State Research Shows Positive Outcomes for CTE Students

February 20th, 2017

In 2015, the most recent year data are available, CTE students nationwide graduated at a rate of 93 percent — approximately 10 percentage points higher than the average. Now, new research from Wisconsin and Washington adds to the growing body of evidence that secondary Career Technical Education (CTE) leads to positive postsecondary outcomes.

State Research Shows Positive Outcomes for CTE Students

The Public Policy Forum, a research organization based out of Milwaukee, recently published a report examining the CTE system in both Wisconsin and the local Milwaukee region. The study draws upon Wisconsin’s CTE Enrollment Reporting System (CTEERS) and district-level surveys of CTE graduates and finds that two-thirds of students in Wisconsin enroll in CTE courses. The most popular area of focus for these students was Business & Information Technology. The study also revealed positive outcomes for CTE students, including:

  • CTE Concentrators were six percentage points more likely to graduate from high school than non-participants.
  • Approximately 74 percent of CTE Concentrators went on to pursue further education, with about one-third attending a 2-year school and two-thirds attending a 4-year school.
  • Of those attending higher education, 72 percent reported pursuing fields of study related to their high school CTE courses.

However, the data revealed inconclusive results related to performance on academic assessments. Additionally, the report identified a 6.3 percent statewide decrease in CTE teaching assignments from 2009 to 2016 — a trend the state has been working to reverse through recent legislation making it easier for CTE teachers to get certified in the state.

Washington Audit Highlights CTE Student Achievement

A report from the Washington State Auditor’s Office examines outcomes data for students in both the 2012 and 2013 graduating high school classes and finds that secondary CTE students demonstrated high post-high school achievement. The study was commissioned to examine the impact of Washington state’s $400 million investment in CTE — a system that reaches 300,000 high school students statewide.

The study finds that, within the population of students that did not go on to a four-year degree, CTE students were 11 percent more likely to “achieve” than non-CTE students. According to the study, “achievement” is measured as persistence in apprenticeship programs, persistence in community and technical colleges, employment and certificate attainment. Additionally, CTE programs accommodated a higher proportion of students receiving free and reduced price lunch and students with disabilities than other non-CTE programs, indicating that CTE could be a strategy for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities to acquire the skills needed for high-demand, high-wage careers.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Welcome to Laura Arnold, Kentucky’s new State CTE Director

February 15th, 2017

In September, Laura Arnold was named Kentucky’s State CTE Director, and her path to becoming State Director can be drawn directly back to the many Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers, role models and advisers who encouraged and supported her along the way.

“The CTE world is like a family and really supports students,” Arnold said. “It just shows the importance of teachers in the lives of kids and how they shape students not only in high school but also professionally.”

As a high school student in Kentucky, Arnold served as the state president of the Future Homemakers of America, now known as the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. After graduation, she earned a home economics degree from the University of Kentucky and soon after, took her first job teaching middle school Family and Consumer Science. Six years later, Arnold received an education leadership certificate and served as a principal at one of the state’s area technology centers for about five years.

In 2011, one of her fellow principals, Dale Winkler, became the State Director and asked Arnold to join him at the Kentucky Department of Education. From 2011-2015, Arnold worked in a variety of roles including, as a curriculum manager and Division director for the 53 state-operated area technology centers.

When Winkler left the state in 2015, Arnold was tapped to serve as the interim State Director, and continued in that role until being officially named to the position in September 2016.

Arnold is a key player in the state’s New Skills for Youth initiative. Kentucky was recently awarded $2 million to continue its efforts to strengthen and expand career education pathways for students. Check out this snapshot of the state’s initial work.

Moving forward, the state is examining how it might shift its delivery of K-12 CTE to a regional approach that lets school districts and area technology centers collaborate in order to provide more access to quality programs. This major shift would also require new partnerships and approaches to funding.

“I think we have to think outside of the box, and do things differently than we ever have before,” Arnold said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Getting to Know… Virginia

February 13th, 2017

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know…” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Virginia

State CTE Director: Lolita Hall, State Director of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Virginia Department of Education

About Virginia: Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Virginia has for years benefited from strong enthusiasm in the state legislature as well as sustained support and commitment from the Office of the Governor. Just this year, Gov. Terry McAuliffe in his State of the Commonwealth speech said that Virginia is “transforming our K-12 system to prepare students for the jobs of the 21st Century, with a particular emphasis on modernizing the [Standards of Learning] and how we deliver high school education.” This effort to modernize the Standards of Learning was initiated by major legislation passed in 2016. The law directs the Board of Education to identify a “Profile” for a Virginia graduate and adopt a more flexible high school experience. Currently, the Board is working with various state agencies to identify opportunities for a new high school graduation system, which is scheduled to be implemented in 2018.

