Happy Holidays from Advance CTE!

December 22nd, 2016
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Happy Holidays from all of us here at Advance CTE! As we reflect on this incredible year, we want to say a thank you for your dedication to Advance CTE, and unwavering commitment to providing high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) to learners across the country.
It’s been a transformational year for Advance CTE, and we invite you to share in some of our successes and highlights.
We released Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, establishing a bold vision for all of education, and calling for a systemic transformation of the education system. 11 partners have joined this shared vision, 36 states have signed onto the Putting Learner Success First sign on campaign, and Advance CTE has shared over 28,000 copies of the vision.
Advance CTE underwent an organizational rebrand to better reflect our membership and reaffirm our core values. With support from the Advance CTE Board of Directors and Membership, we created a brand that reflects our commitment to supporting all the state leaders who are committed to advancing high-quality CTE across the country.
In January 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched New Skills for Youth, a $75 million, five-year initiative, aimed at strengthening career-focused education.
As part of this initiative, JPMorgan Chase, Advance CTE, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Education Strategy Group have partnered on a multi-year state competition to increase the number of students in the U.S. who successfully complete career pathways and catalyze approaches to the design and implementation of programs and policies to increase students’ career readiness. This year, 24 states and Washington, D.C. received planning and implementation grants to jump start this work.
We launched the Learning that Works Resource Center, a curated database of research, reports, tools, guides and policies focused on CTE and career-readiness. The Resource Center has been visited over 36,000 times, and continues to be updated with new resources and information regularly. Check out the most popular resource in the Resource Center here.
We celebrated our Excellence in Action award recipients, awarded to 11 programs across as many Career Clusters in nine states.

To dig deep on topics ranging from federal policy to industry recognized credentials, we released 10 reports or briefs and published 141 blog posts.
Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

114th Congressional Wrap-Up and Perkins Outlook

December 13th, 2016

United States CapitalFollowing the November elections, lawmakers have been on Capitol Hill for the final phase of the 114th Congress. This lame duck session was formally scheduled to come to an end this upcoming Friday, but the last-minute passage of a continuing resolution (CR) last week allowed lawmakers to adjourn the 114th Congress a week early after the bill cleared the Senate.

With policymakers digesting the results of the elections and planning ahead for 2017, there were not too many education or workforce-related highlights from this final session of Congress to speak of. The dearth of legislative activity did make room for the composition of the respective House (HEW) and Senate (HELP) education committees to become clearer.

In the Senate, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will retain his leadership role of the HELP Committee. Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) will also keep her slot going into next year. This year this duo, along with Senators Enzi (R-WY) and Casey (D-PA), came close to passing a comprehensive reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act, but unfortunately these efforts stalled as the year wore on. The root cause of this delay were continued disagreements related to the oversight authority of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

With the retirement of Chairman John Kline (R-MN), the House education committee recently named a new Chairwoman—Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)— to lead HEW in the 115th Congress. Rep. Foxx recently won her seventh term in Congress, and has been the Chairwoman for HEW’s subcommittee on higher education since 2010. Prior to her tenure in Congress, she was a professor and administrator at several postsecondary institutions in North Carolina. On the Democratic side of the aisle Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) will retain his leadership position on the committee.

Earlier this year the full House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5587—comprehensive legislation that would reauthorize the Perkins Act. While there were some remaining items that needed to be addressed as the bill made its way over to the Senate (primarily a fix for the proposed definition for a secondary CTE concentrator), Advance CTE endorsed and supported this legislation’s passage. Unfortunately due to the reasons cited above, the bill lost momentum when it arrived in the Senate.

As we look ahead to the next Congress, lawmakers in both chambers have expressed interest in taking up Perkins reauthorization. However, a specific timeline for the law’s consideration is still unclear and it will be competing with other education priorities such as a renewal of the Higher Education Act (HEA). In the coming year, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a thoughtful reauthorization process for Perkins in this new environment and will urge lawmakers to build upon the strong foundation laid with H.R. 5587 to support high-quality CTE for years to come.

