This Week in CTE

May 11th, 2018

TWEET OF THE WEEK

FACT OF THE WEEK

Despite CTE’s many benefits to learners and the nation’s economy, there are still major barriers to ensuring that CTE exists in every community in the US. According to data from National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), districts reported large or very large barriers to offering CTE programs to high school students. Barriers include lack of funding, finding or keeping teachers for in-demand industries and occupations, and facilities or space limitations.

PROGRAM(S) OF THE WEEK

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week and National Nurses Week! Check out two of our fantastic Excellence in Action award winners, which are preparing future teachers and nurses:

Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Career-Tech Center, Teacher Academy (Michigan)
In 2001, a statewide decline in the number of practicing educators in Michigan led college instructors, teachers and district administrators to develop a Career Technical Education program of study to encourage learners to consider teaching as a career pathway and grow their own teacher pipeline. The Teacher Academy at the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Career-Tech Center in Traverse City, Michigan, brings together juniors and seniors from 26 high schools across five rural counties to experience all aspects of the teaching profession. The Teacher Academy blends academic, technical and real-world knowledge and skills. Throughout the two-year program of study, Teacher Academy learners work directly with students in a variety of classroom settings and earn more than 400 hours of field experience. Academy students can receive up to four industry certifications and earn credit toward local two- and four-year colleges.

Indian Capital Technology Center, Nursing Transition (Oklahoma)
Students in the Nursing Transition program of study at the Indian Capital Technology Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma engage in a rigorous curriculum paired with relevant clinical instruction in a variety of settings. Indian Capital Technology Center serves 51 area high schools, and was designed to help increase the number of practical nurses in the workforce. Established in August of 2011 due to a shortage of nurses and allied health professionals – especially in rural areas of Oklahoma– the program has created an accelerated pathway to become a licensed practical nurse. High school seniors who have successfully completed one year of the Health Careers Certification can enroll in the program and complete the program within six months following high school graduation.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Manager 

Advance CTE Begins a Critical Conversation about Equity at the 2018 Spring Meeting

May 3rd, 2018

As part of Advance CTE’s vision, Putting Learner Success First, our organization has challenged the Career Technical Education (CTE) community to continue on the path of fierce dedication to quality and equity so that each learner is empowered to choose a meaningful education and career. Advance CTE recognizes that if we’re going to ask our community to commit to equity in CTE, then we must lead the way.

Our first step was to create the space at our 2018 Spring Meeting to begin this long overdue conversation with our membership about how we define and can achieve equity in CTE.

The conversation began with a panel discussion that featured experts in education and equity from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, the  Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Center for Law and Social Policy and United Way of Delaware.The panelists took a critical look at equity in CTE and examined the history of CTE and tracking students, the stigma around CTE and how equity should be defined within CTE. From this discussion, major themes about equity in CTE emerged:

  • While CTE provides students with a variety of college and career options, institutions need to recognize that their “all are welcome” policies aren’t enough to engage diverse populations.
  • Many institutions are operating with a “compliance mindset” by only focusing on gender equity (largely because of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act). To truly address equity concerns in CTE, institutions must move from a “compliance mindset” to an “improvement mindset.”
  • Equity in CTE cannot only be about achieving proportionate representation in CTE courses. Student outcomes across populations must also be examined.
  • State leaders have control over mechanisms (policy “levers”, program “levers”, funding, partnerships with organizations) that they can use to ensure equity in CTE.

Notably, Kisha Bird from the Center for Law and Social Policy  recognized that while equity is a complex issue in that it is influenced by numerous social, economic and political factors, it is ultimately a simple problem that can be addressed by continually asking the following of any action: Am I creating or breaking down barriers?

The conversation held at the equity panel represents the beginning of Advance CTE’s ongoing commitment to promoting equity in CTE. As part of our equity initiative, throughout 2018, Advance CTE will be releasing a series of briefs about equity in CTE. This post is the first of two blogs that will highlight the equity discussions from the 2018 Spring Meeting.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Advance CTE Explores the Critical State of CTE Research at the 2018 Spring Meeting

April 19th, 2018

At Advance CTE’s 2018 Spring Meeting, the organization hosted the “Critical State of CTE Research” session in response to the need for more robust CTE research.

The session began with a panel of Career Technical Education (CTE) research experts, which included Corinne Alfeld from the Institute of Education Sciences, Tom Bailey from the Community College Research Center, Shaun Dougherty from the University of Connecticut, and Andy Smarick from the American Enterprise Institute. The panel highlighted current CTE research and explored barriers and opportunities to expanding CTE research.

