Change is Necessary; Change is Possible

September 29th, 2016

How do we lead an effective Change effort? John Kotter, author of the renowned book called “Leading Change” explained eight steps for leading change. The first step is to create a sense of urgency. Without an understanding of the true challenges facing an organization, a business, or a community, it is difficult to garner the energy for sustained work around change.

Also of note is his third step: To “create a vision for change and key strategies.” One aspect of creating this vision is not only to articulate a positive future, but to convince people that change is possible and beneficial.

As leaders in Career Technical Education (CTE) and the broader Pathways Movement, these two ideas – Change is Necessary, and Change is Possible – go hand-in-hand.

In my new book, The Power and Promise of Pathways, I devote two chapters to organizing and communicating the most credible research and data available around these topics. The second chapter focuses on findings related to big economic and workforce trends of which everyone should be aware. I call these the Visible Challenges. They are:

1. The Skills Gap: There are Too Few Skilled Workers NC3T logo
2. There is an Entrepreneurship Gap
3. Too Many Are Opting Out of the Workforce
4. Too Many Youth Are Not Working and Not Going to School
5. Too Few Youth and Young Adults Are Completing Postsecondary Education
6. The U.S. Workforce is Slipping in Competitiveness
7. Too Many Young Adults are Facing Economic Set-Backs

Next, I identified a number of Root Causes that find their home in our education and workforce systems. These Root Causes start to point the way to a Pathways System initiative as the solution. They are:

1. Many Youth Don’t Experience Impactful Career Development
2. U.S. Culture is Dominated by “University-for-All” Message
3. Most Schools Don’t Embrace Employer Perspectives on Career Readiness
4. Too Many Youth Are Disengaged From Learning
5. Too Many Youth Have Weak Academic Skills and Lack College Readiness
6. Too Many Students Still Drop Out of High School
7. Very Few High School Graduates Have Well-Developed Career and Technical Knowledge
8. Our Student Population is Becoming More Diverse But Large Achievement Gaps Persist

In the next chapter, I organized research findings that suggest the effectiveness of Pathways System initiatives, as well as discreet education reform strategies that can be incorporated into a Pathways system. The positive evidence includes:

1. Pathways Initiatives Help Improve Academic Achievement
2. Pathways Initiatives Help Increase Rigorous Academic Course Taking
3. Pathways Initiatives Help Improve High School Graduation
4. Pathways Initiatives Help Develop Career Readiness Skills
5. Pathways Initiatives Help Increase Long-term Earnings

Specifically, Pathways-related reforms point to the following benefits:

1. Career Exploration

  • Career Exploration Helps Students Make Better College Choices
  • Career Exploration Leads to Better Postsecondary Achievement
  • Career Exploration Helps Students Make More Intentional Choices
  • Career Courses Help Improve Academic Achievement

2. Career and Technical Education

  • CTE Strengthens Student Achievement
  • CTE Credentials Boost Earnings
  • CTE Course-taking Reduces High School Dropouts
  • Career Technical Student Organizations Enhance Student Engagement
  • CTE Students Develop Workplace-relevant Competencies
  • Arkansas CTE Provides Achievement and Graduation Outcomes
  • Massachusetts CTE Elevates Achievement

3. Employer and Community Engagement

  • Employer Engagement Enhances the Student Learning Experience
  • Employer Engagement Improves Student Motivation for School Achievement
  • Employer Engagement Helps Students Makes Better Career Decisions
  • Community Volunteerism Strengthens Student Motivation and Achievement

4. Structured Student Supports

  • High School Support Strategies Help Prevent and Reduce Student Dropouts
  • High School Supports (AVID) Strengthen College Retention and Persistence
  • College Support (ASAP) Improves College Retention and Completion
  • Supports and Guidance Help Improve College Completion

5. Structured Programming

  • Structure Programs Improve College Enrollments and Completion (Early-College Initiative)
  • Guided Pathways in Community Colleges Strengthen Student Retention and Completion

6. Dynamic Teaching and Learning

  • Active Learning Strategies Help Improve Student Learning
  • Integrated Math-in-CTE Improves Student Achievement
  • Integrated Literacy-in-CTE Improve Student Achievement
  • Integration of Academic and CTE Content Promotes Postsecondary Success
  • Accelerated Developmental Education Increases Postsecondary Success

Of course, in this blog, we don’t have the space to explore the specifics behind each of these findings. But for those promoting Career Technical Education and Pathways Systems, rest assured that the data is compelling, and every day and every year, the body of knowledge is growing.

At the upcoming Advance CTE meeting, we are excited to offer a complimentary copy of The Power and Promise of Pathways to each meeting participant. I hope the way this information is organized will help you and your fellow leaders have more confidence in making the case for CTE and Pathways. Change is Necessary; Change is Possible!

