BROUGHT TO YOU BY
National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

CTE Research Review

November 13th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013New research offers insight into key workforce development issues as it relates to middle-skills jobs, a state’s STEM workforce and a sector-focused program for the career advancement of low-skilled adults.

Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills – New research from Harvard Business School, Accenture and Burning Glass Technologies found that 69 percent of human resources executives believe “their inability to attract and retain middle-skills talent frequently affects their firm’s performance.” In a new analysis that take a closer look at the skills gap for middle-skills jobs, the authors examine job market data with a focus on competitiveness and offer a framework for business leaders to prioritize jobs that matter for their business, industry, community and region.

The report offers overarching recommendations for an array of stakeholders:

  • Educators in community and technical colleges must embrace their roles as employment partners;
  • Business leaders must champion an employer-led skills-development system; and
  • Policymakers must actively foster collaboration between employers and educators by improving access to labor market data, revising metrics for educators and workforce development programs and advocate for the critical role of middle-skills jobs.

Cracking the Code on STEM: A People Strategy for Nevada’s Economy – Nevada’s newly diversified economic strategy is beginning to work, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution, but now the state must focus on growing the talent pipeline to fill the high-demand jobs, particularly in STEM-related fields. Although many of the currently available opportunities “require no more than the right community college certificate, insufficient numbers of Nevadans have pursued even a little STEM training.” Without a targeted effort from the state to address this critical workforce need, the skills shortages could limit the state’s growth.

Along with a series of policy memos, this new analysis looks at Nevada’s STEM economy and labor market as well as the actions of the state’s leaders – public, private and philanthropic – can take to develop a skilled workforce. Specifically, the report draws three conclusions:

  • Growth in Nevada’s STEM-oriented sectors such as Business IT Ecosystems and Health and Medical Services is challenging the state’s ability to deliver an adequate supply of both technical and professional STEM workers;
  • Significant challenges threaten to undercut the state’s ability to cultivate the workforce needed to advance its economic diversification; and
  • Nevada needs to create a people strategy to complement its economic strategy.

WorkAdvance: Meeting the Needs of Workers and Employers – A new report from MDRC presents the early findings of four WorkAdvance programs around the country that are implementing the sector-focused career advancement program for low-skilled adults. Sharing the programs’ successes and lessons learned, the report gives an early insight into the challenges of, and best practices for implementing a program like WorkAdvance, which are currently operating in Oklahoma, Ohio and New York City. In late 2015, MDRC plans to release a report examining the program’s effects on employment and earnings as well as costs.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

November 7th, 2014

TWEET OF THE WEEK:
Opportunity Nation: If we promise to stop trying to make #fetch happen, will you promise to help us make #CTE happen? http://huff.to/1y3unEW

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK: In South Carolina, A Program That Makes Apprenticeships Work
South Carolina was facing a shortage of qualified workers, so launched an innovative apprenticeship program in a variety of fields including nursing, pharmacy and IT. The tax credit for companies certainly helps, but the major influence has been the German companies, BMW and Bosch, who have plants in South Carolina and developed a system of apprenticeships similar to Germany’s. “Apprenticeships are win-win,” says Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. “Apprentices are opportunities for young people to punch their ticket to the middle class and for employers to get that critical pipeline of skilled labor.”
Read More 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: What is CTE? Fact Sheet
We released a new fact sheet this fall providing an overview about what CTE is and why it’s important, all backed up by hard data. For example: CTE concentrators are far less likely to drop out of high school than the national average, estimated savings of $168 billion per year.
Read More

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK: The State of Employer Engagement in CTE
Over the summer, NASDCTEc conducted a survey of the State CTE Directors to better
understand how and in what ways employers are engaging in CTE today. December 3rd from 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET, we will host a free webinar that will unpack the survey’s results and seek to illustrate the employer engagement landscape with a particular focus on the ways in which states are and can foster and sustain meaningful employer engagement to strengthen their CTE system for all students.
Register for free

