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

Microsoft IT Academy & CTE Community: Bridging the worlds of technology education and business

March 23rd, 2015

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in April. 

Demand for technology education is surging from both students and employers. Interest in technology programs is spiking IT Academy-stacked-largeamongst incoming college freshmen, according to academic surveys (source). Concurrently, the business world is facing a shortfall of tech-literate graduates, with a projected one million more jobs than qualified graduates by 2020; as well as reports that 77% of all jobs require some degree of technology skills (IDC Research).

Academic institutions face the critical challenge of responding to student and business demand for technology curriculum in a race to produce enough skilled workers to fill future jobs This is where Microsoft and the Career Technical Education community join forces to close the gap.

Microsoft IT Academy (ITA) brings academic institutions and their educators, students and staff classroom-ready digital curriculum and certifications covering three areas of study—Productivity, Computer Science, and IT infrastructure—providing essential technology skills to be successful in today’s evolving world.

Currently, there are 17 Microsoft IT Academy statewide partnerships in place, with several more in the works for the next academic year. Microsoft IT Academy and the CTE community are helping drive economic development by improving education outcomes for students and pathways for current workers to advance their careers. See our blog for recent success stories.

Microsoft certifications differentiate students in today’s competitive job market and broaden their employment opportunities. Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams prepare students to be more productive in school and business careers. For students considering IT careers, Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exams provide an entry-level opportunity to explore various technical careers. Both MOS and MTA certification validates a student’s knowledge of specific technology concepts and helps them stand out when submitting college and internship applications.

Bring Computer Science Into Any Classroom

Jobs requiring computer science skills outnumber trained graduates by 3-to-1, yet 90% of schools don’t teach it. Reverse the trend and prepare your students for success with the Microsoft IT Academy Computer Science curriculum. For more information on Microsoft IT Academy benefits visit: http://www.microsoft.com/education/itacademy/Pages/benefits.aspx

Microsoft IT Academy is a proud sponsor of the 2015 NASDCTEc Spring Meeting.  Amy Merrill and Lance Baldwin will be representing Microsoft Learning Experiences Group (LeX) and IT Academy at the conference. For the latest information on Microsoft IT Academy, follow us on social media!

Twitter: @MS_ITAcademy   |    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MicrosoftITAcademy

Contacts: Amy Merrill – MS Learning, Business Deployment Manager: [email protected]

Lance Baldwin – MS Learning, Senior Solutions Specialist: [email protected]

This blog was contributed by Microsoft IT Academy, diamond level sponsor at the 2015 Spring Meeting.

Today’s Class – Interactive Online Textbook and eLearning Tool

March 16th, 2015

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in April. 

Today’s Class is an interactive online textbook and eLearning resource.  The educational program with learning management system Todays Class Logo- Registred Trademark-1-7-14(1)delivers interactive coursework to school systems and technical institutions. Today’s Class programs are designed with the instructor in mind and enhance an instructor’s curriculum with content, vivid animation, and interactive exercises. The program provides quizzes, final exams, eBooks, and a student time just to name a few features.  By supplying concepts and theory it allows for up to 25% reduction in lecture time, which allows instructors more time for hands-on lab work and in-class demonstrations.

Currently, Today’s Class offers automotive, cosmetology, health science, anatomy & physiology, and agriscience programs.  Assessments are included for automotive, cosmetology, and health science programs.

The cosmetology program aligns with NIC standards that most states base their curriculum from, providing comprehensive theory and step-by-step methodology.  Also included within the program is an assessment to gauge if the student is ready to take their state board exam.

The health science program explores body systems, the protocol for vital sign measurement, emergency response, ethical & legal responsibilities, and other necessary health science courses.

The automotive program covers the eight core NATEF areas, the new Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) series, and other automotive related materials to enhance student development.  The Automotive Service Technician (AST) modules will be released this summer.  Job sheets, crosswalks, and blueprints are included in the automotive modules.

The agriscience program contains: Concepts of Agriscience, Science of Agricultural Animals, Science of Agricultural Plants, Science of Agricultural Environment and Science of Agricultural Mechanization.

