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

This Week in CTE

June 26th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Kaine’s CTE Push Wins a White House Nod
Earlier this week President Barack Obama expanded the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program to include up to 20 CTE students per year, a big win for Senator Tim Kaine who led the charge.
More

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Reflect, Transform & Lead
Five-Year Progress Reports

This week, NASDCTEc released five progress reports looking back at five years of the CTE Vision. Learn what successes and achievements we’ve accomplished, and what work still needs to be done.
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INTERNATIONAL ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
The Government Confirms that it has Smashed its Target of Supporting 20,000 Higher Apprenticeship Starts
For the past two years, The United Kingdom has not only increased the number of people participating in apprenticeships, but also improved the quality of those apprenticeships. The government will support another three million apprenticeships by 2020.
More

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

A look back at five years of the NASDCTEc Vision

June 25th, 2015

Five years ago, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) with support from all 50 states released Reflect, Transform & Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education. This bold document laid out key principles and actions the community needed to take for CTE to reach its full promise in the years ahead.

Since 2010, the landscape has changed dramatically, and CTE has advanced in many significant ways. To take stock of what has – and hasn’t – been accomplished since 2010, NASDCTEc today is releasing a series of Five-Year Progress Reports on each of the five principles:

  • CTE is critical to ensuring that the United States leads in global competitiveness;
  • CTE actively partners with employers to design and provide high-quality, dynamic programs;
  • CTE prepares students to succeed in further education and careers;
  • CTE is delivered through comprehensive programs of study aligned to The National Career Clusters® Framework; and
  • CTE is a results-driven system that demonstrates a positive return on investment.

These briefs celebrate our collective accomplishments but also aim to motivate us on where more work is needed for CTE to fully meet the needs of students employers and our economy.

Read the Progress Reports here

 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

New State CTE Director: Curtis Clough, Alaska

June 23rd, 2015

Curtis Clough
State Administrator—Career and Technical Education
Department of Education and Early Development
Alaska

How did you come to be the State CTE Director in your state?

I am new to the state of Alaska as of October 2014 coming from the state of Ohio as superintendent of Strasburg Franklin Local Schools. Over the last eight years I have experienced Career Technical Education (CTE) through both secondary and postsecondary settings, as a superintendent and in my role as Academic Chair for Mohave Community College-Neal Campus in Kingman, Arizona where I oversaw both academic and CTE programs. With over 25 years of experience in education, I have progressed to the state level to assist in advancing educational opportunities for all students and engaging our partners in a process that prepares individuals at all levels for career readiness so people can be active members of the workforce and society.

What are your major goals for CTE in your state?

The state of Alaska has several goals for the upcoming years for CTE. First, the state is engaging in a dialogue on the “level of expectations” for all students in exemplar programs and courses that align to industry needs and standards. A cross-pathway approach is being discussed that establishes some minimal level of performance in reading, writing and math as well as in technical and employability skills, such as technology and problem solving, that prepares students beyond high school graduation and can be addressed through curriculum and work-based learning.
In addition, the state is exploring ways to deliver programming to our rural districts so all students have access to quality CTE programs that are aligned to industry standards and credentials. This is being done by looking at professional development models for our teachers and administrators as well as content delivery models including online instruction so students have access to a blended model of coursework and real-work experiences.

Finally, aligning pathways across secondary and postsecondary systems is another major goal of ours, with the inclusion of apprenticeships, internships and other work-based learning opportunities. We want to create a multi-entry system across all levels of education so that future employees are meeting the workforce development needs of Alaska and our priority industries and occupations.

What do you think your biggest challenges are in your new role as State CTE Director?

Incorporating CTE into the school day is quite a struggle for our districts because of the costs and associated graduation requirements that hinder flexibility in schedules for students. This made more challenging because of our current budget crunch that is occurring because of the decline in oil prices. Districts have limited resources for CTE programming in this tight financial climate and are being asked to do more with less funding.

Also, creating standardized expectations for academic and technical skills across pathways is going to be a challenge because of the geography of Alaska. With unique local needs as well as the needs of the state, expectations can be very different. For example, welding is a growing need in our state, but many regions choose to focus their programs on local industries like maritime, construction or oil and gas processes. Setting that minimum level of expectation for students is difficult due to the distinct regional and local needs.

