This Week in CTE

September 23rd, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Have you checked out our Learning that Works Resource Center lately? We’re updating materials regularly so that you can find the latest CTE and career readiness research, reports, case studies and policies.

EVENT OF THE WEEK

Our 2016 Fall Meeting is right around the corner! Join us October 17 – 19 in Baltimore, Maryland to tackle today’s most important CTE issues. Registration closes September 30 so register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Preparing Learners for Careers through Work-based Learning and Career Advisement: A Roundup of Recent Research

September 14th, 2016

Three Approaches to Connecting CTE Programs and Registered ApprenticeshipsNC

Work-based learning, an educational strategy that provides students with technical skills and knowledge in an authentic work setting, is often delivered through a Career Technical Education (CTE) or Registered Apprenticeship (RA) program. Both have overlapping structures and content, including experiential learning and career exploration coursework, which has led many states to build more deliberate linkages between the two. Earlier this summer, the National Center for Innovation in CTE released a report profiling six states — North Carolina, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Washington and Rhode Island — that are working to align secondary CTE and RA programs. The report identifies three approaches that these states have taken:

  • Registered Apprenticeship: High school students participate directly in an apprenticeship, applying CTE coursework to the RA requirements and applying RA work experience towards a high school diploma.
  • Pre-apprenticeships: High school students participate in programs that prepare them for an apprenticeship, often applying credit towards RA program requirements. Participation on a pre-apprenticeship often allows the student to get preferred entry into an RA program.
  • Registered CTE Curriculum: Students earn credits toward RA completion by enrolling in and completing CTE coursework aligned to RA programs in high-demand industries.

No matter the approach, states frequently face the same challenges with aligning CTE and RA programs, including lack of resources, misperceptions about pre-apprenticeship and RA programs, and difficulty engaging employers. The report further describes strategies that these states have taken to address these challenges.

A Customer Service Approach to Career Advisement

On a related note, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently released the third installment in its youth employment series, outlining the role that the employer community can play in building career knowledge and competency through career advisement. The brief encourages employers not to reinvent the wheel, but rather to adapt their existing business practices to support career advisement through a “customer service” approach. Key activities through this approach would include: representing the business community within schools, serving as subject matter experts, matching students with employers, validating skills acquired during work-based learning experiences, and organizing talent sourcing networks. By playing a larger role in career advisement, employers can do well by doing good: helping students gain clarity about their career choices while simultaneously strengthening the talent pipeline.

Odds and Ends

Executive Advice: Noting the limited discussion of education issues this election cycle, Bellwether Education Partners took it upon themselves to publish 16 education policy ideas for the next president to consider. Among the recommendations? Connecting secondary CTE to postsecondary opportunity by integrating academic, socio-emotional and technical learning; creating pools of federal grants to launch new models of youth preparation; expanding allowable uses of federal aid; and accelerating investments in technology to support personalized career pathways. Read more here.

Career Readiness: Last month, ACT released its 2016 report on the condition of college and career readiness. The report finds that at least 68 percent of test takers are making progress towards career readiness, a new indicator based on the ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate. A record 64 percent of U.S. high school graduates took the test this year.

A World-class Education: After conducting an 18-month study of international education systems, the National Conference of State Legislatures released a report that identifies “a highly effective, intellectually rigorous system of career and technical education” as one of four elements of a world-class education system.

CTE Dual Enrollment: In a new blog post, the Education Commission of the States updated its policy components for dual enrollment to reflect opportunities for CTE. While the framework is still in draft form, it provides guidance related to access, finance and quality of CTE dual enrollment.

Americans Prefer CTE: “By a broad 68 percent to 21 percent, Americans say having their local public schools focus more on career-technical or skills-based classes is better than focusing on more honors or advanced academic classes.” That’s according to PDK’s 2016 poll of attitudes toward public education, which was released earlier this month.

Free College: Hillary Clinton’s free college plan, which aims to eliminate tuition for in-state students whose families make less than $125,000, has been getting a lot of buzz this election cycle. New research from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce projects a 9 to 22 percent increase in enrollment at public 2- and 4-year colleges and universities if her plan is seen to fruition.

Remedial Coursework: The National Center for Education Statistics conducted a descriptive analysis of students taking remedial coursework at public 2- and 4-year institutions. The report finds that students who completed remedial courses saw positive postsecondary outcomes (including persistence, transfer to a 4-year institution, credit completion and credential attainment) compared to students who partially completed or did not complete a remedial course. It is also worth noting that students in the sample who attended 2-year institutions took remedial courses at much higher rates (68 percent) than students at 4-year institutions (40 percent).