Many attendees know Dr. Rod Boyes, a long-time NASDCTEc supporter and President of the organization. Also representing Today’s Class at the meeting will be Peggy Albano – please say hello to them both and learn more about Today’s Class programs and initiatives. Today’s Class is a Gold Level Sponsor at the NASDCTEc Meeting.

Thank you to Today’s Class for being a NASDCTEc Spring Meeting Sponsor!

You Spoke – We Listened. How we’ve Changed the 2015 Spring Meeting

March 11th, 2015

Every year we take your evaluations from previous meetings and adjust our agenda, presentations and topics based on your reviews. Here are some of the ways we’ve made changes to this year’s NASDCTEc Spring Meeting in Washington, DC. For more information, take a look at our full agenda.cherry-blossoms-at-jefferson-150x150

“Suggest in future you think about having interactive breakout sessions. We ask that our teachers engage our students in contextualized…we should do the same.”

Great suggestion! To make sure that there’s a balance between didactic and hands-on learning, we’ve structured this year’s meeting around a variety of keynotes, panels, breakout sessions and discussion roundtables. We want to make sure that you’re hearing from panelists, but encourage you as a CTE leader, to share during these sessions as well.

“How do we change the perceptions of CTE amongst key stakeholders (parents, business, students, administrators, etc.)?”

Though we have come a far way in advocating for CTE as education for all students, we still have work to do. We encourage you to join the Overcoming CTE Myths collaboration roundtable, where you’ll work with your peers to come up with actionable solutions, guided by states leading the way. In addition, we’re hosting a panel Featuring CTE Excellence in the Press, where journalists on the education beat will talk about how to make a successful pitch to press, what has changed in the CTE narrative and how to tell your CTE story.

The conference seemed to be very heavy on secondary CTE. Many of the sessions did not offer enough for those of us in postsecondary or higher education.”

Given the importance of secondary, postsecondary and workforce development engagement in CTE, we have an entire day focused on cross-sector collaboration, as well as other postsecondary-focused content offered throughout the meeting. With panels on federal agency coordination around WIOA implementation and the Higher Education Act, two breakout sessions on efforts to implement career pathway systems and WIOA, and relevant collaboration roundtables, there’s something for everyone.

 “How do states finance CTE through performance-based funding?”

It’s no surprise that in today’s financial climate questions on funding come up again and again. We have some stellar examples of how states are utilizing performance-based funding systems which you’ll learn about from two national experts during one of our concurrent sessions, Paying for Performance: Developing State Performance-Based Funding Systems.

 “We need more discussions around industry certifications and the impact on state programs.”

Employer and industry engagement has been a hot topic this year, and we’re excited to offer two panels and a roundtable discussion on how employers are getting involved at the state and local levels, and, in particular, around credentialing. We’ll also be kicking the meeting off with a keynote address from Chauncy Lennon, Managing Director and Head of Workforce Initiatives at JPMorgan Chase, who will discuss their efforts to close the skills gap.

Registration and discounted hotel rates closes Friday, March 20, so register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Pathways for all – With CTE at the Heart

March 9th, 2015

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in April.

For a very long time, American education has offered an either/or choice for students: Either follow a career track OR enter the (default) baccalaureate track which, while well-intended, is failing LARGE numbers of students. Today’s Pathways model offers a third choice, combining the best of both. And CTE Leaders have an incredible opportunity today to provide leadership in defining and driving the NC3T logo clean largePathways agenda.

At NC3T (National Center for College and Career Transitions), we promote the notion that school districts thrive when they work with employers and postsecondary partners to create a “pathways for all” approach. The Pathways for All approach is more flexible, individualized, and based on the real needs and opportunities in today’s workforce, where skills and knowledge, not years of schooling, leads to meaningful work and family-sustaining earnings.  To accomplish this, each district develops a broad array of pathways, some which are more career- or occupation-specific, and some which are more thematic, like social justice, visual arts, and global leadership.  Ideally, each pathway is designed to lead to several post-secondary options, such as programs leading to certificate programs, associate degrees, and baccalaureate degrees.

To explore this comprehensive Pathways-for-All system, CTE local administrators and state leaders are well positioned (probably best-positioned) to help drive the conversation.  You can drive the Pathways conversation from several entry points, including   Readiness, Teaching and Learning, Effective Employer Engagement, Postsecondary Connections, and Career Development.