RESEARCH REPORT OF THE WEEK: Labor Market Returns to Sub-Baccalaureate Credentials: How Much Does a Community College Degree or
Certificate Pay?
A new study published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, which studied 24,000 first-time community college students in Washington, found that short-term certificates have ‘minimal to no positive effects.’ However, it is important to note the value of these short-term certificates as stackable credentials that can lead to more training and experience. “It can be a foundation that gets you in the door and it gives you something you can work towards,” said Kate Blosveren, Assistant Executive Director of NASDCTEc.
Read More 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

This Week in CTE

October 31st, 2014

We’re excited to launch a new series, This Week in CTE, which will feature a roundup of articles, Twitter conversations, events and announcements you may have missed during the week.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Michigan’s Manufacturing Future Pure Michigan: Michigan Economic Development Corporation, released a video showcasing the importance of workforce development to Michigan’s economy, with a focus on Manufacturing Day. “As manufacturing in Michigan continues to evolve, Michigan’s talent is a key component to ensuring this industry’s success.”
October 2014
Pure Michigan
More

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK: #SBSTEM Pathways: Q&A with LeAnn Wilson, ACTE LeAnn Wilson, executive director of the Association for Career and Technical Education discusses the connection between STEM and CTE. “I heard it best from a CTE teacher when he said that CTE really brings the curriculum to life for students; it turns a concept like slope of a line, which might be a challenge for some students, into something they can understand like the pitch of a roof,” said Wilson. October, 28, 2014
SmartBlog on Education
More

REPORT OF THE WEEK: Accelerating U.S. Advancing Manufacturing This month the Steering Committee of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 (AMP2.0) released a report, Accelerating U.S. Advancing Manufacturing, detailing the steps the Federal government needs to take to expand advanced manufacturing in the U.S. AMP2.0 developed three recommendations: Implement a Federal strategic plan across all Federal activities to improve advanced manufacturing, ensure research in developing the workforce pipeline, and use Federal organizations to deliver information to manufacturers.
White House
October 2014
More

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK: Partnerships that Deliver Results: The Workforce System and Registered Apprenticeship – Part 1 (Webinar Series)
This two-part webinar series will highlight the importance of apprenticeships and their contribution to creating more skilled workers, who have the education and experience necessary to earn higher wages. The series was developed in response to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and will showcase effective partnerships, provide resources and give attendees the opportunity to ask questions. Webinars will take place November 6th and November 20th.
Workforce One More

TWEET OF THE WEEK: House Congressional CTE Caucus Hearing Live Tweet
On Friday, the House Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus hosted a field hearing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to explore the ongoing challenges with the nation’s skills gap and the role CTE has in addressing it. You can read an overview of the hearing on NASDCTEc’s Blog and read our live tweet updates here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

CTE Research Review

October 29th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013As talk of data increasingly dominates education and employment conversations across the country, 37 states are working to track the employment outcomes of participants in education and workforce programs, according to a new report from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC).

WDQC promotes a 13-point state blueprint for inclusive, aligned and market-relevant education and workforce data systems that identifies key features of high-quality data infrastructure to provide useful information for policymakers, educators, employers and more. NASDCTEc is a WDQC partner.

The report surveyed 40 states and the District of Columbia about their progress implementing the 13 indicators including:

  • Expanding use of labor market information;
  • Assessing employment outcomes;
  • Counting industry-recognized credentials;
  • Including all students and pathways; and
  • Ensuring data access and appropriate use.

The results found a majority of states had achieved or were progressing toward establishing cross-agency councils to oversee statewide data collection, capturing employment outcomes such as graduates’ employment status and cross-state data sharing, and creating scorecards for students and workers. More than half of states, however, reported not having starting initiatives related to industry-recognized credentials such as increasing the range of credentials being counted or developing a process for industry validation of credentials.

WDQC highlighted several standout states such as Utah, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Maine. Be sure to check out the report for many more outstanding state examples.

