Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: Oracle Academy Reflects on CTE

March 14th, 2018

This post is written by the Oracle Academy, a Diamon Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

One of the many advantages of being the North America Oracle Academy Regional Director, is the opportunity to spend time talking with education leaders at the State, K12 District, school site, and post-secondary level from all over the nation. I spend time learning, sharing ideas, celebrating successes, and understanding challenges that these leaders face each day. These conversations and experiences are often the most exciting yet humbling part of my job. February is celebrated as CTE Month and this year, I found myself reflecting on the impact that Career Technical Education (CTE) has on our students both now and in the future. A few thoughts to share are:

Reflection #1: CTE continues to evolve to meet changing needs. State and District leadership continue to strive to build sustainable and real-world CTE Pathways that lead our students to college and career success.  It’s the CTE leadership that can both anticipate and leverage, through research and relationships, the corporate workforce need and then translate that need into CTE pathways for students to pursue. Many of these pathways include applicable industry certifications, apprenticeship/internships, and defined articulation programs with feeder post-secondary institutions. At Oracle Academy, we work to ensure our resources continue to support the needs of CTE leadership through curriculum and certification opportunities that reflect industry needs.

Reflection #2: Collaboration between local industry and education leadership continue to drive CTE student success. This isn’t a new concept but what I’ve noticed is an uptick in our education and industry leadership working together to create applicable internships, apprenticeships, and mentorships to support the interest of our students. I’ve heard over and over again the importance that these roles play in supporting and creating sustainable CTE programs.  At Oracle Academy, our role revolves around building the best classroom resources for the student and teacher so that their content knowledge and often times, confidence, is foundationally strong so that attainment of first time internships and/or apprenticeships are successful.

Reflection #3: A focused effort and persistence will prevail!  As we all know, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is critical to ensuring that quality and sustainable CTE programs meet the changing needs of learners and employers. This act works to improve the academic and technical achievement of CTE students, helps to strengthen the bridge between secondary and post-secondary, and balances the student need with that of a new economy.  As parents, educators, and leaders, it’s our duty to encourage organizations, like CareerTech, that advocate on behalf of CTE programs as well as the teachers and students dedicated to CTE success. Oracle Academy supports this mission by continuing to provide our world-class student-facing curriculum and educator professional development – aligned to the IT Career Cluster Pathway – for FREE.

For those of you not familiar, Oracle Academy is Oracle’s flagship program in education philanthropy, currently supporting more than 3.5 million students annually in 120 countries. We advance computing technology education to increase knowledge, skills development, innovation and diversity in computing fields by providing:

Two years ago, we introduced Oracle Certified Junior Associate certifications in database and Java; these certification exams align to our Java Foundations and Database Foundations courses and are specifically designed with students in mind to help support internship, summer job, and first job applications.

Oracle Academy exists to improve the computing technology skills of young people, globally! If we strengthen the computing technology pathway between secondary, post-secondary, and career, we are essentially strengthening the future for our children!

Career Technical Education holds a very special place in my heart and I hope this blog reflects both the love and respect that I have for CTE programs and its significant impact on student achievement!

Making Students Career Ready in a Globally Connected World

February 22nd, 2018

Increasing numbers of careers are requiring global competence, facility with world languages and cultures, and the ability to work in global teams. Just consider these facts:

  • Ninety-seven percent of business executives identified intercultural skills, or being “comfortable working with colleagues, customers, and/or clients from diverse cultural backgrounds,” as important, including 63 percent who believe these skills are “very important.”
  • Another study found that 80 percent of U.S. executives agree that their businesses would increase if staff had international experience.
  • An international study conducted in more than 100 countries found that employers increasingly need employees who “are not only technically proficient but also culturally astute and able to thrive in a global work environment.” The study also identified the ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints, respect for others, and knowledge of a foreign language as key skills that employers are using and will continue to use to evaluate and retain employees.

At a fundamental level, the goal of Career Technical Education (CTE) is to prepare students for successful careers, and CTE programs should provide opportunities for students to learn and apply global competencies in order for students to successfully participate in the American economy and beyond.

While this may feel like a natural fit, too few educators have the training or resources they need to teach the global aspects of their career pathways. To address this challenge and support the field, Asia Society, together with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Advance CTE, developed a free professional development course and set of tools: Global Competence Through Career and Technical Education.

