President Trump Signs STEM Memo, U.S. Department of Education Adds Senior Staff

September 27th, 2017

It’s been a busy week in Washington! President Trump signed a memorandum on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). In addition, the U.S. Department of Education has announced new hires and decisions about guidance on campus sexual misconduct. Read below to find out more about the memo, the U.S. Department of Education’s new staff and new guidance.

President Trump Signs Memo on Increasing Access to High-Quality STEM Education

On September 25, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Education that establishes “promotion of high-quality STEM education, with a particular focus on Computer Science as a Department of Education priority.” In addition, it directs the Secretary of Education to devote “at least $200 million in grant funds per year to the promotion of high‑quality STEM education, including Computer Science in particular.”

New Senior Staff at the U.S. Department of Education

On September 26, Secretary DeVos announced that two new Senior Staff will be joining the U.S. Department of Education on October 2, 2017. Dr. Michael Wooten will be the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). Dr. Leonard Haynes will be the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary. You can find additional information about both new hires in the U.S. Department of Education’s press release here.

U.S. Department of Education Withdraws Guidance, Releases Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct

On September 22, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter on Seuxal Violence and the April 29, 2014 Q&A on Title IX Sexual Violence would be withdrawn. In addition, a new interim Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct was released. The Department’s press release noted that “In the coming months, the Department intends to engage in rulemaking on Title IX responsibilities arising from complaints of sexual misconduct. The Department will solicit comments from stakeholders and the public during the rulemaking process, a legal procedure the prior administration ignored.”

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

This Week in CTE

September 22nd, 2017

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Safe Students, Safe Workers: Construction Safety Programs in Post-Secondary Career Technical Education Webinar: Learn what post-secondary Career Technical Education programs (CTE) in construction are doing and how to support development of students’ skills for safe work in the classroom and on the job. What administrative systems, instructor support, curriculum content and teaching activities are needed? Presenters will share concrete examples and results from site visits, interviews, and a national survey of instructors and administrators in construction CTE programs in 2-year colleges, as well as action steps and resources for administrators and instructors of CTE programs from a new guide.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK 

Submit a proposal to the 2018 Linked Learning Convention. The Convention brings together more than 900 leaders from education, workforce, research, policy, and nonprofits for strategic conversations and meaningful professional learning aimed at ensuring all students are well prepared for college, career, and life.

TOOL OF THE WEEK 

CNA recently released its interactive labor market analysis tool, which is intended to help CTE stakeholders identify high-wage, high-demand careers and associated education and/or training requirements. The tool was created using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ national job projections until 2024.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate

Excellence in Action Spotlight: Millard Education Career Academy gives students leg up on careers

August 29th, 2017

As teachers around the nation arrive back at their schools this month to set up their classrooms, finalize lesson plans, and take in the calm before the storm, several new members will be among their ranks. To honor the ground work done to prepare them, we’d like to highlight our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Education & Training Career Cluster, the Millard Public Schools Education Career Academy, located at Millard West High School in Omaha, NE.

At Advance CTE, we believe that in order to provide the best Career Technical Education (CTE), programs of study must give all learners authentic, real-world experiences linked to the career interest of their choice. At the Education Career Academy, real-world experiences are the bedrock of the curriculum. In partnership with the school district, students participate in extensive work-based learning internships to put what they’re learning into practice and build connections with educators in their communities.

During their junior year, students enter the workplace for part of the school day one day a week for two, nine-week placements. The first placement pairs education students with a student in a special needs classroom. While education students do not have access to Individualized Education Plan (IEPs), the special education teacher gives them all the goals they are working toward with these students. On the last day of this placement, Academy students present a specialized academic and social lesson plan they’ve designed for their partnered student.

The second nine-week classroom placement is through partnerships with five elementary and three middle schools. These offer a variety of practical experiences – ranging from Montessori classrooms to IB classrooms, schools with high proportions of English language learners to schools with high proportions of low-income students. These experiences include observation and shadowing, as well as mentoring and tutoring a general education student. This array of site placements and multitude of approaches and types of teaching the students get to experience allows them to see what age group and setting they are most suited to teach, and plan their postsecondary education and career pathway accordingly.