Be sure to check back here for an in-depth look at what else is in store in the 115th Congress in coming week.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

Congress Averts Government Shutdown with Stopgap Funding Legislation

December 12th, 2016

United States CapitalOn Friday the House and Senate successfully passed a second “continuing resolution” (CR)— short-term stopgap funding legislation that temporarily extends current Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 spending levels through April 28th, 2017. The legislation provides funding for the federal government until this date or until a separate full-year appropriations bill is enacted into law. The current 2016 fiscal year began this past October and the federal government has been operating under the auspices of an earlier CR passed by Congress just before this deadline.

While it had seemed likely that Congress would pass comprehensive spending legislation for the full fiscal year during the current lame duck session of Congress, as they have several times in years past, incoming President-Elect Donald Trump requested that these critical funding decisions be further delayed until next spring.

This decision leaves the outlook for funding for important federal programs, like the Carl D. Perkins Act, uncertain in the interim. This year’s earlier CR required a 0.496 percent across-the-board cut to all discretionary federal programs, including the Perkins Act’s basic state grant program. Due to the Budget Control Act’s (BCA) sequester caps, which significantly restrict the amount of funding available for programs like Perkins each year through the next decade, this reduction translated into $5.5 million in fewer funding for Perkins, students, and the CTE programs the law supports.

At that time, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) revised states’ Perkins allocations in October and 30 states received reduced grants amounts due to the passage of this temporary legislation.

This most recent CR re-adjusts this half percent reduction somewhat to 0.19 percent to stay within the BCA caps. However, USDE is not likely to reimburse states for the difference between these two spending cuts until a full-year spending bill is successfully enacted.

The ongoing uncertainty caused by the current series of stopgap funding measures from Congress is already creating uncertainty for states and local school districts who need to prepare budgets for the upcoming academic year. Moreover, the budget process for the next federal fiscal year (2018) will begin in late winter of 2017 further complicating matters as efforts to fund federal programs like Perkins increasingly overlap.

Advance CTE encourages the CTE community to let their members of Congress know how important it is to restore cuts to Perkins in the coming months and pass comprehensive legislation that replaces these counterproductive CRs moving forward. To do so click here. Be sure to check back as the outlook for Perkins funding continues to evolve.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

This Week in CTE

December 9th, 2016

 

 

EXCELLENCE IN ACTION AWARD APPLICATIONS DUE NEXT WEEK!

The 2017 Excellence in Action award applications are due next week! Be sure to submit your program of study by Wednesday to lift up the innovative and exciting ways you’re providing students with high-quality CTE. Apply today!

CTE MONTH IS AROUND THE CORNER!

CTE Month is right around the corner and we’re getting geared up to celebrate around the theme, “Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!” This is our community’s chance to showcase the vast importance of CTE, and celebrate the successes of our state leaders, educators, administrators, partners, and students. This year, the Association for Career and Technical Education is hosting a Thunderclap, which will amplify the importance of CTE Month on social media. Be sure to join your fellow CTE advocates here!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

States Continue to Make Progress on ESSA Implementation

December 6th, 2016

Last week we provided an update on new federal regulations clarifying the implementation timeline and requirements for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Of note was the decision to delay the submission deadline for state plans to afford state agencies more time to meaningfully engage and gather input from stakeholders. This has been a priority activity for many states over the past several months. As state agencies have worked to draft and finalize their ESSA plans, many have made use of surveys, focus groups and listening tours to gather feedback from students, parents, educators and other relevant stakeholders.

To date, draft ESSA state plans are available for public comment in 10 states (though several others have released draft components): Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Washington. At this point, several states have proposed strategies to leverage ESSA’s accountability requirements to encourage and expand quality career pathways through a College and Career Readiness indicator (CCR). California is a notable example, having adopted a such a system in September, though other states are considering this as well.

Based on feedback from stakeholders, Delaware proposed a “College and Career Preparation” indicator that includes the percent of students demonstrating postsecondary preparation through CTE pathway completion, dual enrollment, and other academic indicators such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and SAT exam scores. Additionally, Oklahoma’s state plan proposes using industry credential attainment, along with AP/IB, as one measure of student access to postsecondary opportunity. And in South Carolina, the Department of Education designed its ESSA plan around a 90 percent college and and career readiness goal for graduating students by 2030. As an interim measure of progress towards this goal, the plan proposes adopting a “Prepared for Success” indicator that measures high school students’ scores on WorkKeys assessments, participation in Youth Apprenticeships, completion of state-approved CTE pathways and industry credential attainment. This list is by no means exhaustive, but nonetheless provides a snapshot of how some states are approaching this opportunity.

