Hello from Advance CTE’s Newest Staff Member

August 29th, 2019

My name is Meghan Wills and I joined the Advance CTE team in mid-August 2019. I will be serving as Director of Strategic Initiatives; in this new position, I will oversee and manage major organization-wide initiatives that support, promote and increase learner access to and success in high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE). I will oversee an expansion of state technical assistance to support the implementation of policies, programs and initiatives that increase equitable access to and success in high-quality CTE. In addition, I will lead Advance CTE’s partnership with JPMorgan Chase & Co. on career readiness and student completion of high-quality career pathways.

While I am newer to the CTE policy world, I bring deep knowledge of state policy from the time I spent at the National Governors Association (NGA). I worked at NGA from 2011 to 2019, where I led projects with governors and states on workforce development issues. I oversaw the provision of technical assistance to state workforce system leaders, as well as projects on work-based learning and apprenticeship, the future of work and the on-demand economy, occupational licensing reform and employment of people with disabilities. I look forward to leveraging this experience to strengthen the alignment between state CTE and workforce systems, ensuring that young people across the country are prepared for a lifetime of career success.

I am a passionate advocate for career exploration and providing learners with real-world, hands-on experiences in the classroom, and I strongly believe in the power of CTE in shaping the futures of young people. I look forward to meeting and working with State CTE Directors and other Advance CTE members!

By Meghan Wills, Director of Strategic Initiatives

States Support Alternative Methods to Earn College Credit and Degrees

August 8th, 2019

The majority of 2019 legislative sessions have come to a close. During these legislative sessions, states enacted legislation to support alternative methods to obtain college credit and degrees.

Awarding College Credit Through Apprenticeships

Some states are exploring how to leverage apprenticeships to award college credit to learners. For instance, the Colorado legislature passed HB19-1294 in May to require the chief administrative officer of the Colorado Community College System to convene a working group to determine the best way to transfer construction industry registered apprenticeship program credit to college credit. If possible, the working group must have representatives from community colleges, area technical schools, local district colleges, relevant four-year institutions and applicable labor organizations. The working group must consider the possibility of apprenticeship program coursework culminating in significant progress towards a degree, among other considerations.

In June, the Connecticut legislature passed SB607, which requires the Labor Department and the Board of Regents for Higher Education to jointly establish nontraditional pathways to earning a bachelor’s degree through the inclusion of credits earned through apprenticeships.

Expanding Access to Credit for Prior Learning Opportunities

The Utah legislature passed HB45 in April. HB45 directs the State Board of Regents to establish policies that award learners credit for prior learning. The established policies must provide standards for accepted forms of prior learning assessments and the transferability of prior learning assessment credits between institutions, among other standards. To learn more about promising practices to advance credit for prior learning opportunities for each learner, read Advance CTE’s Developing Credit for Prior Learning Policies to Support Postsecondary Attainment for Every Learner report.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

August 2nd, 2019

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

Congress Reaches Budget Deal

On Thursday, the Senate passed a $2.7 trillion budget agreement in a 67-28 vote. Through this agreement, the non-defense discretionary funding cap for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 will increase by $27 billion and defense spending will increase by $22 billion. Each of those levels will go up by $2.5 billion in FY21. 

This follows last week’s budgetary movement when Congressional and Administration leaders worked together on an agreement to raise spending levels for FY20 and FY21, as well as suspend the debt ceiling. The House then passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (H.R. 3877), a budget deal that raises the caps on defense and non-defense discretionary funding for FY20 and FY21 and suspends the debt limit through July 31, 2021. 

Now, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) will determine the division of funds between the 12 government funding bills, and the Committee will prepare each of the 12 funding bills to be voted on following August recess before government funding runs out on September 30.

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

Advance CTE’s Kate Kreamer on the Purpose and Definition of CTE

Fordham Institute brought together a panel of CTE experts to discuss, Is Career and Technical Education Having an Identity Crisis? Kate Kreamer the Deputy Executive Director of Advance CTE contributed her thoughts explaining how CTE has evolved. Watch this video clip to hear her response. 

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/MVY280XzAcI

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Stakeholders and Perkins V: Meaningful Engagement for Student Success

Similar to Perkins IV, Perkins V maintains the requirement that the state plan is developed in consultation with a number of entities and in some cases, identifies when this consultation must occur and for what purpose. In addition, Perkins V introduces some new stakeholder engagement and public comment requirements. This guide from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) contains specific strategies on how best to connect with, speak to and learn from stakeholders with a unique perspective. This tool provides detailed guidance on stakeholder engagement strategies; state examples of potential strategies; stakeholder-specific tactics; planning templates and tools; a breakdown of stakeholders with whom states are required to engage under different provisions of Perkins V; and lists of additional stakeholder engagement resources.

