This Week in CTE

October 19th, 2018

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

Advance CTE Excellence in Action Award Applications are Open!

Advance CTE’s annual Excellence in Action award recognizes and honors superior Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study from across the nation. Selected programs of study will exemplify excellence in the implementation of the Career ClustersⓇ, show a true progression from secondary to postsecondary education, provide meaningful work-based learning opportunities and have a substantial and evidence-based impact on student achievement and success.

Do you think you have one of the best CTE programs of study in the nation? Apply for the 2019 Excellence in Action award to showcase the amazing work of learners, instructors and faculty at the national level. Be sure to submit the application before the deadline of November 21, 2018 at 5 p.m. ET.

Want to learn more? Register for Insights into the 2019 Excellence in Action Award Webinar taking place on  November 1 from 2 – 3 p.m. ET!

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Tom Vander Ark of Getting Smart Explores World of Work at Cajon Valley Union School District

Watch this video to get a glimpse into how the Cajon Valley Union School District is sharing the World of Work with learners from elementary to middle school. The Cajon Valley Union School District offers 54 career exploration experiences for learners between kindergarten and eighth grade. The district is connecting industry to education through technology such as work-based learning resources and video chats with industry professionals. The district is working to help learners identify their strengths and interests and encourage the community to open their doors to create meaningful partnerships with the schools.

Read the full article to learn more.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Three Educational Pathways to Good Jobs: High School, Middle Skills, and Bachelor’s Degree

A recent report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce titled, Three Educational Pathways to Good Jobs: High School, Middle Skills, and Bachelor’s Degree explores the pathways to ‘good jobs’ defined as as one that pays at least $35,000 for workers 25-44 and at least $45,000 for workers 45-64.  The research finds that in 1991, there were 15 million good careers requiring a high school diploma, 12 million good middle-skills jobs, and 18 million good careers requiring a bachelor’s degree. By 2016, careers requiring only a high school diploma decreased to 13 million good jobs, middle-skills careers  grew to 16 million, and those careers requiring a bachelor’s degree doubled to 36 million. Other key findings include:

  • Twenty percent of workers with good jobs have no more education than a high school diploma and on-the-job training;
  • More than 20 million new good jobs were created in skilled-services industries while the net number of good jobs in blue-collar industries slightly declined;
  • Skilled-services industries accounted for 77 percent of good job growth for workers with middle skills; and
  • Blue-collar industries added 800,000 good jobs on the middle-skills pathway and 500,000 good jobs for workers with  bachelor’s degree or higher.

Learn more by reading the full report here: https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/3pathways/

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

CTE and Workforce Systems Alignment: Lessons Learned from States

October 16th, 2018

Aligning systems is one of five key principles of the shared vision, Putting Learner Success First. System alignment can ensure a shared vision and commitment to seamless college and career pathways for every learner; by maximizing resources, reducing inefficiencies and holding systems accountable, every learner can have the supports they need to find success.

The recent enactment of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins IV), presents new opportunities to align Career Technical Education (CTE) and state workforce systems to strengthen and expand opportunities for learners. States have taken different approaches to align CTE and the workforce systems, from submitting Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) combined state plans with Perkins IV as a partner program to establishing strong connections between CTE and the workforce systems via strategic partnerships and plans. As states think about improving the effectiveness of this connection, it’s critical to reflect on and learn from states’ efforts to enhance CTE and workforce system alignment.

To inform this post, Advance CTE interviewed several State CTE Directors to learn about how they align CTE and workforce systems in their respective states. Below are key takeaways from those conversations and highlights of a few state examples.

Approaches to Promoting CTE and Workforce Systems Alignment
While states take different approaches to aligning CTE and workforce systems depending on their needs, some common approaches to aligning CTE and workforce systems emerged.

  • Local advisory boards: Many states leverage local employer advisory boards to inform CTE programs. For instance, Pennsylvania has a state mandate that requires all secondary schools and Perkins recipients to engage local workforce development boards to inform their programming.
  • Shared goals: Other states establish shared strategic targets and goals across the education and workforce systems. In Washington, the Workforce Training and Education Board is responsible for the administration of Perkins and WIOA, which allows the state to easily set goals for Perkins and WIOA that align. Even though Washington does not have a WIOA combined state plan with Perkins IV as a partner program, its state workforce plan has included CTE in its strategy for more than thirty years and state law requires WIOA and Perkins plans to align. As a result, Washington makes it a point to establish Perkins performance goals that align with WIOA goals.
  • Strategic Initiatives: States also align CTE and workforce systems through strategic initiatives. In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Works initiative aligns resources, education, training and job opportunities to promote workforce development in the state. Through this initiative, Oklahoma examines education, workforce and economic data to ensure that programs of study align with labor market data. Ensuring that CTE programs of study have labor market relevance is a key strategy for aligning CTE and workforce systems.