The panelists discussed how CTE practice is far ahead of CTE research, in large part because of the lack of capacity and data access to actually do meaningful research. The panel emphasized the importance of increasing the pipeline of CTE researchers and developing partnerships between states and researchers to actively plan out research questions. The panelists expressed a desire for access to cross-state level data to enable them to make accurate generalizations about CTE and its impact.

Some specific research issues that the panelist were interested in included the noncognitive abilities of CTE students, the earning potential associated with short-term credentials, the specific elements in high school CTE programs that make them effective and Work Colleges, which are liberal art schools that evaluate people on their work in addition to their academics.

Following the panelist discussion, an input session was held where participants broke into small groups and identified priority topics for future research efforts. From these identified topics, the following research themes emerged:

  • Student outcomes, such as graduation rates, employment rates and the relationship between CTE participation and college debt;
  • Evaluating the elements of a high-quality program of study;
  • How to improve the quality of CTE data;
  • Teacher professional development;
  • Updated definitions or descriptive statistics on CTE learners; and,
  • CTE’s short- and long-term return on investment.

Within these themes, a number of interesting research questions emerged. In regards to student outcomes, for example, multiple groups inquired about CTE’s impact on student debt and whether it is actually accurate to make the claim that CTE program completion is associated with less student debt. While certain programs, such as the Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) apprenticeship program, can boast that its participants transitioned into apprenticeships or employment with no student debt, it is unclear whether there is enough data to make the sweeping generalization that CTE program completion at the secondary or postsecondary level is associated with less student debt..

Participants mirrored the panelists and expressed a desire to know what distinct elements of a CTE program have the greatest impact- good or bad- on outcomes. While the defining features of a high-quality CTE program have been identified, it is unclear what elements within those features lead to positive outcomes for learners. Parsing out those elements will allow institutions to improve the quality of their CTE programs and consequently lead to better learner outcomes.

Additionally, in regards to professional development, multiple groups inquired about the best way to prepare CTE instructors to facilitate learning for students with special needs. These questions showcase the desire for CTE to be leveraged to produce positive outcomes for each learner and a recognition that targeted professional development for teachers is critical to achieving equitable outcomes.

The research themes gathered from this 2018 Spring Meeting session will be utilized to help inform future Advance CTE resources as well as potential partnerships with research organizations.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

DC, Texas Improve Data Systems; Colorado, Ohio’s Community Colleges Offer Bachelor’s Degrees

April 17th, 2018

As the legislative session moves forward, many states have passed bills that will help to improve data systems and expand opportunities for learners.

Data System Improvements

Recently, data system improvements have been a focus of policy efforts in order to better support and hold accountable districts, institutions and programs, as well as allow learners, employers and policymakers to stay informed.

In the District of Columbia, the Council of the District of Columbia passed the Workforce Development Systems Transparency Act, which requires the District’s Workforce Investment Council to detail the District’s spending on adult education programs and workforce development education programs, as well as the performance outcomes of those programs, in a public report. The performance outcomes information will include employment rates, median earnings, credential attainment, and completion rates. The first version of the report will include information about programs managed by seven DC entities, such as the Department of Employment Resources, and by 2020 programs administered by an additional 14 entities will be included in the report.

In Texas, the University of Texas System launched an updated version of the database Seek UT to include University of Texas graduates’ earnings in the hopes of showing the benefits of higher education. The database utilizes Census Bureau data and provides information on student’s median incomes for every program offered after one, five, and ten years after graduating, the percentage of students who went on to continue their education and the median loan debt for different programs. The database is viewed as a “work-around” of the current ban on a federal database that would link student-level education data to national employment data.

Community Colleges Offer Bachelor’s Degrees

Elsewhere, states are passing laws to expand community college offerings and to address the shortage of skilled employees.

In Colorado, a bill that allows Colorado’s community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing recently became law. The bill was passed without the governor’s signature or veto. In a letter explaining this decision, Governor Hickenlooper cited concerns over limited stakeholder engagement by the bill’s proponents and potential conflicts between the various agencies that oversee higher education in the state.

In response to these concerns, the letter directs the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to convene stakeholders to determine how to best align programs with industry trends. This law was allowed to pass in response to a severe shortage of nurses in Colorado and after reports that more nursing disciplines require a masters or doctoral degree than in previous years.

