This Week in CTE

September 25th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK
The Alliance for Excellent Education and Asia Society are hosting a webinar, Raising the Bar for the Quality of Career Preparation Pathways: Apprenticeships on October 2 from 1 – 2 p.m. EDT. Panelists will focus on the success of the Swiss apprenticeship program and how the U.S. education system can integrate some aspects of the Swiss program.
Register today

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a new website this week where the business community can learn more about college and career ready standards. Achieving Tomorrow is complete with, videos, op-eds from chamber leaders, resources and a map with state assessment information, college completion rates and skills gap projects.
Learn more

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

This Week in CTE

September 18th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

The Council of State Governments September/October issue of Capitol Ideas magazine focuses on Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with an article specifically on how Career Technical Education intersects with STEM.
Read More

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

NASDCTEc in partnership with the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center are hosting a webinar,. Reshaping Tennessee’s Work-based Learning on Thursday, October 15. The webinar will explore how Tennesee is reshaping work based learning to create a rigorous and relevant experience for all students.
Register

REPORT OF THE WEEK

Don’t Quit on Me, a report released by America’s Promise Alliance, explores how the role of relationships in a student’s life impacts their chances of graduating high school.
Read More

AWARD OF THE WEEK

The Alliance for Excellent Education opened applications for their Excellence and Innovation In Secondary Schools award. The awards will identify exemplary high schools and/or districts that are improving outcomes for undeserved students.
Apply

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

NASDCTEc Legislative Update: Obama Administration Announces College Scorecard and Apprenticeship Grants as Congress Edges Closer to Funding Deadline

September 17th, 2015

United States CapitalEarlier this year, the Obama Administration announced its intention to create a college ratings system where postsecondary institutions would be sorted into three broad categories of high, medium, and low performing schools. Many stakeholder groups, including NASDCTEc, provided feedback on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and many groups had significant reservations about the newly proposed effort.

After taking these comments into consideration, ED announced earlier this summer that they would change direction with this initiative and create a new public-facing information tool that would make institution specific information available to consumers to make more informed choices about their postsecondary education options without making a value judgement.

Last week, the Department released this tool, known as the College Scorecard which is now available on their website. The tool offers information on an institution’s costs, graduation rates, the percentage of students receiving federal aid, and significantly, the median earnings of graduates 10 years after completion. Most of this information comes with caveats—as a related technical paper from ED notes, the earnings information only covers those students receiving federal grants or loans, includes graduates and non-completers alike, and excludes currently enrolled students.

More detailed information on the scorecard can be found via the Workforce Data Quality Campaign of which NASDCTEc is a national partner.

While the scorecard is a significant step in the right direction, more can still be done to improve upon this work such as refocusing the effort to look at program-level data where it would be far more useful to students and their families. In the coming weeks, NASDCTEc plans to work with its partners to provide comment on the scorecard and will continue to think through ways in which the tool could be improved.

Administration Announces More Funding for Apprenticeships

Another big development happened last Wednesday when President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced the 46 grantees for this year’s U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) American Apprenticeship grant program (AAG). Using Macomb Community College in Michigan as a backdrop for the announcement, this $175 million investment is part of the Admisntration’s wider effort to double the number of apprenticeships in the country—a realistic goal considering the U.S. lags behind nearly every other advanced country when it comes to participation in apprenticeships. While this is the second year for the AAG program, the Admisntration’s move to increase the amount of funding available by an additional $75 million underscores their strong commitment to what they’ve dubbed the “earn and learn” model for the coming years.

The grantees plan to create training opportunities for 34,000 apprenticeships at these 46 public-private partnerships, mostly in areas such as advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology while scaling up many existing programs in construction, transportation, and energy over the next few years. Many of the grantees plan to develop or build upon existing state or local career pathways, sector partnerships, and the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium initiative that have boosted activity in this area throughout the country in recent years.

For instance, the Illinois Advance Apprenticeship Consortium grant, which will receive $3.9 million in grant funding, plans to create 600 new apprenticeship positions that link to the state’s career pathway initiative, in order to create new on and off ramps for students to pursue these opportunities.

NASDCTEc applauds the Admisntration’s commitment to investing in the nation’s workforce and looks forward to the work that lies ahead as these grants start to reap benefits for students across the country. More information on the announcement can be found here and here.

Administration Launches “Heads Up America” Campaign and Continues to Push College Promise Proposal

Apprenticeships were only half of the conversation when President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden spoke at Macomb Community College last week. The President has continued to advocate for his America’s College Promise proposal which would make the first two years of college tuition free for qualifying students.

As part of that effort, the President has announced the creation of an independent advisory board for this effort, chaired by Dr. Jill Biden and former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer, to convene like-minded postsecondary leaders, share best practices and models for the effort’s expansion, and to serve as recruiting tool to get more individuals involved in the work to expand the initiative throughout states and local communities. A full list of the board members is located here.