This web-based, interactive course and related tools are designed to help CTE educators integrate global content and skills into what they are already teaching in their classrooms to prepare students for the global world of work. The tools – which can be used within the context of the course but are also available on their own – including career-planning lesson plans and worksheets, videos providing global competencies in a range of career clusters, sample global CTE classroom projects, project management resources, and more. One of the main features of the online module is that educators not only get to test out these tools, they also have the opportunity to share their experiences with other participants across the country.

As a partner in this work, Advance CTE sees a great opportunity for states to embed this resources in their own professional development offerings. So how can you learn more?

  • Check out the tools yourself and see what they’re all about!
  • Share the website and resources with administrators and educators in your state.
  • Consider your own statewide vision for CTE and where global competency does and should support that vision.
  • Contact Heather Singmaster (HSingmaster@asiasociety.org) or Kate Kreamer (kkreamer@careertech.org) for more information on how to promote and implement the resources.

As states increasingly prioritize career readiness and CTE – including the 35 states that included career readiness indicators in their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans, the 10 states participating in New Skills for Youth, and 49 states and DC that passed policies related to career readiness in 2017 alone – this is a critical moment in time to ensure that CTE and related experiences and pathways prepare students for success not only in their own communities but in the entire global community.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

This Week in CTE: Happy CTE Month!

February 9th, 2018

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCES OF THE WEEK

Join the CTE: Learning that works for America campaign to get the word out about CTE in your community! Joining the brand gives you access to the national and state logos, in addition to a variety of new tools and resources. Check out our guide for putting the campaign into action, and check out our tips on how to celebrate CTE Month.

REPORT OF THE WEEK

Not only is it CTE Month, it’s also School Counselors Week! To better understand the connection between CTE and school counseling, we conducted research and released a report with the American School Counseling Association. The report finds that, across the board, states are not overly confident in the effectiveness of their career advising and development systems. Fifty-eight percent believe they are only somewhat effectively serving K-12 students, and 55 percent believe they are either only somewhat effective or not effective at serving postsecondary CTE students. And while school counselors who connect students with CTE coursework and career pathways find it an effective career advising and development strategy, relatively few are able to make these connections.

How are you celebrating CTE Month? Let us know by sending an email to Katie at kfitzgerald@careertech.org 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Manager

Two Webinars Digging into Federal and State Policy: Register Today!

January 18th, 2018

CTE & Federal Policy: Recapping the Highlights of 2017
Date: January 25, 2018
Time: 1 – 2 p.m. ET 

Last year marked a big year for Career Technical Education (CTE) in the federal policy arena. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career Technical Education Act of 2006, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform” (PROSPER) Act, an update to the Higher Education Act, and states submitted their plans for implementing The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Amidst all this activity, an omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017 passed Congress and a sweeping tax reform bill was signed into law.

Join us on for a webinar to recap the federal policy highlights of 2017 and their impact on CTE. Participants will hear from Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE, Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy at Advance CTE, and Debbie Mills, Director of the National Career Pathways Network.

Register for the webinar here.

State Policies Impacting CTE: 2017 Year in Review
Date: January 31, 2018
Time: 2 – 3 p.m. ET

The national profile of CTE continued to grow in 2017, with nearly every state adopting new policies related to CTE and career readiness. From redesigning accountability systems to expanding apprenticeship opportunities, state leaders are working to connect learners at all levels with seamless pathways to meaningful careers.

This webinar from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education will unpack findings from the State Policies Impacting CTE: 2017 Year in Review report. The webinar will explore recent trends in state CTE policy and examine how the CTE policy landscape has changed over the past few years. Participants will also hear from state leaders and explore policy developments in their states.

Register for the webinar here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Register Now for the 2018 Spring Meeting

January 10th, 2018

Join us April 4 – 6 in Washington, DC for the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting to learn, network and engage with more than 200 Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across the country. This year’s conference is poised to be one of Advance CTE’s best, where you can expect to:

  • Hear the latest about Congress’ efforts to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act;
  • Network with CTE leaders from the local, state and national level;
  • Collaborate with your peers to share best practices and find cross-state solutions to common CTE challenges; and
  • Celebrate innovative and effective programs of study during our 5th annual Excellence in Action award ceremony and luncheon.

Register before February 9 and receive $100 off your registration.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Excellence in Action Spotlight: School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Jack E. Singley Academy

January 4th, 2018

All learners deserve to have quality educational experiences facilitated by individuals with passion, experience and expertise. Enhancing classroom instruction with industry experts can bring the real world into the classroom and blur the lines between education and the workplace. A successful example of this collaboration between education and the workforce can be found at our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Hospitality & Tourism Career Cluster, the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality housed at Jack E. Singley Academy in Irving, Texas in the Dallas suburbs.