Finally, teacher recruitment and sustaining a professional development model for our teachers and administrators are other potential issues as the staff turnover and attrition in our rural districts is high. If an educator or administrator has received the proper training and opportunity for advancement in CTE, he or she may move on to bigger opportunities in our urban areas or move to another district that offers more options career-wise. This is a continuous issue for the state and developing strategies to address this problem are being considered at this time.

What do you think the future of CTE looks like in your state?

The opportunity for CTE in our state is bright. The “We3” partners – the Department of Education and Early Development, Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the University of Alaska – have been working collaboratively on addressing the points of the State CTE Plan and many of the issues stated above. Currently, these partners have been working together to establish “levels of expectations” for students for workforce readiness, as we implement the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA). As part of this process, the partners engage in bi-weekly meetings to review various aspects of the WIOA requirements and how to best align WIOA and the State CTE Plan, which is currently in progress, so CTE can continue to expand and grow the Alaska workforce at all levels.

Also, due to the aging workforce and there is a catalyst for industry and postsecondary partners to work together to meet the needs of our future workforce. Active discussions are taking place outside the normal channels in cross-sector strategy meetings, with representation from the “We3” partners so all avenues and opportunities are explored and strategies developed with partner input that can be sustained for the years to come in Alaska.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

June 19th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
CTE and STEM Education: Two Sides of the Same Vital Coin
Career Technical Education is key to improving STEM literacy and interest among students for a variety of reasons. This includes providing access to underrepresented students, adding relevance to STEM subjects through hand-on and work based learning and integrating the business community.
Read More

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Transforming Career Counseling: Bridging School to Career in the Workforce of the Future
The Manufacturing Skills Standards Council, SME and Bray Strategies released a paper outlining recommendations to improve the career guidance counseling system in middle and high schools.
Read More 

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK
In partnership with the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center, NASDCTEc is conducting a webinar exploring the highly successful Simulated Workplace system in West Virginia.
Register Today

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Simulated Workplace: Changing CTE in West Virginia

June 15th, 2015

Join us for a webinar hosted by NASDCTEc and the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) on Thursday, June 25 from 2-3 p.m. ET to explore how West Virginia’s Simulated Workplace is reinventing Career Technical Education (CTE) by bringing the workplace inside the four walls of a CTE classroom for a student-centered simulated experience. Launched in 2013 as a pilot, the Simulated Workplace is poised for statewide implementation in the 2016-17 school year.

This free webinar will discuss the road to implementation — from concept to pilot to statewide enactment — as well as the results and lessons learned along the way. With its demonstrated success and media attention, the Simulated Workplace framework is being picked up by the state’s academic classrooms and even neighboring states.

Presenters include:

  • Kathy D’Antoni, West Virginia Associate Superintendent, Career and Technical Education
  • Doug Sands, Machine Tool Technology Instructor
  • Jan Hanlon, Secondary Education Director, Logan County Schools, West Virginia
  • Austin Coffey, Student, Industrial Equipment Maintenance Career-Technical Program
  • Gary Clay, Business Leader, West Virginia Manufacturing Association

Register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Inside International CTE: Netherlands

June 2nd, 2015

This interview with Martin van Os an educational advisor, explores the CTE/VET system in the Netherlands. Van Os began his career as a physics teacher, became a school principal, coordinated the national in-service courses for science and technology, was the senior organizational advisor for the National Center for Urban School Improvement, worked for government on secondary vocational education and was founding director of the Vakcollege support company. This interview was conducted by Katie Fitzgerald of NASDCTEc in part of our ongoing series examining international education systems in partnership with Asia Society’s Global Learning blog on EdWeek. Check out part two on Thursday! NeterlandsMap

 PART 1: Exploring Career Technical Education (CTE) in the Netherlands 

What does CTE/VET look like in the Netherlands?

For some background context, the Netherlands has one of the densest populations, our economy is rated eighth in the world, and our PISA scores are in the top ten, with national goals to move ourselves into the top five.  According to UNICEF, our children are the happiest in the world.

Recently, consensus was reached on the nine “Top Sectors,” or the categories in which we excel and want to maintain our excellence.  Among them are: water-management, food technology, energy, creative industry, high tech, and life and health. To continue to excel in these areas, Netherlands will need 30,000 people with the proper educational skills each year to account for job replacement and industry growth.

Currently, the educational system is categorized by “streams” where students are tagged as low, intermediate, or high performing. The big challenge is that not enough students choose a technical area of study in post-secondary education. Research shows that the perception among students is that technical courses are difficult and a career in a technical field is dull.

After primary education, a student can participate in secondary education within seven different streams, although many secondary schools combine them. Still, this many options for pupils at the age of 12 is a unique feature of our system.

Regardless of a student’s categorization as belonging to a certain stream, our system is focused on providing pupils with the education that meets their needs, which has resulted in a very low dropout rate. Despite the low dropout rate, we have little upwards mobility in the school system in a time where we need everyone to reach their highest potential. In addition, secondary CTE is typically taken by students with lower academic achievement, while the academic track is taken by students who perform at a higher level. This has resulted in a very negative perception, and has made promoting CTE difficult.

Another cause of this negative perception is the improvement in primary education and the ambition and pressure from parents, resulting in fewer students enrolling in the CTE streams and more in the academic paths. Also, academic pathways include little focus on Career Technical Education. While the traditional pathways through secondary schools for vocational education are decreasing in participation, we had hoped CTE in the academic route would develop. As this has not happened, it has left us with a skills gap and a sense of urgency.

Please describe the current landscape of Career Technical Education/VET in the Netherlands.

Overall, there has been a decline in CTE participation and in particular, a strong drop in the traditional courses for technicians and craftsmanship.  However, there is some growing interest in newer courses, which combine technical education with entrepreneurship skills.

The two trends combined means CTE enrollment in the upper grades has stayed somewhat consistent over time. A little over a third of third-year secondary students engage in CTE, out of about 200,000 students in total.

Another opportunity is that more of our students are eligible for technical or science programs in higher education, particularly in the higher streams, even if they are not choosing CTE programs at this time. In fact the economic crisis was a big boost for students actually choosing technical and scientific careers. This is all to say there is potential for more students to choose CTE at the secondary and postsecondary levels.

Every system has its challenges – what are yours? What are some solutions you are looking to implement?

Our first challenge is changing the perception of CTE  in the country. We need to spread CTE throughout all schools for all students of all abilities.  We need to eliminate the stigma that only low ability students should participate in CTE in our school culture, and instead make CTE available to all students on all levels, especially in the intermediate streams where there is a vast potential of talents and young people who wish for more attractive curricula and CTE.

In addition to making CTE available for all students, we need to convince students and parents that there are attractive careers in CTE fields. Though increasing the number of CTE students is admirable, we need to convince students to go into CTE careers.

Along with changing the perception of CTE, we need to nourish successful initiatives by schools and support them through legislation, intelligent governance and smarter systems of funding.

There also needs to be clearer links between education systems. The three steps in a student’s education are primary, secondary and tertiary education, which all have their own systems and rewards.  Essential skills for students to be successful in the next step of education are not sufficiently included in the reward system.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Excellence in Action: Henderson County High School

May 14th, 2015

In April, we awarded our 2015 Excellence in Action Awards to nine programs of study from across the country in secondary and postsecondary education. These programs of study were selected based on their uniquely inventive and effective approaches to stimulating student learning, offering extensive work-based learning experiences, maintaining strong partnerships with industry and community organizations, and preparing students for postsecondary and career success. We will feature a monthly blog post highlighting each award winner.

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at Henderson County High School (HCHS) in cte-careercluster-banner-humanservicesHenderson, Kentucky began in 1970 and has expanded dramatically in the past 10 years to address the complex social and economic issues that individuals, families and communities currently face. By the time students graduate, they have the opportunity to earn multiple certifications and up to nine college credits, and have gained a year of internship experience in a preschool classroom, truly preparing them for their next step be it postsecondary education or the workplace.

PREPARING STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE AND CAREERS

A key component to the ECE program of study is the delivery of state-required and nationally-recognized HCHScredentials. These credentials are vital in a child care career and are a stepping stone for students who plan to pursue the ECE pathway post-graduation. ECE offers up to five certifications and educator Emily Johnston was the first Family Consumer Science teacher in Kentucky to obtain the Early Care and Education Trainer’s Credential so that she could teach and award the certification to her students without having to hire additional staff.

Through a partnership with Henderson Community College, students receive articulated credit upon completion of the third course in the program of study, which is equivalent to the first course in the college sequence. And, students who earn a CDA credential receive nine college credits at any institution in the Kentucky Community Technical College System in the field of ECE.

As part of their third (articulated) course – Child Development Services II – students are also expected to complete 180 hours of work-based learning and a capstone project.

