Excellence in Action Spotlight: Jones County Junior College

April 27th, 2018

Our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Health Science Career Cluster, the Emergency Medical Technical Education (EMTE) program at Jones County Junior College, located in rural Ellisville, MS exemplifies excellence. All learning – in the classroom and workplace – is facilitated by knowledgeable experts leading to program graduates prepared in Health Science careers in areas of critical shortage in rural Southeast Mississippi.

All EMTE students must complete clinical internships in the field. These consist of 500-plus hours of training under the direct guidance of a paramedic, registered nurse, physician, doctor of osteopathy, or equally qualified health care provider. The clinical and field settings provide opportunities for students to begin to observe illnesses and injuries discussed in the classroom, develop and fine-tune diagnostic skills, and put together the overall picture of patient care. Critical to these work-based learning experiences are the highly skilled and knowledgeable experts, called ‘preceptors,’ that lead field and clinical practica. Preceptors guide students during one-on-one encounters throughout their internships, assist participants while at the Human Simulation Center, and give valuable input on current changes in the business of emergency medicine.

Through the course of the program, students are evaluated on their mastery of skills by instructors, clinical/field preceptors, and members of the advisory committee, comprised of nine ambulance services, three hospitals, and the military installation at Camp Shelby.  Without the knowledge and skills of these experts the program could not as effectively evaluate students and their ability to provide patient care.

Learn more about the Emergency Medical Technical Education program at Jones County Junior College and our 2017 award winners.

Staff Reflections of the 2018 Spring Meeting: Part 2

April 18th, 2018

Starting with the first day of the meeting, there was a sense of excitement about federal policy – our meeting began within two weeks of Congress’ passage of an omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018. With the first significant increase to the federal investment in the Perkins Basic State Grant in years (read more about this in Advance CTE’s statement), state leaders were eager to discuss how we could build on this momentum and move toward doubling the investment in Career Technical Education (CTE). Meeting attendees channeled this enthusiasm into thinking about how to leverage not only the federal investment, but also the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) itself to advance a statewide vision for CTE.

The Maximizing Perkins to Advance Your State’s Vision for CTE panel featured state leaders who did just that – maximized Perkins to continuously improve CTE and move toward their statewide vision. In the workshops that followed, there was much discussion about how a statewide vision for CTE can kickstart important discussions with partners and stakeholders interested in CTE about student outcomes data, the quality of CTE programs and the degree to which learners have access to such programs. These themes came up often in policy conversations during the Spring Meeting – from the panel that focused on the Higher Education Act reauthorization to the session that featured Kara McKee, the Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Policy. Meeting participants also had the chance to bring up these ideas and more during the View from the Hill Panel, which focused on Perkins reauthorization. This was my favorite part of the Spring Meeting – seeing Advance CTE’s members share their stories and engage with staff for members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee about their ideas and priorities for Perkins reauthorization!  

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

I joined the Advance CTE team two years ago, in April 2016. Since then, Perkins reauthorization has been JUST around the corner. But state leaders don’t need to wait for a new bill to pass to re-envision how CTE can be delivered in their states. Imagine, Perkins was last authorized 12 years ago — predating Tesla, the iPhone and the Great Recession. State plans are long overdue for a refresh.

This year at the Spring Meeting, states began discussions to set and execute new visions for CTE. In partnership with RTI International, our team organized a series of workshops to help states plan around a five-step continuous loop: Vision, Analyze, Plan, Execute and Measure. Action steps include identifying and articulating a clear vision, defining and prioritizing equity, and aligning the state vision for CTE with other statewide priorities. As Congress works to approve a new Perkins bill, there is much work state leaders can do now to set in motion new plans for CTE.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

As usual, the Spring Meeting featured sessions highlighting Advance CTE research, and it was fantastic this year to see such a variety of topics and projects throughout the meeting. During a series of breakouts after lunch on Wednesday, April 4, participants could hear about research related to career advising, teacher recruitment in rural areas, messaging for CTE and work-based learning. Advance CTE has released resources related to all of these topics in the last year and a half, and we continue to learn about and share new state examples and promising practices.

Other Advance CTE research was highlighted throughout the meeting, particularly in Friday’s “Problems of Practice” session, where states presented on specific challenges and participated in facilitated discussions around those challenges. States talked about rural employer engagement, CTE teacher certification and postsecondary readiness indicators, all areas where Advance CTE was able to provide specific insights and practices.

I was especially excited to utilize the Spring Meeting to begin the research for our equity initiative, gathering input from a panel presentation and five breakout sessions focused on specific learner populations. In this way, the role of Advance CTE conferences in our research agenda continues to evolve as we use them to share findings but also gather promising practices.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

CTE advocacy and implementation spans across the federal, state and local levels. The Spring Meeting provided a platform to hear from individuals across the entire spectrum. From Friday’s panel with Congressional staffers and an administration representative, to conversations with local practitioners, I found a common message resonated with all: the desire to create quality and accessible CTE programs.

