guide states that essential practices of excellent colleges fall into four domains:

  • Advance a vision for talent development and economic mobility;
  • Deliver high-quality programs aligned to regional needs;
  • Take intentional action to support students’ career goals from pre-matriculation through post-graduation; and
  • Develop responsive mutually beneficial partnerships with employers centered on honest feedback and reciprocal support.

Read the full guide here.

Expanding Access to CTE Opportunities for Each Learner

June 20th, 2019

Throughout history, and continuing today, learners of color, low-income learners, female learners and learners with disabilities have been historically tracked into terminal vocational programs leading to jobs with uncertain promise of economic growth and prosperity. Today, the quality of Career Technical Education (CTE) has vastly improved, making it a preferred path for many secondary and postsecondary learners. Yet even today, many learners do not have access to high-quality programs of study in their communities. To help state leaders recognize historical barriers and adopt promising solutions to close equity gaps in CTE, Advance CTE launched a series of policy briefs titled Making Good on the Promise. The first three briefs in the series explored the history of inequities in CTE, highlighted promising practices from states that are using data to identify and close equity gaps, and explored how state leaders can build trust with historically marginalized communities that may not believe in the promise and value of CTE.

Building off these briefs, the fourth brief in the series, Making Good on the Promise: Expanding Access to Opportunity, examines strategies state leaders can use to expand CTE opportunities for each learner. Specifically, the brief examines how state leaders can:

  • Secure and leverage resources to close CTE opportunity gaps;
  • Expand geographic access to CTE Opportunities; and
  • Address barriers to entry into CTE programs of study.

To help state leaders accomplish this, the brief examines promising strategies that Tennessee, Rhode Island, Ohio, and South Carolina are using to dismantle barriers that prevent learners from accessing high-quality CTE. For example:

  • Tennessee launched the Tennessee Promise program, which provides two years of tuition-free attendance at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT) or other eligible institutions offering an associate degree program; and
  • Rhode Island reallocated state CTE funding to create the Innovation and Equity Grants, which are administered competitively to local education agencies for new or existing CTE programs that expand access to CTE for learner populations that are currently underserved.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Three Promising Approaches to Advance Equity in CTE

June 17th, 2019

State leaders have a critical responsibility to ensure each learner has opportunities for career success and is supported in identifying and realizing his or her goals. To help state leaders identify and dismantle historical barriers and construct systems that support each learner in accessing, feeling welcome in, fully participating in and successfully completing a high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) program of study, Advance CTE launched its Equity in CTE initiative last spring.

As part of this initiative, Advance CTE has committed to developing resources to help state leaders close equity gaps in CTE. To provide state leaders with promising practices, Advance CTE added three new equity-focused policy profiles to the Learning that Works Resource Center. These highlight effective practices at the state and institutional levels.

The new Advance CTE profiles explore promising programs in the following states:

  • Louisiana: Building Employment Skills for Tomorrow (BEST) Pilot Program: Louisiana piloted the BEST program in 2018 to expand work-based learning opportunities for learners with disabilities.
  • Oklahoma: Diversity and Inclusion Training Program: The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education created the position of state-level equity and diversity specialist in 2016 as part of its senior leadership team. The focus of this position is to provide diversity trainings in both the secondary and postsecondary systems.
  • Wisconsin: Fox Valley Technical College Cultural Support Specialists: The Cultural Support Specialists in Wisconsin help learners transition from high school to college by advocating for and providing services to learners to help them overcome some of the structural barriers that can prevent at-risk learners from accessing and succeeding in college.

To learn more about promising solutions to help state leaders close equity gaps in CTE, read Advance CTE’s Making Good on the Promise series.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

June 14th, 2019

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

House Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Process Moves Forward

On June 10, the House of Representatives moved ahead with the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations process by packaging it with the funding bills for the Legislative Branch, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water, into what is called a “minibus” appropriations bill, H.R. 2740. Members of the House proposed a total of 189 amendments to the Labor-HHS-Ed portion of H.R. 2740, and the House Committee on Rules determined that 77 of these would be considered. Representative Angie Craig (D-MN) proposed one of these amendments, an amendment that brings attention to the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE) (however, it does not increase or decrease the money allocated to CTE State Grants). It is anticipated that the full House will vote on this appropriations package next week.

Read the full blog to learn more.

To make sure you get the latest news and resources about federal policy that affects Career Technical Education (CTE), sign up for our Legislative Updates!

