Education and Business Partnerships Necessary to Prepare a Skilled Workforce

March 3rd, 2016

This post was written by Becky Hoelscher, Director of AC Aftermarket, Emerson Climate Technologies Air Conditioning Business for our Friends of CTE series. 

While I was in high school, I was enrolled in a Career Technical Education (CTE) program where I was introduced to hands-on learning tactics that taught me valuable career competencies. After completion of this program, my classmates and I were prepared to enter into a workforce that was not only high in demand, but also required a high level of academic knowledge and technical skills. I am believer in and advocate for CTE because as a graduate myself, I understand just how important hands-on learning is for students preparing to enter into the workforce.

Need Recognition for HVAC Professionals
At Emerson Climate Technologies, we are working to recruit heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals to meet the growth predicted for our industry. In fact, in less than ten years, there will be 55,900 HVAC jobs1 added to the U.S. economy without the skilled workforce to fill the positions.
As skilled trade workers retire at a rapid speed, there are simply not enough trained individuals entering the workforce to replace them. Additionally, as older HVAC equipment becomes outdated and inefficient, current professionals will need to upskill and become familiar with new technologies, while future workers will need to be trained in both old and new technologies. At Emerson, we see HVAC jobs left unfilled every day. This is why supporting HVAC education and training has become a top priority for us.

Supporting the Future of HVAC Professionals
One of our strongest partnerships is with Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC), a nationally recognized CTE center located near our headquarters in Sidney, Ohio, where students develop valuable academic, employability and technical HVAC skills by learning how to design, install and maintain controlled environments.

Emerson has representatives on UVCC’s Advisory Council, where we contribute curriculum development expertise for students and faculty regularly. We have also provided grants, donated equipment and conducted professional development for instructors to keep them up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field. Over the years, we have consistently hired current UVCC students as interns, as well as recent graduates because we know they so well qualified.

Additionally, Emerson has provided marketing support for UVCC – helping develop the “Cool School, Hot Career” 11194628_10152906910723196_5261498197260186941_omarketing campaign – to generate interest in the HVAC field and recruit students to the program. As part of the campaign, we host career days where employees teach students about the variety of careers available across the HVAC industry.

This year, Emerson Climate Technologies was announced as the Association for Career and Technical Education’s Business of the Year for our commitment to CTE through our 17-year partnership and support of CTE professionals.
By partnering with local CTE programs, we are able to benefit the students, the local community, our wholesalers, contractors and the company itself. Seeing the benefit of this hands-on training, we will continue to support CTE by collaborating with local schools to create high-quality programs such as the program at UVCC. We encourage businesses in not only HVAC, but across all sectors, to provide support to CTE programs.

1. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm

Learn more about our Friends of CTE Series.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Advance CTE Unifies CTE Field

February 26th, 2016

While I’ve held a variety of positions at the state leader level in Florida, Washington and Arkansas including my current role as the Florida Department of Education’s Chancellor for the Division of Career, I began my career in the classroom as a teacher. From the local to the state level, I’ve seen first-hand the impact high-quality CTE has in preparing students for meaningful careers, and have spent my career advocating so that all students have access to CTE opportunities.

The rebrand of Advance CTE allows the field – from classroom teachers to state leaders – to unify under a common message about who we are and how we value CTE. While CTE directly engages policymakers, businesses, state leaders and educators, in many cases there is still the perception of CTE as the “vocational” education model of previous days. The Advance CTE brand is fresh, new, and forward thinking, and represents the CTE of today and the future, while still honoring our past.

This rebrand process was an exciting opportunity to hear from the membership and Board of Directors who represent CTE across the nation about what Career Technical Education represents to them, and where we are headed. In the end, we were able to come together as a unified Board around a new brand that will certainly propel us into the future. On a personal note, as someone who has been an associate member, a state member and now the President of Advance CTE’s Board of Directors, it has been a particularly exciting journey to me.

Rod Duckworth, Chancellor, Division of Career and Adult Education, Florida Department of Education, Advance CTE Board of Directors President

#CTEMonth @ the Local Level

February 19th, 2016

So far during CTE Month we’ve covered some of what’s happening at the State level and on the Hill. Today, we’ll take a look at how schools, employers, students and educators are celebrating CTE Month on the ground.