Help Define Student Readiness For Work and Life Success
CTE leaders can continue to advance the idea that readiness requires more than academic skills.  Readiness for all students includes Learning Skills, Thinking Skills, Communication Skills, Executive Skills, Persistence and Work Ethic, Interpersonal Competencies, Career Search and Career Management, Civic Awareness and Commitment.

We should stand against definitions that define Career Readiness separately from Postsecondary Readiness.  Yes, there are specific technical skills that are a gateway for certain careers.  But apart from that narrow band of skills, for the most part, the skills and knowledge and attitudes for work success and postsecondary success are the same, but they’re just applied differently based on the learner’s or worker’s context.  A student is really just a worker whose immediate job is learning.

Create Dynamic Teaching and Learning
CTE leaders can work to ensure that CTE teachers learn and apply the most promising and effective teaching practices, utilizing active learning strategies like project-based, problem-based, and inquiry-based learning.  Although CTE content is based on industry-based skills, CTE instruction can easily fall prey to the same trap as a core academic course, in which a teacher “stands and delivers,” conveying information about a career field or the processes of that field, without challenging the students to engage in deeper learning, problem solving, and creativity.  Some CTE teachers deep down may believe that their students can’t learn more deeply, and that simple regurgitation of information and imitation of skills are the best they will be able to accomplish.  This is where strong professional development, and challenging teacher perceptions through collaborative leadership, are essential.

Model effective employer involvement
In a strong pathways system, employers and volunteers are actively involved in classrooms, interacting regularly with students, and helping students get into the workplace.  CTE programs can always get better at utilizing employers in multiple facets of their work.  A good first step is to re-purpose your program Advisory Councils into “Partnership Councils” with the goal of driving deep business-industry involvement in all aspects of instruction, career mentoring, and experiential learning.

Engage leaders from postsecondary education
Each pathway program of study needs active collaboration among teachers and faculty, so that curriculum can be well-aligned and offer early college credits.  CTE teachers and administrators can create the structures and processes for collaboration and recognizing student learning for college credit that others in the school system and colleges can build upon.

Inform Career Exploration
CTE leaders and staff usually have the best understanding and access for career-based information.  They can help inform a comprehensive K-12 career exploration and career development system.

Start the Bigger Conversation
CTE leaders are particularly able, and well-positioned, to develop good working relationships with K-12 system leaders, postsecondary education, and employers. As a result, they are the ideal point people to convene these sectors and begin to explore what a Pathways System looks like.  You can host a business-education summit; create a Readiness-forum among K-12, postsecondary and employers; or call partners together to discuss the merits and challenges of the Pathways-for-All approach.

Positive Momentum
If you’re in the CTE movement, you may already recognize that the wind is behind our backs in this work.  Many educators, parents, and business/community leaders are troubled and looking for better answers: They realize that core standards and testing are necessary, but not sufficient, because alone they do not adequately engage enough students. They recognize that too many students are pursuing college and taking on debt without a realistic career objective. And they understand there is a broad continuum of postsecondary options for which our guidance systems and programs of study don’t match up well. The result is that only 40 percent of our young adults complete an Associate’s degree or BA program, and about half of young adults lack tangible knowledge and skills that are in-demand.

Just promoting college-going isn’t enough: We must promote discovery, exploration and postsecondary education that has purpose.

So, the wind is behind our backs, but it could change direction at any time. We need to act quickly and help build consensus about what a Pathways-for-All system can be in our communities.

Federal rules, regulations and funding are slow in coming, which is why the pioneering leadership we’re seeing at the state and local levels now is so critical. CTE isn’t the full answer, but it is a foundational part of what a pathways system will become, and CTE leaders can help leverage and engage all facets of our education system to create Pathway Systems that work.

Thank you for your indispensable leadership.  We are standing with you.

Hans Meeder, President and Co-Founder
National Center for College and Career Transitions

Thanks to NC3T for being a NASDCTEc Spring meeting sponsor!

