Advance CTE 2019 Spring Meeting Staff Reflections Part 3

April 30th, 2019

This year’s Spring Meeting covered an array of exciting topics. Advance CTE staff reflects on the meeting in this three-part blog series. 

Being Bold in Perkins V Planning

Trying something new is a risk but we did just that at the Advance CTE spring meeting! You see we have been encouraging states to be bold in their approach to crafting Perkins V state plans. And while the mantra of ‘being bold’ has taken hold, we have continued to get the question – what does being bold look like? To answer this question, we decided to try a mini case study approach. We often see that the lesson for oneself is found when offering advice to others.  So, we created a fictional state called “Bolder” and shared out a set of facts and data – demographic, labor market, performance, student outcomes, etc. and asked participants to identify the most pressing opportunity related to equity, quality, career advisement, data, and systems alignment, and how Perkins V can be leveraged to best address these important topics. The goal was to help attendees break free of the strictures of their own state and to ideate, create and incubate bold ideas in a fictitious but reality-based state.

I was encouraged to see the engagement of attendees, who easily jumped in to identify the challenges and opportunities. It got tougher when attendees were asked to rethink or leverage Perkins V to address the challenge or opportunity. In the end, we probably didn’t walk out with a ready-to-replicate set of bold ideas but I do think participants flexed their creative muscles and hopefully will take that creativity back home and do something different as a result – look at their data in a different way, ask a tough question, push a bit harder, reach out to a new stakeholder, revisit an antiquated policy or program, commit to using a new lever in Perkins – that is what being bold is all about!

Kimberly Green, Executive Director

Problems of Practice

At last year’s Advance CTE Spring Meeting we introduced the Problems of Practice session, and it was exciting to see how that session grew in size and scope during this year’s Spring Meeting. This time, we were able to feature 16 different table topics spanning middle school, high school, postsecondary education and workforce development. All those at the table had the opportunity to hear from a state leader about what that particular issue looked like in their state, and then the table had the chance for an intimate conversation about common barriers and strategies for success. I enjoyed not only observing states making progress in thinking through common goals, but also forming new relationships with others at the table. Many state representatives and organizational partners exchanged contact information so that they could keep the conversation going outside of this session. It was great to see states working together to advance shared goals!

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Let’s Double the Investment in CTE!

Earlier this year, Advance CTE and the CTE community launched an effort to double the federal investment in CTE. During the Spring Meeting, we held an engaging session where the Advance CTE regions competed to see which one could commit to securing the most employer signatures. Region B won with a total commitment of 5,175 signatures and all of the regions together committed to over 17,000 signatures. While 26 states and every Career Cluster® are represented in the list of signatures from employers, we still need more signatures to meet our goal.

State and local CTE leaders are critical partners in helping us achieve our ambitious goal. How many employers from your state can YOU get to sign on to the campaign? Sign up to receive information about the campaign here. For more information about the campaign and how to get the word out, visit the share page to find sample Tweets, graphics, email blurbs, and more to help you communicate about the campaign.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Manager

Advance CTE 2019 Spring Meeting Staff Reflections Part 2

April 19th, 2019

This year’s Spring Meeting covered an array of exciting topics. Advance CTE staff reflects on the meeting in this three-part blog series. 

Exploring Equity in CTE

At the 2018 Spring Meeting, Advance CTE formally launched our initiative on equity in CTE with a panel and breakouts devoted to that topic. This year I had the great honor of presenting on the results of that work so far, including the adoption of Advance CTE’s Statement on Equity in CTE, as well as the release of three publications under the Making Good on the Promise series.

I then moderated a panel of national experts on equity topics to reflect on how we can continue to tackle this work as a community of state and national leaders. The panelists were: Kisha Bird, Director of Youth Policy, CLASP; Nina Salomon, Deputy Program Director, Council on State Governments Justice Center; and Johan Uvin, President, Institute for Educational Leadership. The panelists discussed using data to ensure equitable resource distribution, developing partnerships across agencies and states to further equity efforts, and how state agencies can increase diversity within their own hiring practices. States have numerous opportunities under Perkins V to advance equity for each learner using CTE, but they will require bold action and some tough conversations. I am excited to continue to support our members in this work.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Drawing on the content of the Making Good on the Promise briefs, Advance CTE hosted a series of equity breakouts during the 2019 Spring Meeting. These equity breakouts challenged state leaders to think about how they can examine and use data to define the equity problem in their respective states; build trust with historically marginalized communities; ensure access to CTE opportunities for each learner; design a supportive environment for each learner; and deliver equitable outcomes for learners.