WDQC will host a webinar on Thursday, Nov. 6, to discuss the report and highlight the work being done to connect and use workforce data in Utah and Indiana.

In Case You Missed It:

Check out new research from Burning Glass, Education Development Center and more!

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series: Teachers, Employers, Students and the System: What needs to change?

October 24th, 2014

Earlier this week at NASDCTEc’s annual Fall Meeting, Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education, delivered a strong call to action to the CTE community. Highlighting Gallup’s research on the education system the economy in America today, Busteed urged attendees to leverage this data to reframe CTE in national and local conversations about education and careers.

Gallup conducted a national poll of students and found that students become significantly less engaged each year they are in school. More than 75 percent of elementary school students identify as engaged, while only 44 percent of high school students report feeling engaged at some point during the school day.

Busteed noted that there are reasons for student disengagement. Student success is measured through graduation rates, SAT scores, and G.P.A., which rarely – if ever – takes into account the student as a whole person. While these measures are certainly important, hope, mentorship and the opportunity to work on long-term projects are stronger indicators of success.

“What are we doing to identify entrepreneurship in our schools right now?” said Busteed. “We identify athletic talent with ease, we identify IQ; we don’t work to identify the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. There are no indicators the education system uses to determine who will be an effective or successful entrepreneur.”

To that end, Busteed cited a recent interview with Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, who called grades and test scores worthless predictors of successful employees.

Just as internships are valuable experiences for students, teacher externships can be incredible opportunities that may be key in helping connect classroom curriculum to the modern workplace. Given the typical capacity issues for work-based learning, 3 million teacher externships would be the equivalent of more than 50 million student internships.

Businesses also value a stronger partnership with higher education. Currently, only 13 percent of business leaders think there is “a great deal” of collaboration between higher education and employers, while almost 90 percent favor an increased level of collaboration.

What implications does this research have for CTE? High-quality CTE programs provide all the opportunities Busteed called essential to student success: a focus on employability skills and technical skills, mentorship through work-based learning and curriculum that is made relevant by tying learning to the real world.

Busteed left the group with a final charge – the CTE community needs to better communicate career technical education not as option B, but instead as a staple of all students’ educational experience.
To view Busteed’s PowerPoint, please visit our 2014 Fall Meeting page.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Adobe’s Hiring for the Future Report Carries Implications for CTE

October 15th, 2014

Last month, Adobe surveyed 1,068 American hiring managers seeking insight into what the gatekeepers of tomorrow’s careers believe are the most critical skills, habits and credentials for job-seekers in the 21st century labor market.

The result? An overwhelming number of responses emphasizing the importance of digital literacy, creative thinking, problem-solving and flexibility. Hiring managers rejected the notion that students in technical fields fundamentally lack the creativity succeed (only 36% agree), but even more believe that positions requiring technical skills also benefit from creative thinking (81% agree).

Technical skills are still viewed as one of the top three factors identified as having gained the most value over the last five years (46% identified as one of top three skills gaining value), suggesting that competency remains crucial to employer hiring decisions. Also in the top three, however, were problem solving/critical thinking (51%) and creativity/innovation (47%).

Taken as a whole supports the need for more high-quality CTE, with its emphasis on skill building through career pathways and comprehensive, integrated programs of study. modern approach

Unsurprisingly, many policies prioritized by CTE programs of study, including internships, mentors and courses specifically designed to prepare students for the world of work by teaching both broad and specific skills, ranked high on the list of proposed solutions to boost preparedness (see chart, at right).

Other findings concur with similar past surveys of employer needs, including the impression that students are underprepared for jobs when entering the workforce, with 69% of hiring managers agreeing that new job seekers lack the necessary skills for success and 61% calling lack of communications skills as a top factor in underpreparedness.

Read the full report here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

CTE Research Review

September 26th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013Spotlighting effective apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are increasingly gaining attention from policymakers and employers as an effective tool to fight the skills gap and provide workers with higher wages and employment outcomes. Through a recent series of white papers, Center for American Progress (CAP) is adding its voice to those calling for more and better apprenticeships in the United States.