CTE Site Visits

Earlier this week, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) held a site visit at Cardozo Education Campus, IMG_4753serving students grades 6-12 with world-class Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study in Washington, D.C. One program, the TransSTEM academy, which includes Project Lead the Way curriculum, creates opportunities for work-based learning in both the classrooms and off campus. One of the only schools in the country, Cardozo includes a FLEX-ACE lab, which replicates a test-range control room and operations center with state-of-the-art computers, flight simulators and a miniature air-traffic tower. Additionally, the academy partners with a multitude of employers at the national and local level to provide students with job shadowing, internships and mentors. The site visit included representation from the program’s alumni, national partners, Hill staff and students themselves.

Career Exploration

In addition to site visits, CTE Month is a perfect time to help students plan for their futures and to highlight how CTE programs of study can get them there.

Speight Middle School in Stantonsburg, North Carolina focused on career exploration at the middle school level. All rising freshman were required to complete a career self-assessment and research a career based on their assessment results. Educators assisted and monitored the research, which students then translated into a project to be showcased at the school’s first annual career fair. Eight graders will present their projects to their younger peers and community partners who will judge the event.

Dinwiddie High School in Dinwiddie County, Virginia held its annual Career & Industry Day with over 40 vendors including local and state police, medical professionals, culinary & event planning employers, Amazon, Walmart, Veterinarians and more. The event was expected to attract almost 1,000 students.

CTE Month in the News:

While CTE has been a hot topic in the news lately, there are still plenty of misconceptions about what CTE is and how it prepares students for successful careers. Getting the local media engaged during CTE month is a way to communicate the impact of your CTE program, and raise up the voices of your students, educators and partners who make your program great.

The Frederick News Post in partnership with the CTE Advisory Council in Maryland will publish a series of four articles written by journalism students that highlight successful CTE alumni during the month.

A Future Business Leader of America educator in Montgomery, Alabama won the local news station’s Golden Apple Award after nomination by a student.

Janet Goble, CTE Director in Canyons School District in Utah, was featured on the local news talking about the many ways schools prepare high schools students for careers.

CTE Month on Social Media

The #CTEMonth hashtag is still going strong on Twitter, where schools are highlighting their awards programs, featuring learning happening in the classroom, and honoring their CTE students and educators.

 

 

 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Inside International CTE: China

February 18th, 2016

Vivien Stewart, Senior Advisor for Education, Asia Society, shares what China’s education system is doing to raise the quality of its workforce. This post part of our ongoing partnership with Asia Society’s Global Learning Blog on EdWeek

The Shanghai Construction School
Last fall members of Asia Society’s Global Cities Education Network (GCEN), including representatives from Denver, Hangzhou, Hiroshima, Houston, Lexington, Melbourne, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Toronto met in Shanghai. Their focus: how to implement 21st century competencies in their schools. One of the site visits was to a school run by the Shanghai Construction Group. The 16th largest construction company in the world, the Shanghai Construction Group has built some of China’s most spectacular skyscrapers, in collaboration with the world’s most famous architects, and increasingly works outside of China as well. It recruits more than 1,500 employees a year, about half from university and half from its own upper secondary vocational school and college. Students who attend the vocational school and college are drawn from those who did not do well enough in school to pursue an academic route to university. Most are from poor backgrounds, including rural students who board at the school. The curriculum includes math, Chinese, English, construction engineering, computer-aided design, and mechanics. In the third year, students do practical work in the company, rotating through several departments and receiving a stipend. The company employs about one third of the graduates of the school and college and many other companies come to the school to recruit its highly regarded graduates.

GCEN members were impressed that students work on the most up-to-date equipment, for tunnel construction for example, and use leading edge construction simulations. Teachers in the school include construction managers from the company as well as regular teachers with backgrounds in academic engineering, who work in the construction company in the summer to keep their knowledge up to date. The school’s curriculum is constantly adjusted to follow new developments in the construction industry, including those from the company’s own research center on innovation in construction. Shanghai Construction Group is a strong believer in lifelong education and graduates of the secondary vocational school can rise through the ranks and may eventually be sent by the company to get a BA or MBA, often at institutions abroad.

