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From the Ground Up: Case Study Describes Creation of New Community College at CUNY

April 29th, 2013

The New Community College (NCC) at the City University of New York was developed in response to Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s interest in creating an innovative community college that increases student learning, achievement, and graduation rates, and improves student retention. NCC, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recently released Rethinking Community College for the 21st Century, a case study that follows the development of NCC from its initial planning in 2008 through its opening in August 2012.

The planners of the NCC combed through best practices and research to inform the design of their community college, with the ultimate goal of building an institution that would increase its graduation rate after three years to 35 percent with students transferring to four-year institutions or entering related careers. NCC is specifically designed to provide students with Career Technical Education (CTE) through curriculum that links classroom learning to practical career experiences.

Key components of the NCC model include:

  • First-year program of study: Integrates credit-bearing and developmental coursework, and mandatory participation in a summer bridge program.
  • City seminar: Two-semester course, including reading, writing, and quantitative aspects, on issues in New York City and other major cities.
  • Partnerships: Workplace partners provide increased opportunities for hands-on student learning.
  • Learning outcomes: Rubrics assess student progress and each student has an electronic portfolio.

In addition to providing CTE majors in Business Administration, Information Technology, and other areas, NCC also requires a two-semester course, Ethnographies of Work (EoW), that helps students investigate different occupations to make informed decisions about their majors and career paths. EoW provides students with a background in basic research methodology, analysis, professional skill training, and encourages students to deeply consider their future academic and career pursuits. The course also provides students with an introduction to the school’s five majors, information on various workplaces, and the programs of study that are available at NCC.

NCC is one of many postsecondary institutions delivering high-quality, innovative CTE. We welcome you to send information on how your schools are delivering CTE through innovative design and practice to kherbertson@careertech.org.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Report: State Policy Approaches for Incentivizing CTE

February 28th, 2013

Career Technical Education (CTE) has become a top priority in education policy – receiving recognition from governors and members of Congress – because of its relevance to local, state, and national economies.

The Education Commission of the States (ECS), a group that facilitates the exchange of information among state policymakers and education leaders, released this month an issue brief describing how states are depending on CTE to address many issues – such as the skills gap and alignment of education with labor market needs – and what states are doing to incentivize the use of CTE. Some incentives include:

  • “Carrot” policies to encourage high school students to earn CTE credentials or to perform well on WorkKeys
  • “Stick” policies for schools and districts to ensure that CTE students are progressing toward career readiness
  • Development of supports for students at risk of falling short of career readiness

The report also draws attention to the integration of academic and technical courses and content through the Common Core State Standards and the reframing of dual enrollment programs to include CTE.

View the ECS issue brief here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Releases New Papers

February 22nd, 2013

The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, a state-led initiative organized by the Center for Law and Social Policy, has released two working papers to help identify criteria that define high-quality career pathways and to create shared performance measures.

In the first paper, The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Approach: Developing Criteria and Metrics for Quality Career Pathways, a conceptual model is provided of career pathway state and local/regional systems and career pathways programs. The paper defines important terms, provides examples, and describes the Alliance’s approach to creating a framework for quality criteria and performance metrics.

The second paper, A Framework for Measuring Career Pathways Innovation, presents a framework for measurement and looks at key considerations when developing career pathway metrics including:

  • Level of measurement
  • Use of metrics
  • Scope of each measure

The working papers are part of a greater initiative to  identify benchmarks of high-quality career pathways and the most relevant metrics for measuring their success.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

New NASDCTEc Publications: CTE Trend Analysis: Governance and Funding

February 21st, 2013

Every other year, NASDCTEc conducts a survey of the membership to gauge trends in Career Technical Education (CTE) across the country. Based on analyses of this year’s survey results from 50 states and territories, and comparisons to surveys administered in 2008 and 2010, NASDCTEc has authored a series of synopsis papers that describe trends in four key areas: Career Clusters™ and Programs of Study, CTE Teacher/Faculty Shortages, Governance, and Funding.