MEANINGFUL PARTNERSHIPS

The ECE program has built an incredible array of highly engaged partners at the local and state levels. Employers like the Little Stars Child Care, Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center and Riverview School provide work-based learning opportunities in the community. From its inception, the Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center was designed to incorporate the ECE program at Henderson County High School, where students take a nine-week training course and work in the preschool classroom to gain daily, hands-on experience.

Little Colonels Daycare, located at HCHS, offers students in grades 9-11 hands-on experience one day per week. This gives students the opportunity to learn how children develop from ages 0-3 and gain workplace readiness skills to prepare them for their senior year, off-site work-based learning requirement.

IMG_0191Additionally, HCHS has a strong relationship with the University of Kentucky Quality Enhancement Initiative, which provides higher educational opportunities for students post-graduation and funding for the Commonwealth Child Care Credential (CCCC) and the CDA for students who stay in the ECE field.

Through stellar partnerships and a commitment to providing students with opportunities to participate in work-based learning experiences, 100 percent of students graduated high school, 18 percent earned an industry-recognized credential and 68 percent enrolled in postsecondary education. Additionally, lead teacher in the program, Emily Johnston, was recently named Teacher of the Year in Henderson County, Kentucky.

All awardees were honored at the 2015 NASDCTEc Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. Learn more about Henderson County High School’s Early Childhood Education program here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Spring Meeting Recap: Career Pathways Systems and Performance Based Funding

April 24th, 2015

During NASDCTEc’s Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C., attendees had the opportunity to participate in a variety of concurrent workshops. Below we have highlighted two workshops, one focused on advancing CTE in Career Pathway and another on Performance Based Funding systems. 

Since 2012, five states have worked with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education to integrate CTE programs of study with state and local career pathways systems.

During a breakout session, CTE leaders from Kansas, Minnesota and Colorado discussed their wide-ranging efforts that include employer engagement initiatives, a transformational state pathways project and a toolkit for industry-recognized credentials.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation added funding to the Career Pathways initiative specifically to support transportation-related career pathways. As part of this work, the Transportation Learning Center launched a large data project to examine the current and future workforce needs across six transportation sectors.

Age is one of the greatest liabilities for the industry, with 49 being the average age for a new mechanic hire. Through retirements and attrition, it’s estimated that 4.2 million jobs will be open between 2012 and 2022. When accounting for industry growth, the Center estimates that one new transportation worker will need to be hired every minute over the next 10 years to fill industry demand.


During a concurrent session led by Steve Klein and Laura Rasmussen Foster of RTI International and the National Center on Innovation in Career Technical Education, presenters discussed opportunities and challenges to performance-based funding (PBF) systems.

This session drew on findings from the recent report, State Strategies for Financing CTE, which was discussed in detail on this co-hosted webinar, but was moderated as an open forum, with state leaders engaging in an candid discussion on what was working and what barriers stood in the way in supporting PBF.

For example, Texas shared details on their incentive grant program, which uses Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) funds to encourage higher enrollment in CTE programs, particularly in rural communities. Districts meeting a certain threshold of their Perkins performance indicators are eligible for a sliding amount of incentive funds. Kansas shared early successes of its (state-funded) district incentive grants for students earning state-approved industry-recognized credentials.

Some of the major takeaways shared include:

  • Be clear about the goals and intent when designing PBF (“If you pay for it, you will get more of it”),
  • A little money can go a long way in changing behavior,
  • PBF systems will only work if they are based on quality indicators, which rely on valid and reliable data, and
  • Be sure to build support among policymakers and practitioners early and often to make PBF happen.

Post written by Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate and Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director 

Spring Meeting Recap: Ohio’s Unified State Plan and Vermont’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

April 23rd, 2015

During NASDCTEc’s Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C., attendees had the opportunity to participate in a variety of concurrent workshops. Below we have highlighted two workshops, one focused on how states can develop a Unified State Plan, with Ohio as a premier example while another discussed how Vermont integrated Career Technical Education (CTE) in their state’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).

With the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), there is a lot of discussion about cross-program and systems collaboration. The state of Ohio is a well ahead of the game. At the behest of Governor Kasich, the state has been engaged in a collaborative planning process among state agencies with the goal of creating and submitting a unified state plan under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) that would fulfill planning requirements for the state’s three largest workforce programs – WIA, Adult Basic and Literacy Education and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).