The School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality delivers a host of real-life experiences, available through partnerships with industry partners and local colleges. Its location, in the epicenter of the Dallas metro area, students benefit from more than 75 hotels and over 100 restaurants just steps from their classrooms. Students participate in job shadows, internships and work in unique work-based learning environments and are mentored by some of the leading hospitality and tourism professionals in the country.

The program’s advisory board – which is tasked with providing input on curriculum, offering career exploration opportunities, and more – is stacked with industry experts from area hotels, food service establishments, and the Irving Convention Center. Partnerships with The Hotel Association, Marriott, The Irving Convention Center, The Four Seasons Resort and others give students numerous opportunities to explore careers in these industries.

Program administrators cite how crucial their team of instructors has been in the quality of the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality. Irving ISD’s Director of CTE, Shawn Blessing, credits the program’s success, “first and foremost [to our] outstanding faculty. These individuals are all highly trained and very committed, passionate. They are the drivers of the program and are behind it 100 percent. It makes a huge difference when you have highly skilled, highly trained instructors who all come from industry.”

Learn more about the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality at Jack E. Singley Academy and our 2017 award winners.

Reaching Economies of Scale in Rural Communities

December 5th, 2017

Latest Advance CTE resource describes strategies to expand career pathways opportunities to rural learners

Rural communities all too often face scarce funding, instructors and facilities, forcing institutions to choose between offering a variety of introductory courses across a breadth of subjects or providing more narrowly focused, sequenced programs within one or two priority Career Clusters®. Providing learners access to diverse career pathways in rural areas is a persistent challenge for all states.

Today Advance CTE released the latest brief in the CTE on the Frontier series to help states identify promising strategies for expanding the variety of career pathways available in rural areas. The brief profiles how states such as Nebraska, Alaska, North Dakota and Idaho have leveraged strategic partnerships and new technologies to reach economies of scale.

In North Dakota, for example, rural learners are connected remotely to instructors at different campuses by a live broadcast network called Interactive Television, or ITV. Districts and regional technical centers come together to inventory all of the courses available in their region and open up enrollment to remote students. Participating schools receive a 4 percent reimbursement per receiving school to incentivize participation.

Meanwhile, state leaders in Idaho are working to balance virtual instruction through Idaho Digital Learning with work-based learning and Career Technical Student Organization participation to ensure hands-on learning isn’t lost in a virtual classroom. Instead of converting all CTE courses to be offered online, Idaho has adapted a few introductory courses to free up in-school teaching capacity to focus on more advanced coursework. The state is also working to align digital courses with college and career pathways — some Idaho Digital Learning courses are even eligible for dual credit — and requires CTE students taking online classes to engage in hands-on learning.

The latest CTE on the Frontier brief demonstrates how states can leverage partnerships and technology to reach economies of scale and offer a wider breadth of career pathways to rural learners. Earlier briefs in the series examine how states can ensure program quality and connect learners to the world of work.

CTE on the Frontier: Providing Learners Access to Diverse Career Pathways was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

December 1st, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

CTE FRIDAY FACT

76% of Americans say middle or high school is the right time to start exploring career options, compared to just 7% who say college is the right time. CTE helps learners find their passion and prepare for the future before investing in their postsecondary education.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

A new article on Education Week, explores the ways in which learners gain critical skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork they need to be successful in a global economy. Read about how CTE and project based learning can be used as a potential strategy to help learners in gaining these skills.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Join a webinar on December 13 from 1 – 2:15 p.m. ET to learn how state leaders can align labor market efforts with the education pipeline to provide students with the academic, technical, and employability skills they need to be successful in the workplace. Aligning the education-to-workforce pipeline can help increase cost-efficiency, promote coherence, and produce better outcomes for students and workers. This webinar will highlight three forthcoming CCRS Center resources, Developing a College- and Career-Ready Workforce: An Analysis of ESSA, Perkins, and WIOA.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Leveraging Federal Policy to Strengthen Rural CTE

November 16th, 2017

New Resource from Advance CTE Identifies Key Leverage Points

Today Advance CTE released a new cheat sheet to help state leaders identify and leverage federal policy to strengthen rural CTE. The brief, developed as part of Advance CTE’s CTE on the Frontier initiative, examines policy and funding intersections between the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins), the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The resource is designed as a conversation starter to help state leaders align supports and services in their states.