Similarly, in Ohio, three community colleges received state approval to offer bachelor’s degrees in microelectronic manufacturing, aviation, unmanned aerial systems, land surveying and culinary and food science. These programs still need to receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission before the community colleges can offer the degrees.

Once accredited, these programs will help to achieve Ohio Governor Kasich’s goal to have 65 percent of the state’s workforce earn an industry recognized credential or degree by 2025. Governor Kasich has already showcased his support for community colleges to offer baccalaureates through the introduction and passage of legislation that supports this.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Top 10 Advance CTE 2018 Spring Meeting Tweets

April 9th, 2018

Last week, over 200 leaders in Career Technical Education came together in Washington, D.C. for the annual Spring Meeting to collaborate, learn, and honor our 11 Excellence in Action award recipients. Attendees and speakers took to Twitter to keep the conversation going. Below are the top 10 tweets from the meeting.

 

Hello from Advance CTE’s Newest Staff Member

March 29th, 2018

I’m Nicole Howard and I’m so excited to join Advance CTE as the new Communications Associate! I’ll be helping to implement our communications strategy and supporting states in their communications and advocacy efforts.

I have a background in communications related to the field of education. I was raised by a family of educators and have always viewed education as something every student should have equal access to. I was enrolled in the Summer Transition Enrichment Program (STEP) at American University (AU) that gave me a head start on my undergraduate education. My junior year at AU, I served as the STEP Assistant. In this role, I was able to help first-generation and minority students begin their college career with the resources and support they needed. I was impacted by watching them grow and truly succeed their own goals. Since then I’ve gained communications experience working with education-focused companies including corporate, nonprofit and postsecondary sectors. I believe writing helps to elevate the voices that need to be heard.

I believe access to a CTE program can help put students on a pathway to postsecondary and career that can benefit their future well-being as an adult. I am excited to advocate for CTE because I believe the more opportunities presented to a student the more hopeful they may become about their future and energized to complete their secondary education.

Nicole Howard, Communications Advocate

Leaders in Data Analysis Discuss Improving Student Outcomes in Higher Education

March 28th, 2018

In light of Congress’ work towards reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), Results for America, Knowledge Alliance and America Forward hosted an event  on March 22 about the role that data and evidence can play in improving student outcomes in higher education. This event also came after Results for America released their bipartisan report, “Moneyball for Higher Education,” which outlines recommendations for how state leaders should use data and evidence in the financing of colleges to improve student outcomes.

The event began with remarks from U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) about the importance of evidence and innovation in higher education. Meng discussed the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), which provides financial, academic and financial support to assist students in earning their associate degrees within three years. Meng highlighted the data-driven nature of ASAP, as the program tracks metrics that include advisors’ contact with students and student outcome trends to determine what is working in the program and where improvements can be made.

While ASAP costs CUNY more per student initially than students not involved in ASAP, by graduation, CUNY spends less per ASAP student compared to students not in the program because the students in ASAP graduate at a faster rate than students not in ASAP. Graduation rates for students in ASAP have increased to 40 percent, compared to 22 percent for CUNY students overall.

The event ended with a panel that featured experts in the field of education and data analysis. James Kvaal, the President of the Institute for College Access and Success, outlined what he would like to see come from a reauthorized HEA: investing in ways to measure critical outcomes, sectioning off one percent of the higher education budget for evaluation and systemically channeling resources into programs that work. Michael Weiss, a senior associate from MDRC, mentioned the need for more comprehensive, long-lasting interventions, such as the ASAP program, that address multiple barriers to education across an extended period of time.

The panel concluded with the panelists discussing what they would change about the education system. Greg Johnson, CEO of Bottom Line, advocated tying Pell grants to an advising requirement. Kvaal emphasized the importance of colleges deciding what outcomes they want to produce and then investing the necessary resources so that those outcomes can come to fruition. Weiss expressed his desire for the use of a funding model that would allow for experimentation on the lowest level and an investment in data driven programs like ASAP on the highest level.

While the panelists recognized that the current education system is inequitable and touched on ways that data can be used to improve student outcomes in higher education, it would have been great to hear more on how data could be used to align labor market needs with student outcomes, as well as how data from the secondary system can be used to create higher-quality postsecondary programs.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Happy National Ag Day!