China’s economic and skills transition
All in all, the Shanghai Construction School is an impressive model of vocational education – imparting modern skills in high demand and providing social mobility to its graduates. But not all vocational and technical education in China is like this. “Made in China” has become a ubiquitous label as China has become the manufacturing workshop of the world, powering three decades of astounding economic growth. But the label is often synonymous with low quality and China’s surging economic growth has come at huge costs in terms of environmental degradation and inequality. The global recession of 2008-2009 caused massive unemployment in China and created a sense of urgency about the need to shift from an economy based heavily on low-cost, low-skill manufacturing for export to an economy based on higher quality goods and services. To achieve this transition, China needs to massively ramp up its skill levels. Critical shortages of skilled workers, qualified technicians, and service providers exist in many industries including electronics and information technology, steel and equipment manufacturing, automobile repair, and hotels/tourism. Where are these skilled workers to come from?

Innovations in China’s VET system
China’s vocational and technical education system has been plagued with problems, many of them similar to those here. It is widely viewed as a weak link in the education system and has low status in the public mind. As in the U.S., many of China’s VET schools have had a narrow curriculum, relatively weak connections to industry, and lower funding than academic education. Teachers typically lack industry background and there are few pathways between vocational education and academic education. In China, there is a huge mismatch between employer expectations and the skills of graduates of both the academic and technical education systems—especially with regard to their inability to apply their knowledge.

Read the full article here

Sheila Ruhland, Institutional Leader and Board of Directors Representative, Applauds Advance CTE

February 18th, 2016

As President of Tacoma Community College, someone who has held a number of positions at various community and technical colleges and a graduate of Madison Area Technical College (Madison College) myself, I am a strong believer in the importance of high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) as an essential component of a student’s education.

Having dedicated my professional life to supporting CTE students and programs, it has been so exciting to see CTE in the well-deserved spotlight. The future of CTE is very bright, with employers investing their time, money and resources; Congress and the Administration supporting such efforts like apprenticeships, community colleges and career readiness; and increasing demand from students, parents, educators and employers for an education system that truly prepares one for a long and fulfilling career.

Speaking as both an institutional leader and as the Board of Directors representative for all Advance CTE associate members, I believe this is the perfect time for the organization to undertake a rebrand, particularly one that better highlights the many voices it takes to deliver high-quality CTE. The Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work brand clearly articulates the many state leaders who are necessary to build the partnerships and programs that are key to workforce and economic growth in our communities.

Advance CTE has engaged the organization’s leadership and members every step of the way through this process, evident by a brand that perfectly represents the breadth and depth of their work, mission and members. It has been an exciting journey and I am looking forward to continue my life’s work to ‘advance CTE.’

Sheila K. Ruhland, Ph.D. President, Tacoma Community College

Announcing our new name, Advance CTE!

February 16th, 2016

Print

We are thrilled to announce the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium has launched the new name, Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work.

Advance CTE, the sole organization dedicated to representing state leaders of Career Technical Education (CTE) for nearly 100 years, will continue the tradition of serving as the voice for our state CTE leaders, as well as carrying out our overall vision of an innovative CTE system that prepares individuals and the U.S. economy for success under this new brand.

Thank you for your continued work in CTE and support of our organization. We hope you enjoy the new name and look.

Vision & Mission
Our name may be different, but our Mission and Vision remain the same. Our current name and tagline strongly reflect our:

Vision: Through leadership, advocacy and partnerships, we support an innovative CTE system that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers and poises the united states to flourish in a global, dynamic economy.

Mission: Support visionary state leadership, cultivate best practices and speak with a collective voice on national policy to promote academic and technical excellence that ensures a career-ready workforce.

What’s Changed?
While our logo and name have changed, the majority of our resources, our membership structure, our Board structure and staff all remain the same. We have revamped and retooled a few sections on our website including the CTE: Learning that works for America section to make information more easily accessible and up-to-date.

