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 

Register Now for the 2018 Spring Meeting

January 10th, 2018

Join us April 4 – 6 in Washington, DC for the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting to learn, network and engage with more than 200 Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across the country. This year’s conference is poised to be one of Advance CTE’s best, where you can expect to:

  • Hear the latest about Congress’ efforts to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act;
  • Network with CTE leaders from the local, state and national level;
  • Collaborate with your peers to share best practices and find cross-state solutions to common CTE challenges; and
  • Celebrate innovative and effective programs of study during our 5th annual Excellence in Action award ceremony and luncheon.

Register before February 9 and receive $100 off your registration.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

CTE Leaders Explore German TVET System

December 12th, 2017

This post was authored by Dr. Elaine Perea, CTE State Director, New Mexico and Dr. Pradeep Kotamraju, State Director, Iowa based on their recent experiences exploring the German Technical and Vocational Education system. 

The Goethe Institut brought together leaders from education, workforce development, industry, and law makers as delegates to visit Germany and learn about technical and vocational education (TVET), the international name for Career Technical Education (CTE).  Dr. Elaine Perea, CTE State Director, New Mexico and Dr. Pradeep Kotamraju, State Director, Iowa, represented their states as well as Advance CTE.  Over six days, delegates learned about German education and workforce development, with special emphasis on apprenticeships, through visits with students, educators, employers, and government officials.

The program included visits to different education and workforce preparation institutions. TVET is part of the nation’s compulsory education, and the first visit was to a realschule (a lower secondary school).

The most notable difference between the students at the realschule and similarly aged students in the United States is the self-awareness that realschule students possess. Every one of them was able to discuss, in concrete terms, their strengths and preferences as it relates to the world of work. Each student expressed their vision of their future career based primarily on their individual traits, as well as their full access to career guidance and development information, which included real-world experiences through internships at the workplace of their choice.

For example, a young man told us that he wanted to work in the automotive industry because he loves cars and speaks English, German and Italian. The delegates assumed he wanted to be a mechanic, or perhaps even an engineer. He realized our mistake, and corrected it – because he loves automobiles, he is inspired to sell them! In contrast, imagine an American ninth grader proudly expressing his desire to be a car salesman, and the reaction that would likely provoke from teachers.

These self-assured learners are proud of their strengths and see themselves as an important part of the economy. Academics are not forgotten, but students at realschule learn about themselves and the world of work in concrete ways that allow them to make informed decisions about their own future.

In the ninth and tenth grade, students arrange their first work-based learning opportunities via a short, two-week internship. The teachers help students think through options and instructors provide support in technical writing task. However, research about where to intern is up to students, and students must contact employers directly and request to be hosted.

In short, teenage students in Germany own their career choices. Not once during the program did a student express the idea that the primary determinant of preparedness was an adult. Instead, one after another, students demonstrated an impressive level of self-determination about their goals and ambitions.

Employers Play Vital Role

Employers are at the heart of the German workforce preparation and apprenticeship system, and all sizes and types of businesses participate and host students as both interns and apprentices. While a commitment to host an intern only requires a few weeks, accommodating an apprentice is a substantial responsibility that includes two or more years of salary support.

One key takeaway is that the role of industry in the German system is both the heart of the endeavor and the most difficult aspect to replicate in the United States without a full-fledged commitment of time, resources and dedication. Students spend a third of their time on formal, structured training with a set curriculum, and two thirds of their time in on-the-job training, which is also directed by curriculum and weekly learning objectives.

Business and industry are highly involved in job classification and curriculum development. While the government oversees qualifying exams and state certifications, the content is developed with significant input from business.  Regional chambers of commerce serve as the intermediary between education and business.

Instructors Help Learners Find Their Paths

Teachers are not apart from the system; instead, they might be called “learning technicians.” They are asked to deliver state-provided curriculum and prepare students to pass a state-administered certification examination.

In Germany, every single student is on a path to a career, and instructors see it as their job to ensure students find their way. Students believe it is their responsibility to find a match between their skills and the world of work. Germany’s low level of youth unemployment (around 6 percent) suggests that youth are authentically engaged in developing their careers.

German teachers play an oversized role in nurturing student’s self-awareness. Especially at the realschule, the role of educators seems to sit squarely within the realm of socio-emotional development. Finding a path forward precedes skills attainment, and teachers are essential to discovering that path.

Implications for US CTE System

Recognizing the level of business and industry involvement is critically important for understanding the German model. Significant resources are provided: direct financial support to the trainees, staff oversight, training materials and advisement on curriculum development. Any widespread work-based learning initiative in the United States will require similarly significant levels of investment.

After learning of the German model, delegates did not arrive at any sort of “plug and play” ideas that are easy to transport back to the United States. Instead, we developed a deeper and nuanced understanding of the system, with the insight that ownership of what happens within the education system, but more specifically, within the TVET system, seems to “belong” much more to the employers than to the government.

The visit was a catalyst for creative thinking about how to improve work-based learning in the United States. Key suggestions include adequately incentivizing employer participation through tax deductions and direct funding, considering employee training and loyalty as a company asset, running Pell grants and guaranteed student loans through employer training channels, and increasing teacher knowledge of technical careers.

While none of the delegates thought the German model could or should be transported in its exact form, the delegates agreed that American learners would be well-served if they had more work-based learning and real-world experiences.

The outreach program was sponsored by several key partners, include the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Goethe-Institut, Deutsche Bank, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and the Siemens Corporation. All travel costs were covered by Goethe-Institut and its partners.

 

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