The vision for the collaboration was to make sure Ohio had a literate and prepared workforce by ensuring Ohioans had the knowledge, skills and abilities to fill the top in-demand jobs in the state. This meant a shift in thinking away from planning driven by institutions or the delivery system and instead a focus on students and career pathways. The state also developed a Workforce Success Measures data dashboard and common metrics focused on outcomes (employment, increased skills, increased wages and value to employers) to help guide the work.

Some lessons learned:

  • Leadership must be committed: This is crucial. Leadership needs to be engaged at the highest levels and be committed to a shared vision. In Ohio, the Governor set the vision and tasked agency leadership with the specific goal of developing the unified plan.
  • Be patient: Change is difficult and often feared. This sort of shift takes time and building of trust. In Ohio this was accomplished through a lot of outreach, meetings, learning, and stakeholder/public input.
  • Be Open to Learning: A lot of learning happened as the agencies shared through what they do, who they serve, etc. With the shared commitment and focus on student success, an openness to see the potential of new partnerships and ways to serve Ohioans emerged.

The Ohio unified state plan was submitted to the federal agencies for approval. At the time of the presentation, the plan was pending approval.  The state will likely have to resubmit a plan under WIOA but with the groundwork laid to break down silos and to focus on students and results, Ohio is well-positioned to lead the way!

For more information make sure to check out a copy of Ohio’s presentation, delivered by Steve Gratz, Tony Landis and Bill Bussey.


 

Last summer, after facing a series of economic and natural challenges, Vermont became one of only a handful of states in the country to develop and implement a comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS). The strategy brought together stakeholders from the state’s education, workforce and economic development communities to develop a cohesive economic development “road map” for the next five years. Much of this planning was supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) CEDS program which sought to help businesses prosper in the state while ensuring all student populations— both traditional and nontraditional— were fully served.

So what was notable about this endeavor? Quite a bit according to Vermont CTE Director John Fischer and David Ives, a Sustainability and Planning Coordinator for EDA. The two took an in-depth look at Vermont’s CEDS during a breakout session at the 2015 NASDCTEc Spring meeting which looked at Career Technical Education’s (CTE) role in the plan and ongoing implementation. One message was clear throughout— education and training is a “key ingredient” to economic development and should be incorporated into the wider “workforce ecosystem.” Significantly, Vermont’s CEDS has served as a catalyst for the state to prioritize its CTE investments and has been a strong policy lever for leaders to implement high-quality statewide CTE programs of study.

Be sure to check out the plan and the newly updated CEDS guidelines on the meeting resource page!

Post written by Kimberly Green, Executive Director and Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

Spring Meeting Recap: Featuring Excellence in the Press

April 16th, 2015

Last week, NASDCTEc held its 2015 Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. bringing together leaders from across the country in Career Technical Education (CTE). As part of the meeting, NASDCTEc hosted a panel, Featuring Excellence in the Press, highlighting why the media is telling CTE’s story, and to offer insights into how CTE advocates can best and most effectively engage the media in support of CTE.

The panel began stressing how the CTE conversation has shifted over the years including rebranding from the more traditional vocational education programming. Along with the shift in moving from ‘vocational education’ to ‘career technical education,’ panelists noted a focus on the concept of college and career readiness and showing students early in schooling how their education is relevant to careers they can have in the future. In addition, speakers saw a noted shift in CTE’s inclusion of career-ready and employability skills as integral to today’s CTE.

Emily Hanford, Education Corresponded at American RadioWorks and correspondent and producer of Ready to Work highlighted how her year working on the documentary greatly influenced her perspective on CTE. “CTE is really exciting and refreshing,” said Hanford. “I came away from filming this documentary with a sense of envy. No one had challenged me to see what I wanted to do.”

Panelists also offered up tips to the audience on how to best tell their CTE story. Emily Ann Brown, K-12 Education Policy Reporter at Education Daily stressed the importance of introducing high-quality data, along with providing access to a variety of stakeholders when pitching a story to the press. Caralee Adams, Contributing Writer at Education Week emphasized showing the press that your story is backed up by local and national trends, but also showing how those trends translate into real-life successes by including the voice of teachers, administrators and students. Hanford, on the other hand, suggested a missing voice in the CTE narrative is alumni of CTE reflecting on how their education successfully prepared them for their career.

Check on a wide array of materials and resources shared by the speakers on our Spring meeting resource page.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

 

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