National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Cisco Networking Academy and Cisco NetSpace Support Students

October 11th, 2012

This blog, in coordination with the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting, is provided by one of our sponsors. Our guest blog organization being highlighted today is Cisco Networking Academy.

For 15 years, the Cisco Networking Academy has been partnering with education institutions and governments to equip students for the ICT workforce with an innovative education program that is comprehensive and free to nonprofit institutions. Using technology, hands on activities, simulations and gaming students build 21st century skills, both soft and technical. The program provides a community of support for instructors that includes on-line resources, best practice sharing and professional development. Courses are taught in high schools, community colleges and universities around the world to prepare students for higher education, careers and industry recognized certifications. The program also aligns to U.S. education standards, helping institutions meet STEM, Common Core and grant requirements.

Networking Academy recently announced the new learning platform, Cisco NetSpace™ to better support of instructors and students. This interactive learning environment combines best-of-breed SaaS applications for teaching, learning, and collaboration, all driven by community needs and the latest educational models, trends, and best practices. You can learn more about how Cisco is using innovative technology to support education with the overview in your attendee bag at the event.

To learn more please visit our Web site or e-mail us at [email protected]

Together, we can change the way we learn!

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

Adult Career Pathways Training and Support Center Provides Online Assistance

September 28th, 2012

The Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), Division of Adult Education and Literacy funds initiatives to advance adult education and to improve teacher quality. The Division is responsible for ensuring the continuous improvement of programs enabling adults to acquire the basic skills necessary to function in today’s society so that they can benefit from the completion of secondary school, enhanced family life, attaining citizenship, and participating in job training and retraining programs.

One of these initiatives is the Adult Career Pathways Training and Support Center.
The Adult Career Pathways Training and Support Center (ACP-SC) provides access to resources and professional development opportunities designed to support adult education practitioners interested in developing, designing, and enhancing Adult Career Pathways.

The National Career Clusters™ Framework is comprised of 16 Career Clusters™ and related Career Pathways to help students explore different career options and better prepare for college and career. The Career Clusters™ and related Career Pathways serve as an organizing tool for schools, small learning communities, academies and magnet schools to develop more effective programs of study and curriculum.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

OECD Report: CTE Strategies Embraced Internationally

September 11th, 2012

Career Technical Education (CTE) is a major vehicle for educational attainment internationally, and countries continue to embrace CTE in an effort to increase their skilled workforce.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released yesterday its annual Education at a Glance report to broadly examine the state of education across the globe. The report reaffirms that the U.S. is falling behind in education compared to other countries; for example, the average high school graduation rate for OECD countries is 84 percent, while the 2010 U.S. rate is 77 percent. This ranks the U.S. 22nd out of 27 countries for 2010 high school graduation rates.

However, the report shows that education in the U.S. has a larger payoff than any other country. The average U.S. college graduate earns $19,000 more than a high school graduate, while the average advantage for college graduates across OECD countries is $8,900.

Internationally, CTE is widely embraced as a method of preparing highly-skilled workers. Countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Denmark have historically embraced CTE approaches and continue to rely on CTE. Others, such as the United Kingdom, have introduced policy initiatives to strengthen their CTE systems.

The study also notes that, in many countries, women represent a substantial portion of individuals with secondary and postsecondary CTE degrees or certificates. In Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland, the proportion of 25-64 women with CTE degrees or certificates is slightly greater than the number of men with CTE degrees or certificates.

CTE has been embraced in many OECD countries as a means of preparing knowledgeable, highly-skilled workers. As the U.S. continues to reform its education system, CTE strategies should be considered and more widely valued to increase secondary and postsecondary attainment and provide better opportunities for individuals.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

Prior Learning Assessments: A Policy Guide for State Leaders

August 20th, 2012

Labor market projections indicate that most jobs in the future will require a postsecondary certificate or degree, so how can experienced workers without college credentials stay in the game?

Through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), individuals with relevant job experience receive postsecondary credit for the knowledge and skills that they have learned outside of the classroom. Some state leaders have already embraced the strategy and are creating policies to support PLA. Others have shown interest in implementing PLA in their states. A new resource from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), State Policy Approaches to Support Prior Learning Assessment, is aimed at helping state leaders develop state policies in support of PLA.

According to CAEL, students with PLA credits were 2.5 more likely to persist to graduation than students without PLA credits. PLAs also benefit state systems such as higher education, economic development, workforce development, and Career Technical Education (CTE).

CAEL’s comprehensive guide lays out factors that state leaders should consider while customizing their strategy for PLA implementation. Areas of consideration from the guide include:

  • Policies and practices currently in place at colleges and universities – What are the transfer policies for credits earned through PLA?
  • Authority – How are PLA policies decided?
  • Impact – Do institutions or systems regularly track the use of PLA by students?
  • Transparency – How do state residents find out about PLA opportunities?
  • Champions – Are there PLA champions in your state?
  • Barriers – Are there any existing policy barriers to PLA?

The guide also includes current strategies used by states to promote PLA, such as establishing PLA policy and assessment processes and methods. Case studies from Washington, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Vermont are also presented, as well as sample state policies and summaries of PLA in participating states.

View the complete guide here.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst 

NAF Introduces Student Certification Assessment System for Career Readiness

July 20th, 2012

The National Academy Foundation (NAF), a network of over 500 career academies and 60,000 students, introduced this week a new Student Certification Assessment System to compliment the Common Core State Standards as a measure of career readiness.

