Highlights from ACTE’s National Policy Seminar

March 20th, 2017

I’m Kathryn Zekus and I’m the new Senior Associate for Federal Policy. I’ll be leading Advance CTE’s government relations efforts, including advancing our federal legislative priorities, engaging Advance CTE’s members in advocacy efforts, and maintaining and growing meaningful partnerships with relevant stakeholders.

Given the renewed energy around reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins), I’m especially excited to jump into this work and had great opportunities to do so this past week at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) National Policy Seminar (NPS) in Washington, D.C. Some major highlights from NPS were Josh Kraushaar’s keynote address, which pushed the audience to think about political capital, the state of the party politics in the U.S., and what may be in store in 2018, noting that Democrats only need 24 additional House seats to be in the majority and that this is a more likely outcome than big gains in the Senate, from his perspective as Political Editor at the National Journal.

Additionally, Kim R.  Ford, Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education, encouraged the audience to maintain its commitment to Career Technical Education (CTE), noting that now is the time to lift up the positive outcomes associated with CTE. She also called on the audience to transform the language used to describe the opportunities CTE provides by emphasizing how it positions students for success in life.

Lastly, Sarah Raikes, 2017 ACTE Teacher of the Year, shared what advocacy for CTE means to her and urged her colleagues to jump into advocacy efforts wholeheartedly. Her succinct message and inspiring personal story was an excellent example of effective advocacy and a great conclusion to the day.

The next day, NPS organized opportunities for ACTE’s membership to meet with their members of Congress to advocate for CTE. The day ended with a reception sponsored by the Senate CTE Caucus, Project Lead the Way and ACTE where attendees heard from Senators Todd Young (R-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) about their bipartisan commitment to CTE. In addition to hearing from these CTE champions, students from all over the country showcased their innovative CTE projects, inventions and ideas. The student presentations were incredibly impressive and many focused on solving real-world problems. For example, one student designed a device for the inside of an athlete’s helmet to cool him/her down during physical activity! Hearing from students’ about their educational experiences brought CTE to life for all who attended the reception.

The last day of NPS focused on the teacher education pipeline, and included panel discussions that touched on the nuances of the issue, the variety of state and local contexts that impact it and tangible solutions that the audience could implement to support the recruitment and retention of CTE educators. In addition, our very own Kate Kreamer discussed the findings from our recently released report, The State of Career Technical Education: Increasing Access to Industry Experts in High Schools. All in all, NPS was a great start to my first week at Advance CTE and a valuable learning experience – I’m already looking forward to my next CTE meeting, the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

2017 School Counselor of the Year will Keynote Advance CTE Spring Meeting

February 2nd, 2017

We’re proud to announce the keynote speaker for this year’s meeting: Terri Tchorzynski, the 2017 School Counselor of the Year!

Tchorzynski is a school counselor at the Calhoun Area Career Center in BattleCreek, Michigan, where she and her fellow counselors use the power of data to identify interventions and support students’ social-emotional health, college and career readiness preparation, and academics. Tchorzynski’s remarks will focus on the importance of school counselors and bring some insights into counseling CTE students.

The School Counselor of the Year program is presented by the American School Counselor Association, and finalists are chosen based on creative school counseling innovations, effective programs, leadership skills and contributions to student advancement.

Or hear from one of her former students – now a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Michigan – in her own words.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

This Week in CTE

October 21st, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Harvard Political Review published an article making the case for Career Technical Education as an important option for students who want a pathway to a successful career:  “Students often leave CTE programs with certifications that allow them to immediately enter the workforce. Surprisingly, some see this as CTE’s greatest failing. Yes, welders might make up to $140,000 dollars a year, but how can the government support “condemning” students to blue-collar labor? The reasoning of many against CTE programs seems misguided at best.”

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Join us for a webinar on November 10 taking a deep dive into the application process for the 2017 Excellence in Action award. You will hear from past award recipients and a member of the selection committee on what makes an award-winning program, providing insight into how to create a successful application.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

National Skills Coalition released a report on the importance of providing supports to low-income people for postsecondary education and training, citing Arkansas’ Career Pathways Initiative as a model program.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Advance CTE Fall Meeting Registration Closes Friday

September 27th, 2016

Don’t miss your opportunity to network with your peers and experts at this year’s Advance CTE Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland! Join us October 17-19 to take on some of today’s most important CTE issues through informative breakout sessions, facilitated small-group discussions and expert-led panels.