Other states have found opportunities to prioritize career readiness strategies throughout the ESSA planning process. For example:TN ESSA

  • In response to its cross-state listening tour, Tennessee released an update on its ESSA plan development, reporting that one of the priority themes from the listening tour was creating a bridge to postsecondary. As such, Tennessee aims to leverage its ESSA planning to encourage and expand access to early postsecondary opportunities, including industry credentials and postsecondary credit attainment.
  • In compliance with ESSA’s requirement of challenging state standards and assessments, the Montana State Board of Education in November approved an updated standards review schedule to ensure that standards in specific program areas are regularly reviewed and revised. The first cycle of review, beginning in 2016, will examine standards for CTE, Digital Literacy, and Computer Science.
  • Washington State’s plan proposes utilizing the state’s High School and Beyond Plan as a strategy to support student learning and achievement. Students develop their High School and Beyond Plans in middle school with support from family members and school based counselors. The Plan identifies the student’s interests and abilities and defines a plan that is linked to his or her career goals.

With ESSA state plans due to be submitted in 2017, many states have yet to formalize their strategies under the new K-12 education law. Advance CTE  will monitor state plans and proposals as they are released to share emerging strategies and opportunities to leverage the law to advance career readiness and CTE as ESSA continues to be implemented over the coming years.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Betsy DeVos Nominated to Head U.S. Department of Education

November 30th, 2016

B99468301Z.1_20161123141018_000_GOR18773B.1-0President-Elect Donald Trump has been busy the past few weeks identifying individuals to fill key cabinet-level positions in his new administration. Just before Thanksgiving Day Trump announced that Betsy DeVos would be his nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). Her nomination will need to be considered by the Senate Education Committee (HELP) next year and is subject to confirmation by the full chamber.

Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who heads the Senate HELP Committee, applauded DeVos’ nomination saying, “Betsy DeVos is an excellent choice. The Senate’s education committee will move swiftly in January to consider her nomination.” The chairman also noted that he looked forward to working with her on the ongoing implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and on the forthcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the next Congress. While much is known about DeVos’ positions on secondary education, particularly her steadfast support charter school policies and school choice, her views on many postsecondary issues remain somewhat less understood at this time.

Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), the lead Democrat on the Senate HELP Committee, issued a more measured statement regarding the nomination saying, in part, “I look forward to meeting with Betsy DeVos and talking to her about her vision for the Department of Education and whether and how it includes expanding access to educational opportunities for students across the country.”

Mrs. DeVos is best known for her political advocacy in the state of Michigan promoting pro-charter school policies. She also is the Chairwoman for the American Federation for Children—an advocacy organization focused on promoting school choice policies at the federal, state, and local level among other endeavors.

DeVos and her husband Dick are also ardent financial supporters of the Republican Party, particularly in their home state of Michigan where Dick ran an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 2006. Through this work, the couple has been extremely successful in enacting pro-school choice policies in the state of Michigan to promote charter schools via voucher programs and tax credits among other policy prescriptions. Mrs. DeVos’ husband also founded and runs the West Michigan Aviation Academy— a theme-based charter school in Grand Rapids, MI focused on the aviation and engineering fields.

While Mrs. DeVos’ views on CTE are unknown, her upcoming nomination process in the 115th Congress will shed more light on this critical topic and more. With Senators Murray and Alexander set to lead the HELP Committee next year for their respective parties, and further changes to the committee composition likely, Advance CTE will continue to monitor and engage with this process to ensure CTE and related federal legislation are prioritized by the incoming USDE leadership team.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

Two weeks left to apply to the 2017 Excellence in Action Award!

November 29th, 2016

Submit your program of study for this nation-wide award that recognizes innovative and exemplary programs across the 16 Career Clusters. In its fourth year, the Excellence in Action award has recognized 26 programs of study from across the country representing the best of  Career Technical Education (CTE). Join this cohort and submit your application to the Excellence in Action award by December 14. Iowa

Why Should You Apply?