This post was written by NC3T, a sponsor of the 2016 Advance CTE Fall Meeting. Thank you NC3T!

Advance CTE Fall Meeting Registration Closes Friday

September 27th, 2016

Don’t miss your opportunity to network with your peers and experts at this year’s Advance CTE Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland! Join us October 17-19 to take on some of today’s most important CTE issues through informative breakout sessions, facilitated small-group discussions and expert-led panels.

Session HighlightBaltimore

Work with your peers and take a deep dive into how states have tackled the following topics during collaboration roundtables:

  • Developing a Statewide Vision and Fostering Ownership
  • Targeting Stakeholder Messaging
  • Ensuring Quality and Equity in Rural Regions
  • Analyzing Data to Tell the Story of CTE in Your State
  • Aligning Secondary and Postsecondary Systems to Improve Student Success
  • Fostering Meaningful State-Local Partnerships

Also, don’t miss this opportunity to cruise Baltimore’s Inner Harbor during the Advance CTE Fall Meeting! On Tuesday, October 18, this fun and relaxing event will include drinks, dinner, music, and the beautiful sights from the harbor. This dinner cruise was a favorite from several years ago, and we are excited to bring it back for this year’s meeting.kuder_logo

To join us, be sure to let us know you’re coming to this event when you register for the meeting.

This event is made possible thanks to sponsorship and partnership with Kuder, Inc.

Registration Closes Friday so Register Today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

September 23rd, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Have you checked out our Learning that Works Resource Center lately? We’re updating materials regularly so that you can find the latest CTE and career readiness research, reports, case studies and policies.

EVENT OF THE WEEK

Our 2016 Fall Meeting is right around the corner! Join us October 17 – 19 in Baltimore, Maryland to tackle today’s most important CTE issues. Registration closes September 30 so register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Early Bird Registration Closes Wednesday!

August 29th, 2016

A lot has changed in Career Technical Education (CTE) this year. With renewed interest from policymakers, attention from the media, fallmeetingand major investments by the philanthropic and private sectors, it’s an exciting time for CTE. Join us October 17-19, in Baltimore, Maryland, to tackle some of today’s most important CTE issues through informative breakout sessions, facilitated small-group discussions and expert-led panels.

Session Highlight:

Leveraging Opportunities to Drive Change within Your State
With career readiness and CTE a top priority for many states and national organizations, there are many new and exciting opportunities to strengthen, support and better position CTE in our education and workforce landscape. As a result, states may need to coordinate multiple initiatives, take advantage of unexpected opportunities, and lay the foundation for future reforms. Learn about how states are leveraging national and state-driven policies and initiatives to drive and implement sustainable change to support learners at all levels.

We’ll also dive into additional topics including:

  • Preview the State of CTE: Industry Experts in the Classroom
  • Learn how states are implementing Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE

Register Today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE: Let Us Know How You Get Industry Experts in the Classroom

August 26th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Kansas released a new tool to help users find high-demand, high-wage occupations in their communities, along with what education and training it takes to work in those occupations.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

Winners of the Reach Higher Career App Challenge were announced by First Lady Michelle Obama this week. The challenge, which called on students, educators and the public to develop mobile applications that helped middle and high school students navigate career pathways was won by ThinkZone Games, who will receive $100,000.

REPORT OF THE WEEK

We released a new brief this week as part of our Connecting the Classroom to Careers series exploring work-based learning. The latest installment highlights examples from three states that demonstrate either a systems-level or student-level approach to measuring work-based learning activities.

WE NEED YOUR HELP

One of the five principles of Advance CTE’s Shared Vision for CTE is that all learning should be facilitated by knowledgeable experts. Within that principle is a call to action to build and support a pool of experts to supplement learning, including bringing experts in as full-time, part-time or adjunct instructors through alternative and dual certification, along with other strategies.

To advance this principle, we are surveying state and local leaders across the country to understand how they are approaching this issue. In particular, we are hoping to discover what local innovations are happening in this area. The information from this report will be analyzed and released in a report later this year.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Tackle Important CTE Issues at the 2016 Fall Meeting!

August 11th, 2016

Join us October 17-19, 2016, in Baltimore, Maryland, for the Advance CTE Fall Meeting! 2016 has been an Advance CTEexciting year for Career Technical Education and Advance CTE. This is your chance to get behind-the-scenes information about the ongoing efforts to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, learn about how other states are implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act and Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act, and take a deep dive into how you can help advance Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE.