The Spring Meeting also opened the floor to discussions about the range in progress of implementation of these high-quality CTE programs. The Excellence in Action keynote and award series gave insight into examples of leading CTE programs of study throughout the country, and I enjoyed speaking to the program leaders during the session about their unique local stories. Workshops held on Thursday and Friday opened the floor to discussions on challenges faced at the state level. Attendees were able to share common barriers and offer guidance moving forward.

It was a unique experience to hear from a variety of advocates across different stages of CTE program implementation, and I learned something different from each.

Meredith Hills, Graduate Fellow, Federal Policy

New Fact Sheet Encourages Integration between CTE and Postsecondary Student Success Efforts

April 12th, 2018

The typical college experience has been described by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) as having the structure of a cafeteria – though there are many programs, services and activities available, it is often left to the learner to make the choices that will lead them to successful program completion and entry into the workforce. This structure has led to an environment where, even with increased access to postsecondary education, learners, particularly those considered “non-traditional,” are not set up for success. Graduation rates for four-year universities are currently at 59 percent, and for community colleges at a dismal 28 percent. 

In response to these results, many community colleges have worked with national organizations like CCRC and the American Association of Community Colleges, among others, to develop student success initiatives, focused on increasing equity and degree completion. These initiatives include numerous reforms of college advising and student support services to ensure that postsecondary learners undergo a seamless journey throughout their experience and complete college with a meaningful degree.

Unfortunately, too often these initiatives happen in silos, separate from postsecondary CTE initiatives. Today, Advance CTE released a new fact sheet describing how CTE and student success efforts can support each other. For example, a big part of student success initiatives focuses on helping students choose pathways and meta majors – the National Career Clusters Framework has for many years served as a way to group similar pathways together and help students narrow their choices. Additionally, the role of strategies like career advising and employer mentorship have long been crucial parts of CTE programs of study.

For more information on how these initiatives can help each other, read the fact sheet today.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Putting CTE on the Frontier into Action

April 11th, 2018

Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE lays out a reality where all learners have access to a high-quality education that leads to rewarding career opportunities and can gain the skills they need, when they them, without the limitations of place or time.  Yet in too many states, learners in rural communities are less likely to have access to Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways, experiences and supports than their peers in suburban or urban areas.

Given the unique challenges to expanding CTE on the “frontier,” Advance CTE launched a year-long initiative to unpack the biggest barriers and identify promising practices from across the country. Based on interviews with over a dozen state secondary and postsecondary leaders – in addition to local practitioners and national experts – Advance CTE released a series of four briefs with short case studies on states’ approaches to addressing the most pressing challenges to expanding access to high-quality CTE pathways in rural communities.

While this research and the embedded case studies can serve as a critical resource for states as they advance their own priorities and policies to address gaps in rural CTE pathways and experiences, it also shined a light on how interwoven each of these challenges are and the need for states to address all of them comprehensively and collaboratively.

To support such efforts, Advance CTE has released its CTE on the Frontier: Rural CTE Strategy Guide. This tool offers series of questions for state leaders to use as they reflect on current efforts to expand access to high-quality CTE and career-focused pathways and experiences in rural communities and to identify future opportunities and actions. While many of the questions may be difficult to answer at this time, those unanswerable questions can provide a lot of direction for a state’s next steps, including data to gather and partners to engage.

Advance CTE has also released a companion facilitation guide to help state leaders make the most of this resource and to support states’ efforts to address the five cross-cutting elements of a rural CTE strategy.

Want to learn more? Join us for a webinar on the CTE on the Frontier research and lessons learned on May 17. Register today!

CTE on the Frontier briefs: 

CTE on the Frontier was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: Certiport Discusses Training Digital Natives for Academic and Workplace Success

March 26th, 2018

Below is a guest blog from Advanced CTE’s Diamond Sponsor, Certiport, a Pearson VUE Business. Certiport will host an evening of drinks and hors-d’oeuvres at a hospitality suite Wednesday, April 4, from 4:30 – 7:00 PM in Room 835 of the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Training Digital Natives for Academic and Workplace Success

Although today’s digital natives have grown up immersed in technology, many do not know how to use productivity tools intelligently and efficiently. Students may know how to navigate Google and use a cell phone with ease, but can they format a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet?  Can they use Adobe Photoshop to cut out an unintended passerby in a photo?  Knowing how to use basic, ubiquitous technology tools is essential for academic and workplace success.