The DC-based think tank recently spotlighted five innovative apprenticeships including programs in Vermont, South Carolina, Washington and Michigan.

In Washington, apprenticeships have proven to be a smart public investment. For every $1 the state invests in apprenticeships, taxpayers receive $23 in benefits, according to one state study.

Although there is clearly more than one way to structure a program that engages multiple employers, CAP offers a few lessons learned from these five successful examples:

  • A strong intermediary is key to a strong apprenticeship program;
  • A little public investment goes a long way; and
  • Industry-recognized credentials add value to apprenticeships in nontraditional occupations.

NACTE final report released

The U.S. Department of Education has released the long-awaited final report of the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education (NACTE).

The report focuses on the new features of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV). Although the NACTE is charged with evaluating the implementation and outcomes of Perkins IV, the actual report stops short of providing insight into the effectiveness of the new law. The evaluation period covered only the early years of Perkins IV and as such can only shed light on the new law’s early implementation. Also much of the outside data used in the report comes from before the new law was passed.

The NACTE spotlighted four major areas:

Programs of study: As a new feature in the 2006 law, the NACTE found that programs of study (POS) have been implemented in widely varying ways both within and across states. Also, states played a larger role in POS development on the secondary level, whereas higher education institutions tended to take the lead when developing postsecondary POS.

Funding: Despite sustaining a total funding loss of 24 percent between fiscal years 2007 and 2014, states continued to become creative with the funding levers available to them. For example, states increasingly began using the reserve option to facilitate further funding to rural areas or those serving large numbers of CTE students. Also, in fiscal year 2010, states divided their Perkins money to secondary and postsecondary grantees by a split of 64 percent and 36 percent, respectively. Of the funds allocated to postsecondary CTE, three-fourths of that money went to community colleges.

Accountability:  Though at least three-fourths of states met 90 percent of their performance targets in 2011-12 for secondary and postsecondary CTE, researchers said the flexibility in the Perkins accountability system makes it difficult to draw valid cross-state comparisons. They also raised questions about the validity of some student outcome data.

CTE programs and participation: The NACTE found that nearly all public high school students attended a high school that offered CTE instruction and 85 percent of graduates had completed one or more CTE courses. While the number of high school students taking three or more CTE credits in the same field was much smaller (19 percent), the most common subject areas were business, communications and design and computer and information sciences. At the postsecondary level, more than 8 million students sought a CTE degree or certificate in 2011-12. The most popular fields were health sciences and business.

In addition to mandating the NACTE report, Perkins IV also required an independent advisory panel be formed. The panel prepared its own report with findings and recommendations to Congress. The panel recommended:

  • Integrate CTE with broader education reform;
  • Develop greater coherence between secondary and postsecondary CTE; and
  • Gather robust, actionable information about the implementation and outcomes of CTE.

Calling CTE a part of America’s long-term solution to economic recovery and sustained prominence, the panel said CTE must continue to reposition itself as a pathway into postsecondary programs that links degrees and credentials to occupations.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Poll finds overwhelming support for more CTE, internships in high school

September 18th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013A new PDK/Gallup poll released Tuesday showed 87 percent of Americans believe high school students should receive “more education about possible career choices.” Further, a majority of Americans agreed that the factors that help students get a good job include working on a real-world project, possessing employability skills such as teamwork and dependability, and having a mentor or advisor.

These results came from the second installment of the 46th annual PDK/Gallup poll. Be sure to check out our coverage of the first data release here, which primarily focused on the Common Core State Standards.

The findings add to a growing cadre of support for CTE in preparing students for success in both college and careers. The disaggregated survey results were filtered into the following categories: national total, public school parents and political affiliation.

Public school parents strongly agreed that high school students should be required to participate in at least one paid or unpaid internship and should be allowed to earn credits toward graduation from instruction they receive outside of school or online. However, results were mixed about whether students should specialize in a career area of their choice during high school.

