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

 

Inside International CTE: South Korea

January 26th, 2016

This is part of our ongoing series examining international education systems in partnership with Asia Society’s Global Learning blog on EdWeek 

Last week Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposed an increase of $83.5 million for career and technical education (CTE or VET—vocational education and training—as it is called in most other countries around the world) in his state. In Oregon where I live, Governor Kate Brown authorized $35 million last year to improve CTE programs. These are just two examples of how policymakers, at the urging of business and industry, are turning to CTE to fill the skills gap and improve our economy.

South Korea once had a strong vocational education system—so powerful it rebuilt its shattered economy. But today that is no longer the case. As we work to improve our CTE system in the United States, it behooves us to look at why VET lost favor in South Korea and examine the innovative solutions that are being implemented to improve education, training, and career options there.

From High Demand to Low Demand
After the Korean War, the economy of the newly divided Korean peninsula was devastated. However, you would never know it when you look at South Korea today. Gleaming skyscrapers dominate the Seoul skyline, internationally famous songs invoke the high life, and high-tech industry proliferates throughout the country.

It was no easy path to get this far in such a short period of time. It took comprehensive reforms that were anchored in education, and more specifically, vocational education and training.

In the 1970s and 1980s, vocational education in South Korea was more than socially acceptable, it was the primary way to succeed in obtaining a steady job with a decent income. Forty-five percent of students were enrolled in VET programs* compared to 11.4 percent in universities. With the shift to a more knowledge-based rather than industrial economy (known as the “tiger years”), the university degree grew in prominence to employers and, therefore, parents.

Current Situation
Today, the perception of VET has quickly fallen, and in 2013, only 18 percent of students were enrolled in VET programs.* Part of this is due to the prestige of university—affluent families can afford the tutoring that is now required for students to pass the entrance exam and be able to attend college. Students from families who cannot afford these tutors simply have fewer options in higher education.

Read the full article on Education Week’s Global Learning blog. 

 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

$75 Million Investment Puts CTE on a National Stage

January 21st, 2016

On Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase announced a $75 million initiative, New Skills for Youth, to support Career Technical Education (CTE) in the United States and abroad including $35 million dedicated to improving state CTE systems through a competition co-led by NASDCTEc and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This announcement has made its way through social media channels, on blogs and in national and local publications, placing CTE front and center on the national education stage. We’ve pulled together some of the best Tweets, articles and information from the announcement.

A variety of op-eds were picked up including one by Freeman Hrabowski, President of UMBC, and Jamie Dimon, President and CEO of JPMorgan Chase in USA Today, and Chauncy Lennon, Head of Workforce Initiatives at JPMorgan Chase on U.S. News.

Additionally, Chicago Tribune and Politico highlighted the new initiative, and an article in Education Week focused on the state competition grants. CBS News released a video of Dimon speaking about the benefits of this investment. The Seventy Four reported the $75 million investment pushed education philanthropy to $1.2 billion so far in 2016. To keep up-to-date with New Skills for Youth be sure to check our Newsroom, and learn more about the initiative including the state competitions here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

State Policy Update: It’s that Time Again

January 15th, 2016

That’s right, it’s time again for state legislatures to begin work on yet another year of lawmaking. It’s also time for our annual publication of “2015 Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE,” a joint venture of NASDCTEc and the Association of Career and Technical Education. You can find the report here on January 21.

Have you signed up for our January 21 webinar yet? Join us as we unpack the policy trends from 2015 and take a deep dive on major efforts in Colorado with state Senate Minority Leader Rollie Heath and Dr. Sarah Heath, Assistant Provost for CTE with the Colorado Community College System.

Looking ahead to 2016, several statehouses are already off to a fast start. In fact, 30 legislatures have already begun their work, and as many as 16 governors have already given their annual State of the State or budget addresses. We will continue to provide updates as the remaining governors give their speeches and unveil their budgets. (Note: Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas do not have legislative sessions this year.)

The governors’ addresses often provide a window into the major issues that will dominate the year’s legislative agenda. Already, it seems to be a mixed bag fiscally with some governors citing the acute budget crunch facing their states. Others are reveling in their surpluses and proposing major increases to core services such as education and health care that were often neglected as the states recovered from the Great Recession.

Here’s a quick roundup of some gubernatorial highlights as they impact CTE:

  • Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe called for transforming the Commonwealth’s education and workforce development systems to better meet the demands of the future. McAuliffe hailed the bipartisan backing of his budget proposal Go Virginia, which seeks to foster regional collaboration among government, businesses and education. He highlighted the need to build an education system that emphasizes entrepreneurship, hands-on learning, early college courses and industry credentials. He also called for an end to an education system beholden to seat-time. He also called for more than $1 billion in new funds across all levels of education, including $139 million for K-12 education and $25 million to Virginia’s community colleges to produce more industry certifications and occupational licenses.
  • In Idaho, Governor Butch Otter proposed a 9 percent increase for the state’s community colleges as well as $5 million for college and career advising, and $1.1 million to develop a competency-based education system for up to 20 school districts. Other proposed spending includes grants for STEM and computer science.
  • Finally, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin proposed restructuring the state’s current innovation zone system with a new program, Innovation in Education, which reallocates $2.5 million to help schools develop new methods to increase student interest in STEM and entrepreneurship.

Other governors (California, Georgia and New York) proposed major K-12 funding increases, but it remains unclear how and if that will impact CTE. Similar, several governors (Georgia, Indiana, and South Dakota) also focused on increasing the salaries for K-12 teachers and other ways to recruit and retain teachers.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

NASDCTEc Legislative Update: President Obama Delivers Last State of the Union, Groups Call for Perkins Reauthorization

January 13th, 2016

United States CapitalLast night President Obama delivered his final State of the Union (SOTU) address to Congress. This particular speech was a bit different in tone and substance than previous addresses the President has annually delivered since 2009. Rather than outlining a policy agenda for the coming year, President Obama largely took a more introspective approach to his last speech to Congress, highlighting many of his policy achievements that have come to define his time in office while identifying some of the key challenges he argued the country must address once he departs from the White House.

This year’s SOTU address was organized around four big questions that related directly to these challenges. The first two of these related to the President’s economic opportunity agenda which he argued will provide “everyone a fair shot at success” primarily through education and training while the next question related to the nation’s ability to harness and leverage the potential of technology.

The President spoke to these questions directly last night highlighting the importance of supporting graduates in fields like engineering and computer science, while mentioning the recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as important achievement of his administration. He also emphasized the importance of students being “job-ready on day one”, as he underlined the progress his administration has made in maximizing the national high school graduation rate.

Significantly, President Obama renewed his call to increase college affordability by making the first two years of a college education tuition-free for eligible students. However, the majority of last night’s SOTU was devoted to other issues that will likely take center stage in the coming presidential election later this year.

350 Businesses, Employer Associations, and Education Groups Call for Perkins Reauthorization

Last Friday a national coalition of stakeholders interested in the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) sent a letter to Congress calling on lawmakers to reauthorize this important law in final session of the 114th Congress.

The letter garnered 350 signatures of support from groups throughout the country ranging from Fortune 500 companies such as IBM and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., to other well-known organizations such as the NAACP and the American Federation of Teachers. NASDCTEc was proud to be counted among this large, highly diverse group of co-signers and supports the four broad recommendations outlined in the letter for the law’s renewal:

  • Strengthening CTE program alignment to the needs of the local, regional, and state economy;
  • Supporting effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary CTE and employers;
  • Increasing student participation in experiential and work-based learning opportunities; and
  • Promoting the use of industry-recognized credentials.

As we have previously shared, Congress is in the early stages of consideration of the Perkins Act. The House Education committee recently held a Perkins-related hearing in late 2015— right around the same time the Senate Education committee released a set of bipartisan reauthorization principles that have guided efforts to reauthorize the law in that chamber.

The Congressional education committees have continued to prioritize the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in 2016, but a number of extenuating factors related to that effort keep the chances of further Congressional consideration of Perkins this year relatively high.

Be sure to check back here for more updates and analysis as Perkins reauthorization continues to take shape in the months ahead.

Odds & Ends

  • The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) is soliciting input from interested stakeholders for regulations or guidance on the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)— recently passed legislation reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Comments are due January 21, 2016 and more information is available here.
  • USDE recently sent a Dear Colleague letter to states clarifying the Department’s expectations for states transitioning to ESSA in the coming years. The letter covers a host of issues, including clarification on states’ annual measurable objectives (AMOs) along with other important topics related to ESSA implementation. Read the letter here.
  • Tomorrow Acting Secretary John King will begin his “Opportunity Across America” tour, which will start in Texas. The tour will be a launching pad for USDE’s policy agenda in the coming year. Read more about his trip here.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently updated their “occupational outlook handbook” for the coming year. The bureau has also published an article this month examining labor market trends in a number of in-demand industries which can be viewed here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

NASDCTEc Welcomes Jeralyn Jargo!

