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CTE Research Review: Jobs, Jobs and More Jobs

August 27th, 2015

In the past few weeks, a number of studies have been released focusing on jobs and careers. Below is a quick rundown of some of the most salient reports.

The U.S. Departments of Education, Labor and Transportation: Strengthening Skills Training and Career Pathways across the Transportation Industry
This joint report, building on the collaboration across these agencies to better align career pathways initiatives and efforts, details the potential employment opportunities throughout the transportation industry, broken down by subsectors, occupations, career areas and geography. A core finding is that transportation industry employers are expected to hire and train roughly 4.6 million workers, an equivalent of 1.2 times the current workforce, to meet the needs of growth, retirement and turnover in the next decade.

Jobs for the Future: Promising Practices in Young Adult Employment
Jobs for the Future has released a series of three briefs to support ways in which education, employers and workforce development can better collaborate to combat the chronic high unemployment of our youngest adults. They released case studies on an EMT Career Pathway program in New Jersey; automotive and manufacturing Career Pathways in Wisconsin and Virginia; and a multi-disciplinary career exploration program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, each of which detail the specific actions taken by employers and workforce development leaders.

Center on Education and the Workforce: Good Jobs Are Back: College Graduates Are First in Line
The latest report from Georgetown’s Center for Education and the Workforce focuses on how many of the jobs created since the Great Recession are “good jobs,” which according to the Center:

  • Pay more than $53,000 annually for a full-time, full-year worker (more than 26% above the median earnings of all full-time, full-year workers, which is $42,000), and
  • Typically are full-time (86%), offer health insurance (68%), and provide an employer-sponsored retirement plan (61 percent).

CEW Good JobsThe report finds that 2.9 million of the 6.6 million jobs added over the Recovery are “good jobs,” most of which require at least a bachelor’s degree. Consistent with many of the Center’s other reports, “Good Jobs Are Back” finds that individuals with a high school diploma or less as the most likely to suffer during and beyond the Recession and Recovery.

Young Invicibles: Best Jobs for Millennials
Focusing on careers that will provide millennials with the greatest opportunities, Young Invincibles analyzed Bureau of Labor Statistics data using three criteria: projected occupation growth by 2022, median wage and “Millennial share,” or the percentage of the total jobs in that occupation held by young adults aged 18-34. Based on the criteria and a ranking system, the report found that physician assistants, actuaries, statisticians, biomedical engineers and computer and information research scientists were the five best jobs out there for young adults. Across the list of the 25 best jobs identified, over half are “STEM” and nearly all require some education and training beyond high school, a number of which require less than a four-year degree.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Excellence in Action: Upper Valley Career Center

August 19th, 2015

The Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program of study at Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC) in Piquo, OhioIMG_7816 is entering its 20th year as strong as ever. Winners of the 2015 Excellence in Action award in the Architecture and Construction Career Cluster, and recent attendees of the Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education event at the White House, UVCC’s HVAC program of study is a true model program with extensive job placement opportunities, exemplary partnerships and strong alignment with multiple college degrees and certification programs.

In 2014, 100 percent of students, almost half of which are low income, earned postsecondary credit and an industry recognized credential, and graduated high school. This feat is in due in part to the over 40 engaged organizations that provide curriculum support, internships for students, externships for teachers and donate time and equipment. “It has been a rewarding to see this program grow in size and achievement, but equally gratifying to see so many students of the program grow into adulthood as successful, professional contributors to the HVACR industry,” said Ken Monnier, VP, A/C Engineer at one of UVCC’s most dedicated employer partners, Emerson Climate Technologies.

UVCC will be featured during a session at the Association for Career and Technical Education’s annual CareerTech VISION conference in New Orleans, LA in November. Don’t miss the chance to hear from this best practice program and register for the conference today. You can also learn more about UVCC’s HVAC program here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

August 14th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Putting a Spotlight on Technical and Vocational Skills
Despite the projected demand for skilled trade jobs in the next decade, little attention, support or funding is lacking for Career Technical Education students. To shine a light on this area of education, WorldSkills hosted their 43rd WorldSkills Competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The USA sent 18 students who competed with 70 other countries in areas such as manufacturing and heavy vehicle equipment maintenance.
Read More

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK
Integrating Employability Skills into Everyday Instruction
On Wednesday, September 2nd, join the College and Career Readiness and Success Center, Center on Great Teachers and Leaders and RTI International for a webinar highlighting the new learning module, Integrating Employability Skills: A Framework for All Educators focusing on how educators can integrate employability skills into their curriculum.
Register

