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

Excellence in Action Award Deadline Extended

December 4th, 2014

Excellence in Action award banner

Good news! If you have not submitted your program of study for the Excellence in Action award, there’s still time. We’ve extended the deadline to Thursday, December 18th.  As a reminder, the Excellence in Action award will recognize and honor superior Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study from around the nation. Selected programs of study will exemplify excellence in the implementation of the Career Clusters, and have a meaningful impact on student achievement and success.

Why should you apply? 

Receiving the Excellence in Action award means your program of study will be showcased on a national level. This includes the opportunity to present at conferences and webinars throughout the year, as well as highlighted in a monthly newsletter to members of Congress, on our website, and in our blog. It’s a chance to show the rest of the country how your school prepares students for successful and meaningful careers through high quality CTE. If you want to see examples of some stellar programs of study, take a look at last year’s winners and don’t forget to apply today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Excellence in Action Awards Due December 5th

November 19th, 2014

Excellence in Action Awards, due December 5th, lifts up model programs and shines a light on high-quality and high-impact programs of study. Each winning program of study will be featured in our communications, marketing and advocacy materials, and used during Congressional visits, with members of the media and other CTE stakeholders to support a more positive image of CTE.

Last year, NASDCTEc awarded six schools with exemplary programs of study from around the country. This includes the Medical Sciences Program at Bollman Technical Education Center (BTEC), which received the award in the Health Science Career Clutser. Along with providing 16 career pathways aligned with the National Consortium for Health Science Education’s standards, and Colorado state standards for CTE, BTEC greatly encourages work-based learning through a variety of strong partnerships. BETC’s program of study provides a great example of what Excellence in Action looks like. We encourage you to learn more about the 2014 winners, and submit your program of study to join this wonderful cohort of leaders in CTE. Apply today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Excellence in Action Award Submissions Open

November 13th, 2014

Excellence in Action award banner

We want to learn more about and recognize high-quality and high-impact programs of study happening in every corner of the country. We encourage you to apply for the 2015 Excellence in Action award, or pass along this information to any stellar programs of study you know.

By lifting up model programs, NASDCTEc will shine a light on exemplary programs of study and provide examples to be used in our advocacy and communications efforts over the year. Each winning program of study will be featured in our communications, marketing and advocacy materials, and used during Congressional visits, with members of the media and other CTE stakeholders to support a more positive image of CTE. Learn more about last year’s winners here.

Winners will receive:

  • A banner to hang in their school or institution of higher education.
  • A digital banner (i.e., a customized logo) to use in email and print materials as they so choose.
  • Travel to and one-night accommodations in Washington, D.C. for the award winner to be recognized at an awards ceremony on April 8, 2015.

Winners will be featured:

  • At an awards ceremony on April 8, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
  • In a national press release that will be distributed to national media.
  • NASDCTEc will also create individualized press releases for each winner, which will be distributed to State CTE Directors.
  • In a one-pager, used as part of NASDCTEc’s federal advocacy toolkit.
  • In a monthly newsletter sent to members of Congress.
  • On webinars and/or conferences during the year.
  • In a stand-alone blog on NADSCTEc’s Learning that Works blog.
  • On the NASDCTEc website.

Apply today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Welcome to new Delaware State CTE Director Luke Rhine

October 16th, 2014

cte-socialmedia-delawareWe are pleased to welcome Delaware’s new State Director of Career Technical Education Luke Rhine!

State Director Rhine’s career in CTE began as a career technical educator. After years in the classroom, he transitioned into leadership as a program specialist with the Maryland State Department of Education, building statewide programs of study in Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology as well as Arts, Media and Communication. He moved into his current role as State CTE Director of Delaware late this summer.

With his on-the-ground experience as an engineering CTE instructor and years spent programming in Maryland, State Director Rhine understands the crossover between CTE and traditional core courses. He highlights aligning CTE and academic courses—particularly STEM—as a key touchpoint for the development of CTE in Delaware and across the country.

State Director Rhine sees Delaware as uniquely positioned to exploit the integration of CTE and traditional courses, as the state already requires public school students to complete a career pathway (three credits in a related area) in addition to the courses traditionally required for high school graduation. This requirement, he says, is usually met with a mix of CTE and relevant academics. The entire process is mapped out within the framework of a customizable five-year student success plan, providing flexibility in the development of career pathways while emphasizing the importance of long-term pathway planning.

Learn more about Delaware CTE here, and be sure to welcome State Director Rhine at the 2014 Fall Meeting!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Adobe’s Hiring for the Future Report Carries Implications for CTE

October 15th, 2014

Last month, Adobe surveyed 1,068 American hiring managers seeking insight into what the gatekeepers of tomorrow’s careers believe are the most critical skills, habits and credentials for job-seekers in the 21st century labor market.

