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National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

American RadioWorks Profiles CTE in Documentary Series

September 17th, 2014

Evidence is mounting that the public is waking up to CTE’s power to engage students and put them on a path to success (87 percent want more CTE in high schools, according to Gallup’s Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools). Through the years, a number of stories have attempted to document the shift in both the practice and perception of CTE, but often reveal only a fraction of CTE’s long and important story.

In their one hour documentary Ready to Work, American RadioWorks takes a look at the transition from vocational education to CTE, the transformative effect modern CTE has had locally in districts like Metro Nashville Public Schools and the power of CTE to engage individual students like those at Minuteman Regional High School in Lexington, MA. In breadth, depth and understanding, Ready to Work exceeds most prior treatment of the subject, and is a must-listen for anyone concerned with the future of public education.

Get the whole story on American RadioWorks’ website here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Friends of CTE: First Book

September 8th, 2014

Katie Niersbach, Operations Manager, First Book National Book Bank

Katie First Book

At First Book, we have delivered over 100 million free and low-cost books to youth in need. Through strategic collaboration with Career Technical Education (CTE) programs nationwide, we have been able to deliver more books than ever before and tied the mission of expanding access to resources for kids in low income communities to CTE students’ hands-on education. In the process, we receive a firsthand look at the awesome power of CTE not only to teach students, but also to serve communities in need.

The Distribution Challenge

Traditionally, First Book worked with donated warehouse space. Once a book donation became available, the National Book Bank team would secure a location, warehouse donors would agree to receive and store the product, and the Book Bank team would notify our network of over 130,000 programs nationwide about the expected available inventory.

Once all the books were allocated at the programs’ request, three to five of our staff members would travel to the site  and process the 350,000–500,000 books over the course of a week. As First Book expanded, we continued to look for more efficient ways to provide over eight million books every year to our network, and minimize the uncertainties in the availability of warehouse space, working with sight-unseen inventory and limited access to labor. While we still very frequently work in this framework and rely heavily on our warehousing partners, a more efficient process would allow us to reach even more kids in need.

CTE for GrowthFirst_Book_Twitter_logo_400x400

In 2008, we learned that students in the Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Career Cluster® were focusing on materials handling. Many of these programs have distribution centers, warehousing equipment and a built-in workforce, but traditionally work with simulated inventory – empty boxes that take up space and student effort.

First Book saw the chance to improve students’ educational experience in a new way and access open, staffed locations for our real inventory, while our CTE partners saw an opportunity to make their classrooms come to life. Working together, we created a mutually beneficial relationship that enables CTE students to enrich their learning with real life work experience while First Book expands its capacity to serve more children in need. First Book currently partners with 15 programs in 10 states, providing the physical capacity to hold over 1.8 million books at a time and engaging approximately 630 students.

“When we got that first shipment of books, I told my students, ‘This is the real world now. We’re sitting on $200,000 worth of books that have been entrusted to us to maintain, warehouse, care for, protect and ship on behalf of First Book,’” explains instructor Ashley Kieffer of Effingham Career & College Academy in Rincon, Georgia.

Programs participate in up to 20 shipments yearly and, depending on capacity, move anywhere from a few dozen to several thousand boxes.

“They learn how to process orders for a national organization,” says Vicki Phillips, instructor at Lehigh Career & Technical Institute in Schnecksville, PA. “It’s a win-win for both sides.”

Providing student support

First Book staff provide live demonstrations of how to manipulate and work with data by engaging with students every step of the way, from inventory to processing to shipping. After several successful shipments, CTEP sites are provided a computer loaded with UPS shipping software, and are trained how to process labels, schedule freight pickups and export tracking information. Programs can also customize their interaction with First Book, including processing unboxed and mixed inventory, assembling collections or managing shipments year-round through summer internships.

Our partnerships also engage the community. Each site can select up to five percent of received inventory “off the top” to distribute locally to programs that fit First Book’s criteria of serving children in need.

“It’s very cool,”explains Luke Usher, a student at Effingham Career & College Academy. “We’re giving children books that they can love and enjoy, because they can’t afford them.”

“The day First Book discovered CTE, our distribution model changed forever,” said First Book Chief Operating Officer Chandler Arnold. “Previously, First Book had millions of books but desperately needed warehouse and logistics support, CTE had amazing warehouse and logistics leadership capacity but needed a real-world products. Seven million books later, I can’t think of a more powerful partnership that not only advances First Book’s core mission but also introduces amazing young people across the country to our organization—giving them a tangible way to make a difference as they develop the skills they need to succeed.”

 

National Dialogue on Career Pathways Approaches

September 5th, 2014

ndcpSave the date: September 23, 2014 at 9 a.m.!

The Department of Education, Department of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services are convening the National Dialogue on Career Pathways. Presenters, panelists and participants (including NASDCTEc President and Colorado State CTE Director Scott Stump) will discuss the crucial role of career pathways in ensuring that today’s students are tomorrow’s high-skilled, employed workforce. Leading voices in CTE and workforce development will discuss lessons learned and best practices, mapping both onto the future of career pathways. The departments have also promised “information about a new technical assistance opportunity to help states, local areas, and discretionary grantees to develop or expand their efforts around career pathways system building will be announced during the meeting.” Among the diverse array of confirmed participants include Portia Wu, Assistant Secretary for Labor’s Employment and Training Administration; Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education; Mark Greenberg, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families; David L. Casey, Vice President for Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer at CVS Caremark and Maura Banta, Director of Global Citizenship Initiatives at IBM USA The event will be livestreamed here on September 23, 2014, beginning at 9 a.m. Don’t miss it! Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Achieving Excellence in the New School Year – Rebel Construction at Tolsia High

August 29th, 2014

As the new school year commences, our Excellence in Action award winners are hard at work, improving upon the great work that earned them our annual commendation in their respective Career Cluster®.

Tolsia High School’s Rebel Construction — part of West Virginia’s innovative Simulated Workplace initiative – is already actively building on last year’s success. The beginning of this school year saw visits from U.S. Department of Labor officials, as well as administrators from Workforce West Virginia curious to see Rebel Construction in action. (Story here.)

Wrapping the 2013-2014 school year as the most profitable of the Simulated Workplace program pilot in the state, Tolsia’s success has enhanced its already stellar reputation among West Virginia CTE programs. An early adopter of the initiative, Tolsia has set the standard for expansion schools joining in 2014-2015.

“I have spoken with representatives from several other schools seeking information on how we do things,” said CTE teacher and program lead Hugh Roberts. “Many instructors and administrators are apprehensive about getting started, but once they get into it, they find Simulated Workplace isn’t so different from what we already do in any successful program. After the first year of the pilot, my advice is to embrace students becoming partners in the operation of a CTE program. It is a huge step in changing from a teacher centered environment to a student centered learning environment and may be the most daunting for incoming programs. Students taking an active leadership role learn what it is like for their choices to have impact. It’s a new and beneficial kind of learning.”

That new learning appears to be paying dividends in student performance. One Tolsia carpentry student won the SkillsUSA West Virginia Carpentry State Championship, an honor that won him a coveted apprenticeship through Carpenters Local 302 out of nearby Huntington, WV. An archetype for a career pathway, that student’s experience is one component of broader collaboration through Tolsia carpentry/Rebel Construction, West Virginia Carpenters and SkillsUSA.

He is not the only student who has had success as a result of the program, however. Mr. Roberts acknowledges a pointed change in his relationship with students after graduation.

“In the past, I would only hear from students occasionally after graduation. Last year’s graduates developed a line communication with me through text and email through the call in process to report absences.” As a result, he says, he’s been able to actively help students as they move onto the next step in life, whether that means looking for a job or pursuing more schooling.

Nor were we the only ones to recognize Tolsia’s success last year. As a result of its success in the Simulated Workplace program, the West Virginia State Board of Education is recognizing Mr. Roberts and Rebel Construction as a standout program, and there’s plenty more upcoming for the Architecture and Construction Career Cluster award winners.

“It seems like I have never stopped in recent weeks!” Mr. Roberts said.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Secure Your Early Bird Registration!

August 28th, 2014

Early bird pricing for the 2014 Fall Meeting: Preparing for the Future ends Friday

Summer is drawing to a close, and many of us are looking forward to one last weekend in the sun before autumn hits. But before your last venture to the pool, be sure to take a moment to register for NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting. Our early bird special pricing – $100 off 2014 Fall Meeting registrations – ends TOMORROW, August 29, 2014.

REGISTER NOW 

Fall mtg table

General registration will remain open until October 8, 2014, but waiting will cost you!NASDCTEc’s 2014 Fall Meeting: Preparing for the Future is a professional learning event geared toward Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders, including State CTE Directors, state and district administrators, resource experts and national partners. Built around a series of collaborative group discussions, this meeting will tap all the talent in the room with expert facilitators leading focused discussions among attendees. Through this framework, participants will confront and collaboratively build solutions to an array of issues facing the enterprise today, as well as learn about major national initiatives to advance CTE.

Register now to get $100 off general registration

Help chart the future of CTE with the best and brightest in field this October. Click here for facilitator information and meeting agenda.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Five Reasons to Attend NASDCTEC’s 2014 Fall Meeting

August 21st, 2014

For 94 years, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) has represented chief Career Technical Education (CTE) administrators from across the country. Through leadership, advocacy and partnerships, NASDCTEc supports innovative CTE that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers, and poises the United States to flourish in a dynamic global economy.

REGISTER TODAY

Bringing together creativity and expertise, NASDCTEc’s 2014 Fall Meeting is a cooperative professional development event where CTE leaders can confront challenges to the enterprise in collaboration with colleagues from across the country.

So, why join should you join us at the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting: Preparing for the Future, October 20 – 22, 2014, in Baltimore? Here are five reasons:

  1. Learn what works: Sessions at NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting are collaborative, led by expert moderators and presenters with vast institutional knowledge on major initiatives and emerging practices. From State Directors to national researchers to federal administrators, diverse and well-informed perspectives will guide constructive sessions to the cutting edge of the current practice and implementation and break new ground on the future of CTE.
  2. Share your ideas…: In discussion with your colleagues, you’ll have unparalleled opportunities to share your latest innovations and build solutions to the stickiest problems you face.
  3. …And develop new ones: Inspiration strikes when innovation meets experience, as it will at NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting. You’ll be able to apply new ideas and strategies learned to your own work when you get back home.
  4. Build your network: NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting will be populated with a diverse crowd — not only our State Directors and Associate Members, but also national associations, researchers and top-class sponsors with deep commitment to the CTE. Over three days, you’ll be afforded opportunities to add to your professional network and start conversations that will carry on well after the meeting adjourns.
  5. Gain national exposure: Looking to expand your brand? Want to contribute to the national conversation on CTE? At the Fall Meeting, you’ll get the chance to join CTE leaders from across the country to contribute your own unique perspective to the national conversation.

Don’t wait, register now!


Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Achieving Excellence in the New School Year – Computer Information Technology at TCAT-Shelbyville

August 20th, 2014

As the new school year commences, our Excellence in Action award winners are hard at work, improving upon the great work that earned them our annual commendation in their respective Career Cluster®.

Our Information Technology Career Cluster winner, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Computer Information Technology (CIT) program has been working hard over the summer to expand its outreach efforts, stretch its curriculum across Career Clusters and reach more students.

While CIT already provides an impressive six diplomas, eight certificates and nine industry-recognized certifications, it plans to add the high-demand Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certification, multi-leveled server certification and a more comprehensive wireless program to align their offerings to industry needs.

CIT has also seen its alumni paying it forward to the latest generation of graduates in the form of advising and mentorship. CIT regularly brings graduates back to counsel current students in the scope of the IT field today, and received feedback over the summer from recent graduates who have stayed in the region receiving strong mentorship from more senior CIT alumni who are now their colleagues and supervisors.

Click here for our Excellence in Action profile on CIT, and click here for more information on CIT from TCAT-Shelbyville.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Kentucky CTE Summer Program Highlights Learning that Works

August 7th, 2014

cte-socialmedia-kentuckyLearning that works for Kentucky was on full display as leaders from around the Bluegrass State joined students, educators and stakeholders at their annual 2014 CTE Summer Program, aptly titled “Learning that Works for Kentucky.” The event was developed by KACTE, the Kentucky Department of Education Office of Career Technical Education and statewide partners (see full program for details)

Part professional development, part CTE showcase, the event displayed Learning that works for Kentucky in the true spirit of the campaign, celebrating CTE’s ability to empower students and boost both technical and academic achievement.

At the general session, State CTE Director Dale Winkler presented career ready awards to 33 area technology centers, career technical centers and comprehensive high school CTE programs with exceptionally high percentages of students meeting the state’s career-ready benchmarks. Additional awards went out to educators, administrators and programs that displayed extraordinary commitment to excellence in CTE.

Have your own example of learning that works for your state? Contact us!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Achieving Excellence: NASDCTEc Session Case-Making/CTE Works

June 13th, 2014

CTE_Logo_RGBMany are the times I have found myself handing over a business card or describing this corner of the education world and received in answer a blank stare and three confused letters: “CTE?”

For all of the vibrancy of modern Career Technical Education, public perception often lags reality – sometimes by decades. As CTE advocates, it is crucial that we be able to present a cogent picture of what CTE looks like today, where it is going and why it is so crucially important to our educational and economic future.

This session is designed to teach attendees strategies to overcome the knowledge gap that persists among all stakeholders – parents, educators, policymakers and more – about where CTE stands and where it is going. It will also contain a brief overview of the Learning that Works for America campaign – seeking to establish a national brand for high-quality CTE with myriad case-making resources and access to a wide-ranging network.

Want to coordinate communications with your colleagues? Or learn tips and tricks to making a lasting impression? Join us on 6/17/2014 at 8:45 a.m. in Courtroom K at the Achieving Excellence Institute!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Coalition Pushes Perkins Reauthorization with Letter to Legislators

May 21st, 2014

With a rapidly evolving labor market and increasing economic pressure from overseas, interest in the ability of Career Technical Education (CTE) to modernize the American workforce and maintain our country’s economic primacy is steadily mounting. The pending reauthorization of the Perkins Act – the landmark piece of legislation that represents the vast majority of federal investment in CTE – offers an unparalleled opportunity to build upon the tremendous innovation in CTE taking place right now in states across the country.

The CTE Vision Paper encapsulates the goal of CTE today: to prepare students of all ages to succeed in education and careers—and enable the United States to flourish in a dynamic and increasingly competitive global economy. Principally, the Vision Paper outlines five principles critical to setting priorities and blazing a new trail for CTE.

Among those five principles is to actively partner with employers to design and provide high-quality, dynamic programs. Today’s letter reconfirmed broad support for CTE that acknowledges and seeks input from all stakeholders, including employers. The letter cites three points of emphasis for reauthorization:

  • Align CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state, and local labor market;
  • Support effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers;
  • Increase student participation in experiential learning opportunities such as industry internships, apprenticeships and mentorships; and promote the use of industry-recognized credentials.

“What stands out is not only the sheer number of signatories in agreement with the priorities outlined in this letter, it’s the diversity of stakeholders represented,” said NASDCTEc Executive Director Kimberly Green. “CTE is critical to American competitiveness and our economic health – it’s very encouraging to have that acknowledged by such a broad and diverse group. Hopefully Congress agrees that we can’t afford to wait for a full, thoughtful reauthorization of this critical legislation.”

Full text of the letter can be found online here. For more on Perkins and CTE, visit www.careertech.org.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

 

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