This Week in CTE

March 6th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK
@CareerBuilder  The title says it all: 13 growing occupations with certifications to boost your hireability and pay grade: http://cb.com/1DENJld .
Moreblog-thumbnail-thiswek

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
How Google and Coursera May Upend the Traditional College Degree
Coursera, the online education firm and Google, who needs no introduction, have teamed up to bring together Instagram and a variety of other tech companies to launch microdegrees. These microdegrees will consist of online courses and a hands-on capstone project designed with input from universities and tech industry focused on providing learners less expensive and customizable degrees.
More

VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Power of Entrepreneurship
Intel released this video on how today’s technology can help people overcome barriers to starting the businesses they want.
More

EVENT OF THE WEEK
NASDCTEc 2015 Spring Meeting!
NASDCTEc’s Spring Meeting is only a month away! Join us in Washington, D.C. to hear from national leaders, work together to build common solutions to problems facing Career Technical Education, get the latest state and federal policy updates, hear from best practice programs of study from across the country and network with State CTE Directors and partnering organizations. Registration closes March 20, so register today!
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Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

NOCTI: Honoring our Past and Embracing our Future

March 3rd, 2015

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in April.

From our early days 49 years ago as part of the “vocational” teacher certification process, to our current leadership in the areas of technical data-driven instructional improvement, credentialing and digital badging, NOCTI has always been proud to be an important member of the career NOCTI--Navy-11-2009and technical education (CTE) community.  As a non-profit entity lead by a board elected by the 56 state directors of CTE around the country and in US territories, we do our best to stay ahead of the needs of the field we serve. Though we won’t discuss the specifics of those needs in this blog, we will mention how NOCTI is working to provide forward-thinking solutions for the CTE community.

At our core, we consider everyone we work with to be a partner striving to make CTE as strong as it can be.  Recognizing outstanding established and promising CTE teachers and administrators is important to NOCTI and one reason why we provide awards each year to these CTE professionals. NOCTI’s awards focus on the qualities important to our founders and are awarded each year at the ACTE Vision conference.  In addition, we participate in additional opportunities for our students to show off their skills, most recently through the NOCTI-sponsored Video Contest as part of CTE Month.  NOCTI received 44 video submissions from media classrooms across the nation focused on the 2015 theme “Mission CTE.”  Check out the videos here!  Finally, here are a few other resources worth mentioning.

Collaborations: In addition to the numerous industry association partnerships we maintain, we believe that connecting to our community and related communities is critical. NOCTI has close relationships with NASDCTEc and Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) as well as the National Academy Foundation, the International Baccalaureate Program, Mozilla, the National College Test Administrators and the Association of Test Publishers.

Teacher Tests: We continue to fulfill our commitment to expand our current teacher testing battery. We recognize that we are the only organization with the ability to assure that incoming instructors have experiences in all aspects of their particular industry, and that this has always been part of our history. NOCTI has increased its teacher test offerings to reinforce a commitment to this important population.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA): By leveraging our association with the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), NOCTI is able to assess experiences that have occurred outside the classroom through Prior Learning Assessments. This service has been particularly successful with our returning servicemen and servicewomen and community college partners.

Digital Badges: NOCTI currently offers over 120 digital badges. We are collaborating with multiple partners to deliver badges that include both summative and formative structures, as well as badges for both cognitive and hands-on skills.  Badges are also being explored that are based on both asynchronous and synchronous evaluation.  Lastly, we have also started work with a number of our industry partners in building customized badging platforms.

Deep Analytical Reports: By utilizing NOCTI-collected data, we can assist states and regions in identifying which programs–and by extension which teachers–are able to deliver technical instruction that facilitates student competence. What would you do as a curricular leader in your state if you were able to objectively identify the best blueprint reading program in your state? We think we know the answer and we are providing the data to help states get there.

Industry Credentials: All NOCTI assessments are industry credentials and include benchmarks established by industry.  When utilized properly, the assessments provide a way to compare student competence against current industry standards in over 100 unique programs of study.  Local industry practitioners play an important role in assisting with the comparison between knowledge and skills learned and applied.  NOCTI also currently delivers over 40 collaborative industry association credentials.

Contact us at [email protected]  to see how we can help you. NOCTI is excited to be a Gold sponsor of the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.; be sure to seek us out and say hello!