Succeeding in the Modern Workplace

Basic digital literacy skills are required in virtually every industry, but students often enter the workforce without them.  Code.org projects there will be an estimated 1 million more computing jobs than applicants who can fill them by 2020, based on estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on job creation and estimates of college graduation rates by the National Science Foundation.

This is why performance-based digital literacy certifications — such as Microsoft Office Specialist, Adobe Certified Associate, and Certiport’s IC3 Digital Literacy Certification — are critical for students.  Certification validates basic technology skills, giving students a leg up as they apply to college and start a career.

Succeeding in School

The benefits of certification are numerous – several studies show that students who earn certification have an increased graduation rate, higher G.P.A., increased post-secondary enrollment and improved confidence.  The Florida Career and Professional Education department performance report in particular shows an average G.P.A. of 3.09 for students with certification compared to 2.72 for students without certification.  An impressive 97.2% of students with certification graduate compared to 83.9% of students without.

Learn More

Certiport hosts the annual CERTIFIED Educator Conference, the perfect place to learn how much technology certification can impact your classroom, your career, and the lives of your students.  Learn more about attending the event from June 13 – 15 in Atlanta, Georgia at www.certiport.com/certified.

We also invite you to read more about the need for foundational technology skills in the issue brief that will be included in your Advance CTE Spring Meeting conference bag.  Certiport offers learning curriculum, practice tests, and performance-based IT certification exams to open up academic and career opportunities for learners.  Our offerings include:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist
  • Microsoft Technology Associate
  • Adobe Certified Associate
  • Autodesk Certified User
  • QuickBooks Certified User
  • IC3 Digital Literacy Certification
  • IC3 Spark
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Please join us the evening of Wednesday, April 4 for hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and discussion at our hospitality suite (Room 835 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel) from 4:30 – 7:00 PM.

We look forward to visiting with you at the Spring Meeting.

Eldon Lechtenberg, Vice President, Sales-Americas
Mike Maddock
, VP, Microsoft Volume Licensing Business – Americas
Lori Monson
, Senior Director, NOAM Sales
Brent Clark
, Director, Strategic Accounts – NOAM

How Leading States are Strengthening the CTE Teacher Pipeline in Rural America

March 22nd, 2018

In Nebraska, rural districts have been undertaking a wholesale needs assessment of local Career Technical Education (CTE) program offerings under the state’s reVISION initiative. Under reVISION, school and district leaders examine regional labor market data and hear from local employers to determine whether or not the programs available to students are those that are most in-demand.

If programs are out of sync with workforce needs, or deemed to be low-quality, local leaders will phase those programs out and transition resources and staff to higher-need program areas. This includes retraining teachers to teach classes in subject areas with the highest need, such as agriculture, health care and precision manufacturing.

Nebraska is just one of many states working to strengthen the CTE teacher pipeline in rural areas by recruiting qualified instructors, preparing them for success on day one, and providing professional development and re-certification opportunities to help them grow professionally throughout their career.

Today, Advance CTE released the fourth, and final, installment in the CTE on the Frontier series, which examines challenges and strategies for expanding access to high-quality career pathways in rural areas. The series is funded 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.

Today’s brief explores one of the most pressing challenges rural schools and institutions face: strengthening the pipeline of qualified CTE teachers and faculty. Recruiting and retaining qualified teachers can make or break a CTE program. The following are some approaches leading states are taking to support rural CTE teachers:

  • Recruiting within the community by expanding grow-your-own teacher academy pathways or reducing barriers to entry for industry professionals;
  • Innovating to compete with industry by valuing work experience in teacher and faculty salary schedules;
  • Restructuring new teacher induction programs to extend supports and mentorship opportunities throughout the first year, and providing a continuum of supports for veteran teachers;
  • Strengthening relationships with traditional teacher preparation pipelines; and
  • Adopting a diversified approach to recruiting and training new instructors, establishing multiple pathways into CTE classrooms.

CTE teacher recruitment is a challenge that has dogged state leaders for decades. According to a recent survey of State CTE Directors, 98 percent said that increasing access to industry experts is a high priority in their state. And 20.4 percent of rural districts with CTE teacher vacancies report that CTE positions were either very difficult or impossible to fill.

Such teacher shortages are exacerbated in rural areas, where the pool of qualified candidates is often much smaller. This brief aims to elevate promising practices across the states to help state leaders address rural CTE teaching capacity challenges.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

This Week in CTE: States Take to Social Media to Celebrate CTE Month

February 16th, 2018

To celebrate CTE Month, states are taking the lead in honoring the students, educators, administrators, industry partners and all those it takes to make high-quality CTE happen in every community across the nation. Many states are using social media as a way to highlight CTE, with a focus on lifting up impressive student success stories.

Utah has taken their campaign to Facebook and Twitter, highlighting student success:

Arkansas is similarly highlighting student stories, in addition to using video to capture some amazing student projects, including this student-build hoverboard made in a CTE class!