Read the full guide here.

Congress Reaches Budget Deal, Congressional Briefings on JOBS Act

August 1st, 2019

This week, the Senate passed a $2.7 trillion budget agreement. Read below to learn more about the budget deal, as well as recent briefings on Career Technical Education (CTE) and cybersecurity, agriculture and short-term job-training programs. 

Congress Reaches Budget Deal

Today, the Senate passed a $2.7 trillion budget agreement in a 67-28 vote. Through this agreement, the non-defense discretionary funding cap for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 will increase by $27 billion and defense spending will increase by $22 billion. Each of those levels will go up by $2.5 billion in FY21. 

This follows last week’s budgetary movement, when Congressional and Administration leaders worked together on an agreement to raise spending levels for FY20 and FY21, as well as suspend the debt ceiling. The House then passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (H.R. 3877), a budget deal that raises the caps on defense and non-defense discretionary funding for FY20 and FY21 and  suspends the debt limit through July 31, 2021. 

Now, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) will determine the division of funds between the 12 government funding bills, and the Committee will prepare each of the 12 funding bills to be voted on following August recess before government funding runs out on September 30.

House and Senate Panels Discuss Short-Term Programs and JOBS Act

This week, both the House and Senate held briefings on short-term job-focused college programs. The panel, sponsored by Opportunity America, along with Representatives Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), discussed the ways that high-quality short-term programs open up new opportunities for career growth. The group explained that short-term credentialing programs can prepare individuals for in-demand and high-wage careers, improving career opportunities for the student and filling employer vacancies. A former Virginia Community College System student who took advantage of such program explained that, as a result, he has “a career instead of a job.” 

The panel also discussed the benefits of expanding Pell Grant eligibility to short-term job training programs, as outlined in the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S. 839 and H.R. 3497). This legislation would expand Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality short-term postsecondary programs. Eligible short-term programs would have to be at least 150 clock hours over at least eight weeks, meet local or regional labor market needs, articulate to institutional credit and provide students with a recognized postsecondary license, certification or credential.

Senate CTE Caucus Holds Briefings on Cybersecurity and Agriculture

The Congressional Career Technical Education (CTE) and Cybersecurity Caucuses held a joint briefing last week on “Building a Culture of Security: Integrating Cyber into Career and Technical Education.” The event featured a panel of cybersecurity and CTE experts speaking about the importance of integrating cybersecurity education into CTE programs, creating jobs in the cybersecurity field and anticipating future security threats to the country. When asked about public misconceptions regarding the skills needed to enter the field, panelists noted that there are a variety of cybersecurity career opportunities outside of the traditional computer science pathway.

The Senate CTE Caucus also held a briefing last week on “Agricultural Education and the National FFA Organization.” Current and past National Future Farmers of America (FFA) students and educators spoke about the impact of agricultural education on their understanding of food and health. The current students also shared that their CTE and FFA experiences gave them optimism about finding the job of their choice in their area of interest.  Senator Todd Young (R-IN), Co-Chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, spoke about the important role of the agricultural industry, and encouraged today’s students to continue to follow their passions while in school. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Jade Richards, Policy Fellow

Perkins V: How can states strengthen the CTE educator pipeline?

August 1st, 2019

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) gives states an important opportunity to examine their pipeline of Career Technical Education (CTE) educators. The new law requires states and local recipients of Perkins funds to address how they are recruiting, preparing, and retaining CTE educators and providing them with professional development in their state plans and local applications. In addition, resources must be dedicated to these efforts. How can states strengthen the CTE educator pipeline when there is a nationwide shortage of CTE educators? Check out the resources and policy profiles below to learn about this challenge and how states are addressing it.

FACT SHEET: CTE Teacher and Faculty Shortages: This fact sheet from Advance CTE provides an overview of the alignment between CTE teacher and faculty shortages and labor market demands.

REPORT: The State of Career Technical Education: Increasing Access to Industry Experts in High Schools: This report from Advance CTE, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at AIR, draws on data from two national surveys to examine the shortage of industry experts in secondary classrooms and how to address it.

BRIEF: CTE on the Frontier: Strengthening the Rural CTE Teacher Pipeline: This brief explores one of the most pressing challenges rural schools and institutions face: strengthening the pipeline of qualified CTE teachers and faculty.

