CompTIA: The IT Industry Trade Association

May 3rd, 2016

CompTIA is the voice of the world’s information technology (IT) industry. As a non-profit trade association, weCompTIA_Logo_Pantone (1) advance the global interests of IT professionals and IT channel organizations and enable them to be more successful with industry-leading certifications and business credentials, education, resources and the ability to connect with like-minded, leading industry experts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This blog was written by CompTIA, a sponsor of the 2016 Spring Meeting. Learn more about CompTIA here, and be sure to meet them at the Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.!

CCI Learning

May 2nd, 2016

cci

We have to now focus on the 21st Century student. The student experience has changed and instruction must also, to promote equity in learning. Schools are not all brick and mortar, they also thrive in online learning, which is now a graduation requirement.  Classroom practices must evolve to provide the best learning opportunities for all students.

In Education Secretary John King’s letter on goals for 2016 he writes,

“Our work in 2016 must be measured by the progress we make toward educational opportunity for all … My first priority is to build on this Administration’s strong focus on equity and excellence at every level of our education system, in every school.”

All students must have the same educational opportunity to succeed. CCI Learning has developed a solution called Jasperactive that teaches one of the top three skills required for jobs today, Microsoft Office.[1] Jasperactive addresses individualized learning for each student within a diverse classroom setting by instantly measuring the individual’s understbloganding of Microsoft Office desktop applications, and prescribing a personalized course.

With a five step Prescriptive Learning Pathway, Jasperactive provides a human centered experience that stimulates excellence in the acquisition of understanding. This begins with a Benchmark test that determines the student’s skill level and builds a prescribed course using only the lessons the student requires. This is not a simulation, students learn directly within the Microsoft Office environment. This provides the best possible learning experience.

CCI Learning’s Vice President of US Education Strategy Jana Hambruch speaks to this,

“We absolutely need to promote equity in the classroom, Jasperactive creates an individualized learning plan for each student with comprehension based learning, enabling every student to achieve a measurable 21st century global Microsoft Office Specialist certification.”

Jasperactive is an homage to all teachers who continue to inspire their students to master and maximize their learning potential and reach for their greatness. In Education Secretary John King’s letter he also writes,

“I want us to focus on ways to lift up the teaching profession and to ensure that our teachers are prepared for the realities of today’s diverse classrooms and supported once they’re on the job.”

With Jasperactive, teachers are in control as they can build their own tests and isolate lessons and apply them to learning objectives. They have the ability to choose how much they want to intervene in the learning process. Teachers can adjust question parameters allowing for infinite variations of the same learning objective.

Jasperactive embraces what learners know so they can focus on what they don’t. It is the world’s first kinesthetic Microsoft Office learning and validation system mapped to the Microsoft Office Specialist Global Standard.

CCI Learning strives to celebrate uniqueness and set each student up for educational success through comprehension based learning. With Jasperactive, students of all levels can work through their individualized learning plan because we recognize that no two students learn the same.

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.

– Benjamin Franklin

[1] IDC Study: Top Skills Comparison 2013

This blog was written by CCI Learning, a sponsor of the 2016 Spring Meeting. For more information about CCI Learning, be sure to meet them at the Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.!

State Policy Update: Virginia, Idaho pass major CTE legislation

April 27th, 2016

Back in January, we shared highlights from this year’s State of the State addresses, particularly in Virginia and Idaho where the states’ governors made Career Technical Education (CTE) a key part of their 2016 legislative agendas. Three months later, some of those proposals have made their way through the legislative process to be signed into law earlier this month.

Virginia

In his State of the Commonwealth address earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe outlined a new vision for the state’s education and workforce development systems to equip students with the skills needed to be successful in today’s labor market, and called for increased collaboration among government, business and education. To do this, McAuliffe pointed to industry-recognized credentials and competency-based education, saying, “you cannot build an economy for 2050 with a 1950s approach to education.”

