#CTEMonth @Capitol Hill

February 11th, 2016

Yesterday, employers visited Capitol Hill to explain how businesses and educators are working together to deliver innovative Career Technical Education (CTE). The Congressional staff briefing, Career and Technical Education: The Employer Perspective was sponsored by the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus with co-chairs Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and partners including the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Industry Workface Needs Coalition and Opportunity America.

While the employer panelists represented a range of sectors and included small (100 employers) to multinational ($12 billion in revenue), what they all agreed on was the importance of strong CTE programs and the need for employers to be directly involved in supporting those programs and students. That involvement can range from hosting tours for students to providing externships for teachers to building programs with high schools and community colleges.

Employers expressed the necessity of students obtaining both academic and technical skills, and nearly all of the companies represented got involved in CTE because they needed to be more proactive about building a qualified pipeline as the current system wasn’t serving them.

Kaine, Portman and Baldwin all stressed the importance of CTE and expanding access by investing in good programs and removing unnecessary barriers to access, a sentiment that was echoed by the Senate’s unanimously passed CTE Month resolution.

For those of us that couldn’t make the standing room only event, the briefing was broadcast live and CTE was celebrated from Capitol Hill to classrooms.






Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Kicking Off #CTEMonth

February 4th, 2016

CTE Month is off to an incredible start! Only four days in, the #CTEMonth hashtag has already been used 1,500 times on Twitter in posts that feature CTE facts, photos of students at work, resources to use during the month, and support from advocates in fields spanning education, policy, funding, business, media, research, and more.

We asked NASDCTEc members and Learning that works for America campaign users how they were celebrating, and are blown away by the submissions. During the month of February, you can expect to see a post every Thursday showcasing how people are simultaneously raising awareness for and celebrating CTE at the local, state and national level around this year’s theme, “Opportunities for Career Success.” 

For our inaugural 2016 CTE Month post, we’ll kick off by highlighting how a few states are promoting CTE during the month.

Tools to Raise Awareness & Educate

Wisconsin is encouraging their networks to celebrate CTE Month in variety of ways, one of which includes providing accessible and easily adaptable tools for schools and CTE organizations to use such as the 2016 CTE Month logo, a state-wide social media calendar, and a variety of proclamations from FBLA, FCCLA, FFA and SkillsUSA declaring February CTE Month. They also have support from Tony Evers, the State Superintendent, who authored an editorial discussing the importance of CTE in Wisconsin.

Maryland also supplied a ton of resources to their state network including a sample news release, template to create a student profile, CTE Month certificate and a public service announcement. Additionally, they suggested ways to acknowledge CTE Month at both the high school and middle school levels.

While students and educators are clear audiences to engage, Maryland is also acknowledging the value of school counselors as partners in promoting CTE, and invited school counselors across the state to participate in a free webinar sponsored by Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce called, “What Counselors Should Know about 21st Century Competencies.”

Missouri is utilizing the radio to get their CTE message across, by launching 30 second radio spots running in large, medium and small markets throughout the month to provide the general public with more information about CTE.

In Michigan, all Department of Education employees were asked to use the Learning that works for Michigan logo in their e-mail signatures. You can join the campaign and receive your own state-specific Learning that works logo here.

Recognizing & Honoring Success

CTE Month is not only about raising awareness, but also celebrating the successes of all that it takes to makes a CTE program great.

Oklahoma is honoring the contributions made by CTE teachers by distributing a hardcopy booklet, which was given to legislators at the Capital during CTSO day on February 2. A digital version is featured on Oklahoma Horizon, a weekly television show’s website, and throughout their social media.

Pennsylvania is partnering with the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators to recognize each of the student organizations at a celebratory dinner for CTSO students and Pennsylvania legislators. Additionally, award recipients of the state’s newest awards program –  the Career and Technical Education Excellence Award, which recognizes high schools and career and technical centers where 75 percent of students have achieved advanced technical assessments – will also be in attendance.

Let us know what you are doing for CTE Month by emailing kfitzgerald@careertech.org, or tagging us in your Twitters posts @CTEWorks.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate  

Celebrating CTE at the White House

July 1st, 2015


Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education and  theWhite House hosted “Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education,” honoring CTE students, educators and programs that exemplify everything CTE has to offer, which Kim Green (NASDCTEc Executive Director), Rod Duckworth (Chancellor for Career and Adult Education in Florida and NASDCTEc President) and I had the honor of attending.

One major highlight of the day-long event was a keynote from First Lady Michelle Obama who acknowledged the power of CTE and encouraged the audience to keep pushing themselves and their peers. “I don’t know how many people know about CTE but more people should because in today’s world, a high school diploma isn’t enough…If you want to learn cutting-edge skills, if you want to prepare yourself for college and a good career…it’s important for students to realize that a four-year university is not your only option.” She continued, “For many young people and their families, CTE can be the best option because you can get all the professional skills you need for a good job in a high-demand field and you can do it at a fraction at the time and, more importantly, a fraction of the cost.” To summarize, “Career and tech programs make a whole lot of sense.”