To that end, one of the core functions of this new board will be to spearhead a public awareness and grassroots campaign called “Heads Up America”. The goal of this effort is to spread awareness about community colleges and to create a nationwide movement to support the President’s call for lawmakers to take action on his America’s College Promise proposal. More information on this effort can be found here.

Odds & Ends

  • With the Fiscal Year 2016 funding deadline on September 30th fast approaching, lawmakers are currently working to avoid a government shutdown over Republican opposition to any funding measure that contains support for Planned Parenthood. While no deal has been reached as of today, the likelihood of a temporary stop-gap spending measure, known as a Continuing Resolution or CR, is growing increasingly likely. NASDCTEc will provide further information about that process next week.
  • The Workforce Data Quality Campaign hosted a Congressional briefing on the need to more effectively leverage education and workforce data to improve education and employment outcomes for students. The briefing also examined ways in which data systems could be improved, from local, state, and federal perspectives. More information on the event can be found here.
  • Chairman John Kline (R-MN) of the House Education and Workforce Committee recently announced that he will not seek reelection in 2016. While he will remain Chair of the Committee through next year, his likely replacement still remains uncertain, but includes among others, Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Joe Wilson (R-SC).
  • The U.S. Secretaries of Labor and Education recently wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for a renewed focus on improving the K-12 education experience. The piece highlights IBM’s P-Tech model as one way to improve student learning and outcomes. More here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager 

This Week in CTE: President Obama Announces Apprenticeship Program

September 11th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Association for Career and Technical Education released a two-page brief describing the different types of credentials including who they are awarded by, what the credential indicates, and examples of each type.
More

EVENT OF THE WEEK

National Tech Ag Day is hosting a live webcast on September 24 from 1:45 0 4:00 p.m. EDT where the American Farm Bureau Federation Office will host panels, national and state education leaders, agriculture teachers and more.
More

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

President Obama visited Michigan Technical Education Center in Michigan this week to announce a $175 million Labor Department program that will create 34,000 apprenticeships around the country.
More

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

September 4th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Why We Desperately need to Bring Back Vocational Training in Schools
While the four-year college system is failing many students, career technical education programs are being cut across the country leaving high school graduates with few skills and fewer job opportunities.
More

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

NCCER and Build Your Future have partnered to create the I BUILT THIS video contest for professionals and instructors to highlight their construction projects and designs. Submit by October 18!
More

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation announced it’s CTE program, ProStart, which teaches culinary arts and restaurant management, is now available throughout the United States.
More

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

National Council for Agricultural Education Releases Revised Content Standards

September 3rd, 2015

For the past 32 years, the National Council for Agricultural Education (The Council) has provided leadership for stakeholders in agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources systems education. As part of its goal of to stimulate positive growth in agricultural education, The Council recently completed a review and revision of the agriculture, food and natural resources (AFNR) Career Cluster Content Standards.

The AFNR Career Cluster Content Standards originally were developed as part of the 2003 U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Career Clusters Project. Last revised in 2009, the new version of the standards have a number of advancements, with the revision focused on ensuring that they:

  • Reflect essential and up-to-date knowledge and skills that students need to be ready for early-career success in a variety of AFNR disciplines;
  • Provide a sound basis upon which to design AFNR related Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses; and
  • Provide a sound basis for developing end of course/program assessments to measure students’ attainment of essential disciplinary knowledge and skills.

Another goal of this revision project was to identify strategies for encouraging greater adoption and use at the state and local level. One way we did this was by partnering with NASDCTEc to fully align our work to the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) Career Ready Practices and the AFNR Career Cluster standards to encourage State Directors of CTE to see them as a viable resource to build courses in the AFNR cluster and assess performance, as well as to help agricultural educators better demonstrate how their students perform within the CCTC. Prior to the 2015 revision, the correlation and alignment between this standards set and the AFNR CCTC had been vague. The standards were also cross-walked to several other key frameworks including the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core Standards, and the National Standards for Financial Literacy.

The AFNR Career Cluster Content Standards provide state agricultural education leaders and educators with a high-quality, rigorous set of standards to guide what students should know and be able to do after completing a program of study in each of the eight AFNR career pathways.

State leaders and local educators are encouraged to use the standards as a guide for the development of well-planned curriculum and assessments for AFNR-related CTE programs. These standards are intended to help shape the design of all components of an agricultural education program including:

  • Classroom and laboratory instruction.
  • Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) experiences through organizations such as the National FFA Organization and the Post-Secondary Agriculture Students Organization (PAS).
  • Work-based learning experiences such as Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Programs and internships.

Just as agriculture varies throughout our nation and around the world, so will our agricultural education programs. While adoption and use of these standards is voluntary, states and local entities are encouraged to adapt the standards to meet local needs. States should explore these standards in conjunction with state and local advisory committees to determine what is most relevant and appropriate for their students in providing that all-important link between the school and the business community.

The AFNR industry is a highly technical and ever-changing sector of the global economy upon which everyone is dependent. We will continue to meet national and global demand for a safe and abundant food, fiber and fuel supply only if we invest in the growth and development of the human capital for the AFNR industry. Strong, relevant AFNR CTE programs that are informed by industry and education stakeholders are one way we can meet workforce needs now and in the future.

For further information professionals are asked to consult the standards documents online at https://www.ffa.org/thecouncil/afnr or by contacting The Council directly at 317-753-3319 or mhoneycutt@ffa.org.

This post was contributed by Mike Honeycutt, Managing Director, National Council for Agricultural Education. 

This Week in CTE

August 28th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
25 Ways to Strengthen Workforce Education
A California Community College task force comprised of representatives from community colleges, businesses, labor groups and public agencies, has released 25 recommendations to strengthen workforce education and close the skills gap in the state.
More

VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Hawaii high school students created videos around the prompt, “What does CTE mean to you?” Check out the top three finalists in the video contest.
More

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
National Skills Coalition launched the first ever scan of sector partnership policies in all 50 states. The study found that 21 states have specific policies to support local sector partnerships. See how your state measures up.
More

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Welcome to Oklahoma’s new State CTE Director Dr. Marcie Mack!

August 26th, 2015

We are pleased to welcome Oklahoma’s newest State Director of Career and Technology Education Dr. Marcie Mack!

State Director Mack’s career in career and technology education began in 1994 in the business and industry services area at Autry Technology Center in Enid, Oklahoma. After earning her master’s degree in telecommunications management at Oklahoma State University and then doctorate in educational administration and leadership, Dr. Mack moved into the role of information systems manager and business and information technology instructor.  In this role, she built the network infrastructure for the tech center while also developing and deploying a district-wide technology plan.  In addition, she taught four business and information technology classes for secondary and adult students in computer maintenance, computer programming, web design and computer networking, and developed curriculum for advanced technology instruction based on industry needs.  She advanced to director of technology and subsequently became assistant superintendent of Autry Technology Center in 2006.

Dr. Mack’s experience in the classroom combined with her understanding of administration and information technology prepared her for current role as state director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, a role she assumed in February 2015.

One of Dr. Mack’s goals is to support the Oklahoma workforce initiative, Oklahoma Works, positioning the state agency to address the workforce needs of the Oklahoma in high-demand areas.  Dr. Mack sees the strong relationships Oklahoma’s career and technology education programs must nurture with business and industry to grow the state’s economy and ensure that students are prepared with the academic and technical skills to fill the state’s skills gap.  Last year alone, the system served more than 6,600 companies in various ways, including business and industry training.  In addition to building and sustaining relationships with business and industry in the state, she has led new and continuous improvement initiatives, including the creation of a state-of-the-art data system to support the half million annual enrollments in CareerTech offerings.  Learn more about Oklahoma CareerTech here.

 Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

This Week in CTE

August 21st, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

NJ County Vocational-Technical Schools Lead Newsweek’s ‘America’s Top High Schools’ List
Newsweek’s 2015 “America’s Top High Schools” list, six of the top ten schools are New Jersey county vocational-technical schools one of which is a 2015 Excellence in Action award winner. In all, 15 New Jersey vocational-technical schools are included in the top 150 (out of 500) high schools speaking to the high caliber of CTE in the state.
Read More

REPORT OF THE WEEK

Despite the increasing demands placed on professionals in the education sectors whether in public education, government agencies, foundations or nonprofits to manage the K-12 education system, professional development opportunities are consistently left on the backburner. EdFuel released a report, Hidden in Plain Sight: Tomorrow Education Leaders Already Work for You, diving into the benefits and necessity of training and educating education leaders.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

While women represent 50 percent of the labor force, only 25 percent of the manufacturing workforce are women. To celebrate and promote women in this sector, the STEP Ahead Awards program by the Manufacturing Institute launched the Women in Manufacturing award recognizing women at all levels of the industry. Nominate someone you know today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

CTE on the Campaign Trail

August 19th, 2015

2014-11-Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-washington-dc-back-Marko-BerndtThe 2016 Presidential election has, unsurprisingly, begun nearly a full year before voters are expected to go to polling booths next November. As the primary season begins in earnest, candidates from both Parties have begun to touch on Career Technical Education (CTE) in a variety of ways.