The result? An overwhelming number of responses emphasizing the importance of digital literacy, creative thinking, problem-solving and flexibility. Hiring managers rejected the notion that students in technical fields fundamentally lack the creativity succeed (only 36% agree), but even more believe that positions requiring technical skills also benefit from creative thinking (81% agree).

Technical skills are still viewed as one of the top three factors identified as having gained the most value over the last five years (46% identified as one of top three skills gaining value), suggesting that competency remains crucial to employer hiring decisions. Also in the top three, however, were problem solving/critical thinking (51%) and creativity/innovation (47%).

Taken as a whole supports the need for more high-quality CTE, with its emphasis on skill building through career pathways and comprehensive, integrated programs of study. modern approach

Unsurprisingly, many policies prioritized by CTE programs of study, including internships, mentors and courses specifically designed to prepare students for the world of work by teaching both broad and specific skills, ranked high on the list of proposed solutions to boost preparedness (see chart, at right).

Other findings concur with similar past surveys of employer needs, including the impression that students are underprepared for jobs when entering the workforce, with 69% of hiring managers agreeing that new job seekers lack the necessary skills for success and 61% calling lack of communications skills as a top factor in underpreparedness.

Read the full report here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Achieving Excellence in the New School Year: Union County Academy for Performing Arts

October 2nd, 2014

This summer was one of progress and change at the Union County Academy for Performing Arts (APA), with program administrator Scott Rubin moving on to East Hanover School District and supervisor Kelly Douglas-Jackson taking over in his place. In spite of turnover at the top of this innovative program, Ms. Douglas-Jackson reported that APA has only gotten stronger from last year, when it earned our Excellence in Action award for the Arts, A/V Technology and Communications Career Cluster®.

Deepening its partnership with Kean University, which sees APA students spend their entire senior year attending college courses while earning full credit toward their high school diploma, APA students amassed over 1,500 credit hours at Kean with 3.4 collective GPA. APA was also ranked as one of the top high schools in America by Newsweek.

APA also has set a course for expansion, inviting more industry professionals to the school to teach master classes and will add a Technical Theatre program including, scenic design, lighting design, sound design, and costume design. The new major will coincide with another bump in enrollment putting the program at its highest enrollment in its six-year history.

Continuing with their tradition of extremely high postsecondary placement, APA recorded a 100 percent graduation rate and a 100% postsecondary placement rate in the 2013-2014 school year. Check out all the details of APA’s Excellence in Action award here. Also, keep an eye on the Learning that Works Blog for the opening of Excellence in Action application period this fall!

Recapping the National Dialogue on Career Pathways

September 26th, 2014

On September 23, 2014 the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, including NASDCTEc President Scott Stump, for a day of discussion around the future of the career pathways movement.

Looking to build on the momentum surrounding the recent passage and ongoing implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the day presented a diverse array of stakeholders with the opportunity to describe the promise of career pathways, as well as the challenges inherent in implementing a system that touches education, workforce development and social services. It was a day full of constructive dialogue reinforcing the notion that people at all levels of the process are ready to work together to make sure students are both college and career ready upon graduation.

The event began by highlighting how pathways fit into the Obama Administration’s goal to construct “ladders of opportunity,” and ensure that graduates are coming out of school with the skills that they need to thrive in the modern economy, noting the repeated references to career pathways in the Vice President’s report Ready to Work: Job Driven Training and American Opportunity. Citing their ongoing work in encouraging state-level career pathways systems, representatives from each of the three hosting departments (as well as meeting attendees) voiced enthusiasm about the prospect of deeper collaboration at the federal level while agreeing that industry, communities and the public must also take part in the process.

NASDCTEc President Scott Stump, State Director of CTE in Colorado, sat on the panel “Advancing Career Pathways Systems.” Representing a postsecondary-led career pathways system, President Stump described Colorado’s evolution toward career pathways approach as the product of close collaboration between secondary and postsecondary leaders, as well as key leaders from business and industry. President Stump was joined on the panel by Judy Montrude of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Zoe G. Thompson of the Kansas Department of Commerce and Kansas Board of Regents, CharlotteWorks’ Steve Partridge and Nancy Dischinat from the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, each of whom echoed his sentiments that a career pathways system cannot be built unilaterally, but must be built in consultation with stakeholders from every phase of the career pathway process. They also echoed his sentiment that, while worth it, that process can be hard work!

“Yesterday was really enjoyable,” President Stump said. “It presented a great chance for our community to once again remind those involved in pathways that Career Technical Education is the critical core to any career pathway system, because it’s about more than one course or one diploma. Career pathways are about providing people with a sequence of learning and an arsenal of skills that they can carry with them into the workforce and continue to tap throughout their careers.”

For a Twitter recap of the event, check out our Storify. The livestream will be available here, by next week and complete your recap by checking out the agenda and official watch party instructions.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

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

 

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