Learn More
We’ve developed a variety of resources to further explain what the new brand means and how it will impact the organization. You can find more information on our updated About Us page, FAQ and Press Release, and, please reach out with any questions or comments.

2015 Annual Report
2015 was an amazing year of growth and change for the field and for us – of which our new brand is a reflection. From the continued interest in CTE on Capitol Hill, in state houses across the country, by major national reform organizations, and even in the media, CTE is very much in the spotlight as a strategy for and solution to addressing many of our education and workforce challenges. Learn more about our many accomplishments throughout the year in our 2015 Annual Report.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

#CTEMonth @Capitol Hill

February 11th, 2016

Yesterday, employers visited Capitol Hill to explain how businesses and educators are working together to deliver innovative Career Technical Education (CTE). The Congressional staff briefing, Career and Technical Education: The Employer Perspective was sponsored by the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus with co-chairs Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and partners including the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Industry Workface Needs Coalition and Opportunity America.

While the employer panelists represented a range of sectors and included small (100 employers) to multinational ($12 billion in revenue), what they all agreed on was the importance of strong CTE programs and the need for employers to be directly involved in supporting those programs and students. That involvement can range from hosting tours for students to providing externships for teachers to building programs with high schools and community colleges.

Employers expressed the necessity of students obtaining both academic and technical skills, and nearly all of the companies represented got involved in CTE because they needed to be more proactive about building a qualified pipeline as the current system wasn’t serving them.

Kaine, Portman and Baldwin all stressed the importance of CTE and expanding access by investing in good programs and removing unnecessary barriers to access, a sentiment that was echoed by the Senate’s unanimously passed CTE Month resolution.

For those of us that couldn’t make the standing room only event, the briefing was broadcast live and CTE was celebrated from Capitol Hill to classrooms.

 

 

 

 

 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

February 5th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

February is CTE Month, a celebration of all things CTE! To learn more about how states, schools, partners and students are raising awareness for and celebrating CTE, follow our weekly blog series.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

White House to Seek Nearly $6 Billion for Youth Unemployment, Job Training
It is expected that next week’s FY 17 budget request will include a proposal for $3.5 billion for communities and employers to build partnerships and connect a million young people to jobs, $2 billion to help students obtain a diploma, jobs and internships, and $200 million for youth apprenticeships.
Read More

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

President Obama speaks about his proposed Computer Science for All Initiate, designed to provide all students with the opportunity to learn computer science, a skill necessary to succeed in today’s economy.  The proposal would provide $4 billion in funding for states and $100 million for districts in his upcoming budget. Watch

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Innovative Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Partnership Webinar
On February 24, the Southwest Transportation Workforce Center and NASDCTEc will co-host a webinar highlighting teachers, administrators and industry partners who will provide insights and best practices about innovative education programs and teaching modules for grades 6-12 students when delivering transportation-related curricula. Register

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Kicking Off #CTEMonth

February 4th, 2016

CTE Month is off to an incredible start! Only four days in, the #CTEMonth hashtag has already been used 1,500 times on Twitter in posts that feature CTE facts, photos of students at work, resources to use during the month, and support from advocates in fields spanning education, policy, funding, business, media, research, and more.

We asked NASDCTEc members and Learning that works for America campaign users how they were celebrating, and are blown away by the submissions. During the month of February, you can expect to see a post every Thursday showcasing how people are simultaneously raising awareness for and celebrating CTE at the local, state and national level around this year’s theme, “Opportunities for Career Success.” 

For our inaugural 2016 CTE Month post, we’ll kick off by highlighting how a few states are promoting CTE during the month.

Tools to Raise Awareness & Educate

Wisconsin is encouraging their networks to celebrate CTE Month in variety of ways, one of which includes providing accessible and easily adaptable tools for schools and CTE organizations to use such as the 2016 CTE Month logo, a state-wide social media calendar, and a variety of proclamations from FBLA, FCCLA, FFA and SkillsUSA declaring February CTE Month. They also have support from Tony Evers, the State Superintendent, who authored an editorial discussing the importance of CTE in Wisconsin.