I was one of the facilitators for the equity breakout that focused on building trust with historically marginalized communities. I was struck by how open and honest state leaders were about equity gaps in their respective states and their commitment to closing those gaps. Participants in the session discussed how to engage historically marginalized communities and message high-quality CTE to appeal to various populations. As state leaders continue to work towards closing equity gaps, I’m excited to see how they will be bold in their approaches.

Brianna McCain, State Policy Associate

A Conversation with CTE Champions in Congress

At last year’s Spring Meeting, I moderated a discussion about the prospects and plans for the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 and while I remained optimistic, it was unclear if the law would be reauthorized in the 115th Congress. Fast forward one year and the reauthorization – the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) – has been on the books for more than eight months! However, we certainly wouldn’t be in this position without the leadership of the law’s co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA). Advance CTE was thrilled to have these two dedicated CTE champions join us at this year’s Spring Meeting and I was honored to have the privilege of moderating the conversation.

During this session, the Congressmen discussed why they got involved in the reauthorization. Representative Thompson (R-PA) shared how CTE “is a significant rung on the ladder of opportunity,” while Representative Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) discussed how CTE plays a role in restoring America’s middle class and connecting to postsecondary education, as he pointed out that, “Even if a four-year degree isn’t in everyone’s plans, a quality postsecondary education has to be.” Both Congressmen are looking forward to the implementation of the law and emphasized the importance of engaging the many stakeholders that CTE has and the opportunity to coordinate and collaborate with business and industry leaders. When asked about how the federal investment in CTE has made a difference in their districts, Representative Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) described an automotive technology program in his district that enrolled nearly the same number of male and female learners and how the program was making in a difference in his community and Representative Thompson (R-PA) told a story about how a CTE program in Pennsylvania was transformational in the life of a learner with a disability. The bipartisan agreement about the value and promise of CTE was clear – Representatives Thompson (R-PA) and Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) have visited each other’s districts and enjoyed sharing about their joint appearances and interviews. It’s not a surprise as to why – the energy and excitement they have for CTE is sure to inspire any audience, let alone a room full of CTE leaders at our Spring Meeting!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Advance CTE 2019 Spring Meeting Staff Reflections

April 17th, 2019

This year’s Spring Meeting covered an array of exciting topics. Advance CTE staff reflects on the meeting in this three-part blog series. 

This year’s 2019 Spring Meeting was our largest meeting ever. We wish to thank each and every attendee and sponsor for bringing your wonderful energy and insight to make this year’s meeting one of the most memorable I’ve had in my time with Advance CTE.

Nearly 300 national, state and local CTE leaders joined us April 8-9 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Our attendees traveled from 47 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and represented every aspect of CTE including secondary, postsecondary, workforce development, adult education and even the philanthropic community and other key partners.  

I also would like to thank and recognize our sponsors, whose partnership and support helped make our meeting a success:

Diamond Level

Kuder, CompTIA, Microsoft Imagine Academy

Platinum Level

CEV Multimedia, Certiport, Fleck Education, NOCTI, NCCER, Oracle Academy, Project Lead the Way, YouScience

Gold Level

ACT, Chmura Economics & Analytics, eScholar, Lincoln Electric, Siemens, Southern Regional Education Board

Silver Level

Manufacturing Skills Standards Council

Bronze Level

CareerSafe, Career Solutions Publishing, CORD, MBA Research, National Council for Health Science Education, NC3T, Precision Exams, The Get A Job Kit, Vivayic

Have you become a member of Advance CTE yet? Today is the perfect day to join us! Member benefits include discounted meeting registration, which you can use at our next in-person meeting.

We hope to see all of you in spring 2020 for our next public meeting. We’ll be announcing our date and location very soon!

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Philanthropy and Student Leaders Discuss Importance of CTE

Advance CTE’s Spring meeting was full of amazing panels featuring passionate individuals committed to career readiness and Career Technical Education (CTE). One panel – Bold Priorities: The Philanthropic Role in Advancing Quality in CTE – featured leaders from four national philanthropic organizations that have all invested in efforts to ensure more learners are prepared for success in the careers of their choice.

The funders’ had a lot in common when it came to their priorities – closing both access and success equity gaps so every learner can benefit from CTE pathways and programs; strengthening our data and measures so stakeholders can make more informed decisions about credentials, work-based learning and overall investments; and ensuring strong implementation by better connecting state policy with on-the-ground work. JPMorgan Chase – through Skills at Work and the related New Skills for Work – is supporting states and communities across the world to close the skills gaps and prepare learners for the future of work. The Joyce Foundation is building models of regional innovation and implementation of career pathways systems in the Great Lakes states (more to come on that soon!) and will be supporting Perkins V in the future. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has identified pathways as a central focus of their new strategy, including support for Perkins V implementation over the coming years. And Lumina Foundation is evolving their work around credentials attainment to identify new models of postsecondary access and success. It was so heartening to share the stage with our philanthropic partners who are supporting such amazing work across the country!

Later on Tuesday afternoon, we had a particular treat – a panel of secondary, postsecondary and adult CTE learners who shared their stories of how CTE impacted their lives. These students are examples of the best and brightest of CTE. They were incredible advocates for how CTE helped them build professional skills and networks, find their passions and set a clear path for their future. Fritza Camille, for example, a learner at the University of District of Columbia, shared how CTE has changed her life and given her opportunities she couldn’t have imagined when she left college without a degree years before.  Ryleigh Travers, who attends one of Virginia’s high-achieving Governors’ Academies and taught us all about the in’s and out’s of livestock judging, talked about how she has had academic, workplace and leadership experiences through CTE that set her apart from her peers.

Zackery Love, a current student at George Washington University, got his first job in the health industry because of credentials he obtained in high school as a CTE student. He shared how, as his high school’s valedictorian and a pre-med college student, he wants to push others to rethink the outdated stigma against CTE. Tony Peeler, Jr., a future student at George Washington University, has already been able to foster his passion for the law throughout high school by spending time at law firms and in the courtroom. Tony and Ryleigh both aspire to political office in the future, Zack is working to be a doctor and Fritza will be rising through the hospitality industry. These students were so incredibly impressive and inspiring and are well on their way to achieving their dreams.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director 

Measuring and Achieving Bold Results

Whenever possible, we like to use the spring or fall meetings to give State CTE Directors and Advance CTE members a preview of upcoming research. The timing for this year’s meeting just happened to align with the release of the 2019 State of Career Technical Education report – which is based on a national survey focused on the quality and effective use of career readiness data – and so Wednesday’s programming was dedicated to the theme of “Bold Results.”

The day started with a panel of national data quality experts, who unpacked the report’s major findings and called participants to action. Elizabeth Dabney, from the Data Quality Campaign, urged state leaders to use data as a bridge builder to break down silos across the secondary, postsecondary and workforce sectors. Ryan Ryena, from Education Strategy Group, echoed this idea and pushed states to go further and leverage their collective power to make bold improvements in the quality of their data. Bringing in the workforce perspective, Bryan Wilson from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign – a project of the National Skills Coalition – highlighted opportunities to align accountability and data collection between CTE and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

After an engaging discussion on the power of high-quality data, panelists broke out to lead a series of breakout sessions on data quality and effectiveness, including topics such as aligning cross-sector data systems or measuring a “high-quality” program. The full State of CTE report will be available on April 18 in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

Engaging and Inspiring all Students to Develop the Skills Required for the Modern Workforce

April 11th, 2019

This post is written by Microsoft, a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Providing the technical and soft skills students need to thrive in a digital economy can seem like an overwhelming task, and the rapid pace of change in the workforce is creating a global skills gap. As one example, the demand for next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) skills has far outpaced the number of candidates in the job market. A recent estimate suggests that, by 2022, a talent shortage will leave as many as 30% of AI and data skills jobs open.