Systems Alignment Sustainability
Trend data from Advance CTE surveys since 2005 suggests that coordination between CTE and other state initiatives is more common when there is an external forcing event, such as state or federal legislation that triggers a statewide planning process. As states expand upon or strengthen their work to align CTE and workforce systems, they must consider how they will sustain systems alignment even when these statewide planning processes conclude.

Some states, such as West Virginia, established CTE and workforce systems alignment sustainability through building partnership infrastructure. West Virginia has a WIOA combined state plan with Perkins IV as a partner program, which helps to promote collaboration between the CTE and workforce systems. Representatives from the West Virginia Division of Technical, Adult and Institutional Education (WV-CTE) serve on the WIOA State Board and helped to develop the state goals articulated in the WIOA combined state plan. Representatives attend a quarterly WIOA group that meets to ensure that the state is making progress on the goals articulated in its WIOA plan.

Additionally, WV-CTE has a Governor’s Economic Initiative office within it that ensures CTE programs of study are aligned to industry needs and developed collaboratively between business, industry and education. West Virginia is able to sustain its CTE and workforce systems alignment through establishing statewide goals via the WIOA combined state plan, clearly defining roles through committees and establishing routine accountability checks.

Conclusion
CTE and workforce systems alignment is necessary to ensure that learners are on a path to securing in-demand, high-wage careers. While the state examples in this resource showcase the importance of elevating partnerships and collaboration to achieve alignment, CTE and workforce systems alignment can take many different forms. A state’s approach to CTE and workforce systems alignment should be guided by its state vision, goals and infrastructure.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Free College: Looking Ahead

October 15th, 2018

Advance CTE wrote a series of blog posts profiling the policies and practices of free college in the United States. This post will explore the future landscape of community college. Check out previous blogs on the history of free college, Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program and challenges and limitations to free college programs.

As of September 2018, there are over 350 local and state college promise programs across the country. Though the source of funding for free college varies , the goal of increasing access despite the growing cost of college is the commonality. So far, the 2018 election cycle has seen a number of candidates include some form of free college in their platform. Overall, ten Democratic gubernatorial candidates are promoting free college in their campaign. For example, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous is advocating for free community college and debt free four-year college, Arizona gubernatorial candidate David Garcia is supporting a proposal to make four-year public colleges free and Connecticut gubernatorial Ned Lamont is proposing making the first two years free at any state public college.

At the federal level, various members of Congress have introduced legislation that promotes free college. Perhaps most well known is Senator Bernie Sanders’ (VT-I) “College for All,” proposed in the spring of 2017, that promotes measures such as making all public colleges free for learners with a household income of up to $125,000 and having all community colleges be tuition free. In the spring of 2018 Senator Brian Schatz (HI-D) introduced the “Debt Free College Act” that proposes measures to make college debt free with a focus on the total fees associated with college (such as textbooks, food and housing) instead of only tuition.

The Institute for Higher Education explored the concept of free college, and came up with five ways to fix current programs and build “equity-driven federal and state free-college programs:”

  1. Invest first and foremost in low-income students;
  2. Fund non-tuition expenses for low-income students;
  3. Include four-year colleges in free college programs;
  4. Support existing state need-based grant programs; and
  5. Avoid restrictive or punitive participation requirements, such as post-college residency requirements

 

Additionally, the Education Trust evaluated free college programs through an equity lens, and developed equity driven guidelines to rate and improve current state tuition-free college programs or proposals. They built an eight-step evaluation to use when assessing free college program quality:

  1. Whether the programs cover living expenses;
  2. Whether they cover fees;
  3. Whether they cover the total cost of tuition for at least four years of college;
  4. Whether they include bachelor’s-degree programs;
  5. Whether adult students are eligible;
  6. Whether repayment of aid is required under certain circumstances;
  7. Whether there are GPA requirements; and
  8. Whether there are additional requirements to maintain eligibility

 

Although there is a growing national focus on free college, and even more state-level attention on this issue, a uniform agreement on what this should look like is lacking. There is no general consensus on what free college should look like and the scope of what “free” would truly mean. However, the overarching common goal of making college affordable and accessible will keep the conversation around free college moving forward.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