For the last nine weeks of their senior year, students are placed for four half days per week in a classroom for an education practicum totaling 108 contact hours. This experience includes collaborating with teachers and parents, lesson design and delivery, and reflection activities throughout. Graduates of the program are armed with a portfolio of lesson plans they’ve designed and implemented and educator feedback, giving them a tremendous leg up in postsecondary and beyond.

Learn more about the Education Career Academy at Millard West High School and our 2017 award winners.

Congress Plans Appropriations Action in September & New WIOA Resources

August 23rd, 2017

While Congress is in recess until September 5, they’re likely to move quickly on the appropriations process for the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) when they return. Read below to find out more about what’s on the agenda for Congress in September and new resources on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), including a report and three short videos.

House to Consider Omnibus Spending Bill After Recess

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider an eight bill omnibus appropriations bill when they return from recess the week of September 4. The bill will include the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies spending bill, which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. It will be bundled with seven other appropriations bills in H.R. 3354, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, when it goes to the House floor. In addition, the appropriations process in the Senate is likely to pick up again in early September –  now is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress (thanks to our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) for sharing their resources with the entire CTE community) to let them know that you support a strong federal investment in Career Technical Education (CTE)!

New Report on Importance of Partnership Between States and the Federal Government on Workforce Development 

The National Governors Association and the National Associations of State Workforce Liaisons and State Workforce Board Chairs just released a report, The Promise of the State-Federal Partnership on Workforce Development & Training, that outlines three cornerstones of successful state workforce development systems. One of these cornerstones is “Education Partnerships Align Education and Training with Skill Needs,” which calls for supporting and expanding opportunities for work-based learning and CTE (page 3). The report also highlights how WIOA and a continued federal investment in state workforce programs are key to growing state economies and provides seven recommendations for the Trump Administration.

Looking for Videos about WIOA Implementation?

Check out three new videos from WorkforceGPS, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, that were filmed during the 2017 WIOA National Convenings. In these short videos, attendees answered the following questions: “What is Innovation?“, “How Has WIOA Changed the Work You Do?” and “What WIOA Work Has You Excited?” and shared stories about their efforts to implement WIOA.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Veterans Education Bill Passes Congress

August 10th, 2017

With both the House and Senate now in recess until September 5, the pace has slowed down in Washington. Read below to find out more about what Congress accomplished before the break, what you can do to encourage Congress to invest in CTE when they return, and new resources from the Workforce Information Advisory Council (WIAC).

Veterans Education Bill Goes to President’s Desk

On July 13, Rep. Roe (R-TN) introduced H.R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, which passed the House unanimously on July 24. The bill was then introduced in the Senate by Senators Isakson (R-GA) and Tester (D-MT) on July 20 and passed the Senate on August 2. It now heads to the President for his signature. The bill would make a number of updates to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, including removing the requirement that they use their G.I. Bill benefits within 15 years and allowing for the education benefits received to be used at Area Career Technical Education (CTE) centers, including distance learning opportunities offered by these centers. Find more about the bill in the press release here and the one-page summary here.

Now is the time to Contact your Members of Congress about Investing in CTE

Even though Congress is in recess, your Senators and Representatives still need to hear from you! When Congress returns from recess, they will continue their work on the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget and appropriations process and must take action before October 1 (the start of FY18 for the government) in order avoid a government shutdown. Now is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress (thanks to our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) for sharing their resources with the entire CTE community) to let them know that you support a strong federal investment in CTE! Please continue to send your stories about what the proposed 15 percent cut to the Perkins Basic State Grant would mean for you to Katie Fitzgerald, kfitzgerald@careertech.org and we will follow up with you about featuring your story in our advocacy communications.