Since then, Mcauliffe has signed a host of education and workforce bills, which will strengthen articulation agreements and establish a grant fund to help students cover two-thirds of the cost for a noncredit workforce training program. Of particular relevance is SB336, which intends to restructure the high school experience for Virginia students starting in the 2018-19 school year to be based on mastery rather than seat-time and includes work-based learning opportunities for all students, regardless of their graduation pathway. The final plan will be determined by the State Board of Education, but broadly, the bill instructs the state board to:

  • Collaborate with K-12, higher education, and private industry stakeholders to identify the skills that students need upon graduation;
  • Shift high school instruction to teach core competencies during the first two years of high school;
  • Establish graduation pathways of a student’s choosing that provide opportunities for internships, externships, and credentialing; and
  • Allow districts to substitute industry certification and state licensure exams for the state’s end-of-course assessments.

Idaho

For its part, Idaho has also been hard at work to expand CTE since Gov. Butch Otter made CTE a priority in his State of the State address in January. Among other things, Otter proposed to increase funding for technical colleges, career counseling and STEM education.

Since then, the Idaho legislature passed SCR134, which supported Lt. Gov. Brad Little’s postsecondary attainment goal for 60 percent of residents age 25-34 to have a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020. The resolution also urged public and private sectors to collaborate on programs to support postsecondary pathways for young Idahoans. Separately, the legislature also allocated $3.8 million to expand capacity for CTE programs at Idaho’s six technical colleges and graduate more students into high-demand fields such as health care, information technology, mechatronics and transportation.

Other highlights from Idaho (we know, there are a lot!) include:

  • A language amendment in SB1210 that changes “professional-technical education” to “career technical education”;
  • Increased funding for CTE instructors that hold a specialist certificate (HB630);
  • A budget increase of 10.4 percent for the state’s Division of Career Technical Education (HB625); and
  • An additional $5 million to improve college and career counseling for high school students.

While the Virginia and Idaho legislatures have both adjourned for the year, 25 states remain in session. We will continue to keep a close eye on these remaining states in the coming months and share major CTE policy changes as they happen. Stay tuned.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

Welcome to Ronald Roveri, South Carolina’s State CTE Director!

April 25th, 2016

Ronald Roveri, South Carolina’s Newest State CTE Director, has spent nearly his entire career in Career Technical Education (CTE). Roveri medium_Roveri2worked as an automotive maintenance and repair technician for Shell, and after lobbying hard for his father to co-sign a loan to open his own service station, his father suggested college instead, where Roveri minored in Education. An advisor at Kent State University suggested Roveri look into becoming an educator, thus launching his career in CTE.

“I loved every minute of my time in the classroom,” said Roveri, who taught industrial technology and Project Lead the Way. In the early 1990s, he transitioned from a classroom teacher into administration, first as an assistant principal and then working his way up to a career center director, a position he held for 13 years.

As State CTE Director, Roveri is working hard to develop a strong state-level advisory committee to bring together education, human resources and workforce representatives to improve career pathways throughout the state. Last year, 44 districts in South Carolina reported that zero dual credits were earned, demonstrating an unsupported transition between secondary and postsecondary education for students. Roveri knows that in order to have a solid pipeline from secondary to postsecondary to workforce, all CTE programs must include articulation agreements and industry credentials to mirror what the workforce needs.

Roveri hopes this leadership team will work hard to elevate CTE saying, “I love networking with people who are so passionate and dedicated to providing quality CTE to the students of South Carolina.” He can certainly count himself among that dedicated cohort, and we are looking forward to seeing the work Roveri accomplishes in the state.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

April 15th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Though employers are having trouble filling vacant jobs, (there are 600,000 jobs open in the manufacturing industry currently) students aren’t being equip with the skills they need to succeed in many of the careers across industry sectors. While there are many Career Technical Education (CTE) programs breaking the mold of what some think of as traditional vocational education, there’s still much work to be done to raise the standards of CTE programs everywhere, such as regularly training educators in industry advancements, developing real apprenticeship opportunities for students, and demanding that policy leaders make a long-term investment in CTE.
Read more

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

The White House hosted its annual science fair this week, and a few future CTE students stole the show.
Watch the video

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Major New Research Highlights Value of CTE (Part II)

April 7th, 2016

In Part II, we dive into the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s newest report, “Career and Technical Education in High School: Does It Improve Student Outcomes?” Provocative title notwithstanding, the report’s short answer is: Yes.

