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

December “CTE Monthly” Newsletter: New CTE Reports, Finance Career Spotlight

January 5th, 2012

CTE Monthly, a collaborative publication from the Association for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, features the latest news on Career Technical Education (CTE) from across the nation for CTE stakeholders and Members of Congress.

The latest edition highlights two recent reports: the first focuses on Career Clusters™ and the labor market, and the second argues for greater collaboration between education and workforce agencies.

The newsletter’s “Career Spotlight” section features the Finance Career Cluster™ and describes a high school in Alabama that prepares its CTE students through a partnership with a local bank.

Lastly, learn more about a community college that the Aspen Institute calls “the nation’s best.”

Access the December 2011 CTE Monthly here. To view past newsletters, visit our advocacy tools Web page.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

Report: School Counselors Critical to College and Career Readiness

January 4th, 2012

The Education Trust, a Washington-based organization, released a paper highlighting the role of school counselors in preparing high school students for postsecondary education and careers.

According to the paper, school counselors play a vital role in setting up students for success; however, they are often overwhelmed and sidetracked by assigned tasks that distract from the goal of preparing college- and career-ready students. Despite this, many school counselors are taking extra steps – such as poring over data to spot struggling students, or identifying students who need additional services – to increase students’ performance and their postsecondary opportunities.

The authors stated that all school counselors should be positioned to “assume leadership in the movement for college and career readiness,” and states, districts, and schools can take action by making these changes:

1)      Rework school counselors’ job descriptions to focus more on tasks that will result in college and career readiness for all students.

2)     Refocus counselor education programs so that school counselors are trained in educational equity and college and career readiness.

3)     Add more school-specific training and coursework on data usage to university counseling programs.

4)     Support current school counselors through additional professional development.

5)     Align school counselors’ evaluations with student outcomes.

Secondary students, including the many enrolled in Career Technical Education (CTE), would benefit from changes that allow school and career counselors to increase focus on college and career readiness for students.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

NASDCTEc Webinar Today – Keeping Adult Learners Competitive for High-Demand Jobs

December 8th, 2011

In today’s turbulent economy, how can adult workers best position themselves to succeed in rewarding careers in high-demand fields? Further, how can employers aid in up-skilling current employees to meet increasingly complex job demands?

To explore these questions in greater depth, we will be hosting a webinar this afternoon called “CTE: Keeping Adult Learners Competitive for High-Demand Jobs.” The webinar accompanies the release of NASDCTEc’s latest issue brief of the same title.

Click here to register for today’s webinar.

When: Today – Thursday, December 8th from 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST

Dr. Ron Duggins, Director of the Center for Business Development at Oklahoma’s Meridian Technology Center, will discuss Meridian’s Business Incubator program and how it helps adult entrepreneurs to launch successful businesses.

Mr. Harry Snyder, Adult Workforce Development Supervisor at Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development in Ohio, will describe how Great Oaks’ Aviation Maintenance – Power Plant Technician class is preparing adults for high-demand jobs and meeting the needs of area businesses.

We hope you can join us this afternoon!

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

State Education Data Systems Improve, Still Lack Connections to Workforce

December 7th, 2011

States have made incredible progress over the last year in developing comprehensive longitudinal data systems, but they are still lacking when it comes to stakeholder empowerment and connections to workforce programs and employment outcomes.

The Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a nonprofit organization that supports the availability and use of high-quality education data, released this year’s state analysis report which reviews states’ progress in implementing DQC’s 10 essential elements of education data systems. According to the report, “without exception, every state in the country has robust longitudinal data that extend beyond test scores and could inform today’s toughest education decisions.”

Still, as DQC executive director Aimee Guidera noted on a webinar last week, most states have not yet empowered stakeholders with these data to make informed decisions.

The survey also revealed that little progress has been made around career readiness data. Only nine states have data that connects K-12 student learning with employment or other workforce education and training programs, and just twelve states have connected postsecondary students with employment outcomes.  The next Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems grants will give more states the opportunity to focus on building these linkages to workforce data.