October 12th, 2018

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

A new initiative is launching this month in Washington, D.C. The Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) is a multi-year, collaborative initiative that will support the success of efforts in states and cities to expand access to high-quality apprenticeship opportunities for learners in high school. One area of focus for this work will be improving public understanding and awareness of high-quality American youth apprenticeship. To learn more visit their website here.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Worcester Technical High School learners and instructors were featured on CBS This Morning’s education series – Schools Matters. The video takes you into the spaces where learners are gaining real-world, hands-on experiences. The school offers 22 Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study that prepare learners for postsecondary education and the workforce. Worcester Technical High School’s success is evident in the numbers. It has a 99.1 percent graduation rate compared to the national average of 84 percent. Eighty six percent of graduates go on to pursue a college education. See how learners in this school are using their real-world experiences to give back to the community and prepare for their future.

Watch the video here.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Report: STEM4: The Power of Collaboration for Change

Equity gaps in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) preparedness and access persist among underserved populations. According to the research noted in STEM4: The Power of Collaboration for Change, predominantly minority high schools are less likely to offer math and science classes, especially at advanced levels This report from Advance CTE, the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics, the Council of State Science Supervisors, and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association offers recommendations to increase access to and equity in STEM preparedness. Learn more here.

Free College: Limitations and Challenges

October 10th, 2018

Advance CTE is writing a series of blog posts profiling the policies and practices of free college in the United States. This post will explore some of the challenges inherent in free college programs. Check out previous blogs on the history of free college and Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program, and look back next week for a blog on the future of free college.

Free college programs have become a popular idea to combat the rising cost of higher education and increase postsecondary attainment for all. However, a variety of different types of initiatives are branded as “free college,” when in reality that term can be misleading for what is actually provided. For example, state-led free college programs are typically “last dollar in.” This means that first grant aid, such as Pell grants, is given to learners and the state will pay for the remaining tuition. Although this is a significant contribution, this “last dollar” practice means that students are using only grant money for tuition instead of putting it towards additional costs of college such as housing, food, textbooks and any other fees. Most of the states that offer free college programs do so through this approach. Additionally, these free college initiatives are often directed toward students who recently graduated high school leaving non-traditional students with large financial barriers.

Free college is really addressed at the state level, instead of the federal level, which means there are inherent limitations. There are considerable constraints on the amount of money states are able to put toward free college programs. In order to keep the state costs low, limits are put on who is eligible and how exactly the money can be applied to the college. For example, states may only open free college programs to recent high school graduates and allow the money to be applied to community colleges, certain areas of study or include the stipulation that participants have to live and work in that state for a number of years.

Overall, state funding to higher education is shrinking. When states are forced to cut portions of their budget, higher education is typically one of the first areas to feel the impact. What’s more, Most of the state tuition-free programs are discretionary, so the allocated amount can change every year.  

Although the free college movement can improve access, because of the many limitations to what free college can actually mean, access is limited for low-income students. The Education Trust’s, “A Promise Fulfilled,” looked at 15 current and 16 proposed state free college programs, and found that unless they are specifically designed to address the needs of low-income students, they do not benefit these learners.

It is clear that although the notion of free college is a positive one, in practice such programs do not always increase opportunities for higher education for everyone. These programs do have potential for more equitable access to postsecondary education if they are created with intentionality. However, if the cost of college continues to go up, increased and equitable postsecondary attainment will persistently be a challenge.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Excellence in Action Spotlighting: Granite Technical Institute, Utah Aerospace Pathways Program

October 5th, 2018

Today is Manufacturing Day® a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. This day, recognized annually on the first Friday in October, features events around the world to provide a behind-the-scenes look at a growing industry. Find an event near you here.

It’s a day that gives communities and learners the opportunity to explore what a career in the manufacturing field really looks like. Why is this important? According to a report by Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Manufacturing Institute, 80 percent of manufacturers have a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled production positions. This translates to nearly two million unfilled jobs over the next decade. Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of student in this area can help to close that gap by preparing the workforce of the future with the industry required skills to fill those positions.

Manufacturing is also one of the 16 Career Clusters® in the National Career Clusters® Framework. Superior implementation of a Career Cluster in a program of study is one area needed to qualify for Advance CTE’s annual Excellence in Action award. The award honors high-quality CTE programs of study from across the nation. This year, the Utah Aerospace Pathways program of study at the Granite Technical Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah received the award in the Manufacturing Career Cluster.