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Latest Advance CTE Brief Explores State Strategies for Measuring Work-based Learning

August 25th, 2016

Measuring WBLWork-based learning provides a continuum of activities — from career exploration and job shadowing to internships and apprenticeships — that help students develop technical and professional skills in an authentic work environment. While many work-based learning programs are designed and operated at the local level, several states have begun building a data collection and evaluation strategy to ensure program quality, identify and scale successful programs, and share promising practices. To support state efforts in this work, Advance CTE today released a brief that explores strategies for measuring work-based learning.

The brief is the latest installment in the “Connecting the Classroom to Careers” series, which examines the state’s role in expanding work-based learning opportunities for K-12 students. This issue highlights examples from three states that demonstrate either a systems-level or student-level approach to measuring work-based learning activities.

  • In West Virginia, the Department of Education partners with industry leaders to evaluate the quality of Simulated Workplaces, student-run programs that create an authentic work environment in the classroom. Programs that fail to meet industry standards receive technical assistance from the state.
  • In 2014 Tennessee adopted a new framework to improve the quality of work-based learning. Under this framework, local districts conduct their own program evaluations and strive for continuous program improvement. The state supports local efforts through a toolbox of surveys, rubrics and other resources.  
  • And in Massachusetts, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education uses a work-based learning plan to evaluate skill gain for students participating in the School to Career Connecting Activities Initiative. Worksite supervisors assess students on technical and professional skills at least twice during the course of the program, allowing the state to measure skill gain against a baseline.

The brief, Measuring Work-based Learning for Continuous Improvement, is available on the Learning that Works Resource Center. Other titles in the series explore Setting a Statewide Vision, Removing Legal Barriers, and Leveraging Intermediaries to Expand Work-based Learning.

To learn more about work-based learning, be sure to sign up for Advance CTE’s fall meeting, which will take place in Baltimore, MD between October 17 and 19. The convening will feature a session on state strategies for measuring and scaling work-based learning. Register by August 31 to receive the early bird discount.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE: Experts on NPR’s ‘On Point’ Weigh in on CTE

August 12th, 2016

 

CONVERSATION OF THE WEEK

Earlier this week, experts weighed in on the shift from vocational education to today’s Career Technical Education (CTE) on NPR’s On Point. Listen to the hour-long discussion featuring Shaun Dougherty, author of the recent study, Career and Technical Education in High School: Does It Improve Student Outcomes? The conversation spilled over into the comments section where listeners voiced their own experiences with CTE.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Students can earn up to $2,500 if they plan to continue their studies in CTE, thanks to the Horatio Alger Association. Applications are accepted on a rolling deadline here.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Register now for our upcoming webinar, “Kentucky Gets Students on TRACK with Youth Apprenticeship“! At 2 p.m. ET, on August 31, Kentucky leaders will discuss the state’s youth pre-apprenticeship program, Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky. Join us to hear how the program started, how success is being measured and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

This webinar is part of a yearlong series on work-based learning co-hosted by Advance CTE and the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center. In case you missed our earlier webinars, be sure to check out the initiatives in Tennessee and West Virginia.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Report Explores State Requirements for Dual Credit Teachers

August 9th, 2016

In Missouri and Other States, Experience Counts

ECS dual creditMany states allow students to earn credits in high school that can be applied towards a postsecondary degree or credential — a strategy known as dual, or concurrent, enrollment. While dual enrollment makes it easier and more affordable to obtain a postsecondary credential, states must pass policies to ensure students are receiving this advanced instruction from qualified teachers.

To further explore this challenge, the Education Commission of the States last month released a 50-state report exploring the requirements that states are using to approve dual enrollment faculty. The report finds that most states (35 in total) require dual enrollment instructors to meet the same qualifications as faculty at postsecondary institutions. Other states only require a combination of graduate credits or work experience related to their subject of instruction.

Interestingly, some states, such as Missouri, permit Career Technical Education (CTE) instructors to teach dual credit courses without meeting postsecondary faculty qualifications as long as they demonstrate experience through “working in the field, industry certification and years of experience.” In addition to detailing faculty qualification policies, the report highlights strategies that states are using to train their existing teacher workforce to teach dual enrollment courses. Such strategies are critical for providing students with seamless pathways to postsecondary credentials and future jobs.