New Resources from the Workforce Information Advisory Council (WIAC)

The Workforce Information Advisory Council (WIAC), a group that Congress established via the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) to make recommendations about the workforce and labor market information (LMI) systems at the state and federal levels and advise the Secretary of Labor on these issues. This group just released a new report, Challenges and Opportunities in Workforce and Labor Market Information, which examines how policymakers, researchers and educators can use labor market information to help build the national, state and local workforce and help strengthen the economy. Additionally, the report makes the case for enhancing workforce data quality in order to provide more accurate employment projections and equip learners with resources to make informed decisions about their career paths. WIAC also published a shorter brief and infographic to go along with this report.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

H.R. 2353, the bill to reauthorize the Perkins Act, passes the House of Representatives

June 22nd, 2017

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted by voice vote to pass H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The bill would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) through Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.

Kimberly Green, executive director of Advance CTE and LeAnn Wilson, executive director of the Association for Career and Technical Education praised the 100-year history of bipartisan support for Career Technical Education (CTE). They also commended Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), along with leadership from both parties, particularly House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), for their strong commitment to support CTE.

While Advance CTE and ACTE supported the passage of H.R. 2353, they noted that there is one outstanding issue to be resolved around the bill’s proposed definition for a secondary CTE concentrator. Both organizations encourage the Senate to resolve this issue and capitalize on the momentum of the House-passed vote to reauthorize Perkins. Read the full statement here.

 

Both Green and Wilson spoke at a press conference immediately following the vote to reinforce the importance of CTE as a truly bipartisan issue that not only prepares learners for a successful future, but also contributes to our talent pipeline and efforts to narrow the skills gap. Representatives Thompson (R-PA), Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Langevin (D-RI), Byrne (R-AL), Ferguson (R-GA), Nolan (D-MN), and Smucker (R-PA) all spoke in support of the legislation. In addition, Stan Litow, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM and Eleanor Kerr, Director, Government Affairs, Siemens Healthineers provided brief remarks about the value of CTE.

 

“I want to thank everyone who said yes to today’s vote…It’s so important to remember that [there is] longstanding bipartisan support for CTE because it comes from a place of understanding that Career Technical Education plays an important role in making sure that learners of all ages get a chance to explore their talents, interests, career options, [and] that they get a chance to try out different careers, have hands-on experiences and real-world opportunities to find a lifetime of career and education success,” said Green. “There’s no doubt to me that this legislation will work to close the skills gap… As many others have said, I urge the Senate to act.” Watch the video here.

Perkins Vote on Thursday, Apprenticeship Executive Order Signed

June 21st, 2017

The focus on Career Technical Education (CTE) remains strong this week as attention shifts from last week’s “Workforce Week” events to action on Capitol Hill. More below on a vote on H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (which would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins)), the Executive Order on apprenticeship and new resources from Advance CTE and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE).

H.R. 2353 Vote on Thursday

Following unanimous approval from the House Education and the Workforce Committee on May 17, we anticipate that H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (which would reauthorize Perkins, find our summary here) will come to a vote this Thursday, June 22. Once the vote occurs, we will share the final vote count. We will also analyze the bill and share out any technical changes that were made between the Committee mark up and floor vote as soon as possible. Timing and consideration of the bill in the Senate are not known at this time.

President Trump Signs Executive Order

On June 15, President Trump signed the “Expanding Apprenticeship in America” Executive Order (EO). Key components of the EO include:

  • “Establishing Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships”: Directs the Secretary of Labor to consult with the Secretaries of Education and Commerce to “consider proposing regulations… that promote the development of apprenticeship programs by third parties. These third parties may include trade and industry groups, companies, non-profit organizations, unions, and joint labor-management organizations.”
  • “Promoting Apprenticeship Programs at Colleges and Universities. The Secretary of Education shall, consistent with applicable law, support the efforts of community colleges and 2 year and 4 year institutions of higher education to incorporate apprenticeship programs into their courses of study.”
  • “Establishment of the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion: The mission of the Task Force shall be to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeship programs are insufficient.”
  • “Improving the Effectiveness of Workforce Development Programs”
    • “The head of each agency shall submit a list of programs, if any, administered by their agency that are designed to promote skills development and workplace readiness” and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget “shall consider the information provided… in developing the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget.”
    • “The head of each agency administering one or more job training programs shall order… an empirically rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of such programs, unless such an analysis has been recently conducted.”