This program of study was established in 2015, in response to industry demand for skilled employees in aerospace careers. In that same year, the Utah aerospace industry accounted for 944 companies.The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, five local aerospace industry partners and secondary and postsecondary institutions, worked closely to develop the robust program to address this growing need for a skilled workforce. It is one of the four Utah Talent Ready Initiative programs, which aims to fill 40,000 new high-skill, high-wage jobs in Utah over the next four years.

“The Utah Aerospace Pathway program aligns industry and education to fill critical workforce needs in our state while ensuring continued success in the aerospace industry,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “Career and Technical Education serve an important role in training our workforce in Utah. We appreciate Granite School District and their innovative partnership to make this program available for students in their district.”

In May, 55 learners graduated from the program of study with certificates in aerospace manufacturing. To receive this certificate all learners must have completed rigorous coursework and a 48-hour externship in the industry. This certificate is unique in that it guarantees an interview with any of the participating partner companies including Boeing, Albany International, Hexcel, Janicki Industries and Orbital ATK.

In addition to earning a certificate, learners have options to continue their postsecondary education through an articulation agreement between the high school and Salt Lake Community College and Weber State University.

Learn more by watching this video and reading a two-pager about the program: 

This Week in CTE

October 5th, 2018

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

As we reported, the Senate voted 93-7 on September 18 to advance an FY19 appropriations package that includes the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education appropriations bill ,which includes key investments in education and workforce programs. On September 26, the House voted to approve that package (361-61) and the President signed it on September 28. This bill includes a $70 million increase in the federal investment in Perkins Basic State Grants. Read our 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

On-the-Job in a Most Unique Way

The Papillion La Vista Community Schools (PLCS) academies provide learners with real-world, hands-on learning experiences. The PLCS academies include work-based learning opportunities where learners are working with professionals outside of the classroom. In this video, hear from Papillion-La Vista Zoo Academy students and instructors, and the staff of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo where two days a week learners participate in  work-based learning. The curriculum includes studying a Zoology textbook that is used in universities and conducting research that incorporates core subjects. Watch the video to learn more: 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Report: Credential Currency: How States Can Identify and Promote Credentials of Value

There are more than 4,000 credentialing bodies nationwide that offer thousands of different industry-recognized credentials across sectors, making it difficult for states that have encouraged the growth of industry-recognized credentials to determine which ones to prioritize to scale attainment. This report from Education Strategy Group, Advance CTE and Council of Chief State School Officers provides a roadmap for how states can identify which credentials have labor market value and approaches to improve credential attainment and reporting. This report covers common barriers, recommended strategies and opportunities to advance learner attainment of industry recognized credentials with marketplace value.

Learn more here.

Free College: Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program

October 4th, 2018

Advance CTE will be writing a series of blog posts profiling the policies and practices of free college in the United States. This post will explore one example of a free college program. Check out last week’s blog on the history of free college, and look for future blogs on the challenges and future of free college.

The idea of free college has gained traction in a number of states. Indiana has been at the forefront of this movement, and has had some form of free college for the past 30 years. Currently, Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program allows participants up to four years of free enrollment at a two or four-year institution. This covers the cost of tuition and any additional fees. Indiana is unique in including four-year colleges in this program, since fewer than half of states with free college initiatives include four-year institutions in their policies. 

This program covers tuition on a “first dollar” basis, meaning that students remain eligible for other forms of aid to go toward non-tuition expenses. Any additional aid learners might receive from the state is not impacted by grants received to cover non-tuition charges.  

Learners can become involved in this program as early as seventh grade. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch in seventh or eighth grade are eligible to apply to be part of 21st Century Scholars. Below are 12 requirements that participating students must meet throughout high school in order to qualify:

  • 9th grade:
    • Create a graduation plan (to be updated annually);
    • Participate in an extracurricular or service activity; and
    • Watch “Paying for College 101”
  • 10th grade:
    • Take a career interests assessment;
    • Get workplace experience; and
    • Estimate the costs of college
  • 11th grade:
    • Visit a college campus;
    • Take a college entrance exam (ACT/SAT); and
    • Search for scholarships
  • 12th grade:
    • Submit college application;
    • Watch “College Success 101;” and
    • File FAFSA

In 2017, the program granted over $160 million in financial aid. As of the fall of 2018, there were about 80,000 program participants throughout middle and high school and 20,000 in college. This program has bipartisan support in the state.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

President Signs FY19 Appropriations Bill that Includes Increase for Perkins

October 2nd, 2018

Last week, Congress wrapped up its work on the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) Appropriations bill. Read below to learn more about what the bill included for key education and workforce programs and to find new resources from Advance CTE on Perkins V.