From the States: Investments in CTE, Workforce Training Programs

In other policy news, three states are taking steps to invest in CTE and workforce training programs. In Massachusetts the legislature passed a comprehensive economic development bill that includes $45.9 million to establish, upgrade and expand CTE and training programs that are aligned to workforce development priorities.

Meanwhile, Kentucky is now accepting applications for the $100 million Work Ready Skills Initiative, a bond-funded grant program to galvanize regional cross-sector partnerships and bring CTE facilities up to industry standards. The initiative was authorized in a recent budget bill and requires a 10 percent match from local partners.

Virginia residents can now earn a high-demand credential at a third of the cost under the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant program. The grant, which was passed in March, is designed to increase access to noncredit workforce training programs in high-demand fields. Under the program, the state Board of Workforce Development is required to publish a list of noncredit workforce training programs related to high-demand fields each year, which it has already done here for 2016.

As the new school year approaches, so do new opportunities to expand high-quality CTE across the states. Keep an eye on this feed for more updates.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

Exploring Work-Based Learning across the Globe…and throughout Baltimore

August 4th, 2016

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in the Strengthening Work-based Learning in Education and Transition to Careers Workshop in Baltimore, Maryland.  This workshop was co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Adult and Technical Education (OCTAE) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Advance CTE, along with other federal agencies, non-profit organizations and philanthropies served on the event’s steering committee.IMG_3585

Over the course of two days, the workshop featured a series of sessions exploring work-based learning (WBL) and apprenticeship systems in a range of countries – from Germany and Switzerland to the U.K. and Denmark – as well as the impact of such programs and policies on the key stakeholders, notably students and employers. Established research on the major components of a WBL systems, such as WestEd’s well-regarded WBL continuum, was shared, along with brand new international analyses on the intersection of apprenticeship participation and youth engagement, basic skills and equity.

The workshop also highlighted local “trailblazing” programs and a session on the state role in supporting WBL, which I had the opportunity to participate along with leaders from the National Governors Association, The Siemens Foundation, Colorado and Tennessee.

image1Probably the most fun part of the event was the afternoon dedicated to visiting WBL in action at programs throughout Baltimore. I had the chance to visit Plumbers & Steamfitters Local No. 486 and FreshStart-Living Classrooms, two very different programs supporting individuals through rigorous technical instruction and on-the-job training.

This workshop is part of OECD’s research and technical assistance project, entitled “Work-based Learning in Vocational Education and Training,” which is being implemented and funded jointly by Australia, Canada, the European Commission, Germany, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. We’ll be sure to share the research as it is released!

Kate Blosveren Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

CTE Research Review: The Value of Rigorous High School Programs

August 3rd, 2016

New Research Highlights the Value of “And” in College And Career

Path Least TakenCollege is often considered a safe bet, but new research from the Center for Public Education (CPE) finds that comparable opportunity can be found in rigorous high school programs that result in a professional certification. In the third installment of its “Path Least Taken” series, CPE compares social and economic outcomes between students with a four-year college degree and “high-credentialed” students with no degree (the paper defines “high-credentialed” students as those who demonstrated success in high school academic and technical courses and obtained a professional certification).

The study finds that “high-credentialed” students with no degree were just as likely to be employed full-time, be satisfied with their jobs and to vote in a recent election by age 26 as students with four-year degrees. The study also finds that, among students who pursued but did not complete a postsecondary degree, those who graduated from a rigorous high school program had more positive social and economic outcomes overall. This demonstrates that rigorous college and career preparation in high school can serve as a powerful economic safety net along the path to a higher degree.

Evaluation Finds Opportunity in Accelerating Opportunity Program

In other news, Urban Institute and the Aspen Institute released an evaluation of Accelerating Opportunity (AO), a program designed to help adults with low basic skills earn occupational credentials and obtain well-paying jobs. One innovation that AO uses is to change the delivery of adult education by pairing basic skill instruction and technical education so that students can earn Career Technical Education (CTE) credits and a high school credential concurrently, placing adults without a high school degree on a path towards a high-wage, high-skill job.

The evaluation finds interesting outcomes from the first three years of the program. Of the more than 8 thousand students enrolled in evaluated states (Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana), one-third engaged in work-based learning and 30 percent found a job related to the occupational area of their pathway within the first three years. The report highlights further opportunities for states to align adult education and CTE in community colleges.

Diving Into Postsecondary Data Systems

Without labor market outcomes and participation data for students in CTE programs, it is difficult for policymakers to identify challenges or scale successes. That’s why a strong state-level data system is core to an effective CTE strategy. At the postsecondary level, linked data systems (also known as postsecondary student unit record systems or PSURSs) can improve program efficiency, advance student success and provide useful information to policymakers.