The EO provides broad contours and policy direction. Advance CTE will watch for more information and provide updates when details are available, which are particularly important given the lack of details in the EO. Of particular note is the direction to OMB, given the rationale used to justify the 15% proposed cut in the President’s budget. To learn more about the flawed justification and Advance CTE’s response to it, read this opinion piece written by Advance CTE and ACTE.

New Resources on Apprenticeship

To learn more about the connections between apprenticeships and secondary CTE, check out the resources from Advance CTE and the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) here, including two new videos.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

This Week in CTE

June 16th, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

By integrating classroom instruction and hands-on learning, both apprenticeships and CTE can enhance the high school experience and better prepare learners for future career success. Not to mention, secondary apprenticeships equip students with skills in high-demand career pathways, helping to strengthen the talent pool and close critical skills gaps.

A new report, Opportunities for Connecting Secondary Career and Technical Education Students and Apprenticeship Programs, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education and prepared by Advance CTE with support from Jobs for the Future, Vivayic and RTI International, profiles eight secondary apprenticeship programs to identify strategies to connect CTE with apprenticeship programs. The report classifies each program as either an apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship and maps each by the degree of instructional alignment and program articulation.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program is conducting a survey to learn the perspectives of individuals focused on preparing young people ages 16- 24 for work. If you provide services to youth in this age range, complete this survey.

AWARD OF THE WEEK

On Monday, applications open to the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which includes over $500,000 awarded to 10 outstanding skilled trades teachers in American public high schools and the skilled trades programs in their schools.

Judges for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence will look for those programs that are led by a teacher who clearly loves the subject matter and is both highly knowledgeable and skilled; where the curriculum is matched to a relevant career pathway and future work choices, and is designed to flow seamlessly into next step options, whether to employment or college; that encourages exploration and experimentation among students in a safe environment; and that connects students to new relationships and worlds outside the classroom.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Push for Apprenticeships is Focus of Workforce Development Week

June 14th, 2017

It’s “Workforce Development Week” for the Trump Administration. Events throughout the week have involved remarks from key officials and a visit to a technical college in Wisconsin, but the biggest news is expected later this week.  See below for additional details on the week’s events, a new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) and Advance CTE, and an announcement from Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Monday: Ivanka Trump Talks Perkins, Apprenticeship Raised in Cabinet Meeting,  

On June 12, Ivanka Trump appeared on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” and provided an overview of Workforce Development Week. She discussed the skills gap, the upcoming visit to a technical college in Wisconsin, apprenticeships, and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). Ivanka Trump commented on the Carl D. Perkins Act noting that, “It’s a very good piece of legislation. They’re refining it and extending it, but it’s all about skills-based education and really making sure people have the technical skills to succeed in this modern economy.”

Also on June 12, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta presented on apprenticeships and distributed this policy memo, which outlines the need for skilled workers, highlights key facts about apprenticeship in the United States and requests that, “each Agency head support the Administration’s apprenticeship initiative by removing obstacles to apprenticeship growth that may be present in current regulations or practices.”

Tuesday: Visit to Waukesha County Technical College

On June 13, President Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Secretaries Devos and Acosta visited Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin and then held a roundtable discussion with Governor Scott Walker and students and instructors from the college. Topics addressed in the discussion’s opening remarks from President Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Governor Walker included the skills gap, the importance of skills-based programs and apprenticeships to address that gap, and the Governor’s recent announcement about a grant to support apprenticeships for high school students. Members of Congress have been weighing in on Workforce Development Week and we appreciate Senator Baldwin’s response that called attention to the President’s proposed cuts to Career Technical Education (CTE).

Wednesday: New Apprenticeship Bill, Report

Senators Cantwell (D-WA) and Collins (R-ME) introduced the Apprenticeship and Jobs Training Act of 2017 on June 14 (find the summary here). According to a press release from Senator Cantwell’s office, the bill would:

  • “Create a $5,000 tax credit for up to three years for companies that hire and pay employees enrolled in a federal- or state-registered apprentice program. Additionally, employers participating in a multi-employer apprenticeship program, the credit rate would be $3 per hour each individual works.
  • Allow senior employees near retirement to draw from pensions early if they’re involved in mentoring or training new employees. Workers must be at least 55, and have reduced work hours to spend at least 20 percent of their time training or educating employees or students.
  • Help veterans get into skilled jobs that match their military experience sooner by allowing credit in apprenticeship requirements for previous military training.”