A more seasoned initiative under way in Virginia is the Governor’s STEM and Health Sciences Academy network, which was launched and expanded under McAuliffe’s predecessors, Governors Tim Kaine and Bob McDonnell. The network, which includes 22 STEM Academies and 8 health science academies, are embedded within comprehensive high schools and CTE centers. Through partnerships with business leaders and local institutions of higher education, these academies expose students to a rigorous education with pathways to postsecondary opportunities. Each program includes at least two pathways and undergoes an intensive review process before qualifying for an official Governor’s Academy endorsement.

Programs of Study: Virginia students can also access CTE through 132 school divisions, approximately 350 comprehensive high schools, 10 regional technical centers and 47 local technical centers. Using local labor market information, Virginia identifies and funds programs aligned to priority high-wage, high-demand industries in each region. These programs are aligned with the 16 Clusters and 79 Pathways in the national Career Clusters framework.

A current priority in the Commonwealth is developing a rigorous curriculum in computer science to meet the rapid rate of growth in that sector. This work began in the 2013-14 school year and included cybercamps that provided students with project-based learning opportunities and guest lectures from industry experts through an intensive summer program. In 2016, Virginia held 32 cybercamps, reaching approximately 700 students across the Commonwealth. Moving forward, the Department of Education aims to finalize and launch cyber security curricula to be piloted in the 2017-18 school year.

Cross-Sector Partnerships: Although 85 percent of Virginia’s Perkins allocation is distributed at the secondary level, the Commonwealth has strong, collaborative partnerships across various agencies and sectors. One example is Gov. McAuliffe’s goal to help Virginia students and jobseekers attain 50,000 credentials, a primary objective of the Commonwealth’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) plan. This goal is now shared across 24 state and federally funded workforce programs, each working through various means to increase credential attainment in the Commonwealth. The New Economy Workforce Credential Grant program, for example, is a performance-based grant passed last year that covers up to two-thirds of the cost of tuition for noncredit workforce training programs that culminate in a credential. The initiative is administered by the Council of Higher Education, in partnership with several higher education institutions, and draws on a list of credentials identified and reviewed by the Board of Workforce Development.

On the Horizon: After a busy legislative session in 2016 that culminated in eight CTE-related laws and substantial increases in funding for credentials and CTE equipment, Virginia is fully engaged in implementing and expanding new programs. Even still, the legislature is eying new policies related to apprenticeships and CTE teacher licensure. Additionally, the Office of Career and Technical Education recently merged with the Office of Adult Education in order to streamline programs and facilitate more efficient program and service delivery under WIOA. The office, under Lolita Hall’s leadership, is engaged with integrating both the CTE and adult education portfolios in order to strengthen workforce preparation services for individuals all across the Commonwealth.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Welcome to Elaine Perea, New Mexico’s State CTE Director!

February 2nd, 2017

When Elaine Perea was studying ancient Greek philosophers at St. John’s College in 1990, she never imagined she would one day become the State Director for Career Technical Education (CTE) in New Mexico.

Yet, her first job after graduating was as a bookkeeper, and she soon realized she had a knack for numbers and finance. This led into varied career in business including accounting and eventually to an investment company where she bought commercial office buildings. Over time, however, this began to wear, she said. So Perea decided to return to college once more; this time, to earn her doctorate in social psychology and enter the next phase of her professional career – as a college professor in Florida, where she taught for three years.

But New Mexico was home, so when a position became available over two years ago in the state’s Public Education Department, she was able to leverage her unique blend of business experience and teaching to get hired as an Education Administrator. Shortly after joining the department, she assumed additional responsibilities as the Deputy Director of CTE.

After being named as the State CTE Director in January, Perea said she intends to continue focusing on how to increase secondary students’ access to CTE. In New Mexico, roughly half of school districts have fewer than 200 students and many struggle to offer a three-course program of study due to enrollments and resources.

Perea also said another of her top priorities is to increase the use of dual credit courses in secondary CTE programs, and to encourage students to take such courses as part of their program sequence. To do this, Perea said she is working closely with the state bodies that govern higher education enrollment policies.

“We believe dual credit is an important tool in supporting rigorous CTE programs and helping students get the credentials they need for entering into the workforce,” Perea said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Welcome to Quentin Suffren, Texas’ New State CTE Director!

January 24th, 2017

Quentin Suffren admits he’s not your usual State Director for Career Technical Education (CTE).