POLICY PROFILES

  • South Dakota: CTE Teacher Certification Rule Changes: To address the teacher shortage, the South Dakota State Board of Education changed administrative rules for Career Technical Education (CTE) teacher certification in November 2015, introducing more consistency and flexibility to the certification process.
  • Texas: Community College Petrochemical Initiative: The Community College Petrochemical Initiative in Texas addresses workforce development in the Texas Gulf Coast and includes community college faculty externships with industry employees.

Looking for additional resources? Please be sure to check out the Learning that Works Resource Center.

How Higher Education Can Support Adult Learners

July 31st, 2019

While most people think of the typical college student as coming directly from high school, the reality is that 38 percent of college students today are 25 or older. On July 9, Higher Learning Advocates organized a panel titled Pathways to Success: Supporting Today’s Adult Students to discuss the unique challenges adult learners face in postsecondary education and potential solutions.

The panel included:

  • Goldie Blumenstyk, Senior Writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education 
  • Stephanie Shaw, Executive Director of Eastern Ohio Education Partnership
  • Maureen Elias, Veteran Student
  • Chris Bustamante, Bustamante Consulting, Arizona
  • Eric Bing, CEO of The College of Healthcare Professions, Texas

Many high school graduates enter the workforce directly instead of pursuing postsecondary education, and with today’s tight labor market, many can find high-wage employment without an advanced degree. However, as industries change and labor markets shift, workers will need additional, more specialized skills to stay competitive. Programs like the Eastern Ohio Education Partnership help adults obtain degrees and certifications so they can advance in the workforce and sustain high-wage, high-skill and in-demand employment.

Entering postsecondary education as an adult comes with challenges. One of Elias’s biggest concerns as a mother was access to not only affordable childcare, but childcare offered at times after the normal work day to accommodate her night classes. She is not alone: 26 percent of adult students are parents, and access to childcare makes it difficult to finish a degree or certification. Schedule flexibility is important even for adult students without children, as over half work while in college

So what can be done to better address the needs of adult learners? Postsecondary institutions and policymakers can create flexibility in financial aid to allow more adults to afford education. This option is part of the reason The College of Healthcare Professions is able to educate so many adult learners. Universities can also address the needs of adult learners by accepting transfer credits earned at a previous institution toward a degree or certificate. Beyond these institutional changes, there are ways to make adult students feel more included on campus with small adjustments. Making campuses feel more family friendly is a great way to get adult students integrated. This can be as simple as encouraging members to bring their family along to events hosted by different student organizations.

One of Elias’s core suggestions was mandatory career advising for students who receive any money from the federal government. This ensures students know what courses they need to take in order to graduate on time with their intended major and that federal dollars support individuals who will be career ready when they graduate. Understanding the challenges adult students face today creates space to develop solutions for a better experience in higher education.

Jordan Dreisbach, Policy Intern

This Week in CTE

July 26th, 2019

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

House Holds Hearing on International Apprenticeship Models

The House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee held a hearing on “Scaling Up Apprenticeships: Building on the Success of International Apprenticeship Models.”

In their opening remarks, both Subcommittee Chair Susan Davis (D-CA) and Ranking Member Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) discussed the need for innovative apprenticeship models that provide students with academic skills and work-based learning experience. Witnesses shared apprenticeship models in Australia, Germany and Switzerland. 

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

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

The U.S. Department of Education Teacher Shortage survey data tool reveals that 31 states are currently identifying a critical shortage of Career Technical Education educators. Check out the most recent video on teacher recruitment and retention here. It features two organizations who are conducting groundbreaking work around teacher recruitment, retention, and professional development in CTE.  Use the information to spark ideas in the context of your Perkins V state plan.

You can access the video discussion guide here.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Practitioner Perspectives On Equity In Career And Technical Education 

MDRC Center for Effective Career and Technical Education released a new brief on equity titled Practitioner Perspectives On Equity In Career And Technical Education. In the spring of 2019, MDRC invited practitioners from innovative CTE programs to discuss questions of equity. This policy brief summarizes the most common equity challenges that were raised in the discussion, along with ideas that emerged for how to address them. It concludes with a discussion of how research can help practitioners address equity, and how policymakers can support equitable delivery and outcomes.

Read the brief here

Perkins V: How can states advance equity in CTE?

July 25th, 2019

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) provides states with an important opportunity to dive into data on Career Technical Education (CTE), identify disparities and gaps in performance, and begin to address them. The new law emphasizes the importance of engaging in this process by maintaining the required disaggregation of performance data by student populations, requiring additional disaggregation by CTE program or Career Cluster, and requiring state plans and local applications to address how disparities and gaps in performance will be addressed. In addition, the law includes a new purpose focused on how CTE can better serve special population and an expanded definition of special populations that aligns with the Every Student Succeeds Act. As Perkins V implementation begins, how can states advance equity in CTE? Check out the briefs in the Making Good on the Promise series below to learn about CTE’s equity challenges, strategies to confront inequities and rebuild trust, and how to expand CTE opportunities for each learner.