Receiving the Excellence in Action award means your program of study will be showcased on a national level through conferences, webinars, 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, 2015, and 2016 winners.

For questions about the application, or application process, email awards@careertech.org or call 301-588-9630.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Getting to Know … Maine

November 21st, 2016

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know …” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Maine maine dept of ed

State CTE Director: Margaret Harvey, Director of Career Technical Education, Maine Department of Education

About Maine: In Maine, the state Board of Education is the eligible agency that receives and distributes federal Carl D. Perkins dollars. These funds are split evenly between the secondary and postsecondary sectors. At the secondary level, state law requires all students to be able to access CTE programs, which they can do through one of 27 CTE instructional facilities. There are two types of facilities: CTE Centers, which are administered by local education agencies, and CTE Regions, which are governed by a cooperative board representing districts in the region. Since Maine does not have comprehensive high schools, students receive academic instruction through their sending high schools and CTE instruction through CTE Centers or Regions.

Additionally, Maine has a proficiency-based graduation system that enables students to receive a secondary diploma by demonstrating competencies aligned with the Maine Learning Results standards. Earlier this year, the legislature updated the policy to enable CTE classes to satisfy some of the proficiency-based graduation requirements, considerably increasing the opportunity for secondary students to pursue CTE courses. Maine is further working to integrate technical and academic standards through CTE Intersections Workshops, which convene CTE, math and English Language Arts teachers to discuss intersections in their curricula. By 2017, the state aims to have completed intersections for 11 program pathways.

Maine recently revamped their teacher certification requirements to enable more business and industry experts to enter the classroom. They also adopted a regional calendar law to ensure students could attain the industry recognized credentials available in their programs.

Postsecondary Counterpart: Maine secondary and postsecondary CTE institutions maintain a close partnership to enable students to have a smooth transition to postsecondary education. Maine secondary CTE also communicates with the Maine Department of Labor to create pre-apprenticeships and mentorships for Maine students.

Programs of Study (POS): Maine has adopted ten Career Clusters® and 25 related pathways at the state level, and local schools and districts are able to develop their own programs based on these frameworks. Programs must be aligned to national- or state-certified industry standards and undergo an approval process by the state Department of Education, including review by an industry stakeholder group. Each program is reviewed by the Department of Education every six years, with an abbreviated review every three, though local CTE administrators conduct more routine program assessments through required Program Advisory Committees (PAC) and Center Advisory Committees (CAC). These committees review programs regularly to ensure they continue to meet industry standards and local industry needs.

Notable in Maine: The state has made efforts in recent years to support the transition from secondary to postsecondary through statewide articulation agreements and the Bridge Year program. Four statewide articulation agreements — in culinary arts, electrical, machine tool and, soon, auto technology programs — enable students to apply credits earned in high school towards a postsecondary degree at one of Maine’s public colleges and/or universities. Additionally, Maine encourages school districts to enter into their own articulation and dual enrollment agreements with corresponding community colleges, universities, and private postsecondary institutions to ensure students have a seamless pathway.

The Bridge Year program is a cohort-based early college program that starts during the junior year of high school. Bridge Year is designed to prepare students for college and careers through technical instruction, career assessments and advising, job shadowing experiences and dual credit coursework. In 2013, the state legislature passed a law to provide funding for dual enrollment CTE programs such as Bridge Year and enable students to earn high school diplomas and postsecondary credit through such programs. In the 2015-16 academic year, 224 students were enrolled in Bridge Year and were projected to earn 3,360 postsecondary credits.

Moving forward, Maine plans to take advantage of the state’s new proficiency-based graduation requirements to promote the benefits of CTE and encourage and allow more students to enroll.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE: It’s Apprenticeship Week!

November 18th, 2016

We’re celebrating apprenticeship week this week honoring the role apprenticeships play in helping businesses train accomplished employees, and offering a way for learners to gain the skills they need to be successful in the workplace, while earning a wage while doing so. Below you’ll find a number of resources highlighting the importance of supporting apprenticeships at the national, state and local levels, to ensure learners are prepared for a lifetime of career success.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Connecting the Classroom to Careers: Leveraging Intermediaries to Expand Work-based Learning, brief explores the role of intermediaries at the school, region and state levels, who coordinate between educators and employers to develop critical work-based learning opportunities for students. Learn more about South Carolina’s Apprenticeship Carolina program, which provides critical support to education institutions and employers around the state’s growing Registered Youth Apprenticeships and adult Registered Apprenticeships.