Since the DQC’s primary focus is on K-12 data issues, leaders from the National Skills Coalition and other national organizations  are developing an initiative, the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, to support states’ efforts to link K-12 and postsecondary data to workforce data. NASDCTEc will provide more information on this campaign as it becomes available.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

Most Manufacturing Executives Report a Shortage of Qualified Workers, Survey Shows

November 3rd, 2011

A recent national survey from the Manufacturing Institute, an organization focused on improving and expanding manufacturing in the United States, delves deeper into the “skills gap” issue and examines how industry leaders are responding to this challenge.

Of the thousand manufacturing executives who completed the Manufacturing Institute’s survey, nearly 70 percent reported that they have a moderate or severe shortage of available, highly-qualified workers. Over half expect the shortage to worsen within the next five years. Further, over 60 percent of executives stated that shortages and skill deficiencies are having a profound impact on their companies’ ability to expand and improve.

Manufacturing Institute President Emily DeRocco stated that students and their parents have a limited understanding of the jobs that are available in manufacturing today, partly due to the stigma around the low-skilled manufacturing jobs of the last century. However, today’s manufacturing jobs require more complex skills, like high-level technology and computer skills, and are situated in much better work environments.

Many executives reported that available jobs are in areas of “skilled production,” such as machinists, operators, distributors, and technicians. DeRocco suggests that companies partner with educational institutions, such as CTE schools and centers, to further align education and training to meet the needs of business and industry.

Through the Manufacturing Career Cluster, Career Technical Education (CTE) programs provide a response to manufacturers’ demands by educating students through career pathways that lead to industry-recognized credentials. Still, more students are needed to overcome this skills gap by training in advanced manufacturing programs of study (POS) and acquiring the skills needed to pursue positions in manufacturing.

The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte provide an analysis of the survey results in Boiling Point? The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst


Members of Congress Call for Better Data to Connect K-12 and Postsecondary Systems

October 7th, 2011

Several representatives from the federal, state and local governments convened this week to discuss the importance of linking K-12 and postsecondary data to support college and career readiness.

The Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a national effort to improve access and use of high-quality data in education, partnered with the College Summit, a non-profit organization, to facilitate the event. Despite enormous progress made by states in the last few years, the panelists agreed that high schools need more information on what happens to graduates in order to complete the feedback loop including whether students attend further education, take remedial courses, or earn a degree.

U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter (CA) strongly supports efforts to connect data to improve educational outcomes. He stated that “If there is no stick for the federal government to use, and I don’t think there should be, then how do you make sure the job is getting done? The answer is data.”

State Senator Rich Crandall (AZ) echoed Hunter’s support, and stated that data needs to be more accessible and user-friendly for teachers and parents. Crandall said that parents rarely demand the data that they should be demanding, and spoke of the need for more parental use of school data to make changes in education at the local level.

The increased connection of data between K-12 and postsecondary education would benefit both types of institutions. Feedback provided to high schools on student performance in higher education would show areas of weaker performance for students. With this information, the high school can reexamine its curriculum and make changes to benefit current and future students. From the postsecondary perspective, improvements to curriculum or instruction at the high school level could decrease the number of students requiring remedial coursework upon entering college.

As DQC staff noted, states have shown significant progress in their capacity for this type of work over the last 5 years. In 2005, only 12 states reported that they have the capacity to link K-12 and postsecondary data systems. By 2010, 44 states were able to link the two systems.

To view the archived webinar, click here. The event also accompanied the release of a white paper from the College Summit, Seizing the Measurement Moment.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

NASDCTEc Webinar Today on “Investment in CTE” – Register Now!

September 27th, 2011

Please join us this afternoon, Tuesday, September 27th from 2:00 to 2:45 pm ET, for a webinar: “Investment in CTE Investment in CTE: Linkages to Greater Earnings, Higher Employability, and Positive Benefit-Cost Ratio.” The webinar will accompany the release of our final vision issue brief of the same title.

Register for today’s webinar here.

NASDCTEc’s Education Policy Analyst, Kara Herbertson, will frame the conversation by highlighting state and organization examples that aim to show the value of CTE and education to the community and the economy.

We are pleased to have Kevin Hollenbeck, Vice President and Senior Economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, join us for this discussion on return on investment (ROI) and CTE.

Click here to view our new issue brief on this topic.