Earlier this year the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), as part of the teacher union’s candidate endorsement process, had the current three Democratic candidates for President—Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)— fill out a candidate questionnaire on a wide array of education topics. Of particular note was a question pertaining to CTE and the federal government’s role in supporting high-quality CTE programs.

Bernie Sanders voiced incredibly strong support for CTE in response to this question saying, “[CTE] programs are vital pathways to middle-class, family-supporting jobs. I believe it is in our national and economic interest to ensure quality CTE programs are available to every American, and effectively aligned with the needs of the 21st century workforce. Accordingly, I strongly support fully-funding the Perkins CTE program. In addition, if elected, I would work to revolutionize our nation’s approach to workforce development and technical education to build effective, attainable pathways for young people to pursue middle class careers.”

Martin O’Malley gave a similarly compelling answer, pointing to his work as Governor of Maryland saying, “My administration would launch a new, comprehensive national program for CTE, starting in high schools, and in partnership with community colleges and employers. This builds on successful efforts launched by the Obama Administration, where schools partner with employers – who also provide financial support – to train students and workers for the positions they need to fill now. Our program will require greater federal investment, but we will see far greater returns – in good jobs created and filled, and in reduced spending on higher education. CTE training is an equal alternative to a four-year college degree, and we must treat it as such.”

AFT eventually ended up endorsing the former Secretary of State and First Lady, Hillary Clinton, who promised to lay out a clear CTE plan for her campaign in the coming months stating, “. . . I will lay out my ideas for a comprehensive proposal to train millions more workers over the next decade. I am exploring a number of options to incentivize CTE [sic] programs and help provide grants to train workers for the 21st century economy.”

Turning our attention to the Republican candidates for President, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), declared at a campaign event this past weekend at the Iowa State Fair that he plans to be “the vocational education president.” Emphasizing the importance of middle skilled jobs, he went on to say that “These are good paying jobs”— “a welder makes more than a political science major, and you borrow a lot less money and go to work a lot sooner.”

Throughout the day today, the Seventy Four, a new non-profit news website co-founded by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, hosted six of the Republican Candidates for President for 45 minute interviews exploring a broad swath of issues facing K-12 education today. While most of these interviews focused on hot-button topics such as the common core state standards, the role of teachers unions, school choice, parental involvement, and the appropriate role of the federal government in education, most of the candidates devoted some of their time to issues related to CTE.

Jeb Bush started things off speaking about his various education achievements as Governor of Florida. In particular he noted that student disengagement remains an enormous problem in high schools and that allowing students to “major” in secondary school, as they can in college, could be a way to address the “boredom” issue. He argued that if classwork were contextualized more effectively and delivered in an applied fashion, that students would be more engaged with their coursework. The former Florida Governor also spoke highly of the potential competency based education has in ensuring that students are learning and for holding schools and teachers accountability for that progression. Later on in the day, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal echoed these same sentiments.

Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP), was up next speaking about the need to support innovation to drive continuous improvement in education. Taking a page from her private sector experience, she focused a portion of her remarks on the need for employers to engage with schools and educators to deliver a high quality education for students. Internships and mentorships—something that HP supported in certain local school districts during her time as the CEO— were key elements of what she had to say on how to improve the U.S. education system.

Governor John Kasich followed, focusing his interview answers on many of his state’s educational programs and achievements, particularly in the urban areas of Ohio. He began by declaring that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to education—a recurring theme throughout the day— does not work for the 21st century economy. Noting that students learn at different rates and in different ways, he championed “personalizing” the high school experience by contextualizing classwork to spur student excitement for their education. Further into his interview, Governor Kasich highlighted the importance of employer engagement with schools, pointing to a successful corporate-sponsored mentorship program in a school in Cincinnati which now boasts a 97 percent graduation rate.

Governor Scott Walker’s interview focused quite a bit on the role of teacher tenure and unions, as well as how technology has changed the way students learn. Walker went on to say that technology is an important catalyst for innovation in education and argued that it should be used in a way that tailors curriculum to students’ particular interests and needs as a way to personalize their learning experience—something that was vocally supported by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who participated right after.

Walker went on to say that education is both a moral and an economic obligation for the next President. Much like Senator Rubio this past weekend, the Wisconsin Governor spoke at length about the important role education should have in preparing students for middle skilled jobs. He pointed to the significant contributions community and technical colleges make to the available pool of talent in the U.S. and argued that they were essential to ensuring that the skills needs of employers are effectively met. He ended his remarks on an aspirational note, suggested that more students should consider postsecondary and career pathways that may not require a four-year degree.

All of the interviews have now been posted and can be viewed here. This October, the Seventy Four will be hosting the Democratic Presidential candidates for the same sort of conversation. Be sure to check back here when they take the stage and for more coverage of the wider 2016 field as they continue to talk about CTE within their respective platforms.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

 

Series

Archives

1