We know that as emerging technologies and tools from Artificial Intelligence to Machine Learning to Cloud Computing transform the modern workplace, skills requirements for students are changing rapidly as well.  And we also see first-hand that education leaders and policymakers around the world are striving to address this imperative – seeking innovative ways to address the skills gap and boost the talent pipeline for economic competitiveness.

At Microsoft, we refer to “Future-Ready Skills” when educators talk about digital literacy, technical job skills, industry certifications, STEM, computer science, data science, and the 21st-century employability skills that focus on collaborating, communicating, designing, and creating. Aligning with education and with key partners in the US and around the world, we are committed to partnering and providing Education solutions in three key focus areas related to Future-Ready Skills & Employability:

  • Driving Computing, Computer Science & Technology Forward through Policy, Diversity and Inclusion to Close the Skills Gap
  • Supporting Great Educators to do what they do best in teaching, supporting and mentoring students
  • Lighting up the Modern Classroom with dynamic skills programs and technologies to drive computer science, data science, industry recognized certifications, STEM and employability

Microsoft is committed to making this space of technical and employability skills education in schools — and through CTE — a priority across the US and in markets around the globe. The flagship Microsoft  Imagine Academy skills program is designed as a partnership opportunity with K-12 high schools as well as middle schools to help deliver meaningful, relevant and valuable skills-based learning programs with outcomes of Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Employability.  The program features four in-demand learning and career pathways of study: Computer Science, Data Science, IT Infrastructure/Cloud, and Productivity. Plus, students and educators can pursue globally recognized Microsoft certifications through our partnership with leading exam delivery provider Certiport.

Throughout our company history, partnership has been a hallmark. We value and appreciate strategic alliances such as those forged with Advance CTE and its member institutions and CTE leaders across the country. Our mutual policy focus in support of Perkins reauthorization this past year represents a shining example of our alliance and joint commitment to CTE. We are also committed to work with your member state school system leaders, districts, and schools to promote the value of technology and computer science education for student achievement in every school.

From a Microsoft perspective, it’s our pleasure to continue to strongly support the mission of CTE, and we appreciated the opportunity to serve as a sponsor for another fantastic Spring Meeting 2019 for Advance CTE this past week in Washington, DC. As Allyson Knox, Senior Director of Education Policy and Programs, Microsoft, said in her remarks at the conference, “Our missions are aligned in many ways, and most importantly, in our collective effort every day to empower every student to achieve more in a digitally transforming world.” If you’d like to learn more about the array of Microsoft skills and education programs available for schools to boost student and educator opportunities check out the digital skills resource page here or please reach out to Roberta Reischl, part of Microsoft Education, Future-Ready Skills Team.

Rediscovering the American Dream

April 5th, 2019

This post is written by NCCER, a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Somewhere along the way, we have lost sight of what the American Dream is.  We’ve begun equating success with a career path only achieved through a four-year academic degree or higher.

Our workforce has suffered from this mentality of only valuing the so-called “white-collar” professionals in our economy. We are facing workforce shortages of skilled workers that will only increase as seasoned Baby Boomers retire.

What can we do to change this? One key to transforming our workforce development system is these three numbers: One. Two. Seven.

Only one job out of ten requires a master’s degree or higher. Two out of ten need a bachelor’s degree. And the remaining seven? These only need an associate degree, certification, craft training or credential.

Our current perception of what a successful career is only focused on 30 percent of jobs. Skilled professions, those that call for certifications, credentials, on-the-job training, often face three misconceptions: They are not lucrative. They are low or middle-skilled. They are dead-end jobs.

Let’s bust these three common misconceptions, particularly in the construction field.

1. Not lucrative.

 

 

A popular misconception is that “most well-paying jobs require (at least) a college degree, and getting one of those requires a significant portion of young people to essentially forego owning their own home (part of the much venerated ‘American Dream’) for years and years.” In fact, well-paying jobs are readily available and don’t require sacrificing the typical physical representations of success. Cameron Campbell, millwright, and Josh Chavers, welder, share how they’ve been able to afford brand-new trucks, homes and vacations because of the opportunities they’ve found.

Often overlooked, the construction industry provides sustainable and lucrative careers, like Cameron and Josh’s. CareerBuilder and Indeed both listed construction positions as some of the best jobs to get ahead in 2018. The industry is estimated to need 1.4 million skilled craft professionals by 2022, and with 41 percent of the current construction workforce set to retire by 2031, opportunities are only growing.

In fact, multiple careers in construction make a national average salary (without overtime, per diem or incentives) over $65,000 and do not require a four-year degree: boilermaker, mobile crane operator, millwright, industrial electrician, and welder, just to name a few.

2. Low or middle-skilled.

 

 

Forty-six percent of U.S. employers are having a difficult time hiring because they can’t find the skills they actually need in the workforce.

Despite offering great salaries, many of the most in-demand jobs are not only ignored but rarely shared as viable options or are only presented as ‘if you can’t succeed in the academic world’ jobs. These careers are made fun of in TV shows — remember the SNL skit poking fun at project managers? Or construction workers only shown as digging ditches? They paint a picture of jobs that people only pick when they can’t find anything else. But let’s take a minute to consider the skills a career — and not just a job — in construction really entails.    

Pipefitters calculate as many, if not more, mathematical equations in a typical workday than an engineer. Welders have to make sure their welds can hold up beams that support tons of weight — and I literally mean tons as a measurement and not figuratively. Electricians have to understand complicated systems and electrical components, as well as stay up-to-date on national, state and local codes.  

Blue-collar and white-collar careers remain pitted against one another, and a path toward a blue-collar career is undoubtedly portrayed as the less desirable choice. If you have ever tried to construct, install or repair any number of complicated projects in or on your own home, you know that highly trained professionals are anything but replaceable. Instead, they are essential to the longevity and functionality of the places that mean the most to us. These misguided terms used to describe craft professionals fail to represent the rigorous training, credentials, professionalism and strong work ethic belonging to the individual underneath the hard hat. By referring to them as anything other than highly skilled professionals, we are ultimately devaluing the work they do and decreasing the appeal of entering these careers.  

 

3. Dead-end jobs.

 

Performance-driven jobs put workers in charge of their career progression. A career as a craft professional has a lot of potential — to advance from entry level to fully trained to seasoned craft professional can take eight to 12 years, and leadership positions are entirely achievable, from management to CEO.

In fact, management jobs in the construction industry are going to be impacted even more severely by the Baby Boomers retiring, leaving the door wide open for craft professionals to expand their careers — 67 percent of the seasoned construction management is due to retire by 2031. Because construction is mostly performance-driven, you are the determining factor in how far you climb the ladder of success.

Boyd Worsham is a great example: Boyd started as an apprentice directly out of high school, worked his way up to become a journeyman carpenter, foreman, assistant superintendent, superintendent and finally the vice president of construction support for The Haskell Company and is now the president of an international education foundation, NCCER.

Ultimately, what do we want for our children and students? Do we want them to only focus on achieving an academic degree or would we rather see them find success on a path they may not have considered? Regardless if a four-year degree is required, we should want the next generation to find satisfaction, happiness and success in their field.

And construction workers are happy. The 2015 Best Industry Ranking Report published by TINYpulse surveyed more than 500 organizations and over 30,000 employees across 12 distinct industries and found that construction workers are the happiest employees.

Why wouldn’t they be? With lucrative careers and growth opportunities, craft professionals are not only successful but have pride in their chosen path. The world as we know it, from our hospitals and roads to our schools and houses, would not exist without the expertise of craft professionals. Let’s not discount career paths just because it may not fit our misguided idea of success, but rather rediscover the American Dream and encourage all options to be explored.

The “Career” Part of College and Career Readiness

April 5th, 2019

This post is written by ACT, a Gold Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Success after high school looks different for everyone. Increasingly, however, that success rests on additional postsecondary education or training beyond a high school diploma. As we have heard many times before, students must be ready for both college and career after graduation. Yet, in order to get there, students need to be equipped with reliable information about their readiness for both– regardless of the post-high school path they choose to pursue. We also know that educators need that same information to address skills gaps, accurately measure student learning, and calibrate program improvements.

For 60 years, we at ACT have been studying what is most essential for education and workplace success. Recently we’ve looked more closely at our data for students who took both the ACT college admissions exam and ACT WorkKeys assessments—a set of foundational skill, work-based assessments that lead to the National Career Readiness Certificate. In comparing the research-based benchmarks for each assessment, we found that the foundational skills required for “college readiness” and “career readiness” are in fact equally rigorous and essential to student education and workplace success.