Session HighlightBaltimore

Work with your peers and take a deep dive into how states have tackled the following topics during collaboration roundtables:

  • Developing a Statewide Vision and Fostering Ownership
  • Targeting Stakeholder Messaging
  • Ensuring Quality and Equity in Rural Regions
  • Analyzing Data to Tell the Story of CTE in Your State
  • Aligning Secondary and Postsecondary Systems to Improve Student Success
  • Fostering Meaningful State-Local Partnerships

Also, don’t miss this opportunity to cruise Baltimore’s Inner Harbor during the Advance CTE Fall Meeting! On Tuesday, October 18, this fun and relaxing event will include drinks, dinner, music, and the beautiful sights from the harbor. This dinner cruise was a favorite from several years ago, and we are excited to bring it back for this year’s meeting.kuder_logo

To join us, be sure to let us know you’re coming to this event when you register for the meeting.

This event is made possible thanks to sponsorship and partnership with Kuder, Inc.

Registration Closes Friday so Register Today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE: Let Us Know How You Get Industry Experts in the Classroom

August 26th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Kansas released a new tool to help users find high-demand, high-wage occupations in their communities, along with what education and training it takes to work in those occupations.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

Winners of the Reach Higher Career App Challenge were announced by First Lady Michelle Obama this week. The challenge, which called on students, educators and the public to develop mobile applications that helped middle and high school students navigate career pathways was won by ThinkZone Games, who will receive $100,000.

REPORT OF THE WEEK

We released a new brief this week as part of our Connecting the Classroom to Careers series exploring work-based learning. The latest installment highlights examples from three states that demonstrate either a systems-level or student-level approach to measuring work-based learning activities.

WE NEED YOUR HELP

One of the five principles of Advance CTE’s Shared Vision for CTE is that all learning should be facilitated by knowledgeable experts. Within that principle is a call to action to build and support a pool of experts to supplement learning, including bringing experts in as full-time, part-time or adjunct instructors through alternative and dual certification, along with other strategies.

To advance this principle, we are surveying state and local leaders across the country to understand how they are approaching this issue. In particular, we are hoping to discover what local innovations are happening in this area. The information from this report will be analyzed and released in a report later this year.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

This Week in CTE: Experts on NPR’s ‘On Point’ Weigh in on CTE

August 12th, 2016

 

CONVERSATION OF THE WEEK

Earlier this week, experts weighed in on the shift from vocational education to today’s Career Technical Education (CTE) on NPR’s On Point. Listen to the hour-long discussion featuring Shaun Dougherty, author of the recent study, Career and Technical Education in High School: Does It Improve Student Outcomes? The conversation spilled over into the comments section where listeners voiced their own experiences with CTE.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Students can earn up to $2,500 if they plan to continue their studies in CTE, thanks to the Horatio Alger Association. Applications are accepted on a rolling deadline here.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Register now for our upcoming webinar, “Kentucky Gets Students on TRACK with Youth Apprenticeship“! At 2 p.m. ET, on August 31, Kentucky leaders will discuss the state’s youth pre-apprenticeship program, Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky. Join us to hear how the program started, how success is being measured and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

This webinar is part of a yearlong series on work-based learning co-hosted by Advance CTE and the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center. In case you missed our earlier webinars, be sure to check out the initiatives in Tennessee and West Virginia.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Tackle Important CTE Issues at the 2016 Fall Meeting!

August 11th, 2016

Join us October 17-19, 2016, in Baltimore, Maryland, for the Advance CTE Fall Meeting! 2016 has been an Advance CTEexciting year for Career Technical Education and Advance CTE. This is your chance to get behind-the-scenes information about the ongoing efforts to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, learn about how other states are implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act and Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act, and take a deep dive into how you can help advance Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE.