A new report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) examines national trends across state data collection agencies. The report draws on survey data to illustrate the scope of state-level PSURSs and the strategies states are using to link their data systems with others in the education and workforce continuum. The report finds that 26 states currently enable the linking of postsecondary, workforce and K-12 data in a P20W data warehouse — up from eight in 2010. While these trends are promising, the report issues four concluding recommendations for policymakers to improve and further expand state-level PSURSs:

  • Tie the PSURSs to strategic planning efforts;
  • Engage agency leadership regarding the capabilities of the data system and collaborate on research priorities;
  • Address privacy concerns head on; and
  • Serve the needs of constituents.

WDQC InfographicThe report precedes an infographic released last week from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, the Postsecondary Data Collaborative and SHEEO. The sleek infographic maps postsecondary and workforce data systems and illuminates the most common gaps in state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). Filling these gaps is important not only to provide data to policymakers and researchers but also to increase transparency for college-going students and their parents.  

Odds and Ends

  • The National Center for Education Statistics released a “Data Point” brief that compares postsecondary outcomes for two cohorts of public high school graduates: the class of 1992 and the class of 2004. The brief finds the largest increase in enrollment rates for graduates earning four or more CTE credits.
  • Families can play a critical role in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning, but many of them are not equipped to support their children along a STEM career pathway. To combat this challenge, the National PTA Association’s new white paper, STEM + Families, draws on findings from a national scan of the family engagement landscape to provide recommendations for engaging families around STEM learning.
  • Omicron Tau Theta (OTT), a national honorary professional graduate society in CTE, released its quarterly compilation of research, trends and teaching strategies in the field. This month’s issue of Professionalism to Practice features research around agricultural education and strategies for CTE instruction.
  • A Snapshot Report from the National Student Clearinghouse examines postsecondary degree records to reveal an interesting finding: two in five associate degrees led to bachelor’s degrees within six years. This emphasizes the need for strong alignment between two-year and four-year institutions of higher education.
  • Researchers from Cornell University recently found that, while CTE programs in blue-collar communities do lead to high-wage jobs after high school, many women in these communities are being left out. As a result, women in blue-collar communities end up with worse professional prospects and lower salaries than men in the same communities.
  • The National Skills Coalition is out with a follow up to its 2014 playbook for implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), appropriately titled Realizing Innovation and Opportunity in WIOA. Among other strategies, the playbook discusses how states can integrate effective career pathways into their WIOA state plans.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

The Learning that Works Resource Center: A Quick Guide

June 23rd, 2016

resource centerEarlier this week Advance CTE launched the Learning that Works Resource Center, a repository of high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness research and promising policies. The Resource Center is supported by JPMorgan Chase & Co’s New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of Advance CTE, the Council of Chief State School Officers and Education Strategy Group, and is designed to connect state leaders, policymakers, academics and practitioners alike with a vetted bank of resources from which to learn and expand their knowledge of CTE.

While the Resource Center is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, here are some tips and tricks to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.  

I Want to Learn More about a Topic

The home page features 12 different categories of resources related to CTE. Hover your mouse over a topic tile to see a description of the types of resources included in that category.

Once you’ve settled on a topic to explore, click on the tile to enter the Resource Center and view a list of resources. The most relevant documents will be listed at the top, but you can filter even further by using the “By State” and “By Resource Type” filters at top of the page. Note that the icon next to the resource indicates the resource type: Guide/Tool, Policy or Report/Case Study.

Click on any resource title to read a summary and download the full version of the resource. Related resources are located at the bottom of each resource page, but you can always explore another topic by clicking on the menu to the left.

I Am Looking for a Specific Resource

The Resource Center includes advanced search options to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Start by clicking the “Advanced Search” button at the bottom of the home page to access additional search filters. From here you can search by title, keyword, primary topic, resource type and/or state. Be aware: while this feature allows you to hone in on specific resources, including additional filters limits the search response. You may end up seeing only one or two results.

The “Search by State” and “New Skills for Youth” buttons on the bottom of the home page also allow for further filtering. “Search by State” allows you to identify all resources related to a specific state, which may come in handy if you want to learn more about a program or policy in that state. “New Skills for Youth” includes tools and resources specific to the JPMorgan Chase New Skills for Youth initiative.

