Brought to you by


NASDCTEc Recognizes All Stars

April 24th, 2013

Last week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held a luncheon at its annual Spring meeting to honor the organization’s All-Star sponsors.

NASDCTEc is fortunate to have a group of dedicated sponsor partners who provide critical and ongoing support to the organization and its work. The NASDCTEc All Stars include:

  • Cisco
  • CORD
  • Home Builders Institute
  • Career Communications
  • Oracle
  • Kuder
  • Realityworks
  • Today’s Class
  • Adobe

Representatives from seven All Stars attended the luncheon and received a certificate of appreciation, presented by NASDCTEc’s current Board President, Marie Barry, and the past Board President, Patrick Ainsworth.


John Foster & Amie Bloomfield of NOCTI

Debbie Mills & Hope Cotner of CORD

Barb Orwig & Jim Dick of Career Communications


Scott Vandever of Kuder

Tim Withee & Ken Potthoff of CTECS

Timmothy Boettcher of Realityworks

Peggy Albano of Today’s Class

All photos were taken by Bob Witchger, Director of Career and Technical Education for North Carolina Community Colleges

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director


Spring Meeting Recap: What is Career Readiness?

April 19th, 2013

Earlier this week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Spring Meeting, where the notion of ‘career readiness’ was front and center. One session squarely focused on the work of the Career Readiness Partnership Council (CRPC) in convening a broad group of partners to develop a common definition of Career Readiness (which can be found at and potential next steps for the partnership and the definition itself.

The urgency behind the CRPC and the development of a common understanding of what career readiness was driven by a number of factors, and Patrick Ainsworth, who coordinated much of the work of the CRPC pointed out a few: the ongoing development of the Common Core Technical Core, the widespread adoption of the college- and career-ready Common Core State Standards (which cover only the academic foundation of career readiness), and the lack of understanding of what career readiness means and looks like across the nation. The CRPC, therefore, aimed to create a “north star” for each of the participating organizations around career readiness to help guide and drive policy and practice.

The other two panelists, representing partnership organizations, each discussed what compelled them to join the CRPC and what the definition will mean for them moving ahead. Martin Simon of the National Governors’ Association described how governors are concerned not only about the skills gap but also the coordination gap between educators and workforce investment boards. He discussed the need for a more comprehensive system to better link education, training and workforce needs that will build career pathways, not just training for jobs. About half of all governors discussed career pathways or Career and Technical Education (CTE) in their 2013 state of the state addresses, demonstrating they not only care about these issues but consider them to be priorities.

Andrew Moore from the National League of Cities described the unique role mayors can play in connecting and convening the education and business communities. Mayors are deeply concerned about the skills gap and the extremely high unemployment rates among teenagers.

After the panelists’ remarks, the participants were asked how they might use the career readiness definition moving forward. Some responses included:

  • Identify ways to apply the definition to key audiences, included, but not limited to: policymakers, business and industry, high school educators, higher education, parents, students, and community-based organizations and service providers.
  • Formalize the definition and identify how it can be embedded in state policy.
  • Engage governors to embrace the definition as a framework for coordinating CTE, workforce development and economic development initiatives.
  • Embed the definition in Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act reauthorization.
  • Provide the definition as a model for districts to use in whole or as a starting point when developing their own definitions of career readiness.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Legislative Update: Obama FY14 Budget Proposal: More Details Regarding CTE – New Updates

April 12th, 2013

Obama FY14 Budget Proposal: More Details Regarding CTE – New Updates

As we shared earlier this week, President Obama released his budget for FY14. As we have had more time to analyze the budget documents, we wanted to share with you a few more details:

  • $300 million for high school redesign: The budget documents share that the high school redesign competitive grant program was modeled after the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in New York. P-TECH works in partnership with New York Public Schools, the City University of New York and IBM to ensure their students graduate with both a high school diploma and an associates degree in computing or engineering. This model is also being replicated at five high schools in Chicago.
  • President’s proposal highlights two CTE schools: In addition to P-TECH, the President’s high school redesign proposal highlights Loving High School, located in rural New Mexico. Loving High School, an early adopter of the Arts, Audio Video Communications Career Cluster® was featured in NASDCTEc’s Redesigning the High School Experience for College and Career Readiness series.  This series, funded by Microsoft’s Partners in Learning, documents Loving High School’s adoption, struggles and successful implementation of the Career Clusters®. Leaders from Loving have presented at the National Career Clusters® Institute and are a great example of innovation, community engagement and high quality CTE.
  • Clarification on the $42 million for dual enrollment: In a previous blog post, we reported that $42m of funding was being provided to establish or expand dual enrollment programs aligned to career pathways and local workforce needs. As more details have become available, we learned that the proposed $10m increase in Perkins National Programs would be used to, in part, offset this new investment in dual enrollment.

NASDCTEc’s Spring Meeting features an array of policy panels, sharing information about the budget, sequestration, appropriations, pending reauthorizations (Perkins, WIA and ESEA), as well as other Congressional proposals related to CTE. Look for blogs at the end of next week sharing this just-in-time news!

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

Business-Higher Education Forum Summit

April 8th, 2013

In March, the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) and representatives from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation hosted a summit in Washington, D.C., to discuss how to incorporate 21st Century competencies into K-16 education, and how business can influence internal and external stakeholders to align education and the workforce.  The event was attended by leaders from government agencies, industry, and associations like NASDCTEc.

BHEF is the nation’s oldest organization of senior business and higher education executives dedicated to advancing innovative solutions to U.S. education and workforce challenges. Composed of Fortune 500 CEOs, prominent college and university presidents, and other leaders, BHEF addresses issues fundamental to our global competitiveness.

The summit included the launch of a report which talked of the importance of alignment between student outcomes and workforce demand, closer collaboration between the corporations recruiting employees and the institutions educating them, and deeper learning, which is defined as a mix of content knowledge and 21st Century competencies such as team work, communication skills and the ability to think critically.

As stated in a press release for the summit, BHEF’s research suggests that:

  • Rapid technological change, the increasing complexity of the challenges companies face, and the pace solutions must be brought to market have forced recent college graduates to enter the workforce with a wide combination of high-order competencies that go beyond content knowledge.
  • Leaner companies are doing more with fewer employees, moving staff across divisions to give them a cross-functional work experience that deepens the company’s bench strength and fills gaps in the workforce. This means employees, to be viewed as an asset to the organization, must emerge as “T-shaped professionals,” flexible and able to adapt their deep content knowledge across work environments.
  • Companies are developing their own assessments to screen the competencies of applicants and current employees and investing less in internal training programs to increase workplace competencies. Developing those workplace competencies at the K-16 levels will realize considerable cost savings and, concomitantly, strengthen students’ competitiveness in the job market. However, developing the necessary 21st century workforce competencies in graduates will require closer collaboration between the corporations recruiting employees and the institutions educating them.
  • Business-led partnerships that engage industry and educational institutions in strategic rather than transactional relationships can help address the ineffective signaling between business and higher education on the need for 21st century workforce skills.

“Our workforce is at a critical juncture,” stated Brian Fitzgerald, CEO of BHEF. “Our members’ collaboration has revealed not only key insights, but also a unique opportunity for business and higher education to communicate in a new way and create fresh pathways for graduates to the innovation workforce.”

BHEF was a member of the Career Readiness Partner Council. Career Technical Education has an important part to play in all of the issues featured in the report, through implementing our vision, and our participation in events like these ensure a strong voice for state directors in the education and business world, by ensuring that the work we do is well known and appreciated.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

Legislative Update: White House Meeting; Obama Calls For Delay In Sequestration; Reminder – State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February 8th, 2013
White House Meeting

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of representing NASDCTEc at a meeting with Jeff Zients (Director of the Office of Management and Budget), Gene Sperling (Director of the National Economic Council), and Alan Krueger (Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers). The meeting was set up to allow organizations, such as NASDCTEc, the chance to explain to the President’s staff how sequestration would impact our programs. Those in attendance agreed that sequestration would have a negative impact on domestic programs, including the Career Technical Education (CTE) community.  NASDCTEc is collaborating with the Committee for Education Funding and the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce to fight any additional cuts to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).

Obama Calls For Delay In Sequestration

On Tuesday, President Obama called for a delay in the sequestration process, currently scheduled for March 1, 2013. Should sequestration occur, all discretionary federal programs, including Perkins would be reduced by an estimated 5.9%. This cut would be harmful, resulting in the loss of CTE programs and negatively impacted the availability of programs to students. A delay in the sequestration process would mean a holding pattern in federal funding, which might be cautiously welcomed.  Congress would have to approve the President’s suggestion, so in the coming weeks, more details should be forthcoming.

Reminder – State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A short reminder that President Obama will be giving his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on the evening of Tuesday, February 12, 2013. This address is important for the CTE community because the President will use it to outline his legislative agenda and national priorities for the coming year. Giving the response to the State of the Union will be Senator Marco Rubio, who spoke on the benefits of CTE at a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce event and at the Opportunity Nation event last year.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

CTE in the News: Graduation Rates Increase Among North Carolina CTE Concentrators

January 4th, 2013

North Carolina’s statewide graduation rate for seniors concentrating in CTE courses increased to 94 percent, jumping from 80.4 percent in the 2010-2011school year. Notably, three of the state’s county school systems surpassed that state graduation rate, according to a Wilkes Journal-Patriot article.

Seniors concentrating in CTE graduated at a rate of 99.3 percent in Ashe County, 98.8 in Alleghany County, 98.1 percent in Wilkes County. A CTE concentrator is a student that takes at least four technical credits from among courses listed in one of 16 Career Clusters; at least one of the courses must be a second-level sequenced class, according to the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

Just one of North Carolina’s school systems did not meet the 85 percent state target of concentrators in the cohort graduating on schedule in 2011-12.

The growing success in graduation rates among CTE concentrators in North Carolina suggests that CTE programs may play a role in engaging students with the real-world experiences they offer to students.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

CTE in the news: Skills gap hinders unemployed, business and industry

November 30th, 2012

More than 20 million Americans have been unemployed or underemployed since January 2009, so why is it that there are more than 3 million job openings in the United States? Experts point to the skills gap as part of what is hindering the recovery of our nation’s economy, according to experts in a recent  60 Minutes news special.

The skills gap is a frustrating problem among out-of-work individuals, business and industries that need positions filled, and the rest of the nation that wants to see the health of the economy revitalized. The skills gap issue raises the question as to whether the nation is investing in and supporting programs such as Career Technical Education that will help educate and train workers.

Ryan Costella, head of Strategic Initiatives at Click Bond, a Nevada-based manufacturing company, is aiming to address the skills-gap issue among the company’s entry-level positions. Because applicants are lacking basic skills, Click Bond is collaborating with nearby community college to offer free training programs for select unemployed individuals.

“I think far too long we’ve had our heads in the sand, you know. We make our parts. We just hoped that the education system would produce what we need,” Costella said. “And I think the recession, I think a lot of things have taught us, ‘no, you have to engage.’”

Click Bond’s workers are expected to operate, program and fix computer-controlled machines that make precision parts, “accurate to a thousandth of an inch; the thickness of a piece of paper.”

“I can’t tell you how many people even coming out of higher ed with degrees who can’t put a sentence together without a major grammatical error. It’s a problem,” Costella said. “…We’re in the business of making fasteners that hold systems together that protect people in the air when they’re flying. We’re in the business of perfection.”

The experiences are not limited to the company, he noted. And the problem will only grow worse as a wave of baby boomers who work in these skill-focused jobs retire. Education and training are much needed to prepare the next generation of workers.

At Alcoa, a large aluminum company, executives are working on the challenge of retraining individuals so they keep up with advances in technology. Avoiding the widening of the skills gap is critical to the nation’s economic recovery. According to the report, Alcoa is one of the largest and oldest companies in the nation and has been hiring skilled workers since 1888.

“The environment is changing all the time. And if you don’t stay on top of things, you know, somebody will eat your lunch,” noted Klaus Kleinfield, Alcoa CEO.

“[Employees] also need to understand that their incomes over time are a direct function of their education and not just education, their skills, [and] what they can bring to the table.”

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

CTE in the News: If You’ve Got the Skills, She’s Got the Job

November 21st, 2012

The skills gap — the lack of workers qualified to fill open high-skilled jobs – will only continue to widen and threaten the future of our nation if policymakers, industries and education leaders do not address the issue of equipping students (of all ages) with the skills demanded by the economy, according to a recent New York Times op-ed.