Thank you NOCTI for sponsoring the 2015 Spring Meeting!

Register today for NASDCTEc’s 2015 Spring Meeting!

February 11th, 2015

The NASDCTEc Spring meeting is just around the corner, so register now!
With confirmed speakers from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, Aspen Institute, Education Week, Education Daily, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Manufacturing Institute, among others, our upcoming Spring meeting is shaping up to be our best yet!

Participants will learn from national experts and each another on topics such as career pathways, private sector credentialing and CTE in the media, and get the latest on federal policy through panels, collaboration roundtables and breakout sessions. Visit our agenda page for more details.

Don’t miss out on this exciting and informative event!

Member registration
Non-member registration

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Celebrating CTE Month

February 3rd, 2015

Happy CTE Month! Throughout the month we will highlight CTE resources, examples of stellar progctemonththumbnailrams from around the country, major onsite and online events and more. To start of us off, below are a list of a few events.

CTE Month is kicking off tonight, Tuesday, February 3 from 5-8 p.m. as the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus in conjunction with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) host a cocktail reception featuring student demonstrations, titled: TODAY’S INNOVATION, TOMORROW’S CAREER SUCCESS. We’ll be live Tweeting the event @CTEWorks too! RSVP by contacting [email protected].

Can’t join us in person? You can find us on Twitter on February 12 at 1 p.m. as we chat with the College and Career Readiness and Success Center using the @CTEWorks and @CCRSCenter twitter handles.

Friday, February 20 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., ACTE will partner with Montgomery College of Maryland and Montgomery County School District to host a school visit at the college’s Rockville, Maryland, campus on Friday. This visit will give congressional staff and education stakeholders the opportunity to see an example of a successful postsecondary CTE program and hear from educators, students and business leaders about how these programs are preparing students for college and career success. To learn more, email [email protected].

We look forward to highlighting and celebrating CTE over the next few weeks. If you have anything you’d like to share that you’re doing in your community, email [email protected]

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Register Today for Upcoming Webinars

February 2nd, 2015

There’s still time to register for NASDCTEc’s upcoming webinars!

2014 State CTE Policy Reviewspr
February 5, 2015, 3 – 4 p.m. ET
States are increasingly looking to CTE as a means to help close the skills gap and boost the number of people with a postsecondary credential. Join us as we step through the major state policy trends affecting CTE from 2014 including new laws, executive actions and regulatory activity. This webinar will coincide with the release of the second annual “2014 State CTE Policy Review,” a joint publication from ACTE and NASDCTEc.

Speakers:

  • Catherine Imperatore, Research Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education
  • Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate, National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium

Register Today

Employer Engagement: State PerspectivesUntitled
February 10, 2015, 2 – 3 p.m. ET
Join us for an in-depth discussion as we take a closer look at how Alabama and Kansas, in concert with their employer partners, work together to inform, align and enhance their CTE systems at the secondary and postsecondary levels. This webinar is the second in a series on employer engagement. To learn more about employer engagement in CTE, check out our newest report!

Speakers:

  • Dr. Philip C. Cleveland, Alabama State Director of CTE and Workforce Development
  • George Clark, President, Manufacture Alabama and Chair of the Alabama Workforce Investment Board
  • Dr. Blake Flanders, Vice President of Workforce Development, Kansas Board of Regents
  • Keven Ward, Public Sector Consultant, Trane

Register Today

2015 Spring Meeting Registration Open

January 15th, 2015

Join us April 8 – 10, 2015 in Washington, DC 2014-11-Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-washington-dc-back-Marko-Berndtfor NASDCTEc’s annual Spring Meeting. This meeting is designed to bring together secondary and postsecondary leaders in Career Technical Education (CTE), as well as national partners and CTE stakeholders to share and learn from one another. Meeting themes include cross-systems collaboration, innovative state solutions and a state and federal policy outlook. We hope you can join us! Get more information on the Spring Meeting’s agenda and logistics on the event homepage.

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION
Be sure to register by February 2 to take advantage of our early bird registration. Members and non-members should register today to secure these special rates.

We look forward to seeing you in April!

Member registration
Non-member registration

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

 

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