The assessments, developed in collaboration with research agency WestEd, are designed to test a broad range of technical content and skills and result in a nationally-recognized, industry-approved certificate. The resulting certificate would also serve as a tool to help employers and postsecondary admissions personnel identify and recruit career-ready students.

The certificate assessment system components test students in a variety of ways including:

  • Project-based learning: Students complete four culminating project assessments to demonstrate broad and specific competencies in technical content and skills.
  • End-of-course examinations: Students complete four end-of-course online exams including both selected and constructed test questions “to assess the breadth and depth of career and technical knowledge and skills across industry-authenticated course units.”
  • Internships: Supervisors assess students’ work-based learning experiences based on their proficiency in applying Career Technical Education (CTE) knowledge and skills.

Already piloted in several career academies, the Student Certification Assessment System will be implemented in about one-third of NAF career academies nationwide beginning this fall.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

New DOL Guide to State and Local Workforce Data

July 2nd, 2012

The Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor recently released a Guide to State and Local Workforce Data. The guide includes many links to state and local employment and economic data from government and private sector sources. Tips on using workforce statistics are also available.

Click here to view the guide.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

Certificates Account for 22 Percent of All Postsecondary Awards, Report Says

June 18th, 2012

A new report from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce finds that, if certificates counted towards college completion metrics, the United States would leap forward in international rankings from 15th to 10th place for total postsecondary completions.

The number of certificates awarded in the United States now makes up 22 percent of all postsecondary awards. Certificate programs, which generally take around one year to complete, offer shorter term, occupation-focused programs. According to Georgetown’s study, certificate-holders spend less time in the classroom but often earn more than those with associate degrees, and, sometimes, even those with four-year degrees.

Further, more than one-third of certificate holders also hold an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree. Of these individuals, two-thirds earned their certificate first before completing further education.

Experts agree that many jobs in the future will require at least some postsecondary education and training, yet only half students who start college complete a degree. Certificates offer shorter term, occupation-focused programs, most of which take less than a year to complete and can open doors to promotions and new job opportunities for workers.

In 2010, over one million certificates were awarded, up from 300,000 certificates awarded in 1994.

Click here to view the report.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

June “CTE Monthly” Newsletter: Engaging CTE in the Common Core; Business Management & Administration Career Spotlight

June 12th, 2012

CTE Monthly, a collaborative publication from the Association for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, features the latest news on Career Technical Education (CTE) from across the nation for CTE stakeholders and Members of Congress.

This month’s newsletter highlights the Business Management & Administration Career Cluster™, an area expected over the next decade to experience job growth and increasingly require postsecondary education and training. The South Texas Business, Education and Technology Academy is an effective CTE program that is excelling in this Career Cluster™.

The June edition also features findings from a recent report about certificates from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. The report reveals that individuals with certificates in specific fields can provide greater earnings than postsecondary degree holders.

The CTE Monthly for June is available online now!

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

National Listening Tour Report Examines Impact of Recession on Young People

June 5th, 2012

A group recently took to the road on a 50-day bus tour, visiting 20 states and 42 cities, to better understand the impact of the economic recession on young people and the supports that individuals aged 16 to 34 need to be successful.

Young Invincibles, a national organization that represents the interests of young people, started their bus tour in March of 2012. Along the way, the group’s staff facilitated open conversations with young people on topics including job prospects, skills training, entrepreneurship, and mentoring and guidance.

Read more in a report about these conversations.

Participants in the bus tour conversations are anxious about landing jobs that match their interests and education, especially given that nearly half of recent college graduates report being unemployed or underemployed. Training in specific skill sets is desirable, participants said, because it improves job prospects.

Conversations about guidance and mentoring, though not prompted by Young Invincibles staff, often began during roundtables led by the group. Participants across the country suggest that guidance and mentoring begin at an early age and extend through postsecondary education to benefit students as they make choices about future education and training.

Another common theme was entrepreneurship. In a previous survey given by the Young Invincibles to a similar group, more than half of respondents report a strong interest in entrepreneurship. However, barriers such as finding start-up funds and business partners hamper young people from starting new businesses.

Read more about findings from the Young Invincibles bus tour in their report, What We Found: A Summary of the Key Findings from the Young Invincibles National Youth Bus Tour.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

Survey Finds Many U.S. Employers Still Struggle to Fill Job Vacancies

May 29th, 2012

Employment rates in the United States have been on an upturn yet half of U.S. employers in a recent survey still report having difficulty filling job vacancies. Manpower, an employment agency, released today its annual Talent Shortage Survey, the result of nearly 40,000 interviews with employers across the globe, to provide a comprehensive picture of how the skills gap is affecting business and industry.

The top positions that employers struggle to fill include engineers, technicians, production operators, finance staff, Information Technology staff, and laborers – areas in which Career Technical Education (CTE) provides students with skills and training that align with the needs of business and industry.

Four in 10 employers report that the shortage of qualified job applicants has had a high or medium impact on its stakeholders. Many reported that applicants lack technical skills and would be more qualified if they had industry-specific certifications and qualifications, experience operating mechanical and industrial equipment, and computer and information technology skills.

The most common strategy used by employers to address the shortage is to provide additional training and development for existing staff. Only 10 percent of those surveyed reported partnering with educational institutions to create aligned curriculum.

CTE leaders are working to strengthen alignment and partnerships among secondary, postsecondary, and workforce entities to help students successfully land jobs and meet employers’ expectations. Through rigorous academic and technical coursework and hands-on learning experiences, CTE programs are preparing students to meet critical labor market demands.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst