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Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series: Certiport – Leading Certification in Validating Student Workforce Skills

October 11th, 2013

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in the Baltimore, MD area October 21-23, 2013. Today’s guest blogger is Aaron Osmond, Vice President, North America Sales of Certiport (a Pearson/Vue Company), and Utah State Senator.

Certiport Helps Millions of Students Earn Industry-Recognized Certification in CTE Programs

Certiport, a Pearson VUE business, is the world leader in performance-based certification exams and practice test solutions for academic institutions, currently delivering nearly 2 million certification exams each year around the world.

Certiport-Pearson-Logo-Final (214x51)

There has never been a better time for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs to implement certification.  The global job market is increasingly competitive, and the U.S. government continues to push schools to improve their CTE programs to prepare students to enter the workforce.  The quality of CTE programs varies greatly across the U.S., but certification can be a universal equalizer.

By arming students with an industry-recognized certification, CTE programs can simultaneously boost student resumes while satisfying state assessment requirements.  In North Carolina, for instance, the Department of Public Instruction entered a statewide licensing agreement with Microsoft and Certiport to give their students, wherever they lived in North Carolina, the opportunity to earn valuable information technology credentials such as the Microsoft Office Specialist or Microsoft Technology Associate.

Now, more than 100,000 students and teachers have earned certifications in North Carolina and Aaron Fleming, Director of CTE for Lee County Public Schools, is proud of what the program has accomplished.  “The Microsoft IT Academy allows students to prove to employers they have a specific skill that is in-demand.  Certification is one way to close the skills gap – it’s one way for employers to find someone to fill exactly what they need in an open position.”

Certiport manages a sophisticated portfolio of leading certification programs including: the official Microsoft Office Specialist certification program, the Microsoft Technology Associate certification program, the Adobe® Certified Associate certification program, the HP Accredited Technical Associate, the CompTIA Strata™ IT Fundamentals, the Autodesk Certified User certification program, the Intuit QuickBooks Certified User certification program and the Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC³®).

To learn more about how Certiport can help your CTE program teach and validate in-demand workforce skills with industry-recognized certification, stop by the Certiport booth at the Fall Meeting or visit www.certiport.com.

The NASDCTEc Fall Meeting will be held October 21-23, 2013 at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel in Linthicum, MD. More information

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

NASDCTEC Fall Meeting Blog Series: Our Future Depends on Putting Tech Education at the Core

October 10th, 2013

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in the Baltimore, MD area October 21-23, 2013. Today’s guest blogger is Cullen White, Cisco Academy Instructor at Fairmont Heights High School in Washington, DC.

“Does this class count as an Advanced Placement course?”

It’s been a common question of my returning IT Academy students. My courses are demanding. I expect them to read and write daily, to meet online after school for concept and skills reviews, and to practice using skills that will help them in college and career. They view my Cisco Networking Academy and computer science courses as college-level, and want others to view them that way too (in addition to the grade inflation that accompanies AP courses). Unfortunately, the courses that I teach aren’t a part of the core curriculum. Instead, they’re seen by many as electives and therefore expendable.  Cisco-corp-logo (200x111)

They shouldn’t be.

My classes offer too much opportunity for academic and professional growth to be viewed that way. The things we explore together are far too interesting, too important. In one class, we’re learning how data moves from device to device, and how to build our own networks. In another, we’re building Web apps while learning how to obtain feedback from users and analyze data. There is never a dull moment. Students are constantly engaged by the meaningful, hands-on experiences that my classroom provides. Why wouldn’t they be? They know that what we learn matters, because my courses mimic the same online, tech-enabled world that they grew up in. What we do is immediately relevant to them.

There is no reason for computer science or system engineering courses to be ranked as “non-essential” in favor of more traditional English, math, and science courses that so often teach knowledge and skills out of context. Especially when the very same knowledge and skills can be taught — when they ARE taught — in technology classrooms like mine. It’s time to start thinking about how we can change the core of our education system to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving, tech-savvy world. It’s time to move computing education classes to the core. And it’s time to save our students from the same class schedules that bored us to death.

This is important. If we don’t make technology education a priority, we will face a crisis of epic proportions. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 4.2 million jobs in IT and computing. There is no way we can fill those jobs with American students and an education system that doesn’t adequately prepare them. Reframing computing education courses as a part of the core curriculum is an important and necessary step in ensuring that our students can meet the challenges of an ever-changing global economy.

Making technology education a part of the core won’t be easy. There is, however, a logical way to proceed:

1. Educate Decision-Makers at Local Levels
I’ve been fortunate to work with school and district administrators who support my students and me as much as they possibly can. Still, I question whether admins truly understand how exceptionally important technology education is for our students, community, and nation. It’s not surprising either, given how challenging it is to understand major networking or computer science concepts when you haven’t been in the industry. Helping local leaders understand and gaining their support is key in making necessary changes. Here is where industry giants have a responsibility to get involved as well.

2. Change the Way Students View Technology Education
Above all, we have to increase the value of technology education in the eyes of students. They need to understand what opportunities they will have by pursuing higher learning in computer science or network administration. Districts need to work with instructors to develop multi-year technology education programs, then aggressively recruit students for them. Outreach through social media will be exceptionally important, but nothing is more so than making sure students have good teachers. At the very least, we need to make sure that technology education courses count as graduation requirements.

3. Raise Expectations for Technology Education Teachers
We have to develop clear and specific certification pathways for technology education teachers. As it stands, a number of states don’t have certification processes for educators in computing-related fields. This leads to confusion and permits low expectations for teachers. Our students and teachers deserve better.

4. Encourage Technology Instructors to Adopt and Integrate the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Literacy and Math
Core classes, English and math specifically, have been favored in the implementation of the CCSS for obvious reasons. Technology education classrooms are uniquely positioned, however, to integrate both English and math standards in a meaningful way. So much of what is done in computer science and systems engineering already requires the application of fundamental mathematics. Integration of the English language arts standards should be natural, given the need to explain solutions to complex technical problems through writing and speech.

Additionally, it is our classrooms that can lead directly to careers. Embedding the standards will further allow us to demonstrate that we are truly preparing our students for college and/or career, especially if they are linked to professional-level certification.

Finally, successful integration of literacy and math standards will help prove that our classrooms belong with other core subject areas.

5. Allow districts to develop pathways of study that work for their students and teachers.
As mentioned previously, districts have to create K-12 course pathways that ensure students are continually exposed to technology-related concepts. Allowing districts to pick their flavor of technology education allows them to play to the strengths of their staff and better meet the needs of their students and communities. Additionally, the demand for certain tech-related roles differs by region. This is exceptionally important to consider in low-income communities, as success in the right tech education courses can quickly provide opportunities for upward social mobility to students and their families.

Let’s face it: The next life-changing app isn’t going to come out of English class, unless the students have already learned how to program. Our reliance on technology is here to stay. There is no doubt that we have to rethink our current model of education. And not just for the next 10 years either. We have to build a model that is agile and ready to adapt. We have to build a model with technology at the core.

To learn more about Cisco Networking Academy courses available at high schools, colleges and universities across the country, visit www.cisco.com/go/netacad/us

The NASDCTEc Fall Meeting will be held October 21-23, 2013 at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel in Linthicum, MD. More information

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

Next Friday, October 4, is Manufacturing Day!

September 27th, 2013

Next Friday, October 4, 2013, more than 600 manufacturers, technical schools, and professional societies will host open houses, public tours, career workshops and other events to illustrate what manufacturing is really like in today’s modern economy. Career Technical Education (CTE) programs across the country are an integral part of preparing workers for these types of high-skill manufacturing careers.State Map

Manufacturing Day was first launched in 2012 by a group of industry associations led by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

Through this collective effort, Manufacturing Day is changing the public image of manufacturing and encouraging job seekers to pursue a career in this secure and growing sector of the economy. Manufacturing Day gives manufacturers the opportunity to connect directly with job seekers and students to showcase diverse manufacturing careers.

Next week’s Manufacturing Day events are an opportunity for policymakers, parents, educators, students, and the public at large to learn about career opportunities and celebrate manufacturing’s contributions to their local communities and the nation.

For more information about Manufacturing Day please click here for their official webpage. A comprehensive list of the day’s events can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series – NOCTI: Still Looking Forward

September 27th, 2013

NOCTI--Navy-11-2009This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in the Baltimore, MD area in October.

About this time last year we touted the resources contained in “The Career Pathways Effect”, a joint publication between NASDCTEc and CORD that offered many practical applications for CTE stakeholders.  The publication deserves to be mentioned again because it provides not only a context for policy conversations, but also a roadmap of sorts for program implementation at the local level.  This article still believes that it is the credibility and applicability of program assessment that will drive improvements to all phases of CTE. These assessments provide reliable, valid, and actionable data for continuous improvement.

NOCTI, a not-for-profit entity  governed by an unpaid board elected by the state directors of CTE in all 50 states, works solely for the CTE community to provide the data and support that schools and students need.  NOCTI works closely with ACTE, NRCCTE, NASDCTEc, and the Institute for Educational Sciences (IES), just to name a few.  New collaborations and initiatives are underway. Here are just a few worth mentioning:

  • Additional Certification credentials have been added to the NOCTI line-up including the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Green Education Foundation (GEF).
  • Discussions continue with the International Baccalaureate regarding the Career-Related certificate (IBCC) and with College Board.
  • College credit is now available to CTE students for over 50 assessment titles, with the remainder slated for the 2014-15 school year.
  • A new Student Growth Measures package is being implemented as a tool to assist with the new teacher evaluation requirements.
  • Reports aligning common core standards to all NOCTI technical assessments will be available in 2014.
  • Free modules to assist with training new CTE teachers regarding assessment and the use of data have been completed and are available for use.
  • A strategy for digital badges in CTE assessments will be beta tested this spring.

Contact us at [email protected] to see how we can help you.  NOCTI is also a gold sponsor of the NASDCTEc fall meeting; stop by and say hello!

The NASDCTEc Fall Meeting will be held October 21-23, 2013 at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel in Linthicum, MD. More information

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Update – Special Reservation Rate Ends Today

September 20th, 2013

Have you made your hotel reservations for the Fall Meeting yet? Today is the last day to get the group rate!

The reduced group RESERVATION rate will end today, September 20. After that date, special rates and room availability are not longer guaranteed.

The Fall Meeting will be held at the Marriott BWI Airport Hotel and is geared toward professional development, sharing of best practices, state policy updates and other topical sessions. An important topic covered at this meeting will be the release of “The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of State CTE Standards.” It is a national report examining how states organize and implement CTE standards, using the Common Career Technical Core as the benchmark.

The agenda includes confirmed presenters and will provide the professional development and content you need to stay on top of all the latest Career Technical Education happenings.

  • Access the robust Fall Meeting AGENDA to see confirmed presenters!
  • Early bird REGISTRATION rate is available until September 23; main registration available September 24 through time of meeting
  • Meeting location: Marriott BWI Airport Hotel, 1743 Nursery Road, Linthicum, MD 21090 (near BWI airport – Baltimore area)
  • Meeting dates: October 21-23, 2013

Make your plans to attend the Fall Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

Announcing Webinar on Building Strategic Partnerships at NCPN Conference October 14

September 19th, 2013

The first of the Youth and Adult Pathways (YAP) series, Building Strategic Partnerships webinar will focus on building partnerships to support your career pathways programs through structure, governance, and strategic planning.  Event themes include:  partnerships goals; identifying partners; structure & governance; roles & responsibilities; partnership operation and sustaining a partnership.  Debra Mills, Director of the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) will be the host.

The webinar will be recorded live at the NCPN Conference in San Antonio on Monday, October 14th.  If you miss the live webinar, all materials and webinar records will be available for download at:  https://community.lincs.ed.gov/group/career-pathways

The YAP Event Series is designed to bring together professionals with a shared interest in connecting youth and adult learners with career pathways.  Presenters are experts in their fields, and events are designed to enhance your knowledge and give you usable information in each area.  While the live webinar is the central event, each topic is presented as a month-long “microgroup” within the Career Pathways community on the LINCS site and will include ongoing engagement and discussion before and after the live events.  For more information sign up for the LINCS mailing list  or request more information by emailing:  [email protected]

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Update – Agenda Highlighted

September 6th, 2013

CTE_Logo_RGBNASDCTEc Fall Meeting Update

The Fall Meeting is geared toward professional development, sharing of best practices, state policy updates and other topical sessions. An important topic covered at this meeting will be the release of “The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of State CTE Standards.” It is a national report examining how states organize and implement CTE standards, using the Common Career Technical Core as the benchmark.

The agenda now includes confirmed presenters and will provide the professional development and content you need to stay on top of all the latest Career Technical Education happenings.

Important Updates

  • Access the robust Fall Meeting AGENDA to see confirmed presenters!
  • Early bird REGISTRATION rate is available until September 23; main registration available September 24 through time of meeting
  • Reduced group RESERVATION rate will end September 20. After that date, special rates and room availability are not longer guaranteed

Make your plans to attend the Fall Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

When: October 21-23, 2013

Where: BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 Nursery Road, Linthicum, MD 21090

Who: State Directors, Associate Members, and CTE Leaders and Stakeholders

Range of topics will include:

  • Competency-Based Education
  • State Career Readiness Data and Reporting
  • Career-Ready Assessments
  • Common Core & CTE Implementation Strategies
  • Federal Policy Update
  • Update from OVAE’s Assistant Secretary
  • OECD Report: Skills Beyond School
  • Update on New State CTE Policies

The meeting is at the BWI Airport Marriott and will open with a dinner and program Monday evening, October 21; sessions all day Tuesday, October 22, and sessions till 10 a.m. or Noon on Wednesday, October 23. See agenda for more details.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

Community Colleges in the Spotlight

May 8th, 2013

This week, the National Center for Education and the Economy released a new report at a day-long event in Washington, DC. The report – “What Does It Mean to Be College and Work Ready?” –  explores the first-year expectations for students across nine different disciplines (Accounting, Automotive Technology, Biotech/Electrical Technology, Business, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Information Technology/Computer Programming, Nursing, and General Studies) in mathematics and English Language Arts, and finds that there is a misalignment between what students learn in high school and what they need to know for success in their first year at community college.

Specifically in mathematics, the report finds that the first-year expectations are rarely above the Algebra I bar and largely focus on mathematics taught in middle school. The report identifies some key content areas that are typically untaught in high school, namely schematics, geometric visualization, and complex applications of measurement. One recommendation is to refocus K-12 mathematics instruction so students can gain a deeper conceptual understanding of the foundational knowledge and skills in elementary and middle school mathematics rather than rushing them to, and through, advanced course-taking in high school.

In English, the report finds that while the texts assigned in the first-year of community college programs are at the 11th and 12th grade level, the assignments and tests demand little from students by way of reading comprehension or writing – or, in other words, there is high text complexity but low test rigor. The Common Core State Standards’ focus on discipline-specific literacy, reading informational texts, and writing from evidence should help shore up students’ abilities in these areas, but community colleges will need to adjust their instruction in kind.

Over the course of six panel discussions, a number of topics were explored, but two themes came up time and again, the first being the tradeoff between community colleges shifting their mission away from providing open access to all students to the accountability-driven goal of retaining students. The question was raised, but largely unanswered, of whether this shift has led community colleges to lower their expectations and standards for incoming students to ensure more stay enrolled and complete. On the other hand, remediation has long been an issue among community colleges and hasn’t dramatically improved since institutions have begun to focus on completion.

The other major theme discussed was the need for more curricular pathways for students in high school, particularly in mathematics. While the report recommends that Algebra II no longer be required for all students, most of the panelists agreed that Algebra II still had value to students, but that there need to be more contextualized learning opportunities for students, based on their learning styles and post-high school interests.

What struck me about the event is that Career Technical Education (CTE) has long been tackling the challenges and opportunities raised in the report and event including building partnerships between K-12 and community college and between community colleges and employers, and offering contextualized learning pathways to students. While CTE was barely mentioned (explicitly) over the course of the day – and is not mentioned at all in the report – it is a major component of any strategy to address students’ readiness for college and careers.

Click here to read the report and watch video from the release event.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

NASDCTEc Spring Meeting: Early Bird Registration Rate Deadline is March 4 – Register NOW

February 26th, 2013

79px-Capitol_Washington_DCANNOUNCEMENT: the early bird registration rate for the 2013 NASDCTEc Spring Meeting, to be held in Washington, DC at the Omni Shoreham, is set to end March 4. After that date, regular registration rates will kick in.
To get the best rate, register now. Please share this information with anyone else you work with who is also considering attending the Spring Meeting.

More information:

• We have an updated Agenda for you
• Make your hotel reservations now. Our negotiated group rate will close March 22; after that date, you may not be guaranteed the special group rate.
• Register NOW

We have crafted a program that will bring together leading policymakers, Congressional representatives, and researchers to share with you, hear from you and for all of us to learn together. There will be a blend of plenary sessions and breakout sessions and opportunities for informal learning and networking.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager
Image of U.S. Capitol courtesy Wikimedia Commons

2013 Spring Meeting Agenda Now Posted on NASDCTEc Web Site

February 22nd, 2013

Are you planning on attending the NASDCTEc Spring Meeeting and want to know what special sessions are being prepared for you? The agenda for this meeting is now posted online.

The Spring Meeting will be held from 9 a.m. on Monday, April 15 through 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17. In keeping with our collaboration with the Office of Vocational and Adult Education of the U.S. Department of Education (OVAE), we are coordinating on program content and are excited that OVAE will be hosting the meeting at the U.S. Department of Education on April 17 to continue critical presentations and discussions. All meeting functions will take place at the Omni Shoreham on April 15 and 16.
More information

Hotel rooms should be reserved at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, details below, for all meeting days. On April 17, NASDCTEc will provide breakfast at the Omni, then attendees will be responsible for their own transportation to the U.S. Department of Education. More details will be provided to confirmed meeting attendees.

We have crafted a program that will bring together leading policymakers, Congressional representatives, and researchers to share with you, hear from you and for all of us to learn together. There will be a blend of plenary sessions and breakouts sessions and opportunities for informal learning and networking.

NOTE: Early bird registration is ending March 4!

Registration Rates
•Member on or before March 4, 2013: $450.00
•Non-member on or before March 4, 2013: $625.00
•Member after March 4, 2013: $550.00
•Non-member after March 4, 2013: $725.00

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Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

 

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