The report opens with a caveat that CTE is not a meaningful prat of students’ high school experience, and unlike most industrialized countries, it has been chronically neglected by leaders and policymakers.

“American students face a double-whammy: Not only do they lack access to high-quality secondary CTE, but then they are subject to a ‘bachelor’s degree or bust’ mentality,” the report states. “And many do bust, dropping out of college with no degree, no work skills, no work experience and a fair amount of debt.”

But according to data examined by University of Connecticut’s Shaun M. Dougherty, students do benefit from CTE coursework, in particular those course sequences aligned to certain industries. Based on the report’s findings, it calls for policymakers and education leaders across the country to invest more heavily – and strategically – in high school CTE, and to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins CTE Act and increase federal support for high-quality, labor market-aligned programs that are available and appealing to all students.

The report’s findings will be discussed on April 14 in Washington, DC, and will also be streamed. Register here to hear from the report’s author and Arkansas State CTE Director Charisse Childers, among others.  The study uses the wealth of secondary, postsecondary and labor market data from the Arkansas Research Center to better understand the state of CTE, both of those students who take CTE courses and those who take three or more CTE courses within a career field.

Key findings include:

  • Students with greater CTE exposure are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in a two-year college, be employed and earn higher wages.
  • CTE students are just as likely to pursue a four-year degree as their peers. There was little evidence of “tracking.”
  • The more CTE courses students take, the better their education and labor market outcomes. Among other positive outcomes, CTE concentrators are more likely to graduate high school by 21 percentage points when compared to otherwise similar students.
  • Though white and female students are more likely to concentrate, CTE provides the greatest boost to students who need it most – males and students from low-income families.

The report offers recommendations similar to what has taken place in Arkansas:

  • Examine state labor market projections to identify high-growth industries
  • Offer CTE courses aligned to skills and industry-recognized credentials in these fields and encourage (or require) high school students to take them)
  • Encourage (or require) students take a concentration of CTE courses
  • Support and encourage dual enrollment and make credits “stackable” from high school into college, so that high school CTE courses count toward specific postsecondary credentials

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

fordham

Major New Research Highlights Value of CTE (Part I)

April 7th, 2016

This week, two leading education organizations – the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Education Trust – have published new research that illustrates how K-12 CTE can and should be used to create meaningful education experiences that prepares students for future success in college and careers. First up, an analysis of high school transcripts to pull back the curtain on college and career readiness.

Meandering toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates

In “Meandering toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates,” Ed Trust finds that while students may graduate high school, too many are leaving with no clear path forward.

For nearly a decade, college and career-readiness for all students has been the foundational rhetoric of U.S. education, but high school transcripts show that this rhetoric didn’t bear out in reality for most graduates in 2013. In fact, fewer than one in 10 recent graduates had taken a foundational set of courses necessary to be both college- and career-ready. Additionally, the data shows that 47 percent of graduates completed neither a college- nor career-ready course of study. The study defined college- and career-courses of study as the standard 15-course sequence required for entry at many public colleges, as well as three or more credits in a career-focused area such as health science or business.

Of those who had completed a course of study, only eight percent in those graduates completed a full college- and career-prep curriculum. Further, less than one-third of graduates completed a college-ready course of study and just 13 percent finished a career-ready course sequence. Because seat-time is not a sufficient indicator of readiness, the report also looks at who in the college- and career-ready cohort, particularly students of color or disadvantaged backgrounds, had also demonstrated mastery of the curriculum. When looking at mastery, an additional 14 percent of graduates fail to meet this benchmark.