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Achieve launched the Rising to the Challenge: Views on High School Graduates’ Preparedness for College and Careers. This PowerPoint breaks down their most recent survey of college instructors and employers who work with recent high school graduates and their career readiness into easy to read graphs and graphics.
Read More

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

This Week in CTE

August 7th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Educators Rising launched a brand new website this week, which provides resources and professional development opportunities to students in high school who want to be successful teachers.
More

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK
How to Attract and Retain More of the Right Students Right Now!
Join a webinar August 17th featuring Mark Perna, Founder of Tools for Schools who will discuss how to increase enrollment, retention and performance rates of high school and adult learners. If you like the webinar, you’ll get a chance to participate in a workshop led by Perna at the Association for Career and Technical Education’s VISION conference in New Orleans.
More

NASDCTEc REPORT OF THE WEEK
Building a Strong Relationship Between Competency-Based Pathways and Career Technical Education
Earlier this week we released a report identifying the relationship between Competency-Based Pathways (CBP) and Career Technical Education (CTE) along with guiding questions for state and local leaders to help them consider how CTE should be included in their CBP strategies.
More

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

July 31st, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

REPORT OF THE WEEK Unemployment Among Young Adults: Exploring Employer-Led Solutions This new policy paper from the Brookings Institute explores the challenge of youth unemployment and the role employers and credentials can play in supporting this population. The paper offers recommendations, largely focused around the need for better alignment, communications and partnerships between education and employers. Read more.

FACT OF THE WEEK Fifty-one percent of high school students do NOT agree that their school helped them understand the steps they need to take in order to have the career they want. Read more.

NEWS OF THE WEEK Senator Tim Kaine, co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, introduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, which would expand Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in short-term job training programs.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Inside International CTE: Papua New Guinea and the CTE System

July 2nd, 2015

Heather Singmaster visited Papua New Guinea and discusses the educational system’s challenges and some ways the government is implementing innovative solutions. This is part of our ongoing series examining international education systems in partnership with Asia Society’s Global Learning blog on EdWeek.

Traditionally in Papua New Guinea (PNG), there has not been much investment in human resources. Yet, with high population growth expected—approximately seven million today and projected to grow to 11 million by 2050 and then double every 30 years thereafter—the country will have no choice but to face this challenge. Perhaps that is why the PNG government chose last month to host the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Human Resource Development in the capital, Port Moresby, which I had the honor of attending and serving as a guest speaker.

One way the government is attempting to address the human capital challenge is by expanding access to vocational education and training (VET). This is a strategy being pursued by other economies in the Asia-Pacific region, whether they are emerging or not.

Challenges
In the past, VET in PNG was considered the responsibility of the provinces. According to the UNESCO report Education for All 2000-2015, students could begin attending vocational training centres after successfully completing the basic education programme at the end of grade 8. An option today for students who complete lower secondary education is to attend technical colleges, which offer one-year Pre-employment Technical Training courses (currently being replaced by a two-year Technical Training Certificate programme.) Additionally, the Papua New Guinea Education Institute offers a three-year course for grade 10 graduates leading to the Certificate of Elementary Teaching.

Given these various options, one of the biggest challenges facing VET in PNG right now is the issue of coordination among the three different government bodies reponsible for VET: the Department of Education (TVET Division); the National Training Council and the National Apprenticeship and Trade Testing Board (NATTB) at the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; and the Office of Higher Education. The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is responsible for setting the national standards and curriculum, and they also administer the nation’s apprenticeship program. This fragmented system contributes to a lack of clarity about different roles, making reform difficult and also leading to budgetary issues as outlined below.

Aligning Practice with Industry Needs
Thumbnail image for FullSizeRender-3.jpgI had the opportunity to visit one of the four main government-run technical colleges, Port Moresby Technical College (called Pom Tech for short). They accept students from across the country and currently enroll 628 students full time. With only approximately 200 boarding spots available, most students have to find their own housing, which is extremely difficult in Port Moresby where housing is limited and expensive. There are only 62 female students, which is primarily because there are only that number of beds available to them at the school and staying outside is not feasible for women.

The school offers programs in 10 different trades with 30 different specialties, and is in the process of adding four more, including automotive electrical and refrigeration, as soon as the standards and curriculum are approved. Women are allowed to take any course they choose, but the majority are in the printing pathway (which includes desktop publishing, graphics, and offset printing). The most popular courses for men are electrical and mechanical.

One additional dorm is reserved for the apprentice program. Students work full-time as apprentices, but come to the school for eight weeks each year to study. During the course of the three-year program they earn Level One through Three certificates.