IMG_0349Throughout the day, excellence and innovation were on display, with remarks from Principal Sandra Clement of Foy H. Moody High School (a 2014 Excellence in Action winner) discussing how CTE has propelled all of their students, in a high minority and low-income district, to apply for postsecondary education; high school seniors Anne and Anna Raheem, who championed the development of a STEM course in their school and are on their way to Harvard next year; and Jacob Smith who introduced the First Lady and is starting at Johnson & Wales with a full scholarship in the fall. A number of students and schools also shared projects – on topics including 3D printing, fingerprinting and robotics – during an innovation fair.

IMG_0298The day concluded with the recognition ceremony, where 16 national “student innovators and 10 “educator innovators “(as selected by ACTE and Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), five Excellence in Action award winners, and 16 CTSOs leaders were honored.

Kate Blosveren Kreamer, Associate Executive Director



Excellence in Action: Henderson County High School

May 14th, 2015

In April, we awarded our 2015 Excellence in Action Awards to nine programs of study from across the country in secondary and postsecondary education. These programs of study were selected based on their uniquely inventive and effective approaches to stimulating student learning, offering extensive work-based learning experiences, maintaining strong partnerships with industry and community organizations, and preparing students for postsecondary and career success. We will feature a monthly blog post highlighting each award winner.

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at Henderson County High School (HCHS) in cte-careercluster-banner-humanservicesHenderson, Kentucky began in 1970 and has expanded dramatically in the past 10 years to address the complex social and economic issues that individuals, families and communities currently face. By the time students graduate, they have the opportunity to earn multiple certifications and up to nine college credits, and have gained a year of internship experience in a preschool classroom, truly preparing them for their next step be it postsecondary education or the workplace.


A key component to the ECE program of study is the delivery of state-required and nationally-recognized HCHScredentials. These credentials are vital in a child care career and are a stepping stone for students who plan to pursue the ECE pathway post-graduation. ECE offers up to five certifications and educator Emily Johnston was the first Family Consumer Science teacher in Kentucky to obtain the Early Care and Education Trainer’s Credential so that she could teach and award the certification to her students without having to hire additional staff.

Through a partnership with Henderson Community College, students receive articulated credit upon completion of the third course in the program of study, which is equivalent to the first course in the college sequence. And, students who earn a CDA credential receive nine college credits at any institution in the Kentucky Community Technical College System in the field of ECE.

As part of their third (articulated) course – Child Development Services II – students are also expected to complete 180 hours of work-based learning and a capstone project.


The ECE program has built an incredible array of highly engaged partners at the local and state levels. Employers like the Little Stars Child Care, Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center and Riverview School provide work-based learning opportunities in the community. From its inception, the Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center was designed to incorporate the ECE program at Henderson County High School, where students take a nine-week training course and work in the preschool classroom to gain daily, hands-on experience.

Little Colonels Daycare, located at HCHS, offers students in grades 9-11 hands-on experience one day per week. This gives students the opportunity to learn how children develop from ages 0-3 and gain workplace readiness skills to prepare them for their senior year, off-site work-based learning requirement.

IMG_0191Additionally, HCHS has a strong relationship with the University of Kentucky Quality Enhancement Initiative, which provides higher educational opportunities for students post-graduation and funding for the Commonwealth Child Care Credential (CCCC) and the CDA for students who stay in the ECE field.

Through stellar partnerships and a commitment to providing students with opportunities to participate in work-based learning experiences, 100 percent of students graduated high school, 18 percent earned an industry-recognized credential and 68 percent enrolled in postsecondary education. Additionally, lead teacher in the program, Emily Johnston, was recently named Teacher of the Year in Henderson County, Kentucky.

All awardees were honored at the 2015 NASDCTEc Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. Learn more about Henderson County High School’s Early Childhood Education program here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Nine CTE Programs of Study Receive the Excellence in Action Award

April 16th, 2015

Last week we recognized our 2015 “Excellence in Action” award winners, representing the best Career Technical Education (CTE) has to offer. These programs of study were selected based on their uniquely inventive and effective approaches to award-blogstimulating student learning, offering extensive work-based learning experiences, maintaining strong partnerships with industry and community organizations, and preparing students for postsecondary and career success. Nine award winners from across the country were honored during a luncheon and reception at the NASDCTEc 2015 Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The winners are:

  • Agriculture, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Illinois (Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career Cluster)
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Upper Valley Career Center, Ohio (Architecture & Construction Career Cluster)
  • Academy for Business and Finance, Bergen County Technical Schools – Bergen County Academies, New Jersey (Business Management & Administration Career Cluster)
  • Emergency Medical Services, Walters State Community College, Tennessee (Health Science Career Cluster)
  • Culinary Arts Academy, Lorain County Joint Vocational School, Ohio (Hospitality & Tourism Career Cluster)
  • Early Childhood Education, Henderson County High School, Kentucky (Human Services Career Cluster)
  • Welding Technology Program, Butte-Glenn Community College, California (Manufacturing Career Cluster)
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography, Marine Academy of Science and Technology, New Jersey (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Career Cluster)
  • Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Academy, Omaha Bryan High School, Nebraska (Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Career Cluster)

blog-2In addition to the award ceremony, winners will invited to present their programs of study to meeting attendees. “These Excellence in Action award winners exemplify everything that high-quality CTE programs can and should be,” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director of NASDCTEc. “These programs have students graduating at above average rates, are aligned with employer and industry needs and certification standards, and build meaningful partnerships, all to prepare students to succeed in their careers.”

Two-page profiles of each winner, detailing their unique strengths and opportunities are available here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

March 6th, 2015

@CareerBuilder  The title says it all: 13 growing occupations with certifications to boost your hireability and pay grade: http://cb.com/1DENJld .

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.

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

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!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

CTE Month: Celebrating CTE Across the Country

February 19th, 2015

ctemonththumbnailWe have  heard of some great work going on across the country for Career Technical Education (CTE) Month!

A number of states are using CTE Month as a time to raise awareness around the importance of CTE. The Missouri Department of Early and Secondary Education is running a 30 second radio spot throughout the month to help educate the public on the value of CTE Month, while the Maine Department of Education released an article in the Commissioner’s update. Also Alaska, Michigan, North Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin proclaimed February at CTE Month.

Some states took advantage of the CTE: Learning that Works for America campaign resources, like Michigan, which requested all Department of Education employees to use the CTE Learning that Works for Michigan logo. In addition, South Dakota Career and Technical Education State CTE Promo Newsletter 2015 2Association developed a newsletter (that you can see to your right)  delivered to all legislators in the state, also using the Learning that Works branding.

Other organizations held grassroots events, like Salem Vocational Technical FFA Chapter’s road-side clean up and leadership conference and Seymour Community High School’s school tour, which was featured on the local news.

CTE Month is also a time to celebrate! The Indiana Department of Education held their 31st Annual Awards for Excellence Ceremony honoring students, instructors, programs and partnerships in CTE. The Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Community College System launched the Career and Technical Education Creating Excellence Awards to recognize programs, committees and business and industry partnerships at local, regional and state levels.

It’s thrilling to see all the excitement and good work going on from the national to grassroots levels in communities around the nation. It’s not too late to send us what you’re doing so that we can promote your excellent work too! Email your CTE Month activities to kfitzgerald@careertech.org.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE: CTE Month Edition

February 13th, 2015

SkillsUSA  Mike Rowe talks about SkillsUSA and CTE: http://youtu.be/yihG89SB00g @mikeroweworks blog-thumbnail-thiswek#CTEMonth #SkillsUSAWeek

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus, showed his support for Career Technical Education.  “It is long past time to re-authorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, and I look forward to working with all my colleagues on this important legislation,” said Langevin.

Tony Evers, superintendent of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, discusses the value of Career Technical Education (CTE) in Wisconsin. “Did you know that students who participate in CTE courses graduate at a notably higher rate than students who do not take CTE courses? Additionally, students who take a series of related CTE courses do even better. In part, it’s because CTE helps students grasp why they need to know and excel in academic coursework,” said Evers

Learn how to use the CTE: Learning that Works for America campaign resources to help you raise awareness, improve understanding and communicate the vital role of Career Technical Education in the nation’s future. The Learning that Works campaign provides you with a variety of materials to help you advocate for CTE in your community including fact-sheets, talking points, videos and even state-specific logos. Get a quick overview of the campaign with this one pager.

A variety of states proclaimed February CTE Month, including Virginia, Alaska, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Learning that Works + CTE Month

February 9th, 2015

This month we encourage you to utilize the CTE: Learning that Works for America campaign resources to help you raise ctemonththumbnailawareness, improve understanding and communicate the vital role of Career Technical Education (CTE) in the nation’s future. The Learning that Works campaign provides you with a variety of materials to help you advocate for CTE in your community including fact-sheets, talking points, videos and even state-specific logos.

To give you with a quick overview about how the Learning that Works campaign can be integrating into your promotional efforts during CTE month, we developed this 1-pager, which also highlights CTE branding examples.

We encourage you to join the 49 states and over 700 schools who have adopted the Learning that Works campaign to communicate the  importance of CTE in your community.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

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