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

New Report Highlights State Sector Strategies

January 18th, 2013

Sector strategies effectively unite employers from a given industry with other stakeholders – including government, education, training, economic development, labor, and community organizations – to identify and address the regional workforce needs of that industry. Career Technical Education (CTE), which inherently connects education and training with industry needs, is key to the success of sector strategies.

A new report from the National Skills Coalition, the National Governors Association, and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, lays out a snapshot of states’ sector strategies today and actions that policymakers and state leaders can take to create and support sector strategies.

Reviews of the sector strategies show statistical support that this workforce training model improves participants’ employment opportunities and increases their wages. Sector strategies also address the skills gap by focusing resources on industries that align with job providers in the region, encouraging relationships between workforce programs and industry, and increasing alignment of state programs and resources.

More than half of states are considering or implementing sector strategies, and over one thousand sector partnerships across the country are already in place. For state leaders interested in creating or expanding sector strategies in their state, the report also provides suggestions on how to do so despite the current fiscal environment.

The full report can be accessed here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

ED Releases New Provisional High School Graduation Rates

November 29th, 2012

For the first time since all states have adopted a common, rigorous measure for four-year high school graduation rates, the U.S. Department of Education has released preliminary data on how states measured up for the 2010-2011 school year.

The graduation rates and data notes are available on the Department’s website.

Using the new measure, 26 states reported lower graduation rates and 24 states reported unchanged or increased rates for the 2010-2011 school year. However, the new graduation rates are not comparable to those of previous years since a new formula was used.

The top ranking states were:

  • Iowa: 88 percent
  • Vermont and Wisconsin: 87 percent
  • Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas: 86 percent

The lowest ranking states were:

  • New Mexico: 63 percent
  • Nevada: 62 percent
  • District of Columbia: 59 percent

The new graduation rates show state leaders’ willingness to create more uniformity and transparency in reporting these data. Additional information can be found at ED Data Express.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager


November CTE Monthly: Sequestration Could Impact Over One Million CTE Students; Career Readiness Definition Released

November 20th, 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.

In the November edition, read more about:

  • Possible Impact of Sequestration on CTE Students
  • Career Readiness Partner Council Releases Definition of Career Readiness
  • Case Studies of Successful Business-Education Partnerships

View archived CTE Monthly newsletters and other resources on our Advocacy Tools Web page.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Report: “Indispensable” Role of Transfer for Community Colleges

November 2nd, 2012

Recently, the nation’s education agenda has placed considerable focus on increasing college completion rates. While this worthy goal is critical to the country’s economic success, a new report implores the education community not to lose sight of other valuable functions of community colleges, namely transfer, as schools work toward graduating all students.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) released this month an issue brief on the “indispensable” role of transfer for community colleges and students. More than one-quarter of those who earn a bachelor’s degree began their college experience at a community college and transferred to a four-year institution along the way. Nearly half of bachelor’s degree recipients take at least one course at a community college.

Research shows that transfer from a community college to a four-year institution not only works, but also saves money. The AACC brief states that students who start at a community college and transfer to a four-year university are just as successful as those who begin at a four-year institution. For the nine institutions studied in this case, an estimated $22 billion were saved by students who first attended community college first and then transferred.

Part of what makes transfer work, the AACC brief shows, is that the receiving institution prioritizes the success of transfer students. Eighty-two percent of transfer students earn a bachelor’s degree on time when their receiving institution accepted all of the student’s community college credits. When colleges accept some community college credits, forty-two percent of transfer students earned a bachelor’s degree on time.

The AACC brief also takes into account questions to consider as post-completion measures and program effectiveness are evaluated, such as “Should an institution that provides just the last few credits before earning a degree be considered the institution of record for the student’s ultimate ‘success’?”

Click here to access the full report.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager 

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