For more than 16 years, Suffren worked in both the nonprofit and private sectors, leading large-scale education projects such as managing data and reporting systems with the New York-based Amplify Education, implementing a teacher evaluation system with The New Teacher Project in Houston, Texas, and serving as the chief academic officer for The Learning Institute.

In August 2016, he joined the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to serve as the Executive Director for College, Career and Military Prep, which includes the state’s CTE office.

The TEA reorganized last year, and as a result, CTE gained a higher profile within the department when the state joined the Pathways to Prosperity Network, which is a group of states working to build seamless career pathway systems that link high school, work and postsecondary education. The career pathways initiative is what brought Suffren to the agency, and since joining in August, has been working to coordinate the state’s efforts.

“What became really clear as I joined TEA, a lot of those pathways run directly through CTE,” Suffren said. “This puts CTE in the limelight and acknowledges that it is direct preparatory pathway to college and careers.”

In his new role, Suffren said he is looking forward to finding new and better ways to increase students’ access to high quality career pathways, expanding college and career counseling for all students and their parents, and removing barriers to work-based learning.

“It’s not college or career anymore. It’s both, and CTE is a huge part of that,” Suffren said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate of Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Registration Now Open for 2017 Spring Meeting

January 17th, 2017

Registration for the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting is now open! We hope you will join us May 2-4, 2017, in Washington, DC, to explore the major issues impacting and influencing Career Technical Education (CTE) today.

The annual Advance CTE Spring Meeting draws CTE leaders from nearly every state. This year, you can expect to:

  • Network with your peers from across the country and share best practices
  • Celebrate the one-year anniversary of Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE
  • Engage national experts about the prospects for reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act
  • Learn about how other states are implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Workforce and Innovation and Opportunity Act to advance high-quality CTE
  • Honor high-quality CTE programs of study during our annual Excellence in Action Awards ceremony

Early bird rates end on February 28.  Not yet a member of Advance CTE? Join today and enjoy even greater savings on your meeting registration!

Register today!

Welcome to Lynne Gilli, Maryland’s New State CTE Director!

January 10th, 2017

In 1972, Lynne Gilli was a high school senior, an honors student and on track to attend university the following year. But when she requested to take cosmetology classes at her district’s career center, her high school counselor was shocked and actively discouraged the idea.

Because all of her graduation requirements were met, Gilli defied the counselor and took the cosmetology classes, hoping that she could use those skills to help pay her way through college.

Though few may have predicted the impact of that decision, it ultimately led Gilli to being named the Assistant State Superintendent for the Division of Career and College Readiness by the Maryland State Board of Education in October 2016.

Gilli is no stranger to the state’s office for Career Technical Education (CTE) – or career and technology education as it is known in Maryland. In fact, she landed her first job there in 1982 after receiving her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Over 34 years, she has worked in various positions in the state CTE office, including coordinating two Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), managing  CTE state planning and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reporting, and then leading the office’s CTE instructional branch.

“This is a great learning organization,” Gilli said. “I’ve learned a lot from working here.”

During more than three decades as a state CTE leader, Gilli has seen CTE evolve from the narrowly focused, terminal vocational education. Today, CTE students are expected to have the same academic preparation, and now have greater opportunities to explore high-skill, high-wage professional career fields such as engineering, bio-medical studies and computer science. The “new” CTE enables students to earn early college credit and industry-recognized credentials before leaving high school.

“It’s exploded into a much more appealing way to learn. Students aren’t just memorizing procedures anymore. They’re working in teams, learning to communicate and making presentations,” Gilli said. “Through participation in CTSOs – these students are at the top of their game and earning national recognition for their skills.”

Under her leadership, Gilli plans to expand students’ access to high-quality CTE programs of study at secondary and postsecondary levels to better prepare graduates for lifelong learning and success.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Join us for two webinars in January!

January 4th, 2017

As interest in Career Technical Education (CTE) continues to increase, the need for experts qualified to help ensure students gain the real-world experiences they need for success increases as well. Individuals with industry expertise provide a perspective to students that traditional academic teachers may be unable to do, and can also help students explore and connect with particular career opportunities. Unfortunately, there is currently a national shortage of these experts working in schools.Advance CTE, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at American Institutes for Research, carried out two surveys: one of 47 State CTE Directors and one of 260 local CTE teachers and administrators from 26 states. This research informed the findings and recommendations in Advance CTE’s newest report, The State of Career Technical Education: Increasing Access to Industry Experts in High Schools.

Join us for a webinar to discuss the findings from the report, and to hear from the Nebraska State CTE Director, Rich Katt, about his state’s strategies and experiences with this issue.