Today, NASDCTEc released the final two issue briefs in this series:

2012 Synopsis of CTE Trends: Governance

CTE programs are offered in a variety of settings including comprehensive high schools, middle schools, area technical centers, and four-year universities. Within these institutions, the level of CTE programs offered ranges from exploratory to in-depth. With such a wide variety of learners served through many types of institutions, state governance of CTE programs is understandably complex and varies considerably from state to state.

2012 Synopsis of CTE Trends: Funding

Despite budget shortfalls, states such as Nebraska are leveraging students’ voices to show state legislators the importance of funding CTE. While long-term projections on Perkins funding levels are uncertain – due in part to issues like sequestration – a vigilant focus on high-quality CTE programs, data-driven decision making, and return on investment will best position CTE to ward off as many additional funding cuts as possible.

An archived webinar on these two topics is available here.

Stay tuned for more information on a NASDCTEc Legislative Update webinar on Monday, March 25th at 3:00 pm ET.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Legislative Update: State of the Union; Plan For A Strong Middle Class & Strong America

February 18th, 2013
State of the Union

Last week, President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech which included many promising aspects for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community and can be viewed here. The President spoke of the importance of ensuring that a high school diploma puts America’s young people on a path to a good job and spoke glowingly of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in New York which does just that. P-TECH works in partnership with New York Public Schools, the City University of New York and IBM to ensure their students graduate with both a high school diploma and an associates degree in computing or engineering. The President also spoke of equipping high school graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy by rewarding schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers and create classes that focus on the skills employers are looking for to fill jobs now and in the future.

And in a night which saw bipartisan support for the benefits of CTE, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) also focused on issues important to NASDCTEc. In his role speaking for the Republicans to respond to President Obama, Senator Rubio spoke of incentivizing school districts to offer more vocational and career training and building an education system that gives people the skills today’s jobs entail and the knowledge that tomorrow’s world will require.

With each party focusing on the importance of CTE and the role it will play in our future, there are positive signs that this renewed focus will result in a welcome prioritization for CTE issues, which can only be a good thing with reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career Technical Education Act not far away.  We are hopeful that the priorities laid out in the State of the Union will be reflected in the President’s budget proposal, due out next month, as well as Congressional support for Perkins reauthorization. NASDCTEc will be carefully monitoring the flurry of Congressional and Administration proposals likely to come from tonight’s speeches.

Plan For A Strong Middle Class & Strong America

Following on from his State of the Union address, President Obama released his blueprint to drive America’s economic growth. Key to the proposals is the acknowledgement that education and job training strengthen the middle class and prepare young people to compete in the global economy. This was reflected in the proposal to modernize America’s high schools for real-world learning. A new competition was launched which aims to reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers and provide learning in skills that today’s employers are demanding to fill jobs.

Also of note is the President’s proposal to strengthen and reform federal investment in CTE to better align programs with the needs of employers and with the demands of higher education. Again, more details are required in order to determine how this will affect funding and policy in CTE, but this will become clearer when the President’s budget is released next month. The report is available online and can be found here.

 

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

Business Roundtable Report Launch

February 1st, 2013

The Business Roundtable today released a report which holds an interesting and welcome recommendation for Career Technical Education (CTE). The report, titled It’s Time To Act For America’s Future, sets out the policy measures they would like to see in place to bring America back on track to fiscal stability. Their recommendations are in areas ranging from housing to energy to Corporate Tax, but most pertinent to CTE is the section which focuses on measures to create a skilled and prepared workforce. One of the recommendations calls on the government to:

“Revamp the Carl D. Perkins Act to ensure equitable access to high-quality career and technical programs that are guided by rigorous standards that are aligned with employer needs and prepare students for success in postsecondary education and careers”.

It’s a good thing so many groups are paying attention to such an important issue, and I hope you enjoy reading the report which can be found here.

David Beckett
Advocacy Manager

Citi Foundation & College Summit Launch Business Engagement in Education Report

January 25th, 2013

The Citi Foundation and College Summit, in partnership with the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) yesterday launched a report on business engagement in education. The report details the importance of investing in human capital, both for our young people and to ensure the U.S. economy continues to thrive in the 21st Century. Indeed, as highlighted in the report, over the next decade the proportion of new jobs created across the economy that require postsecondary education and training is estimated to be over 60 percent, and this number is estimated to rise to 90 percent for occupations that are both high growth and high wage.