Maryland also supplied a ton of resources to their state network including a sample news release, template to create a student profile, CTE Month certificate and a public service announcement. Additionally, they suggested ways to acknowledge CTE Month at both the high school and middle school levels.

While students and educators are clear audiences to engage, Maryland is also acknowledging the value of school counselors as partners in promoting CTE, and invited school counselors across the state to participate in a free webinar sponsored by Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce called, “What Counselors Should Know about 21st Century Competencies.”

Missouri is utilizing the radio to get their CTE message across, by launching 30 second radio spots running in large, medium and small markets throughout the month to provide the general public with more information about CTE.

In Michigan, all Department of Education employees were asked to use the Learning that works for Michigan logo in their e-mail signatures. You can join the campaign and receive your own state-specific Learning that works logo here.

Recognizing & Honoring Success

CTE Month is not only about raising awareness, but also celebrating the successes of all that it takes to makes a CTE program great.

Oklahoma is honoring the contributions made by CTE teachers by distributing a hardcopy booklet, which was given to legislators at the Capital during CTSO day on February 2. A digital version is featured on Oklahoma Horizon, a weekly television show’s website, and throughout their social media.

Pennsylvania is partnering with the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators to recognize each of the student organizations at a celebratory dinner for CTSO students and Pennsylvania legislators. Additionally, award recipients of the state’s newest awards program –  the Career and Technical Education Excellence Award, which recognizes high schools and career and technical centers where 75 percent of students have achieved advanced technical assessments – will also be in attendance.

Let us know what you are doing for CTE Month by emailing kfitzgerald@careertech.org, or tagging us in your Twitters posts @CTEWorks.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate  

State Policy Updates: Massachusetts Governor Calls for Major CTE Investment

February 3rd, 2016

Another 15 governors have issued their budgets or State of the State addresses since January 19. You can catch up on our analysis of the first 15 speeches here.

Here are a few CTE highlights from the most recent round:

Following his first State of the Commonwealth address, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker called for an $83.5 million investment in the career technical education, including the state’s technical high school system, which has long enrollment waiting lists. The investments are proposed to come from the governor’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget, a capital grant funding bill and a portion of the state’s federal Perkins allocation.

The proposed funding boost includes:

  • $75 million in grants over five years for equipment to expand and improve CTE programs
  • $7.5 million in grants to support work-based learning, including nearly doubling current funding for the state’s school-to-career Connecting Activities and STEM-focused dual enrollment initiatives
  • $1 million in Perkins-funded grants to strengthen relationships among vocational high schools, comprehensive high schools and employers

Additionally, a group of Massachusetts employers, community organizations and educators announced the formation of the Alliance of Vocational and Technical Education, which aims to increase access to high-quality CTE in Massachusetts. The group commissioned Northeastern University to conduct a comprehensive study about public perceptions of CTE in the state. You can read the full report here.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell praised the state’s new Pathways to Prosperity initiative, which he announced during his 2015 State of the State address and now involves 29 high schools and 5,000 students across 10 pathways including manufacturing, computer science and health care. He also announced the state’s newest pathway to support the agriculture and food production industries.

Along with joining the call to raise teachers’ salaries, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez asked the legislature to support a “Students Work” internship portal. This online portal would allow New Mexico employers to post internships through a shared website to connect them with college and university students.

Coordinated with his State of the State address, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced a legislative package aimed at college affordability. The package includes:

  • A $1 million increase in need-based grants over two years for students attending technical colleges
  • $320,000 in emergency grants to students at technical colleges
  • Bolstering internships by funding positions within the Department of Workforce Development and the state’s university system to build relationships between employers and the institutions
  • Requiring all institutions offering at least an associate’s degree to mail cost, loan and other financial information to students

2015 Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE

Did you miss our newest publication, “Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE”? Not to worry – you can catch the full report here, as well as the companion webinar that unpacked this year’s findings and put the spotlight on Colorado’s Ready to Work legislative package. The paper and webinar were released in partnership with our partners, the Association for Career and Technical Education.

As a special benefit to NASDCTEc members, you can access our state policy trackers from 2014 and 2015 to create your own analysis.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

 

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