 

SP_CTE2016State Policies Impacting CTE: 2016 Year in Review 
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
2-3 p.m. ET
It’s that time of year again! The annual State Policies Impacting CTE Year in Review report, a joint publication between Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), will be released at the end of January. Now in its fourth year, the report highlights state legislation, board rules and executive actions impacting CTE across the states. Join us for a webinar to unpack notable policies, discuss trends, and hear more about new state policies in Idaho from Idaho State CTE Director Dwight Johnson.
Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

Happy Holidays from Advance CTE!

December 22nd, 2016
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Happy Holidays from all of us here at Advance CTE! As we reflect on this incredible year, we want to say a thank you for your dedication to Advance CTE, and unwavering commitment to providing high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) to learners across the country.
It’s been a transformational year for Advance CTE, and we invite you to share in some of our successes and highlights.
We released Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, establishing a bold vision for all of education, and calling for a systemic transformation of the education system. 11 partners have joined this shared vision, 36 states have signed onto the Putting Learner Success First sign on campaign, and Advance CTE has shared over 28,000 copies of the vision.
Advance CTE underwent an organizational rebrand to better reflect our membership and reaffirm our core values. With support from the Advance CTE Board of Directors and Membership, we created a brand that reflects our commitment to supporting all the state leaders who are committed to advancing high-quality CTE across the country.
In January 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched New Skills for Youth, a $75 million, five-year initiative, aimed at strengthening career-focused education.
As part of this initiative, JPMorgan Chase, Advance CTE, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Education Strategy Group have partnered on a multi-year state competition to increase the number of students in the U.S. who successfully complete career pathways and catalyze approaches to the design and implementation of programs and policies to increase students’ career readiness. This year, 24 states and Washington, D.C. received planning and implementation grants to jump start this work.
We launched the Learning that Works Resource Center, a curated database of research, reports, tools, guides and policies focused on CTE and career-readiness. The Resource Center has been visited over 36,000 times, and continues to be updated with new resources and information regularly. Check out the most popular resource in the Resource Center here.
We celebrated our Excellence in Action award recipients, awarded to 11 programs across as many Career Clusters in nine states.

To dig deep on topics ranging from federal policy to industry recognized credentials, we released 10 reports or briefs and published 141 blog posts.
Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

114th Congressional Wrap-Up and Perkins Outlook

December 13th, 2016

United States CapitalFollowing the November elections, lawmakers have been on Capitol Hill for the final phase of the 114th Congress. This lame duck session was formally scheduled to come to an end this upcoming Friday, but the last-minute passage of a continuing resolution (CR) last week allowed lawmakers to adjourn the 114th Congress a week early after the bill cleared the Senate.

With policymakers digesting the results of the elections and planning ahead for 2017, there were not too many education or workforce-related highlights from this final session of Congress to speak of. The dearth of legislative activity did make room for the composition of the respective House (HEW) and Senate (HELP) education committees to become clearer.

In the Senate, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will retain his leadership role of the HELP Committee. Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) will also keep her slot going into next year. This year this duo, along with Senators Enzi (R-WY) and Casey (D-PA), came close to passing a comprehensive reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act, but unfortunately these efforts stalled as the year wore on. The root cause of this delay were continued disagreements related to the oversight authority of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

With the retirement of Chairman John Kline (R-MN), the House education committee recently named a new Chairwoman—Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)— to lead HEW in the 115th Congress. Rep. Foxx recently won her seventh term in Congress, and has been the Chairwoman for HEW’s subcommittee on higher education since 2010. Prior to her tenure in Congress, she was a professor and administrator at several postsecondary institutions in North Carolina. On the Democratic side of the aisle Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) will retain his leadership position on the committee.

Earlier this year the full House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5587—comprehensive legislation that would reauthorize the Perkins Act. While there were some remaining items that needed to be addressed as the bill made its way over to the Senate (primarily a fix for the proposed definition for a secondary CTE concentrator), Advance CTE endorsed and supported this legislation’s passage. Unfortunately due to the reasons cited above, the bill lost momentum when it arrived in the Senate.

As we look ahead to the next Congress, lawmakers in both chambers have expressed interest in taking up Perkins reauthorization. However, a specific timeline for the law’s consideration is still unclear and it will be competing with other education priorities such as a renewal of the Higher Education Act (HEA). In the coming year, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a thoughtful reauthorization process for Perkins in this new environment and will urge lawmakers to build upon the strong foundation laid with H.R. 5587 to support high-quality CTE for years to come.

Be sure to check back here for an in-depth look at what else is in store in the 115th Congress in coming week.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

 

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