Pom Tech also serves as the Trade Testing Center. Anyone can come and take tests, beginning with Level One, to be granted certificates and recognition for skills they have—no matter where they learned them.

Striking to me was the fact that in a country where mining and oil production are the biggest industries, there were no courses in these fields offered to full-time students. Apparently this is because the companies doing this work (mainly foreign companies) provide their own training, with some exceptions such as the short courses provided “on demand” to the companies by Pom Tech. For instance, a gold mine may send workers to Pom Tech for a four-week course designed specifically for them. These are only possible when the staff, which appeared to be stretched, has the time.

However, industry involvement in the system is critical to its overall success and providing more than just apprenticeships is important to upgrading it. By keeping training in these key areas as a function of companies, there is no investment into the local workforce, leading to more expenses in terms of either bringing in workers from abroad or having to hold these extensive training courses.

Strengths
There are many issues plaguing the PNG education system. Yet, there are a few areas where they are making strides:

National Standards and a Qualifications Framework
The VET standards are established through a process led by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations that involves boards of industry-specific experts. The certificates students earn aligned to these standards are recognized nationally based on the National Qualifications Framework. During the APEC meeting there was much discussion of whether APEC should work toward a regional qualifications framework, an idea that PNG endorsed.

Regional Cooperation
This month marks the beginning of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between PNG and the Philippines to provide assistance on building capacity at VET colleges. Such agreements are not unique to PNG; during the APEC discussions, Australia presented on the work it has been doing on building qualification frameworks with other countries in the region. And Singapore is often providing technical assistance to emerging vocational systems.

Apprenticeships
Creating or expanding access to apprenticeship programs that work well with industry and provide training in a technical college is a goal of many education systems today across the globe—including in economies much more advanced than PNG‘s. The program that Pom Tech has established seems to be popular, well supported, and running smoothly via a partnership created between government and industry.

Papua New Guinea has far to go, they are eager to learn from others and are opening up to the world. Notably, they are focused on not only developing their natural resources but also developing their human resources. To meet this goal, they are beginning to integrate innovative practices—including global competence and expansion of VET—into their education systems, which can provide an inspiring example for others, including more developed countries.

Read part one on how Papua New Guinea prioritizes global competence in education. 

Follow Heather on Twitter. 

Photo courtesy of the author.

CTE Research Review: A Call for Career Pathways

July 2nd, 2015

The Potential of Career Pathways

Two new reports explores the history and potential of career pathways.

First, a new report from the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) examines the evolution of career pathways over the past 30 years as the country has adapted and responded to the need for a skilled workforce. Further, it also offers strategies for state and local stakeholders to consider when developing a comprehensive pathways system that connects and aligns education and workforce development systems.

The paper, published as part of OCTAE’s three-year initiative to advance CTE in state and local career pathways, cited the 2014 passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and the Administration’s Ready to Work initiative as “game-changing” actions that will continue to drive cross-systems alignment.

“When looking at what has worked in career-related education and training programs historically, it becomes clear that a comprehensive Career Pathways systems approach holds significant promise for providing Americans with the skills and credentials needed for high-demand jobs and careers,” the report states.

The report was produced by Jobs for the Future, which is contracted by OCTAE to manage the career pathways project.

Meanwhile, from the Brookings Institute, economics expert Harry Holzer calls for expanding high-quality CTE – including career pathways and work-based learning, to help the nation better meet the needs of employers’ skill demands. Specifically, Holzer writes that community colleges and employers need better incentives to invest in middle-skill workers and adapt as the labor market changes. He offers three solutions:

  • Provide more resources to community colleges and smaller four-year institutions while also creating incentives and accountability through performance-based funding;
  • Expand high-quality CTE and work-based learning such as apprenticeships; and
  • Incentivize employers to create more good jobs, as well as other supportive policies including higher minimum wages.

What Happens When Students Transfer

A new study examines what happens when students transfer from and to four-year institutions.

From the Community College Research Center, “What We Know about Transfer,” takes a look at student transfer patterns, outcomes, barriers and the economic benefits of transferring in a new brief, and call transferring a “vital route to a bachelor’s degree for many underserved students.” Yet, the authors caution that policymakers should pay keen attention to the transfer process to protect the credits students have earned in order to create an efficient, seamless process for college attainment.

Data, Data, Data

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a new brief in its “Data Point” series that looks at the Credentials (2)relationship between education and work credentials. Analyzing the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation, NCES found that more than one in five adults, nearly a quarter, have a work credential. Of these, 71 percent have a license and 29 percent have a certification. Also, more than half of those holding a work credential have less than a bachelor’s degree.

NCES also released two new data sets of note:

  • An update to its High School Longitudinal Study, which includes a look at CTE coursetaking
  • Trends in high school dropout and completion rates from 1972-2012

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Celebrating CTE at the White House

July 1st, 2015

IMG_0324

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education and  theWhite House hosted “Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education,” honoring CTE students, educators and programs that exemplify everything CTE has to offer, which Kim Green (NASDCTEc Executive Director), Rod Duckworth (Chancellor for Career and Adult Education in Florida and NASDCTEc President) and I had the honor of attending.

One major highlight of the day-long event was a keynote from First Lady Michelle Obama who acknowledged the power of CTE and encouraged the audience to keep pushing themselves and their peers. “I don’t know how many people know about CTE but more people should because in today’s world, a high school diploma isn’t enough…If you want to learn cutting-edge skills, if you want to prepare yourself for college and a good career…it’s important for students to realize that a four-year university is not your only option.” She continued, “For many young people and their families, CTE can be the best option because you can get all the professional skills you need for a good job in a high-demand field and you can do it at a fraction at the time and, more importantly, a fraction of the cost.” To summarize, “Career and tech programs make a whole lot of sense.”

IMG_0349Throughout the day, excellence and innovation were on display, with remarks from Principal Sandra Clement of Foy H. Moody High School (a 2014 Excellence in Action winner) discussing how CTE has propelled all of their students, in a high minority and low-income district, to apply for postsecondary education; high school seniors Anne and Anna Raheem, who championed the development of a STEM course in their school and are on their way to Harvard next year; and Jacob Smith who introduced the First Lady and is starting at Johnson & Wales with a full scholarship in the fall. A number of students and schools also shared projects – on topics including 3D printing, fingerprinting and robotics – during an innovation fair.

IMG_0298The day concluded with the recognition ceremony, where 16 national “student innovators and 10 “educator innovators “(as selected by ACTE and Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), five Excellence in Action award winners, and 16 CTSOs leaders were honored.

Kate Blosveren Kreamer, Associate Executive Director

 

 

Beyond the Booth: Training Skilled Welders on the Fine Art of Teaching

June 30th, 2015

As welding matures into an industry with increased automation, sophisticated equipment and higher qualityJason_Scales_Portrait_resize and code standards, there is more specialization and a greater need for welders who understand more than how to hold a torch and join metal.

And, to this end, increasingly more high schools and community colleges are developing advanced welding education programs; so, the need for skilled welding instructors also is growing as part of this roadmap to producing a new generation of educated welders.

There’s no question those moving from industry into the classroom as a teacher understand how to weld. They just don’t necessarily have a teaching background or the know-how to engage students – the millennials – in a classroom.

Just as there is a science and art to welding, the same can be said of teaching. And the skills needed to run a successful, engaging classroom can easily be learned. At Lincoln Electric, we have developed a new, five-day training course designed to prepare new welding instructors at both the high school and community college level, as well as internal trainers with industry partners, for a career that moves beyond the welding booth into the classroom, on the teacher’s side of the desk.

Held at our global headquarters in Cleveland, the course, Beyond the Booth: The Lincoln Electric Teacher Institute, prepares instructors for life in the classroom. One of the biggest challenges in the transition from a shop floor to teaching is that of preparation. This course will help educators learn how to organize all of the content and curriculum and write lesson plans in a way that is engaging and addresses the different learning styles of all students in the room.

Simply put, a good teacher makes it look easy. But, in reality, it takes a tremendous amount of planning and effort behind the scenes to make that lecture work.

Beyond the Booth addresses crucial curriculum and lesson planning, as well as other key considerations during five days of intensive, interactive, fun learning designed with teachers in mind. We’ll talk about different teaching styles and how to effectively present based on each individual’s personal style. We’ll go on field trip to visit local Cleveland industry partners. We practice what we preach, so our curriculum prepares participants to comfortably enter a classroom and share their knowledge with a room of future welders.

To learn more about upcoming workshop opportunities, including one scheduled for late July 2015, visit www.lincolnelectric.com/education.

This post was written by Jason Scales from the Lincoln Electric Company.

Inside International CTE: Papua New Guinea

June 29th, 2015

Heather Singmaster visited Papua New Guinea and discusses the educational system’s challenges and some ways the government is implementing innovative solutions. This is part of our ongoing series examining international education systems in partnership with Asia Society’s Global Learning blog on EdWeek.