President Signs FY19 Appropriations Package that Includes $70 Million Increase for Perkins 

As we reported, the Senate voted 93-7 on September 18 to advance an FY19 appropriations package that includes the Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations bill (which includes key investments in education and workfo

rce programs). On September 26, the House voted to approve that package (361-61) and the President signed it on September 28. This bill includes a$70 million increase in the federal investment in Perkins Basic State Grants – check out the press statement from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) to learn more. You can also find the bill’s specific levels of investment in key U.S. Department of Education programs in  this table from the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) and in key U.S. Department of Labor programs in this table from National Skills Coalition.

In addition, this legislation included language from the conferees (the Members of Congress who served on a c

ommittee determine the final Labor-HHS-Ed FY19 bill) about the use of Perkins for National Activities, the importance of computer science education and the role of the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE). First, it directs the U.S. Secretary of Education to award innovation and modernization grants through Perkins and notes that these funds could “support coding programs that can be particularly important in rural and underserved areas that do not have access to coding resources.” The legislation also discusses computer science education more broadly, noting that “computer science education programs, including coding academies, can provide important benefits to local industries and the economy and help meet in-demand workforce needs. Therefore, the Departments of Labor and Education should work together with industry to improve and expand computer science education programs and opportunities, including through apprenticeships.” Lastly, the legislation also affirms the value of OCTAE and notes the conferees’ concerns about its elimination or consolidation in terms of achieving OCTAE’s mission and implementation of programs. Importantly, it confirms that “OCTAE is authorized expressly in statute and cannot be consolidated or reorganized except by specific authority granted by Congress.”

Advance CTE Releases New Perkins V Resources

Advance CTE released two new resources on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The Perkins V Accountability Comparison examines the secondary and postsecondary indicators of performance in Perkins IV and Perkins V, as well as alignment with performance measures from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Advance CTE also released a side-by-side comparison of the text of Perkins IV and Perkins V that includes an analysis of the changes between the two laws. You can find all of Advance CTE’s Perkins V resources on our Perkins webpage.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy 

Apply Today to the 2019 Excellence in Action award!

October 1st, 2018

Do you think you have one of the best Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study in the nation? Advance CTE is on the search for programs of study that exemplify excellence in the implementation of the Career Clusters®, show a true progression from secondary to postsecondary education, provide meaningful work-based learning opportunities, and have a substantial and evidence-based impact on student achievement and success. Apply for the 2019 Excellence in Action award to showcase the amazing work of your learners, instructors, partnerships and faculty at the national level.

Not only will your program be featured in the media and an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in the spring, you’ll also be contributing to a positive image of CTE programs. In its sixth year, this award showcases innovative programs of study to policymakers, employers and education leaders and lets them know that CTE is for all learners and prepares them for a lifetime of college and career success. Applications are open to secondary and postsecondary schools/institutions. Apply today!

Hear what past award winners had to say:

“The Advance CTE recognition of our programs is wonderful validation of the work of our students and staff. These awards have helped us dispel outdated perceptions of Career Technical Education (CTE) and supported our efforts to reframe the conversation about postsecondary educational options for learners. Students no longer have to choose between college or CTE, and these awards provide public confirmation that some form of college or certification is a part of all quality CTE programs that prepare students for high-skill, high-wage, in-demand careers.”

–Stephanie Joseph Long, Traverse Bay Area ISD Career Tech Center, 2018 Award Winner  

“Being selected as an Excellence in Action award winner has been one of the greatest honors that our program has received. The EMS Education Program at Jones County Junior College has always sought to exemplify the characteristics and values that makes Career Technical Education successful. Having been recognized on a national stage by Advance CTE means that we can promote our methods to other programs all across the United States. Since the award, our school has played host to multiple instructors who wish to model our success as an award winner. The recognition is great, but the chance to make a difference with other CTE programs has made everything worthwhile!”

– Eric Williams, Jones County Junior College, 2017 Award Winner

“The Advance CTE award has elevated expectations for students and staff, but more importantly, it has elevated confidence and reaffirmed our efforts. Similarly, it has enhanced industry and community support and awareness for each of our programs.”

-Jason Jeffrey, EdDTraverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, 2016 Award Winner

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

 

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