December 22nd, 2015

Jeralyn Jargo is Minnesota’s newest State CTE Director and has big plans for CTE in the state. Jargo has held a wide array of jobs in the education sector including teaching high school science, setting up programs of study in respiratory therapy, serving as an academic dean for a two-year college, and most recently, was the vice president of advancement and innovation at Century College.

Throughout Jargo’s career, one thing that has always held true is that collaboration across sectors and industries is critical to creating the best possible outcomes for students. One project Jargo facilitated in her most recent position was a Shark Tank-like grant initiative where students participated in a series of workshops and mentorships before delivering an idea or product to a multi-disciplinary panel of judges comprised of community leaders; business partners; and faculty in science, engineering and marketing. Winners were awarded $5,000 scholarships. This innovative approach at awarding scholarships allowed students to work across disciplines and sectors, an experience they are sure to repeat in their careers.

As the State CTE Director, Jargo is working to build an environment where collaboration like this and innovation are key components in the way her department functions, and how programs of study are delivered to students. “The majority of us aren’t going to go to Harvard or play for the Cubs, so how do we help the masses of folks who learn by touching and smelling and participating,  who are going to have a job that requires critical thinking and transferrable skills, concepts that all come from a foundation of CTE?”

One way Jargo will tackle this challenge is by building meaningful and authentic partnerships with business, industry and policymakers in the state. “There is a huge window of opportunity to focus on the understanding of CTE,” said Jargo. “It’s a very good time to promote CTE. The business community is more and more engaged and they are powerful advocates for the system.”

In addition, Jargo wants to improve the support students receive as they move in, out and back into education. A successful program would be one where students are supported through these transitions, or as Jargo put it, “If you fly over the Twin Cities and look at the on and off ramps…That’s what CTE would look like. Traffic would be flowing at a steady rate.”

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Excellence in Action: Marine Academy of Science and Technology

December 17th, 2015

Thank you to all of you who submitted applications to our 2016 Excellence in Action awards! We are digging through the applications ospreynow and are blown away by the number of innovative, exciting and inspiring programs of study from big cities to tiny rural towns. We’re looking forward to announcing the winners in late February.

While learning about all these new programs of study, we thought it would be a good time to look back at one of our 2015 award winners, the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST), the award recipient in the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Career Cluster. This program has been educating secondary students in Highland, New Jersey for 34 years. Students get the chance to work with the nearby National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lab, a 65-foot research vessel, and a four-year naval science program through the NJROTC, all while earning up to 17 college credits.

In addition to the program of study’s goal of preparing students for postsecondary education, students are also provided with work-based learning opportunities working hand-in-hand with some of the best scientists in the country at the North East Fisheries Science Center, or on research projects with the National Park Service.

MAST has set up students for incredible success, with 100 percent of students graduating high school and enrolling in postsecondary education, 50 percent of whom enrolled in a STEM field. Learn more about MAST and our 2015 award winners.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE: ESSA

December 11th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Congress is Getting Rid of No Child Left Behind. Here’s What Will Replace It
Yesterday, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, replacing No Child Left Behind. While the vast majority of power is shifted from the Federal Government back to the States, here’s a rundown of what’s left of No Child Left Behind, and what changes with the new law.
More

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

President Obama signs the Every Student Succeeds Act

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

NASDCTEc Endorses Proposed Every Student Succeeds Act

December 2nd, 2015

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) is excited to announce its endorsement of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the proposed legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

“The Every Student Succeeds Act is a significant, bipartisan legislative achievement that provides states and schools with the opportunity to offer every student equitable access to a high-quality education that truly prepares them for postsecondary and career success,” said Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director.

The Career Technical Education (CTE) community has long-advocated for federal policy that improves collaboration between academic and CTE courses and programs.  “By recognizing that all students need a combination of academic, technical and employability skills in order to succeed and thrive in the dynamic global economy, ESSA represents an important step forward in federal policy. To that end, we urge members in both chambers of Congress to vote in support of this legislation’s swift passage.”

The Every Student Succeeds Act is the product of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations to reauthorize ESEA, the law formerly known as No Child Left Behind, which has been due for renewal since 2007. Earlier this year, NASDCTEc released a set of legislative recommendations calling for a bill that would more effectively leverage CTE in a new ESEA law.

The conference report for the Every Student Succeeds Act was released earlier this week and is expected to be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives later today. It will then move to the Senate next week for further consideration.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

 

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