“We’re in the midst of a perfect storm: a Great Recession that has caused a sharp increase in unemployment and a Great Inflection — a merger of the information technology revolution and globalization that is simultaneously wiping out many decent-wage, middle-skilled jobs, which were the foundation of our middle class, and replacing them with decent-wage, high-skilled jobs. Every decent-paying job today takes more skill and more education, but too many Americans aren’t ready,” says Thomas L. Friedman, author of the op-ed.

The nation has three million open jobs around the country but an 8 percent unemployment rate, he notes.

Friedman calls for reform with a focus on assisting community colleges and universities to keep pace with the changes in the economy so courses reflect industry demands and students are prepared for the jobs of today and the future. Further, he suggests a type of Race to the Top initiative to incentivize businesses to embed workers in universities and universities to embed professors inside businesses “so we get a much better match between schooling and the job markets.”

Friedman goes on to close his op-ed with insight from Eduardo Padrón, the president of Miami Dade College: “The skill shortage is real… The big issue in America is not the fiscal deficit, but the deficit in understanding about education and the role it plays in the knowledge economy.”

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

CTE in the News: Georgia Lt. Gov. Urges Business, Industry, Education Leaders to Address Skills Gap

November 16th, 2012

Education that prepares students to compete for jobs in the global economy must be a top priority for business, industry and education leaders, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle warned a crowd of nearly 200 at the College and Career Academy Summit this week, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

“Each of us has the chance to shape what this economy and what this future for all of us is going to look like,” Cagle said Thursday. “It’s a huge responsibility… Quite honestly I don’t think there is anything, as a public policy maker, that is more important today than the education system in this state.”

The three-day event featured the theme “Business and Education Partnerships: Success in Action” and was hosted by Floyd County College and Career Academy and Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Leaders were scheduled to address workforce skills gaps in health care, technology, manufacturing and energy amidst a growing regional interest in the career academy movement.

According to Rome News-Tribune, Cagle said that significant economic opportunities have been rising in the U.S. because of events occurring in Asia and Europe, companies such as the manufacturing giant Caterpillar Inc. and Baxter, a pharmaceutical company, are bringing work opportunities to Georgia.

“What is interesting about those industries is that they are all located where there was a college and career academy,” Cagle said. “We’re leading the nation in workforce development because of … what we’re doing with our college and career academies.”

Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy have experienced a “powerful transformation” that has encouraged partnerships between secondary and postsecondary education, and the business community, according to a Floyd County Schools news release. On Friday, discussions were designed to focus on the enhancement and expansion of career academy development.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

CTE in the News: Successful, local programs highlighted in Nevada, Ohio

November 2nd, 2012

CTE programs have been a topic of interest among local news sources, which are highlighting innovative programs that have the potential to help area students compete for a job in this challenging economy. The articles illustrate the evolving profile of CTE among the general public, who are looking to CTE as a potential resource in empowering the future U.S. workforce.

In Nevada, industry professionals and organizations collaborated with Great Basin College, which has a reputation for fostering well-skilled students in the state, to create an education and training system that equips students with credentials that are portable nationally, according to Elko Daily Free Press.

Specifically, the college collaborated with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), an organization committed to building a safe, productive and sustainable workforce of craft professionals. According to Dean of Applied Sciences Bret Murphy, NCCER sets a curriculum standard that is recognized by industry nationwide, the article said.

Further, NCCER also convenes a Construction Users Round Table (CURT), an organization of construction company owners who help to ensure the curriculum reflects expectations of the industry nationwide.

Another example can be found in Ohio. The Washington High School community recently celebrated a decision by the Massillon City Schools Board of Education to approve an education agreement with Affinity Medical Center that allows CTE students in health-care studies to learn more about their chosen careers from medical experts, according to an IndeOnline article.

Students enrolled in the nursing, pharmacy, medical assistant and exercise science programs at the school will have access to on-site experience through observations and hands-on learning opportunities at Affinity Medical Center, the article noted.

“When you can take what you have learned and apply it to a real-life setting, it is just as valuable as anything you have learned,” Washington High Career and Technical Education Director Dan Murphy said. “The hands-on application is phenomenal.”

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager