National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Three Weeks Left to Apply to the Excellence in Action Award

November 18th, 2015

Three Weeks Left to Apply to the 2016 Excellence in Action Award!2016ExcellenceinActionapp

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium is searching the country for superior programs of study across the 16 Career Clusters that have a meaningful impact on student success.

Why Should I Apply?

Receiving the Excellence in Action award means your program of study will be showcased on a national level through conferences, webinars, in a monthly newsletter to members of Congress, in the media, on our website and in our blog. It’s a chance to show the rest of the country how your program of study prepares students for successful and meaningful careers through high-quality CTE. If you want to see examples of some stellar programs of study, take a look at the 2014 and 2015 winners, some of which were featured at the White House.

How to Apply

Complete the Award Application and follow steps for submission of your application by the application deadline, Wednesday, December 9, 2015.5:00 p.m. ET.

For questions or more information email

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE: #YesSheCan

November 13th, 2015


The White House hosted an all-day forum on Friday, “Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color,” taking on topics such as education, health, economic conditions and portrayal in the media.


Earlier this week, the White House hosted the Summit on Next Generation High Schools and announced more than $375 million to support secondary education that re-imagines the high school experience with things such as including personalized learning, providing access to work-based learning and expanding STEM. Learn more about the endeavor here.


Eleventh graders at Washington, D.C.’s Cardozo High School learn how to fly a F-35 Fighter Jet in the school’s new aviation lab, one of only 18 in the country. Watch

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Webinar: Building a Strong Relationship Between Competency-Based Pathways and CTE

October 20th, 2015

On November 5, 2015 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and Achieve are co-hosting a webinar to highlight our recently released brief, “Building a Strong Relationship between Competency-Based Pathways and Career Technical Education.” This webinar will provide an overview of the many leverage points between Career Technical Education (CTE) and Competency-Based Pathways (CBP) to support states’ adoption and implementation of integrated CTE and CBP.

The webinar will also explore Connecticut’s and Oregon’s strategies for integrating CTE into their CBP and the opportunities and challenges faced along the way. This webinar is for anyone looking to learn more about CTE, CBP and their potential when implemented together.

Speakers will include:

  • Suzanne Vita Loud, Associate Consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education
  • Tom Thompson, Education Specialist, Oregon Department of Education
  • Stephen DeWitt, Association for Career and Technical Education
  • Kate Blosveren, NASDCTEc
  • Alissa Peltzman, Achieve
  • Andrew Valent, Achieve

How to participate?
To add this meeting to your calendar, click here
To join the web conference, click here
Dial-In: 1-866-297-6395 Confirmation Number: 41021850

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Getting to Know … Idaho

September 21st, 2015

Note: NASDCTEc has launched a new blog series called, “Getting to Know …” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, our partners and more. Check out our entries about Florida and Michigan!

State Name: Idahocte-logo-idaho

State CTE Director: Dwight Johnson, Administrator, Professional-Technical Education

About Idaho: CTE in Idaho is known as Professional-Technical Education, or PTE. The Division of Professional-Technical Education is responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult PTE programs. PTE is delivered at the secondary level through high schools and magnet schools. At the postsecondary level, there are three community colleges, one standalone technical college and two technical colleges that are embedded within the state’s four-year universities – all with PTE programs.

With the belief that PTE sits at the nexus of education and the workforce, Johnson has been using his years of experience at the Department of Labor to strengthen connections between secondary and postsecondary PTE programs and the workforce. This starts with an intensive realignment process of secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, which will help to provide a seamless educational experience for Idaho students and best prepare them for success in their careers. Check out just a few facts about Idaho PTE here!

Notable in Idaho: Idaho has been working to expand student access to PTE programs of study through its soon-to-launch PTE Digital, which allows students to take PTE courses in health and IT. Johnson said PTE is looking to expand these options to other pathways to create more opportunities, particularly for students located in very rural areas.

Additionally, in 2014, the Idaho legislature established the Fast Forward program, which provides junior and senior high school students with up to $200 and $400, respectively, to help cover the cost of taking dual credit courses, PTE-approved industry certification exams and college-bearing exams. The program has been so successful that costs have far exceeded original projections, as more and more students take advantage of the opportunity to earn advance credit and certifications.

Finally, the Department is developing a microcertification and badging effort called SkillStack. The initiative has two primary goals: to validate students’ technical skills and competencies against industry-defined standards and to help with the articulation of credit from secondary PTE programs to postsecondary institutions. Idaho educators can track and validate student skill attainment through the site, once the Department verifies that the curriculum taught was aligned to industry standards. Soon, employers will be able to search for candidates with the badges, and skills, that they need.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Inside International CTE: CTE From an International Employer Perspective

September 15th, 2015

Our previous international blog posts have largely focused on international Career Technical Education (CTE)/Vocational education systems and how they operate. Today, we will look at CTE through the lens of an international employer in an interview with Aaron Coulson, New Talent Manager at National Grid in the UK. This is part of our ongoing blog series with Asia Society’s Global Learning Blog on Education Week. 

Can you describe a little bit about your company and your need for global talent?

National Grid is an international electricity and gas company based in the UK and northeastern U.S. As owners and operators of the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales and the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain, we are committed to safeguarding our global environment for future generations and providing all our customers with the highest standards of service through investment in our networks and through our talented, diverse workforce.

In my role working with Our Academy, our largest training center in the UK, I am responsible for all of National Grid’s entry-level talent development programs, an integral component of the company’s ‘grow your strategy,’ that helps develop the skills and knowledge of new employees in the company. The following best outlines our focus areas:

  • Providing the resources and support they need to develop and build on the wealth of experience and talent that already exists across the organization.
  • Attracting and retaining high-quality employees.
  • Developing new talent through apprenticeships, our graduate training program and engineer training program.
  • Supporting the development of our employees in order to ensure the future success of our organization.

Our Academy has garnered much recognition for our approach to developing new talent and our training programs receive a high number of applicants per year.

Read more about National Grid’s role in the UK CTE system including their work developing new employer-led apprenticeship standards and advice for organizations who want to engage in the field on Education Week’s Global Learning blog.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

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


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

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.

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


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.

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.

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.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

July 31st, 2015


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