March 20th, 2018

Happy National Ag Day! Ag Day is about recognizing, and celebrating, the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives. When honoring agriculture and it’s contributions – from the clothes we wear to the food we eat – it is important to understand how Career Technical Education (CTE) prepares learners for careers in this vital industry.

Programs of study across the nation in urban, suburban and rural areas are providing learners with rigorous academic coursework, technical skills and hands-on experiences in all aspects of agriculture – from food science to horticulture. An exemplary agriculture program that deserves recognition as we celebrate National Ag Day is  Advance CTE’s 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career Cluster®, the Culinology® program at Bergen County Technical Schools’ Teterboro High School in Paramus, New Jersey.

Remaining flexible to evolving profiles of students and reinventing traditional CTE programs of study in innovative ways to also meet industry needs is the cornerstone of the Culinology program of study. While Teterboro High School has had a Culinary Arts program for well over twenty years, in the past decade faculty started to see a slight change in their student profile. Increasingly, students were not only interested in culinary arts and the food industry, but were also drawn by a strong intrinsic interest in science. More and more, students demonstrated an interest in obtaining a four-year degree.

Recognizing a need to modify the program to better match their students’ needs, Bergen County partnered with the Rutgers University Departments of Biological Sciences and Food Sciences as well as the the Research Chefs Association to develop a first-of-its-kind high school program blending agriculture, food science, culinary arts and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics – Culinology®. All academic courses are delivered at the honors or AP level and students from the program now go on to some of the most prestigious four-year institutions in the nation.

The program now delivers a curriculum that includes college-credit courses (beyond the AP courses referred to above); rigorous academic and occupational skill requirements in agriculture, mathematics, humanities, culinary arts, and sciences; and an emphasis on critical analysis, problem-solving and employability skills. The program also includes a focus on key industry certifications needed to support success in the workplace. The class of 2016 boasted 100 percent high school completion, 100 percent of students having earned postsecondary credit, and 100 percent of students enrolled in postsecondary education. We should be able to hold all CTE programs to this standard of excellence.

Learn more about the Culinology® program of study at Bergen County Technical Schools’ Teterboro High School and our 2017 award winners.

New Fact Sheet Highlights How CTE Teacher Shortages Align with Labor Market Demands

March 20th, 2018

In August 2017, Advance CTE conducted a survey of State CTE Directors to gather information about how states are implementing provisions in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). Responses to this survey demonstrated the consistent challenge of Career Technical Education (CTE) teacher and faculty shortages, with the highest shortages typically occurring in the Career Clusters® that feed into the industries with the highest labor market demand.

Some of the takeaways include:

  • Reported teacher and faculty shortage trends have remained largely consistent since 2008, with Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, Health Science, and Manufacturing among the Career Clusters with the highest shortages;
  • The Career Clusters with the largest teacher and faculty shortages align with what the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted to be the fasted growing careers in CTE fields; and 
  • Of all required or permissible uses of state leadership funds, 31 states dedicate the majority to professional development for new and current teachers.

Check out the full fact sheet to learn more! We also encourage you to read our report, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at AIR, on increasing access to industry experts in high schools.

Hello from Advance CTE’s Newest Staff Member

March 13th, 2018

I’m Brianna McCain and I’m so excited to join Advance CTE as the new Policy Associate! I’ll be helping to advance and support Advance CTE’s state policy and implementation strategy through developing resources, maintaining the Learning that Works Resource Center, and tracking state and federal legislation.

My interest in education and workforce development began after interning at Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) in New York City, where I assisted with efforts to develop a job readiness program for commercially sexually exploited youth. My experience there taught me about how education intersects with other social issues and the role that education plays in promoting economic mobility. I then went on to get my Masters of Social Work (MSW) at the Brown School at Washington University in Saint Louis to learn more about social and economic development. While at the Brown School, I specialized in policy and helped to develop a strategic policy plan for a nonprofit. Before coming to Advance CTE, I worked at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM), where I supported low-income clients and engaged in policy work related to access and equity.

I became interested in Career Technical Education (CTE) after learning about the critical role that it plays in promoting economic mobility. As I began to learn more about CTE and the role it can play in promoting equitable outcomes, I saw the potential for how high-quality CTE could be leveraged to address inequities and prepare all learners for a successful future. I am excited to advocate for CTE because I view it as a key component to promoting economic mobility and ensuring that all learners have the skills and experience they need to obtain a meaningful career in the future.  

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate 

 

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