Curious about how apprenticeship programs relate to CTE? Check out this new resource from OCTAE and Advance CTE that details how eight programs connect secondary CTE to apprenticeship.

What’s Next for Workforce Development Week?

News reports from Inside Higher Ed and others anticipate that President Trump will make an announcement this week about expanding apprenticeship efforts and increasing the federal investment in apprenticeship. In addition, the President is expected to sign an executive order related to apprenticeships.

Secretary DeVos Announces Rulemaking Committees

On June 14, Secretary DeVos announced that the Department of Education (ED) would create two rulemaking committees on regulations surrounding Borrower Defense Repayment and Gainful Employment. With regard to Gainful Employment, the press release noted that “As the Department worked on implementing this regulation, it became clear that, as written, it is overly burdensome and confusing for institutions of higher education.”

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

CTE is Not an Either/Or – A Response to “General Education, Vocational Education, and Labor-Market Outcomes over the Lifecycle”

June 12th, 2017

A new study came out recently that is garnering some media attention and calling into question the long-term value of CTE for students internationally. In a nutshell, this study, General Education, Vocational Education, and Labor-Market Outcomes over the Lifecycle, finds that the labor market advantage associated with participation in vocational education diminishes over time as the vocational individuals’ skills become outdated,making them less able to navigate the ever-changing world of work, compared to those students who completed a general education (or non-vocational) path in high school.  

Needless to say, this is raising questions for some about what this means for U.S. CTE system. While the study raises some important questions about the consequences of a truly tracked system, it also validates the direction CTE has been going here in the U.S.  In particular, this paper reaffirms so much of the exciting work going on – led by states and supported by the federal government, advocacy organizations like Advance CTE, and philanthropic partners like JPMorgan Chase – to raise the quality and rigor of CTE programs and pathways so that they serve as effective platforms to both college and careers for students.

The study compared students on the “vocational” track to those on a “general-education” track in 11 individual European countries. Right off the bat, the idea of a “track” is one that we have been very intentional about moving away from. And, the researchers freely admit this:

The United States, for example, has largely eliminated vocational education as a separate track in secondary schools on the argument that specific skills become obsolete too quickly and that it is necessary to give people the ability to adapt to new technologies. On the other hand, many European and developing countries, led by Germany’s “dual system,” provide extensive vocational education and training at the secondary level including direct involvement of industry through apprenticeships.”

This is hugely important, but also a bit ironic. I can’t tell you how many articles I have read or conversations I have had about how we can better replicate the German model for CTE. The fact is, CTE and academics are not an either/or in the U.S. system – all high school students are still required to take an academic core and, in many states, a college- and career-ready course of study, in addition to having the option to pursue a CTE pathway. From this perspective, CTE is a “value add” to the traditional high school experience, offering opportunities for specialized, career-focused coursework, hands-on learning and access to a network of mentors inside and outside the classroom, in addition to core academics.

Equally important is that high-quality CTE programs are designed to develop lifelong learners. Programs of study, by design, begin with foundational knowledge and skills and then progress to more occupationally-specific expectations over an intentional sequence of courses that extend across secondary and postsecondary. Programs of study like our Excellence in Action award winners offer opportunities for early postsecondary opportunities, meaningful work-based learning experiences and are anchored in credentials of value. These are programs not focused on short-term labor market needs – although they may fill them – but rather on the lifetime success of their students.

There is undoubtedly real value in this paper. It identifies important trade-offs and offers a potential cautionary tale of focusing on the short-term needs of an economy when designing a career preparation system. While it is important to continue to study international models – or, really study any models, policies or strategies that we think can help us get smarter about designing effective and meaningful career-focused pathways – this study also reaffirms that the efforts across the U.S. to drive quality CTE programs deserve just as much attention, if not more.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

 

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