Given the enthusiasm shown here for exposing students to more career opportunities, there are clear opportunities to continue educating parents and the public about the benefits of CTE and further breakdown the mentality of CTE as an either/or decision for students — particularly when it comes to preparation for college and careers.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Leaders, Laggards and the State of the Common Core

September 12th, 2014

2014 Leaders & Laggards

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has released the newest version of its Leaders & Laggards, a state-by-state analysis of K-12 education. Seven years after its inaugural edition, the report found that every state had improved in K-12 education but results still vary greatly in student outcomes across the country.

The 2014 report graded states on an A-F system using 11 metrics including student achievement, return on investment, international competitiveness and postsecondary and workforce readiness. The American Enterprise Institute conducted the research in the report. This year’s report also showed how student scores changed over time since the initial report.

Tennessee was highlighted as a state that made tremendous progress since the 2007 rankings, receiving an A for progress but was still awarded D’s and F’s in categories such as academic achievement, Technology and international competitiveness.

The report drew from national data such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Advanced Placement exam passage rates, and high school graduation rates.

Citing the country’s high unemployment rate and persistently high number of unfilled jobs as evidence of a skills gap, the researchers attempted to look closer at how the K-12 system was preparing students for college and careers. However, they said insufficient data and the lack of a single accountability metric prevented them from being able to truly measure career readiness or post-high school outcomes.

Also, despite having a category that examined career readiness, CTE was visibly absent from both the report and the conversation at the public event in Washington, D.C. When asked about why CTE wasn’t included, AEI’s Frederick M. Hess called out the lack of quality, consistent national data on CTE as the reason for its absence from the report.

You can spend time with the report’s sophisticated web tool, which allows you to compare states by metric, see full state report cards and look closer at the data used.

Where does the Common Core stand now?

After months of heated debates over the Common Core State Standards, it might be easy to lose track of which states have kept, renamed, modified or overturned the new (or not so new) standards to measure college and career readiness.

Education Commission of the States have taken a state-by-state look at where the Common Core currently stands. While some more high-profile examples have made news headlines, other changes – sometimes in name only – have bypassed national news. In fact, though many states have maintained their commitment to the standards, 25 have quietly renamed the standards such as Iowa Core, Maine’s Learning Results and Wyoming Content and Performance Standards.

Check out the full overview to see where your state stands.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

CTE Research Review

September 4th, 2014

Data, Data, DatResearch Image_6.2013a! This week’s installment of the CTE Research Review takes a look at new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the New York Federal Reserve.

Analysts at BLS are diving deep into their datasets to pull out trends on manufacturing employment and reemployment rates by industry. Using its Current Employment Statistics datasets, BLS found that Los Angeles had the largest total population employed in manufacturing; however, when taken as a percentage, Elkhart, Indiana (also the “RV and Band Instrument Capital(s) of the World,” according to Wikipedia), took the top spot, 47.8 percent of the working population employed in manufacturing.

BLS also examined reemployment rates for displaced workers by industry – those who were employed for at least three years but lost their jobs through layoffs or because a company closed. Although the analysis does not consider whether workers were reemployed in the same industry, it showed that industries such as hospitality, construction and information (such as telecommunications) posted the highest overall reemployment rates.

Over on Liberty Street…

This week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a series of posts on their blog, “Liberty Street Economics,” examining the value of a college degree, which are all related to an article it released in June.

The third post in the blog series found that a quarter of those who earn a bachelor’s degree reap little economic benefit. In fact, the bottom quartile of baccalaureate holders had nearly identical wages to those with a high school degree. Another post also points to the diminishing economic rewards for students who don’t finish in four years.

These numbers poke yet another hole in the baccalaureate-only focus of the college-for-all mantra. By overlooking the broader set of postsecondary pathways, students – and not just those who may fall in the 25th percentile – may be missing their chance to earn a family-sustaining wage with job security and mobility.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

Series

Archives

1