POLICY OF THE WEEK

Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) is a youth pre-apprenticeship program that stands out as an innovative example of effective collaboration between the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education, employers and labor to strengthen students’ career pathways and the talent pipeline. Learn more about TRACK through a webinar we held with Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center.

PROGRAM OF THE WEEK

Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua, Ohio, is a two-year full-time academic and technical high school that includes a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program of study, with a pre-apprenticeship fully embedded into the program. The pre-apprenticeship program offers students the option of continuing on in a Registered Apprenticeship or non-registered apprenticeship, full-time employment, or additional postsecondary education and training, depending on the opportunities provided by the employer sponsor and student choice. Students have access to apprenticeships with 23 employers, providing them with a multitude of paths to continuing into a career of their choice, such as Cammi Clement, who graduated from UVCC, became an apprentice at Emerson Climate Technologies, and was offered full-time employment and tuition reimbursement upon completion of the program.

EVENT OF THE WEEK: Save the Date!

Save May 4th-5th, 2017 for Apprenticeship Forward, a national conference of leading practitioners from the apprenticeship field including industry associations and employers; unions and labor-management partnerships; community-based organizations; community colleges; high schools; and workforce boards, as well as federal and state policymakers from throughout the country. The event will focus on three critical challenges facing the expansion of apprenticeship:

  • Increasing industry engagement across a range of sectors and firms;AF logo large
  • Addressing equity while diversifying the apprenticeship pipeline; and
  • Implementing new public policies that can take apprenticeship to scale.

Apprenticeship Forward will feature engaging plenaries and breakout panels as well as interactive discussions between attendees about their efforts within specific industries and with specific groups of students and prospective workers.

Sponsoring Partners include:  National Skills Coalition, New America, AFL-CIO Working for America Institute, Advance CTE, National Association of Workforce Boards, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, National Governors Association, and Urban Institute

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

Putting the Learner First in Career Technical Education

November 15th, 2016

Now that the election has finally come to a close, it’s time to refocus our energy on solving the challenges USCC_FOUNDATION_ID_RGB_1360pxfacing this country. And one of those challenges is connecting people to jobs. On average, employers have been adding 178,000 jobs per month this year. That’s 178,000 opportunities for businesses to connect with the talent they need to be competitive and 178,000 opportunities for people to access the jobs and careers that lead to economic self-sufficiency. However, with hopes that the economy will continue to experience growth, there is less optimism that business will find the workers they need to fill this expansion.

This challenge is particularly acute given the large population of workers nearing retirement and the need for employees to have a different set of skills and competencies than in the past. To address this challenge, this country needs to commit to new approaches that ensure young adults exiting our education and training systems are not only prepared to make the transition into the world of work but are also prepared to be drivers of innovation for this economy. In other words, how do we move students from being career ready to career competitive?

Career Technical Education (CTE) advocates, Advance CTE, and their partners representing a variety of stakeholders are answering that very question. Charting a new pathway for CTE, Advance CTE’s vision is focused on building the talented workforce this country needs to compete by putting the learner first in CTE programming. A key tenant of this effort is providing opportunities for learners to make meaningful connections with employers; yet, this type of access cannot occur without implementing new models of employer engagement and leadership in CTE.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s (USCCF) recent youth employment series highlights demand-driven approaches for chambers and other business associations looking to help America’s economy grow, businesses remain competitive, and provide students access to opportunities for success. In alignment with the Advance CTE vision for a revitalized CTE, USCCF’s work focuses on developing and implementing sustainable processes for employers to inform, validate, and participate in the implementation of career pathways. The four-part series includes:

USCCF is committed to putting the learner first by organizing the business community in new ways.

Learn more at YouthEmploymentWorks.org.

Erica Kashiri is Director of Policy and Programs at USCCF’s Center for Education and Workforce.

 

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