Rather than aligning high school coursework with students’ future goals, the report found that high schools are continuing to prioritize credit accrual, which reinforces the idea that high school graduate is the end goal in a student’s educational journey. The report identifies state-, district-, and school-level levers including transcript analysis, master schedule, credit policies and graduation requirements.

To truly prepare students, school structures, culture and instruction must shift to prepare students for postsecondary studies aligned to their career interests, and this can be done without risk of recreating a system of tracking students into prescribed pathways.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

SocialTiles_MeanderingTowardGraduation_Slide2-1280x720

 

 

 

Inside International CTE: Work Based Learning in Toronto

April 7th, 2016

In an interview with Beth Butcher, Executive Superintendent, Teaching and Learning, and Bernadette Shaw, Central Coordinating Principal, Teaching and Learning of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), we explore the Canadian Technological Education system. This post part of our ongoing partnership with Asia Society’s Global Learning Blog on Education Week. This post was written by Heather Singmaster, Asia Society. 

What does technological education look like in Toronto/Ontario?
Technological education in grades 9-12 is guided by Ontario’s Ministry of Education curriculum documents, Technological west_t_weld017 copyEducation, 2009.  Programs are offered in communications technology, computer technology, construction technology, green industries, hairstyling and aesthetics, health care, hospitality and tourism, manufacturing technology, technological design, and transportation technology. Course work focuses on broad-based technologies (grades 9 & 10) and areas of emphasis (grades 11 & 12). When technological education programs are packaged with cooperative education, students have the opportunity to transfer learning from the classroom to the workplace by further developing and refining skills. This enables students to gain hands-on experience in the subject area and explore careers in a specific industry sector. Technological education programs lead to all exit destinations including the workplace, college, university, and apprenticeship. Students in cooperative education, who are working in skilled trades, may register as apprentices through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), a joint partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

What percentage of the student population participates in technological education?
Technological education is offered in eighty-six secondary schools in the TDSB. We are the largest provider of this form of experiential learning in the country. Any student transitioning from grade 8 to grade 9 may select the broad-based introductory course, Exploring Technologies (TIJ). At the secondary level, there are over two thousand sections/classes running during the regular school year and approximately twenty-seven thousand students participate in any of the broad-based programs and/or areas of emphasis courses.

Which sectors/fields of study are most popular with students?
The Ontario curriculum is aligned with current economic industry sectors. While there is substantial interest in all technological education programs, participation rates are frequently dependent on specialized school facilities. Transportation technology, hospitality and tourism, and hairstyling and aesthetics are popular among students, as demonstrated in the TDSB course enrolment data. More and more, the integration of technological education with other areas of study is emerging as a trend. Whether it’s communications technology supporting transportation diagnostics or the application of mathematics in construction classes, technological education is most effective when supported through a cross-curricular, contextualized framework. The academic versus vocational demarcation is beginning to blur and this is paramount for students who aspire to take on a career in skilled trades and technologies.

How is technological education funded in Toronto?
Like all Ontario curriculum, schools deliver technological education by way of the Ministry of Education’s funding model. Students participating in Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program are additionally funded through the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU). MTCU also supports students through funding to complete their Level 1 Apprenticeship training, through a Training Delivery Agent in an approved sector of the skilled trades.

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

Photo courtesy of the Toronto District School Board. 

