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

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: Oracle Academy Reflects on CTE

March 14th, 2018

This post is written by the Oracle Academy, a Diamon Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

One of the many advantages of being the North America Oracle Academy Regional Director, is the opportunity to spend time talking with education leaders at the State, K12 District, school site, and post-secondary level from all over the nation. I spend time learning, sharing ideas, celebrating successes, and understanding challenges that these leaders face each day. These conversations and experiences are often the most exciting yet humbling part of my job. February is celebrated as CTE Month and this year, I found myself reflecting on the impact that Career Technical Education (CTE) has on our students both now and in the future. A few thoughts to share are:

Reflection #1: CTE continues to evolve to meet changing needs. State and District leadership continue to strive to build sustainable and real-world CTE Pathways that lead our students to college and career success.  It’s the CTE leadership that can both anticipate and leverage, through research and relationships, the corporate workforce need and then translate that need into CTE pathways for students to pursue. Many of these pathways include applicable industry certifications, apprenticeship/internships, and defined articulation programs with feeder post-secondary institutions. At Oracle Academy, we work to ensure our resources continue to support the needs of CTE leadership through curriculum and certification opportunities that reflect industry needs.

Reflection #2: Collaboration between local industry and education leadership continue to drive CTE student success. This isn’t a new concept but what I’ve noticed is an uptick in our education and industry leadership working together to create applicable internships, apprenticeships, and mentorships to support the interest of our students. I’ve heard over and over again the importance that these roles play in supporting and creating sustainable CTE programs.  At Oracle Academy, our role revolves around building the best classroom resources for the student and teacher so that their content knowledge and often times, confidence, is foundationally strong so that attainment of first time internships and/or apprenticeships are successful.

Reflection #3: A focused effort and persistence will prevail!  As we all know, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is critical to ensuring that quality and sustainable CTE programs meet the changing needs of learners and employers. This act works to improve the academic and technical achievement of CTE students, helps to strengthen the bridge between secondary and post-secondary, and balances the student need with that of a new economy.  As parents, educators, and leaders, it’s our duty to encourage organizations, like CareerTech, that advocate on behalf of CTE programs as well as the teachers and students dedicated to CTE success. Oracle Academy supports this mission by continuing to provide our world-class student-facing curriculum and educator professional development – aligned to the IT Career Cluster Pathway – for FREE.

For those of you not familiar, Oracle Academy is Oracle’s flagship program in education philanthropy, currently supporting more than 3.5 million students annually in 120 countries. We advance computing technology education to increase knowledge, skills development, innovation and diversity in computing fields by providing:

Two years ago, we introduced Oracle Certified Junior Associate certifications in database and Java; these certification exams align to our Java Foundations and Database Foundations courses and are specifically designed with students in mind to help support internship, summer job, and first job applications.

Oracle Academy exists to improve the computing technology skills of young people, globally! If we strengthen the computing technology pathway between secondary, post-secondary, and career, we are essentially strengthening the future for our children!

Career Technical Education holds a very special place in my heart and I hope this blog reflects both the love and respect that I have for CTE programs and its significant impact on student achievement!

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

Words Matter: A Response to President Trump’s Recent Remarks on CTE

February 7th, 2018

Twice last week, President Trump praised Career Technical Education (CTE) and called for its expansion – at the State of the Union and during a meeting of Republican leaders in West Virginia.

Unfortunately, his support was muted by the way he described CTE, which was both off-base and off-message. Our friends at ACTE responded from a substantive stand point, laying out the many ways CTE has evolved into high-quality pathways that ALL learners can and should benefit from. We obviously agree – as we articulate in Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education – and remain committed to making this vision a reality through advocacy and policy support for our members and the field.

Given the extensive work we’ve done over the last year to identify the best way to talk about CTE, we wanted to take this opportunity to focus on why it’s so important that we use the right words and messages with respect to CTE.

Last year, we conducted focus groups and a national survey of current and prospective CTE parents and students, and found that, across the board, high school CTE programs are most valued for their ability to provide real-world skills within the education system. Prospective parents and students are hungry for these types of opportunities, including gaining real-world skills, engaging employers through internships or networking and earning college credit while in high school.

At the same time, the vast majority of parents and students (85 percent) continue to value college as the post-high school aspiration.

Bringing us to my point: any message about CTE must emphasize that CTE is a pathway to careers AND college.

When parents and students hear descriptions that focus on CTE being for those who aren’t the “greatest” students or not “college material,” it’s immediately positioned as a lesser track rather than a pathway to success (as the data very much supports) – and is in direct conflict with parents’ and students’ aspirations.

Similarly, when CTE is pigeon-holed into a few blue collar fields, it deemphasizes the vast opportunities available in a variety of industries and sectors – from culinology to architecture – and can turn off students who want to explore their options.

Again, we appreciate the President’s interest and excitement over CTE and look forward to more opportunities to work with the Administration and Congress to put in place the right policies that will support our vision for high-quality CTE for all learners across high schools, area technical centers and community colleges. But, if we don’t talk about the policies and pathways in the right way, too many parents and students continue to see it as a great option – for someone else.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

 

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.

This Week in CTE

December 1st, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

CTE FRIDAY FACT

76% of Americans say middle or high school is the right time to start exploring career options, compared to just 7% who say college is the right time. CTE helps learners find their passion and prepare for the future before investing in their postsecondary education.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

A new article on Education Week, explores the ways in which learners gain critical skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork they need to be successful in a global economy. Read about how CTE and project based learning can be used as a potential strategy to help learners in gaining these skills.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Join a webinar on December 13 from 1 – 2:15 p.m. ET to learn how state leaders can align labor market efforts with the education pipeline to provide students with the academic, technical, and employability skills they need to be successful in the workplace. Aligning the education-to-workforce pipeline can help increase cost-efficiency, promote coherence, and produce better outcomes for students and workers. This webinar will highlight three forthcoming CCRS Center resources, Developing a College- and Career-Ready Workforce: An Analysis of ESSA, Perkins, and WIOA.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

 

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