In addition, we’ll dig into some exciting topic areas through informative panels and breakout sessions, as well as collaborative small-group discussions including:

  • Work-based learning including apprenticeships
  • Career-readiness measures
  • CTE and industry experts in the classroom

Don’t miss out on this unique professional development experience! Early bird registration closes August 31,  so register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

June 24th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Advance CTE staff was spread across the country this week with two staff members attending the exciting SkillsUSA competition in Kentucky bringing together thousands of students from across the country to compete.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

This week, Advance CTE launched the Learning that Works Resource Center where you can find all the latest reports, case studies, tools, guides and policies on CTE and career readiness. Be sure to check out the new Resource Center and let us know if you have any materials that should be included! The Resource Center was developed as part of the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership between Advance CTE, CCSSO and Education Strategy Group, funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

INFOGRAPHIC OF THE WEEK

WDQC’s new infographic highlights examples of state legislation that requires colleges and universities to report on employment and earnings of program graduates.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Transportation: A natural vehicle for integrated STEM learning will explore STEM learning in programs using a transportation lens through informal educational settings and will build off of the findings from the 2015 National Research Council’s report on productive STEM programs in out-of-school settings.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Spring Meeting Staff Reflections Part 1

May 31st, 2016

This time last week we were in the midst of our 2016 Advance CTE Spring Meeting which brought over 150 participants from across the country together to dive into all things CTE. From unveiling our new vision to diving into the federal policy landscape, staff takes a look back at what they found most valuable at this year’s meeting in this two-part series. 

Kimberly Green, Executive Director: Each year, Advance CTE hosts an annual awards ceremony that recognizes two categories of winners. The Stars of Education acknowledges leadership in our own community and those in Congress who fight the good fight on behalf of CTE.  This year, Dr. Charisse Childers, State Director in Arkansas won the Rising Star award and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) won the Star of Education award. We also recognize high-quality programs of study through our Excellence in Action Awards. The selection committee has over 100 applications from 30 states to review and selected 11 winners, each in a different Career Cluster.

I had the honor to emcee this year’s awards ceremony and truth be told I had to hold back tears as some of the winners made their remarks. Their commitment, leadership, inspiration and dedication results in changing the lives of thousands of students each year.  And this array of winners is proof that high-quality CTE can be successful in any and every community in our country.

What is common across all the winners is that they all have leaders who have an unrelenting commitment to quality, create cultures of high expectations, see obstacles as opportunities and put the learner first. My hope is by sharing and celebrating these winners, we both shine a light on their accomplishment but also position them as a beacon for others to benchmark against and learn from.

So to our winners, I say thank you. Thank you for reminding us that high expectations bring about excellence.  Thank you for proving that excellence can be found in any zip code and reminding us that high quality programs for all students – ALL students – is an achievable goal. Thank you for reminding us why we do this work but mostly thank you for what you do every day to help students find their voice, their path and their success.

Kate Blosveren Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director: For me, the release of our new vision was the absolute highlight of the Spring Meeting and, in particular, seeing all of our members and partners sign their commitment to this new vision. After over a year of planning – from the early design phase, the Future of CTE Summit hosted with our eight co-conveners, and the work to synthesize the many (many) awesome and innovative ideas to come out of that Summit – seeing the new shared vision in the hands of our members, Putting Learner Success First, was an amazing experience. From the presentation by Advance CTE officers, the panels of our vision supporters and feisty reformers and the Enacting the Vision roundtable, Monday demonstrated how impactful this vision can and will be within and beyond the CTE community and I can’t wait to start putting it into action!

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager: Along with the roll-out of Advance CTE’s new vision, federal policy was top of mind for many at our Spring Meeting. While we heard much about the forthcoming effort to renew the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins) towards the end of our conference, Perkins was a recurring theme throughout many of the conference sessions during the week.

The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) also took center stage with both bills providing unique opportunities (as well as some challenges) for the CTE community in the coming years. The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) also provided some timely updates for attendees on some national initiatives of interest.

All in all, it was a great week for Advance CTE members and attendees alike to hear from leading experts, Congressional staff, and other stakeholders about what the federal policy environment has in store for CTE.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE: The Skills Gap

April 29th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

EVENT OF THE WEEK

Next week, companies from across the nation will meet in Seattle to host a job fair for 16-24 year olds. This is part of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiate, a coalition of 40 U.S. companies who are working to employee the 5.5 million young Americans out of work or school.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

In another investment to address the skills gap, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and USA Funds partnered to pilot a program with the goal of closing the skills gap. Talent Pipeline Management put employers at the lead of education partnerships in seven communities across the country. A number of policy changes, programs and partnership have followed in states such as Virginia, Michigan and Arizona.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

 

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