Before heading to Papua New Guinea to speak at the APEC High Level Policy Dialogueon Human Resource Development in the capital Port Moresby last month, my American peers asked me many things: Will you see natives with faces painted like skulls? Did you know they have the world’s largest species of rat?  Isn’t it one of the poorest countries in the world?

APEC.jpeg

What I found is a country that, yes, is very poor and facing what may seem to be overwhelming challenges. But, despite these, Papua New Guinea is taking positive steps to address them, including a budget that is focused on the pillars of health, education, infrastructure development, and increased funding direct to the provinces.

And while the vision of dancing natives is what the country is known for, it should also be known for the fact that it is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, with more than 800 languages spoken within its borders. It is also one of the most rural countries in world, separating people by vast mountains and water—there are over 600 outlying islands. As someone said to me, “it’s like 800 countries in one.” This is an asset that the government has recognized. Despite facing the huge challenge of providing education for all students, they are prioritizing an education infused with global competence.

For many education systems, there is a common perception that a basic education must be offered first, before they can even begin thinking about integrating 21st century skills. Yet, making a quality 21st century education a pillar of an expanding system provides opportunities to leapfrog those that are still focused on outdated models (such as a narrow focus on academic knowledge and rote memorization) which result in limited dividends for their students and future workforce.

A Complex Set of Challenges
Now, I am by no means an expert on Papua New Guinea (PNG) after my short visit, but I did do some background research and had the chance to talk with people representing all walks of life: bus drivers, government officials, a lawyer who handles domestic abuse cases (a rampant issue in the country), a recently graduated university student, an expat business owner, and people who had moved from the provinces to the city looking for a job and a better way to live.

One recurring theme of these conversations is that jobs and government services—including education and health care—are in short supply and in some rural areas, extremely limited. Many people live in extreme poverty and the word corruption came up on more than one occasion. Yet Papua New Guinea is also a land rich in natural resources; development is improving the economy and leading to some infrastructure development, such as new roads around the capital.

However, there has not been much investment in human resources, a challenge the government is looking to address through new education initiatives including an expansion of vocational education and training (VET—which I will cover in my next post).

Educating for Global Competence
With development comes an increased interest in putting Papua New Guinea onto the world stage. In addition to the APEC dialogue on human resource development, which functioned as a practice run for 2018 when Papua New Guinea will be hosting numerous annual APEC meetings and the APEC ministerial convening, PNG is hosting the Pan Pacific Games this summer. In an era of globalization, the government is promoting some progressive ideas including global education and frameworks for responsible, sustainable development.

Nowhere is there a better argument for teaching global competency than Papua New Guinea due to the diversity within its borders and its aspirations to emerge on the world stage. Global competency has been recognized by the government and was clearly reflected in the priorities of the previous National Curriculum: culture and community, language, mathematics, personal development, and science. It stated, in part:

“The curriculum will prepare students who are more flexible for a changing world…. (its) principles are based on significant cultural, social, and educational values and beliefs such as: (i) bilingual education: education in vernaculars and English; (ii) citizenship: roles, rights, and responsibilities in society; (iii) law and order: good governance; and (iv) lifelong learning: applied learning. The National Curriculum is inclusive and designed to meet the needs of all students irrespective of their abilities, gender, geographic locations, cultural and language backgrounds, or their socio-economic backgrounds.”

School in Papua New Guinea is not compulsory, but it is free. According to an interview with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, published in the local paper, Post-Courier, while I was there, one of his proudest achievements is abolishing the school fees that were such a burden on his family when he was growing up. One effect of eliminating these fees is that more children, especially girls, are now able to go to school.

But it has also led to a huge shortage of teachers, lack of school buildings, and shortages of curricular resources. To his credit, the Prime Minister has acknowledged that the policy was not going as planned because the government was not delivering public services effectively and on time.

There were also issues with implementing the curriculum due to the difficulty of switching to an outcome-based approach with limited teacher training and resources (challenges also faced by Australia in trying to implement a similar pedagogy). However, the current curriculum maintains an emphasis on global education—for example elementary education has three focus areas: language, culture and community, and cultural mathematics.

As Papua New Guinea demonstrates, global competence is relevant to developing and developed countries alike. In recognition of this, the global education community has recently come together around a single set of goals that aim to accelerate progress in delivering quality education for all of the world’s children and youth. Organizations such as A World at School, the Global Business Coalition for Education, and Business Backs Education are supporting universal access to a quality education that provides 21st century skills for employability and global citizenship.

Learn more about how to be involved in the #UpForSchools campaign.

Come back on Wednesday to learn about the vocational education system in Papua New Guinea.

 

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