Rural America is home to 9.1 million K-12 students and more than half of the nation’s school districts. Many of these students do not go on to earn a postsecondary credential or degree. Only 28 percent of rural adults above the age of 25 held at least a 2-year degree in 2015, compared to 41 percent of urban adults.

CTE can help close this gap and prepare rural learners for the world of work. Already, states are adopting creative measures to ensure programs are high quality, connect rural learners with authentic work-based learning experiences, expand the breadth of options available in rural institutions and strengthen the CTE teacher pipeline. Many of these efforts are supported with state and local funds, but states are also leveraging Perkins reserve funds as well. 

The reserve fund is one of many leverage points in federal legislation that states can use to strengthen CTE in rural areas. Under the Perkins Act, states can set aside up to 10 percent of local funds to provide formula or competitive grants to recipients with either rural populations, high numbers of Career Technical Education (CTE) students or high percentages of CTE students. In Montana, state leaders have used the reserve fund to strengthen Big Sky Pathways in rural schools and focus dollars and supports on state priorities such as expanding dual credit opportunities.

According to a recent survey from Advance CTE, 38 state CTE directors reported using the reserve fund option in 2017, and 27 of those said that supporting rural students is one of the focus areas for their reserve funds this year. States can change their reserve fund priorities from year to year, but the fact that more than half are using the fund to augment rural CTE efforts is a testament to the need in rural communities.

Another example of how federal education programs can be leveraged to support rural communities is the Rural Education Achievement Program under ESSA, which provides supplemental funds to rural schools and districts that can be used to support other local activities. With ESSA’s renewed focus on career readiness and well-rounded education, schools and districts can use these funds to design and expand CTE programs of study, provide professional development for CTE and academic teachers, expand dual credit opportunities, and more. By braiding funds, aligning policy priorities, coordinating service delivery and working to remove barriers across programs, state leaders can better meet the needs of rural learners.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

High-quality State Policy is Crucial for Ensuring Program Quality

October 3rd, 2017

Advance CTE has just released a Policy Benchmark Tool that will allow states to evaluate and improve their program approval policies. In this tool, Advance CTE has defined and described the non-negotiable elements of an effective policy for approving and evaluating programs of study, which encompass both secondary and postsecondary CTE.

Any policy – be it regulatory, legislative or programmatic – related to ensuring high-quality CTE programs are developed and implemented should include and/or address the following core elements. While there may be other elements within a CTE program approval policy, if a state does not address the list below, its CTE program approval policy will not be able to sufficiently ensure that all CTE programs are high-quality.

  1. Rigorous course standards and progressive, sequenced courses: All CTE programs must be comprehensive, aligned with rigorous standards and prepare learners for opportunities in high-skill and in-demand fields
  2. Secondary and postsecondary alignment and early postsecondary offerings: All CTE programs must vertically align across the secondary and postsecondary education levels to ensure seamless transitions for learners, and allow learners to earn credentials of value, including postsecondary certificates and degrees.
  3. Industry involvement: Industry partners at the state and local level must play an active role to identify, develop and regularly review CTE programs of study.  
  4. Labor market demand: CTE programs must prepare learners for careers in high-skill and high-demand fields.
  5. High-quality instruction: Any CTE program must have appropriately certified instructors in place before being approved by the state. Ensuring instructors have the necessary academic content, knowledge of pedagogy and industry expertise must also be a top priority.
  6. Experiential learning: High-quality CTE programs must provide opportunities for learners to engage in authentic experiential learning both inside and outside of the classroom.  

 

State leaders can use the CTE Program Approval Policy Assessment Rubric to identify gaps in their current state policy on these six criteria and prioritize policies that validate potential programs of study in a way that shows they are high-quality and are aligned with the state’s vision and definition of success. Once state leaders have completed an assessment of their state’s CTE program approval policies, they can begin planning for implementation using the templates and prompts. After they have completed these sections, state leaders can then examine the CTE Program Evaluation Policy Criteria for potential criteria to inform CTE program re-approval, evaluation and potentially phasing out CTE programs that are not deemed high-quality.

To support its members in using this tool, Advance CTE has also created a facilitation guide for the rubric, and is eager to provide virtual and/or in-person assistance to a select number of interested states. Email Ashleigh McFadden at amcfadden@careertech.org for more information.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

 

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