State Policy Update: Sharing State Resources

March 30th, 2016

This month’s State Policy Update is focusing less on legislative activity and more on sharing some of the interesting things happening in the states around CTE:

New State Resources

  • The California Career Resource Network, supported by the state Department of Education, has released new “Career & College Readiness Lesson Plans.” There, you can find 45 lessons geared toward 5th-12th grade students, with around five lessons per grade. Though organized by grade level, the lessons could be used for any grade. Additionally, the Network has developed an Educator Guide, a bi-lingual career readiness glossary, and Spanish-language student handouts.
  • A new partnership between ArkansasDepartment of Career Education and the Arkansas Research Center has helped the department save time and money. In a blog post from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, the department partnered with the research center to develop new technical solutions for Perkins reporting. The center, which has two software developers on staff, created software that reduces the burden of Perkins reporting as well as save the department an estimated $500,000 over the next 10 years.
  • In somewhat state-related news, LinkedIn, Burning Glass Technologies and the Markle Foundation have launched a new kind of job website – Skillful.com. The site is specifically designed for middle-skills job seekers with job ads, career exploration tools, and more. The site launched in Colorado in March focusing on information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care. The site plans to expand to the Phoenix area in April.

News of Note

  • In a blog post in Education Week, the Council of Chief State School Officers illustrates how states can use their accountability systems to affect student learning. The post leans heavily on contextualized and personalized learning, a hallmark of CTE.
  • Also in Education Week, an article highlighting that while K-12 spending is expected increase for most states this year, the budgets of the state education agency are getting cut in favor of directing money to local school districts. This squeeze is coming at a time when many state departments are gearing up to consider how best to fully leverage the flexibility provided for in the new federal Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA). As a special resource for only for Advance CTE members, be sure to check out our ESSA cheat sheet about the opportunities and intersections for CTE in the new law.

And finally, because we couldn’t resist some legislative, state board and gubernatorial news:

  • Earlier this month, the Michigan Board of Education adopted energy as its 17th Career Cluster®. Michigan industry leaders led this effort in order to develop a skilled energy utility workforce to combat the state’s skills gap, which is expected to grow retirements over the next 10 years. The Energy Career Cluster will use energy industry content standards developed by the Center for Workforce Development, a non-profit consortium of energy utilities.
  • The National Skills Coalition has a round-up of the workforce development initiatives proposed by governors in their budget and State of the State addresses this year.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Salmon, Maryland’s Newest State CTE Director, Looks Towards Preparing Students for College and Career

March 25th, 2016

Dr. Karen Salmon, the newest State CTE Director in Maryland and the current interim Deputy State ksalmonSuperintendent, has deep roots in Career Technical Education (CTE). She spent most of her career in Maryland serving roles that span the education sector, including teacher, an evaluator and coordinator to support people with disabilities at a CTE center, administrator, and assistant superintendent. From working on the ground as an educator to serving as a superintendent in both New York and Maryland, Salmon has a breadth of expertise and knowledge about how CTE works from the classroom to the state level.

In taking over as the State CTE Director, Salmon is focused on fine tuning the programs in the state. This includes further developing programs of study in the STEM Career Cluster, which resulted in an almost $1 million grant to promote biomedical programs in Maryland.

Additionally, the state is honing in on what it means for their students to be college and career ready, in which CTE will play a large role. To that end, Salmon is working on an initiative in response to a Senate bill requiring all students to be college and career ready by their junior year. When looking to the future, Salmon believes there needs to be a shifting of priorities of students, parents and the education system. “What we need to tell our kids is that everyone needs to be preparing for a career,” said Salmon. “College is not a career. College is the most expensive career development program we could ever have. We have to confront this idea that everyone is going to go to college.”

Despite CTE’s strength in preparing students for both college and careers, like many states, Maryland is facing a perception challenge. “We have to change the mindsets of many parents, teachers, and counselors all the way up the line about what the goals of CTE programs of study are. While it remains difficult, we’re constantly working on how to market ourselves more strategically and positively,” said Salmon. One of the ways this is being accomplished is through stronger student organizations, which help communicate the value of CTE to not only students, but also their parents.

We look forward to Salmon’s leadership in promoting college and career readiness, and advocacy in CTE’s important across the state.
Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

 

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