In addition, we’ll dig into some exciting topic areas through informative panels and breakout sessions, as well as collaborative small-group discussions including:

  • Work-based learning including apprenticeships
  • Career-readiness measures
  • CTE and industry experts in the classroom

Don’t miss out on this unique professional development experience! Early bird registration closes August 31,  so register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

CTE Programs Motivate Students with Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship

November 7th, 2014

Industry-recognized certification is a key part of successful CTE programs, allowing schools to validate technology skills while helping students build their resumes and preparing them to win jobs and internships.

Certiport, a Pearson VUE business, is the world leader in performance-based certification exams and practice test solutions for academic institutions, currently delivering nearly 3 million certification exams each year around the world. Many students see the value of certification, but a good healthy dose of competition never hurts.

Thirteen years ago Certiport held the first Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship, a competition to designed to inspire more students to earn MOS certification. Over time the competition has grown in popularity and now educators use it to inspire greatness and generate excitement about certification among their students.

This year more than 300,000 students in the United States entered the MOS competition to demonstrate their level of proficiency in utilizing the world’s foremost desktop computing applications. 40 finalists traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to the MOS U.S. National Championship, where they participated in timed exams and interviews to demonstrate their expertise in Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs. The champions in each program, along with a chaperone, won an all-expense-paid trip to participate in the 2014 MOS World Championship in Anaheim, California.

One of those world finalists, Tyler Millis, is a student of Dunbar High School in tylerFlorida. Dunbar is a magnet school in Ft. Myers, Florida with an enviable CTE program. Dunbar’s Technology Academy Programs offer an outstanding 24 certifications and has certified hundreds of high school students in MOS over the past several years.

Tyler heard about the competition from his teacher, Denise Spence, who has sent finalists in the past. “My teachers all supported me in everything I did and Ms. Spence encouraged me to do my best so I could make it to the World Championship,” said Tyler. He did, and he is already looking ahead since students are allowed to compete for a second time in different exam tracks. “I’m really excited to come back next year if I can,” he said.

Tyler beat out 123 finalists from 40 countries and won the MOS World Championship for PowerPoint 2007 and has become a local celebrity, but the proof is in the pudding, so they say – Tyler has an application development job at a local software engineering company and says winning the MOS World Championship will look amazing on his resume.

Participating in the MOS World Championship is easy – any state, district or school can promote it with marketing materials readily available from Certiport and students enter the competition simply by checking a box when they take MOS certification. Top scorers will be invited to the 2015 MOS United States Championship and the U.S. winners will be invited to compete in the 2015 MOS World Championship in Dallas, Texas next August.

In addition to MOS, Certiport manages a sophisticated portfolio of leading certification programs including: the Microsoft Technology Associate certification program, the Microsoft Certified Educator program, the Adobe® Certified Associate certification program, the HP Accredited Technical Associate, the CompTIA Strata™ IT Fundamentals, the Autodesk Certified User certification program, the Intuit QuickBooks Certified User certification program, and the IC3 Digital Literacy certification.Certiport-Pearson-Logo-Final (1)

Certiport was a wonderful sponsor of our 2014 Fall Meeting held in late October. To learn more about how Certiport and the MOS World Championship can help your CTE program teach and validate in-demand workforce skills with industry-recognized certification, visit www.certiport.com.

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series: The State of CTE: Employer Engagement

November 3rd, 2014

In late October, at NASDCTEc’s annual Fall Meeting, five state and business leaders joined a panel to discuss their reactions to The State of Career Technical Education: Employer Engagement in CTE, a paper to be released accompanied by a free webinar (register now) on December 3rd. The following are highlights from the panel.

Marie Barry, Director of Career and Technical Education, New Jersey Department of Education, started us off by highlighting ways in which state leaders can use the report once it is released. First, she suggested using it as a reflection tool to answer questions such as: does your state have the right employers at the table? How can your state help in defining what a quality employer and CTE partnership is? She also encouraged states to employee a model of working with schools to ensure states are engaging businesses effectively, while also finding businesses to champion CTE in the state.

Next, Andrew Musick, Director of Policy and Research, New Jersey Business & Industry Association spoke about his group’s support of an effort to pass an eight-bill package, which among other objectives, would increase funding for the state’s Country Vocational Technical Schools. Along with the eight bills, which delve into everything from funding and teacher preparedness to implementation of indicators for student career readiness, Musick identified further goals:

  1. Focus on workforce alignment;
  2. Promote CTE as a resource for employers;
  3. Create a strong infrastructure for school and employer partnerships

Lolita Hall, State CTE Director, Virginia Department of Education, showcased a premier partnership example the Virginia Department of Education has with the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association. Through this partnership, the Association has place over 1,000 students in automobile internships since 2000. Using this collaboration as a model, Hall cited the following steps in developing an effective partnership:

  • Determine compatible procedures and policies;
  • Agree on roles and responsibilities of each partner organization;
  • Define ways in which you can leverage resources;
  • Define common outcomes and communicate it to stakeholders;
  • Establish mutual goals and objectives;
  • Monitor results;
  • Implement measures to mature partnerships; and
  • Recognize partners.