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Did you know this year marked the 65th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board decision? It ruled that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. The Alliance for Excellent Education has started a year-long campaign titled  #OurChallengeOurHope on the unmet promise of the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. The campaign was created to ensure that the spotlight on this landmark case doesn’t dim until the next anniversary, will shine a light on the continuing needs of students—no matter their race, zip code, or background. Every month they share an issue related to the unfulfilled promise of the landmark case and this month is High School Graduation Rates. Watch the video to learn more: https://youtu.be/itl8nhG_2PE

Learn more about the “Our Challenge Our Hope” campaign at www.all4ed.org/BrownVBoard.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Looking for a primer on what CTE is, how it’s funded and the impact of CTE programs? Read 101: Career Technical Education a new fact sheet released today by Higher Learning Advocates and Advance CTE. This document provides an overview of what CTE is, postsecondary CTE outcomes and funding mechanisms for CTE programs. Check out the full fact sheet here. Here are a few notable facts:

  • There are 2.6 million learners in postsecondary CTE programs;
  • Eighty-six percent of adult learners concentrating in CTE are employed in their field or continue their education within six months of program completion; and
  • In Fiscal Year 2019, Congress allocated about $1.27 billion toward CTE programs.

Read the fact sheet here.

House Appropriations Minibus and U.S. Department of Education Proposed Accreditation Regulations

June 14th, 2019

This week, the House of Representatives continued to move forward with the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations process. Read below to learn more about this appropriations update, new proposed higher education regulations, a postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) fact sheet and how you can get involved in a campaign to double the federal investment in CTE.

House FY2020 Appropriations Process Moves Forward

On June 10, the House of Representatives moved ahead with the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations process by packaging it with the funding bills for the Legislative Branch, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water, into what is called a “minibus” appropriations bill, H.R. 2740. Members of the House proposed a total of 189 amendments to the Labor-HHS-Ed portion of H.R. 2740, and the House Committee on Rules determined that 77 of these would  be considered. Representative Angie Craig (D-MN) proposed one of these amendments, an amendment that brings attention to the importance of CTE (however, it does not increase or decrease the money allocated to CTE State Grants). It is anticipated that the full House will vote on this appropriations package next week.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet released their FY20 funding bill for Labor-HHS-Ed. In addition, Congress has not yet agreed on the overall levels of spending for defense and non-defense discretionary spending, which must happen before final allocations for the FY20 appropriations bills can be determined.Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available.

New College Accreditation Regulations from U.S. Department of Education

This week, the U.S. Department of Education published the proposed regulations to change the federal requirements for college accreditation to the federal register for a 30-day public review. These regulations are a result of the negotiated rulemaking process that concluded with  consensus in April. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a statement on the proposed regulations, which would reduce some of the regulatory requirements and simplify state authorization rules for distance education. Proposed updated rules for distance education and innovation, TEACH grants and faith-based institutions are expected to be published soon.

Advance CTE and Higher Learning Advocates Release New Factsheet

Advance CTE and Higher Learning Advocates released a new fact sheet on 101: Career Technical Education as part of the Higher Learning Advocates 101 resource series. This document provides an overview of what CTE is, postsecondary CTE outcomes and funding mechanisms for CTE programs. Check out the full fact sheet here.

Get Involved in the Campaign to Double the Investment in CTE

Looking to support efforts to increase the federal investment in CTE? Check out www.ISupportCTE.org, the website for the campaign to double the investment in CTE. In February, the CTE community launched this shared campaign and we invite everyone to join us in asking employers to sign onto a statement that supports doubling the investment in CTE. The signatures collected from employers will be a critical component to building visibility and support for CTE with members of Congress. Check out the share page to find a one-pager, PowerPoint, social media toolkit, and more that you can use and modify to spread the word about the campaign.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Senate CTE Caucus Holds Briefing on Swiss Apprenticeships

June 10th, 2019

Last week, the Senate CTE Caucus and Embassy of Switzerland hosted a briefing on Swiss-Inspired Apprenticeships in the U.S.: Recent Initiatives and Developments. The afternoon included a variety of remarks from the Swiss, United States federal government, student and administrator perspectives on the impacts of apprenticeship programs.

Swiss Ambassador Martin Dahinden began the briefing by sharing that two out of three students in Switzerland participates in an apprenticeship, and 40 percent of all businesses participate without being compensated by the federal government. Simon Marti, speaking from the Swiss Embassy, explained that the apprenticeship model is 60 percent privately funded, 10 percent by cantons (a Swiss canton is equivalent to a U.S. state) and 30 percent federally funded. Participating companies get approximately a half billion dollar return on investment just during the initial training period.

Marti outlined the three factors that have led to success for the Swiss apprenticeship model:

  1. The apprenticeship model is fully integrated into the education system;
  2. There are strong public-private partnerships; and
  3. Apprenticeships are comprehensive and labor market oriented.