For more information, please contact Kara Herbertson at [email protected]

Report Highlights State Directors’ Efforts to Improve CTE through New Vision

September 12th, 2011

Career Technical Education (CTE) is one education delivery mechanism that is redefining the mission of America’s high schools, according to a recent paper.

In the paper, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a non-profit organization that creates research-based assessments, lauds NASDCTEc’s new vision for CTE as “a strong indication of the continuing efforts to improve CTE.” Specifically, the authors wrote about the State Directors’ intent to ensure that standards are internationally-benchmarked and a rigorous blend of academic and technical content. While the authors convey that more work is needed to improve CTE, they also support CTE’s integrated approach and opportunities for applied and academic learning.

The tremendous potential of CTE in America is evident when looking at the results shown by CTE internationally. For example, “Twenty-four percent of Japan’s secondary students are in vocational programs, as are 29 percent in Korea, and a whopping 72 percent in the United Kingdom. All of these countries had higher average scores in eighth-grade mathematics than did the United States in the latest TIMSS (Trends in Mathematics and Science Study) assessment.”

While educators in the United States have looked to high-scoring countries for examples of educational excellence, the report says, they often overlook a key point – these countries are using CTE approaches. The results are impressive: “Analysis of international data found that nations enrolling a large proportion of upper-secondary students in vocational programs have significantly higher school attendance rates and upper-secondary completion rates.” Still, the report points out, all students need more guidance and career counseling to help navigate options and prepare for college and careers.

NASDCTEc members, click “Career Technical Education” then “CTE Success Map” to view high-achieving CTE programs across the nation!

Read more about CTE in the “Different Pathways to Life Destinations” chapter of the ETS report.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

Upcoming NASDCTEc Webinar: Investment in CTE: Linkages to Greater Earnings, Higher Employability, and Positive Benefit-Cost Ratio

September 12th, 2011

Policy makers today must direct scarce funds toward education programs that produce maximum results, and reduce or even eliminate funds for programs that do not measure up. States and programs that demonstrate the positive impact of Career Technical Education (CTE) through return on investment (ROI) analyses can provide compelling reasons for policy makers to support CTE. Unfortunately, diminishing resources and unavailability of longitudinal data limit many states and CTE programs from carrying out ROI studies.

Join us as NASDCTEc’s Education Policy Analyst, Kara Herbertson, frames the conversation by highlighting state and organization cost-benefit examples that aim to show the value of CTE and education to the community and the economy. We are also pleased to have Kevin Hollenbeck, Vice President and Senior Economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, join us for this discussion.

NASDCTEc’s latest issue brief on the same topic, the last in our series of vision papers, will be available on the day of the webinar.

When: Tuesday, September 27th from 2:00 to 2:45 pm ET

To register for this webinar, click here.

For more information, please contact Kara Herbertson at [email protected]

NASDCTEc Signs on to Extended Graduation Brief

August 19th, 2011

NASDCTEc has signed on in support of a new brief that encourage states’ use of extended-year graduation rates in adequate yearly progress calculations and incorporation of these rates into their state accountability frameworks/systems. Written by the American Youth Policy Forum, Gateway to College National Network, and the National Youth Employment Coalition, this brief, Making Every Diploma Count: Using Extended-Year Graduation Rates to Measure Student Success, aims to educate and inform states about the flexibilities that currently exist to use extended-year graduation rates as a policy mechanism to encourage schools and districts to continue to work with over-age, under-credit students.

These rates provide for the inclusion of students who take longer than four years to earn a high school diploma, but who successfully earn their credential in five or six years. Extended-year graduation rates allow states to document increases in graduation rates compared to the traditional four-year measure and highlight the successful work of schools and districts to get struggling and out-of-school students back on-track to graduation. The brief encourages states to calculate five- and six-year high school graduation rates to ensure that schools’ and districts’ efforts to serve struggling and off-track students are recognized and not discouraged.

The brief recommendations the following:

• In addition to four-year graduation rates, states should gather and report extended-year graduation rates.
• States should use extended year graduation rates for purposes of accountability.
• States should use extended graduation rates to create incentives for schools and districts to serve struggling and off-track students.