BRIEF: Understanding the CTE Equity Challenge: This brief, the first in the Making Good on the Promise series, attempts to confront the negative aspects of CTE’s legacy and define the key challenges learners face today.

BRIEF: Examining Access and Achievement Gaps: This brief, the second in the Making Good on the Promise series, lays out a strategy for state and local policymakers to confront historical inequities by using data to examine and address gaps.

BRIEF: Building Trust to Promote Equity in CTE: This brief, the third in the Making Good on the Promise series, maps out steps state leaders can take to rebuild trust in marginalized communities that CTE historically failed to serve equitably.

BRIEF: Expanding Access to Opportunity: This brief, the fourth in the Making Good on the Promise series, examines strategies state leaders can use to expand CTE opportunities for each learner.

MORE RESOURCES

Looking for additional resources? Please be sure to check out the Learning that Works Resource Center.

This Week in CTE

July 19th, 2019

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

CEF Visits 41 Congressional Offices to Advocate for Education Funding 

CEF, of which Advance CTE is on the Board of Directors, held its annual Hill Day on July 17. CEF members spanning the education continuum met with a collective 41 congressional offices of both parties in the House and the Senate. In these meetings, CEF representatives advocated for an increase in education funding, which currently makes up less than 2 percent of the federal budget. Check out #CEFHillDay on Twitter to see some of the offices that were visited.

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!

Advance CTE has a New Website

We’ve made resources and information easier for you to find! In the Learning that Works Resource Center, there is new slider showcasing the latest resources, new topic areas to help you find Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and communications resources and an improved search function.

Check it out here!

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Brownsville ISD CTE Success Story

Want to hear a CTE success story? Watch this video about a former Brownsville Independent School District’s Firefighter-EMT Certification program student who is now a Firefighter/EMT for the South Padre Island Fire Department. As a child, a career as a firefighter was a distant dream now it’s a reality. 

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/O7MzclqPdvw

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

CTE Data Puts Meaningful Information about Student Pathways in the Hands of Policymakers

The Data Quality Campaign released a new fact sheet which includes guidance for state CTE leaders in creating the linkages necessary to collect CTE data and publicly reporting this information in actionable ways. It also offers recommendations for publicly reporting information on workforce outcomes in ways that are actionable to families and students.

Learn more here

CEF Hill Day, House Hearing on Apprenticeship Models

July 19th, 2019

This week, Advance CTE joined the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) to advocate for an increased federal investment in education. Read below to learn more about CEF Hill Day, a hearing on apprenticeship models and  the new postsecondary post filled in the U.S. Department of Education.

CEF Visits 41 Congressional Offices to Advocate for Education Funding 

CEF, of which Advance CTE is on the Board of Directors, held its annual Hill Day on July 17. CEF members spanning the education continuum met with a collective 41 congressional offices of both parties in the House and the Senate. In these meetings CEF representatives advocated for an increase in education funding, which currently makes up less than 2 percent of the federal budget. Check out #CEFHillDay on Twitter to see some of the offices that were visited.

House Holds Hearing on International Apprenticeship Models

On July 16, the House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee held a hearing on “Scaling Up Apprenticeships: Building on the Success of International Apprenticeship Models.”

In their opening remarks, both Subcommittee Chair Susan Davis (D-CA) and Ranking Member Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) discussed the need for innovative apprenticeship models that provide students with academic skills and work-based learning experience. 

Witnesses shared apprenticeship models in Australia, Germany and Switzerland, and included:

  • Tim Bradley, Minister Counsellor for Industry, Science and Education, Embassy of Australia;
  • Silvia Annen, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training; and  
  • Simon Marti, Ph.D., Head of Office, SwissCore.

Though the apprenticeship model for each country is different, all reiterated common themes for success, such as: employer engagement throughout the entire process; public-private partnerships; affordability of programs by  shared investment across partners; and high standards for quality. The group also agreed that the apprentices are not expected to remain in one life-long occupation, but should be able to find career success in different jobs and industries.

The opening statement from Chairwoman Davis and the testimony from each witness can be found here

Senate Confirms Higher Education Post

On July 11, the Senate confirmed Robert L. King as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education. King’s nomination passed on a 56-37 vote. Previously, King was the president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. He has also served as president and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation and chancellor of the State University of New York system. 

The announcement and statement from the Department can be found here

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

 

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