While North Dakota is using the hashtag #ND_CTE to showcase CTE Month activities and accomplishments.

I Love Nebraska Public Schools released a new video for CTE Month, demonstrating CTE’s importance in career exploration, and that finding out what you don’t love, is just as important as finding out what you do.

RESOURCES

Signing up for the CTE: Learning that works for America® campaign is a great way to get the word out about CTE at the state and local level. We’ve created both national and state-specific Learning that works logos, as well as a number of resources and tools to help you make the case for CTE. Check out our fact sheets, tips for celebrating CTE Month, and a new guide to help you put the campaign into action.

States are also helping locals communicate about CTE Month by providing a number of resources including:

  • Wisconsin, which put together a CTE Month Toolkit and social media calendar, and an online portal where students can submit their own successes in CTE; and
  • Maryland released a social media guide to help users get the most out of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and communicate about CTE in a way that most resonates with parents and students.

Career Technical Student Organizations are also incredible resources to turn to throughout the month. Unfamiliar with Snapchat? DECA just released a guide on how to create Snapchat filters.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Manager 

 

 

This Week in CTE: Happy CTE Month!

February 9th, 2018

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCES OF THE WEEK

Join the CTE: Learning that works for America campaign to get the word out about CTE in your community! Joining the brand gives you access to the national and state logos, in addition to a variety of new tools and resources. Check out our guide for putting the campaign into action, and check out our tips on how to celebrate CTE Month.

REPORT OF THE WEEK

Not only is it CTE Month, it’s also School Counselors Week! To better understand the connection between CTE and school counseling, we conducted research and released a report with the American School Counseling Association. The report finds that, across the board, states are not overly confident in the effectiveness of their career advising and development systems. Fifty-eight percent believe they are only somewhat effectively serving K-12 students, and 55 percent believe they are either only somewhat effective or not effective at serving postsecondary CTE students. And while school counselors who connect students with CTE coursework and career pathways find it an effective career advising and development strategy, relatively few are able to make these connections.

How are you celebrating CTE Month? Let us know by sending an email to Katie at kfitzgerald@careertech.org 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Manager

Highlights from Advance CTE’s 2017 Annual Report

January 30th, 2018

2017 was an incredible year for Advance CTE! We engaged more members than ever before, launched multiple initiatives and released over resources covering many of the most critical challenges the field is facing.

This year’s annual report is organized around our five strategic priorities: advancing federal and state policy, promoting high-quality CTE, providing professional learning opportunities, leveraging partners and developing healthy organizational processes. We hope you enjoy reading about our accomplishments, which could not have been possible without all of you and your support!

A few key highlights:

  • Advance CTE’s membership grew by nearly 100 new members, largely as a result of expanding our state membership opportunities;
  • We worked directly with leaders from 42 states on Advance CTE projects and initiatives;
  • Our staff engaged nearly 70 Congressional offices around our federal priorities and successfully advocated against a 15 percent cut to Perkins funding;
  • We presented at over 60 live and virtual events, across 25 states and Washington DC;
  • We released about 50 resources, including analyses of promising state policies, communications tools and a new policy benchmark tool – all housed in our Learning that Works Resource Center (which enjoyed over 98,000 visitors in 2017!)

Read more here!

Posted by Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

Two Webinars Digging into Federal and State Policy: Register Today!

January 18th, 2018

CTE & Federal Policy: Recapping the Highlights of 2017
Date: January 25, 2018
Time: 1 – 2 p.m. ET 

Last year marked a big year for Career Technical Education (CTE) in the federal policy arena. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career Technical Education Act of 2006, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform” (PROSPER) Act, an update to the Higher Education Act, and states submitted their plans for implementing The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Amidst all this activity, an omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017 passed Congress and a sweeping tax reform bill was signed into law.

Join us on for a webinar to recap the federal policy highlights of 2017 and their impact on CTE. Participants will hear from Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE, Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy at Advance CTE, and Debbie Mills, Director of the National Career Pathways Network.

Register for the webinar here.

State Policies Impacting CTE: 2017 Year in Review
Date: January 31, 2018
Time: 2 – 3 p.m. ET

The national profile of CTE continued to grow in 2017, with nearly every state adopting new policies related to CTE and career readiness. From redesigning accountability systems to expanding apprenticeship opportunities, state leaders are working to connect learners at all levels with seamless pathways to meaningful careers.

This webinar from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education will unpack findings from the State Policies Impacting CTE: 2017 Year in Review report. The webinar will explore recent trends in state CTE policy and examine how the CTE policy landscape has changed over the past few years. Participants will also hear from state leaders and explore policy developments in their states.

Register for the webinar here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

 

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