Lastly, Matthew James, President and CEO, Peninsula Council for Workforce Development, Newport News, Virginia, provided a call to action to states. “Your advantage is relevancy; there is a sense of urgency. Entrepreneurs need you.” Though CTE has the opportunity to create a workforce ready population, he stated the importance of recognizing the international implications developing career-ready students has on the U.S. “Businesses will leave if you don’t provide a skilled workforce,” said James.

For more information and resources from the 2014 Fall Meeting, visit the Fall Meeting page.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series: Teachers, Employers, Students and the System: What needs to change?

October 24th, 2014

Earlier this week at NASDCTEc’s annual Fall Meeting, Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education, delivered a strong call to action to the CTE community. Highlighting Gallup’s research on the education system the economy in America today, Busteed urged attendees to leverage this data to reframe CTE in national and local conversations about education and careers.

Gallup conducted a national poll of students and found that students become significantly less engaged each year they are in school. More than 75 percent of elementary school students identify as engaged, while only 44 percent of high school students report feeling engaged at some point during the school day.

Busteed noted that there are reasons for student disengagement. Student success is measured through graduation rates, SAT scores, and G.P.A., which rarely – if ever – takes into account the student as a whole person. While these measures are certainly important, hope, mentorship and the opportunity to work on long-term projects are stronger indicators of success.

“What are we doing to identify entrepreneurship in our schools right now?” said Busteed. “We identify athletic talent with ease, we identify IQ; we don’t work to identify the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. There are no indicators the education system uses to determine who will be an effective or successful entrepreneur.”

To that end, Busteed cited a recent interview with Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, who called grades and test scores worthless predictors of successful employees.

Just as internships are valuable experiences for students, teacher externships can be incredible opportunities that may be key in helping connect classroom curriculum to the modern workplace. Given the typical capacity issues for work-based learning, 3 million teacher externships would be the equivalent of more than 50 million student internships.

Businesses also value a stronger partnership with higher education. Currently, only 13 percent of business leaders think there is “a great deal” of collaboration between higher education and employers, while almost 90 percent favor an increased level of collaboration.

What implications does this research have for CTE? High-quality CTE programs provide all the opportunities Busteed called essential to student success: a focus on employability skills and technical skills, mentorship through work-based learning and curriculum that is made relevant by tying learning to the real world.

Busteed left the group with a final charge – the CTE community needs to better communicate career technical education not as option B, but instead as a staple of all students’ educational experience.
To view Busteed’s PowerPoint, please visit our 2014 Fall Meeting page.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

CompTIA: The IT Industry Trade Association

October 2nd, 2014

CompTIA_Logo_PantoneCompTIA is the voice of the world’s information technology (IT) industry. As a non-profit trade association, we advance the global interests of IT professionals and IT channel organizations and enable them to be more successful with industry-leading certifications and business credentials, education, resources and the ability to connect with like-minded, leading industry experts.

Learn about our focus areas and find out who we are and what we do.

Membership

Becoming a CompTIA member indicates a commitment to learning, growing and personal and business success in the IT channel. All of our benefits are aimed at providing our members with a wealth of resources that, when leveraged, result in measurable impact to the member organization.

Education

You can’t get a job or successfully run a business without all the right tools. In the ever-changing IT industry, education is essential. CompTIA’s educational efforts include a comprehensive suite of channel training, a variety of events and meetings and a steady stream of research and market intelligence studies. Everything is designed to help you succeed.

Certifications

It all started with A+. Back in 1993, we developed a revolutionary IT certification that was not tied to a particular manufacturer, but vendor-neutral. The concept took off and today CompTIA offers four IT certification series that test different knowledge standards, from entry-level to expert.

Public Advocacy

TechAmerica, the public sector and public policy department of CompTIA, champions member-driven business and policy priorities that impact the entire continuum of technology companies – from small IT service providers and software developers to large equipment manufacturers and communications service providers.

Philanthropy

The shortage of IT workers in the U.S. stands at about 300,000 and there continues to be high demand for motivated and capable employees. It’s the job of CompTIA’s philanthropic arm, the Creating IT Futures Foundation, to help unemployed individuals and populations under-represented in the field obtain the right training for an IT role; not just a job, but a foothold into a career. In order to help supply the IT worker pipeline, Creating IT Futures is exploring ways to nudge more youth in the direction of tech careers.

Click here to learn more about CompTIA and get involved today!

CompTIA is a gold level sponsor at the NASDCTEc 2014 Fall Meeting

 

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