The apprenticeship model takes on a systems approach that involved three core partners- the federal government, cantons and the private sector- that all share one common mission. The close working relationship between the three, operating under a common goal, leads to effective apprenticeship programs.

Senate CTE Caucus Co-Chairs, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined the briefing as well, and each gave remarks voicing support of expanding opportunities for high-quality apprenticeships.

The full list of speakers included:

  • Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • H.E. Martin Dahinden, Ambassador of Switzerland to the USA
  • Simon Marti, Head of the Office of Science, Technology and Higher Education at the Swiss Embassy
  • Mike Gunner, General Manager at Mikron Corporation Denver
  • Selena Elekovic, Apprentice at Mikron Corporation Denver
  • Meaghan Sullivan, Chief Program Officer, CareerWise Colorado

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

June 7th, 2019

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

Appropriations Fact Sheet Shared by the House Committee on Appropriations

The House Committee on Appropriations released a one-page fact sheet on the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill outlining some of the funding increases the bill allocated to the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services and Education. Read it here

To make sure you get the latest news and resources about federal policy that affects Career Technical Education (CTE), sign up for our Legislative Updates!

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Learners attending the West Ada Career and Technical Education Vet Science Program were recently featured in the Leaders in Learning – Idaho News segment for giving back to their community and learning at the same time! Nicole Mitchell and Karson Turley are seniors in high school and are both raising guide dogs for the blind. The dogs accompany them in the classroom and they help to teach the dogs how to handle daily distractions.

Watch the video here.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

2019 Report on the Condition of Education

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the annual Condition of Education report which examines the condition of education in the United States from prekindergarten through postsecondary, as well as labor force outcomes. The report includes data and analysis for 48 indicators across four categories: Preprimary, Elementary and Secondary Education, Postsecondary Education, Populating Characteristics and Economic Outcomes and International Comparisons. It also included a “spotlight indicators” section that examines postsecondary education enrollment and outcomes.

Key findings:

  • Undergraduate enrollment increased by 27 percent between 2000 and 2017, and by 2028 undergraduate enrollment is expected to increase by 17.2 million students;
  • In the fall of 2017, 75 percent of undergraduate learners at four-year institutions were enrolled full-time and 37 percent of undergraduate learners at two-year institutions were enrolled full-time;
  • From 2000 to 2017 the median earnings of young adults were consistently higher for those with some type of postsecondary attainment than without; and
  • The number of postsecondary certificates and degrees awarded increased from the 2000-2001 and 2016-2017 school years.

Read the full report here.

Perkins V: How can states improve CTE data and its use?

June 6th, 2019

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) gives states an opportunity to improve their data systems and make more data-informed decisions. The new law maintains a focus on data andaccountability and includes significant changes to these systems. These shifts include providing a definition of who is included in the accountability system, changes to the indicators of performance and the process for setting targets for these indicators, and additional disaggregation for each indicator by CTE program or Career Cluster. With implementation of these changes in Perkins V on the horizon, what can states do to improve the quality and effective use of their data? Check out the resources below to learn more about today’s state data systems for CTE, how states are measuring college and career readiness, and opportunities for coordination with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as states plan for implementation of accountability systems.

REPORT: The State of Career Technical Education: Improving Data Quality and Effectiveness: A strong, well-aligned data system allows State CTE Directors and other state leaders to answer critical questions about the quality of their CTE programs and whether learners are participating and succeeding equitably. But today’s state data systems are not meeting the need for data-informed decision making. How can states improve the quality of their data systems so they can make more effective use of their data? This report draws on a national survey of State Directors to answer this critical question and more.

REPORT: Making Career Readiness Count 3.0: The third edition of the Making Career Readiness Count report – which was developed by Advance CTE, Achieve, Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officers through the New Skills for Youth initiative – examines how states are measuring college and career readiness in their state and federal accountability systems.

GUIDE: Coordinating Across Perkins V and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: This guide from Advance CTE and the National Skills Coalition looks at six opportunities to promote coordination across Perkins V and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), including planning for the implementation of accountability systems, as states develop plans under Perkins V.

MORE RESOURCES

  • Middle Tennessee State University: Predictive Analytics: Middle Tennessee State University utilizes the student success management system technology, which helps with analysis of student data over time. This analysis provides predictive scores so that faculty can identify the students who are at risk of dropping out and intervene.
  • Minnesota: Graduate Employment Outcomes Tool: The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Office of Higher Education released the Graduate Employment Outcomes Tool, which provides wage and employment reports by institution and by program for individuals who graduated within the past few years.

Looking for additional resources? Please be sure to check out the Learning that Works Resource Center.

 

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