The launch itself, held at the Chamber of Commerce in DC, was attended by a number of speakers including Paula Harper, the Director of George Washington University’s Teachers in Industry Project; J.B. Schramm, the founder and CEO of College Summit; and Senator Marco Rubio. Senator Rubio talked of the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE) and highlighted a successful program in Florida where a high school worked in partnership with an auto-dealership so students were trained to become mechanics when they left school. The program helped support local business and created opportunities and jobs for young people who lived in the area and is a welcome illustration of the efficacy and importance of CTE.

The report can be found here.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

New Report: Understanding the Skills in the Common Core State Standards

December 21st, 2012

The Common Core State Standards “provide a strong platform for students to apply and master the skills they need, and as students apply those skills, they have more opportunities to fully master the content within the CCSS,” according to a recent analysis of the standards by Achieve.

The CCSS covers most of the skills in greatest demands by employers, postsecondary institutions and society overall, according to Understanding the Skills in the Common Core State Standards. The report suggests that because the skills — working collectively, thinking critically, communicating effectively solving routine and nonroutine problems, and analyzing information and data – imparted by the CCSS are needed to excel in academic, technical and life settings.

However, the report also does note that “some skills — mostly technical or work-based in nature, such as career planning, ethical reasoning and conflict resolution skills — are simply outside the scope of the mathematics and ELA/literacy CCSS.”

The report identifies the level of preparation all students learning to the CCSS will acquire and offers insight into opportunities for Career Technical Education to help address career-focused skills. Learn more at http://www.achieve.org/skills-ccss.

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

 

New NASDCTEc Brief: Promoting Work-Based Learning: Efforts in Connecticut and Kentucky

October 10th, 2012

NASDCTEc has partnered with the Alliance for Excellent Education to co-author Promoting Work-Based Learning: Efforts in Connecticut and Kentucky, which details what work-based learning looks like at different learner levels, and the benefits that students gain from their participation in work-based learning opportunities. The brief also highlights the potential obstacles facing states that can limit both the access to and quality of work-based learning opportunities, and looks at efforts from two states to define work-based learning opportunities for students, educators, and employers, and to create policies that provide greater access to these opportunities.

Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

New CRS Report Highlights NASDCTEc Work

October 9th, 2012

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), which provides reports and analyses to Members of Congress on a variety of policy issues, recently released a new report on Career Technical Education. The goal of the report, Career and Technical Education: A Primer, is to “support congressional discussion of initiatives designed to rationalize the workforce development system.”

The report provides an overview of CTE, walks through the delivery and structure of CTE at the secondary, postsecondary, and adult learner levels, and raises several issues facing CTE stakeholders. For example, according to the report, there are four concerns that may hinder CTE delivery at the secondary level: (1) what is the goal of CTE – to broaden the students’ education and provide early exposure to several career options or to ensure students are prepared to enter the workforce, (2) the expense of maintaining and updating the instructional resources and equipment, (3) whether CTE adds value to a college preparatory high school curriculum, and (4) that the common core standards do not define career-ready and thus may not provide immediate career preparation.

While explaining the National Career ClustersTM Framework, the report references data from NASDCTEc’s 2011 issue brief, Career Clusters and Programs of Study: State of the States. The data for this issue brief was culled from the 2010 State Profile survey. We administer this survey to our members every other year to collect a wealth of information to be used in updating the State Profiles, and to provide the basis for a number of issue briefs. We are pleased that CRS was able to utilize our data in their report!

In the section “College- and Career-Ready Standards and CTE Standards” the report highlights NASDCTEc and NCTEF’s work around the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) as one of the two set of standards impacting CTE students. As stated in the CRS report, the CCTC was developed by 42 states, the District of Columbia, Palau, business and industry representatives, educators, and other stakeholders, and it provides standards for each of the 16 Career ClustersTM and their career pathways.

Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

 

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