I Have Limited Knowledge of CTE but Want to Learn More

Good news – you’ve come to the right place! The Resource Center has all the information you need to become an expert on CTE. If you want to get a broad sense of what other people in the field are reading, click on the “Most Popular” button at the bottom of the home page to view a list of the most frequently visited pages. Otherwise, you may want to start by exploring the 12 topics and narrow down your search from there.

The Resource Center already includes a broad collection of resources spanning a range of topics, states and audiences. All the same, Advance CTE will continue to update the website with high-quality documents that meet the Resource Center criteria for inclusion. If you would like to contribute any resources, you can submit them for review here. If you have additional questions that weren’t addressed above, feel free to reach out to us directly at resources@careertech.org.  


Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Check out the new Learning that Works Resource Center!

June 21st, 2016

resource centerAdvance CTE is excited to announce the launch of the Learning that Works Resource Center! This directory is your destination for high-quality materials focused on Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness. In this Resource Center, you’ll find the reports, guides, tools and analyses of state policies you need to support the development and implementation of high-quality CTE and career readiness programs and policies across and within states.

The Resource Center 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. Tools and case studies developed by the partners and other organizations will be added to the Resource Center regularly.

The Resource Center lets your search in a variety of ways. If you’re interested in a specific issue, like data and accountability, you can find all relevant materials sorted topically. If you’re looking for resources to help you roll up your sleeves and focus on implementation, check out the guides and tools.  You can also find tools created specifically for New Skills for Youth. Finally, the Resource Center can help you learn about some promising policies from across the country, like Tennessee’s recent standards revision process.

The materials in the Resource Center have been carefully curated by Advance CTE staff to ensure that remains high quality and useful for you. For a resource to be included, it must:

Learn more about the Resource Center. Have a resource that should be included? Submit it here.

 

CTE Research Review: Youth Employment, Reverse Transfers and More

June 13th, 2016

We are back with another CTE Research Review. In this edition we explore business-facing intermediaries and a new study on reverse transfer students. And below the fold, we feature some studies and stories you may have missed in the last month.

How Intermediaries Create Shared Value by Connecting Youth with Jobs

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is out with a new report in its Youth Employment Series titled Talent Orchestrators: Scaling Youth Employment through Business-Facing Intermediaries. The report challenges the notion that employer engagement is only a civic or philanthropic venture and outlines how business-facing intermediaries can create shared value by matching businesses with skilled youth. Already, intermediaries around the country are stepping up to the plate by managing employer demand, equipping youth with professional skills and job-specific training, and facilitating the onboarding process to connect youth with employment opportunities.

Consider STEP-UP Achieve, a career-track youth employment program started by Minneapolis-based intermediary AchieveMpls. The program partnered with the Minneapolis Regional Chamber to develop a curriculum and establish a certification endorsement for youth participants who successfully complete a pre-employment work-readiness program. This program, and others like it, created shared value by both preparing youth for the workplace and providing employers with a signal of job readiness. STEP-UP Achieve has provided more than 8,000 internship opportunities since 2004.

For Reverse Transfer Students, Going Backward Could Be the Best Path Forward

Speaking of alternative pathways to employment, a new research study from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) examines academic and labor outcomes for struggling students who transfer from a four-year to a two-year postsecondary institution (aka “4-2 transfer students”). The study, Do Students Benefit from Going Backward? The Academic and Labor Market Consequences of Four-to Two-Year College Transfer, finds that struggling 4-2 transfer students are more likely to earn a postsecondary credential than similar students who do not transfer. What’s more, these students were no less likely than similar students to earn a bachelor’s degree and had similar earnings and employment rates. The outcomes of the study are promising because they suggest that struggling students can benefit from the flexibility and affordability of transferring to a two-year college without putting degree completion or future employment at risk.

ICYMI

And in case you missed it, here are some other studies and stories making a splash this month:

  • The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) released a series of 11 policy papers about state and federal data policy. The series, Envisioning the National Postsecondary Infrastructure in the 21st Century, highlights recommendations for improving the national postsecondary data infrastructure from a working group of policy experts.
  • A two-page brief from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) examines how states and LEAs can leverage policy opportunities to integrate Career Technical Education (CTE) into their college and career readiness strategies post-NCLB.  
  • Two months after the Lumina Foundation released its April update on college degree attainment, Inside Higher Ed examines how the Foundation’s new method of calculating postsecondary degree attainment, which now factors credential attainment into the total, affects Louisiana’s college completion goal.
  • And if you haven’t already, you should check out The Journal of School & Society’s special issue on The Future of Vocational Education, which shares voices from educators and academics.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

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