However, we also know that skills are used differently in educational settings compared to the world of work. For instance: on the ACT, we might assess a student’s ability to read and understand a passage from Shakespeare. Yet with our WorkKeys assessments, we are measuring something different—how a student makes use of that reading skill and applies it in order to solve a workplace problem. In other words, measures of career readiness must include not only essential academic skills but also how those skills are applied in the context of a work environment in order to truly measure the “career readiness” of students.

For anyone who has spent time inside a CTE classroom, this is not a revelation. What students learn in school should prepare them to succeed in further education, in career, and in life. The extensive research foundation for our assessment solutions, based on actual workplace and postsecondary outcome data, further underscore this important point.    

As states endeavor to reexamine their CTE systems and implement new state and federal laws, it will be increasingly important to integrate college and career readiness benchmarks—like those found in the ACT and WorkKeys— to ensure that students are able to make successful transitions to life after high school. By leveraging the ACT work readiness system, students of all ages are able to certify their foundational skills and understand with confidence the relevance of those skills to a host of career pathways.   

Through research like this and through making such benchmark data freely available to practitioners on our website, ACT is doing its best to support CTE leaders and practitioners in meeting the goal of providing high-quality CTE programs and ensuring that all students are on the pathway to college AND career success after high school.

For more information and the full ACT Readiness Framework, please visit:

http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/Ready-for-What-May-2018.pdf

ACT Career Pathway Benchmarks (published in 2015 and will be updated in fall 2019 for all 16 Career Clusters): https://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/CareerReadinessinUS-2015.pdf

ACT Work Readiness Benchmarks by O*Net Occupational Codes: http://profiles.keytrain.com/profile_search/?_ga=2.117505802.2073588000.1554240283-1916235549.1532011683

Elementary-Level Career Awareness: A Strong Foundation for Career Technical Education

April 3rd, 2019

This post is written by Kuder, Inc., a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Advocates of Career Technical Education (CTE) know that learners should have access to career awareness, exploration and planning activities from elementary school all the way through postsecondary education. But all too often, career advising and development only occur in middle school or high school.

There is still much work to be done to ensure that our youngest learners can confidently identify and develop meaningful life goals — and become productive citizens, leaders, scholars, and innovators.

As children begin to exhibit preferences and non-preferences, we should capitalize on their budding self-awareness by promoting their curiosity about careers and exposing them to the world of work with web-based and traditional career guidance interventions.

According to Dr. Julie Cerrito, assistant professor of counseling and human services at The University of Scranton, conversations centered on careers often don’t begin until middle school or later.

“Career theorists identify the period of childhood as a critical stage in the process of lifelong career development, but there is often a void when it comes to bridging that theory with actual practice,” she said.

Dr. Cerrito has conducted research on both web‐based and traditional career guidance interventions by measuring the effects each one has on the career development progression of fourth‐ and fifth‐grade students.

Her research demonstrates that online learning systems may offer unique benefits when combined with traditional classroom instruction. Due to demands placed on school counselors, web-based career guidance programs are often student-initiated, thus saving school counselors valuable time (The Career Development Quarterly, 2018).

In Dr. Cerrito’s home state of Pennsylvania, the state’s Career Education and Work Standards (part of the State Board of Education’s regulations of required education), includes academic standards, student learning objectives for school counselors and resources to reach benchmarks beginning as early as the third grade.

The Conrad Weiser Area School District in Pennsylvania’s Berks County leverages Kuder Galaxy®, a web-based early career awareness system, to implement the PA Career Education and Work Standards for its K- through fourth-grade students.

“Galaxy incorporates fun and interactive gaming to allow our elementary students to explore and become aware of the many jobs available,” said Lisa Oxenreider, a school counselor at the district’s Conrad Weiser West Elementary. “It is important, [even] at the elementary level, to give meaning and purpose to school; to get students excited about their futures and help them realize there is a job for everyone!”

Oklahoma’s CareerTech system, operated by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, recognizes the value in setting the stage for career readiness as early as pre-Kindergarten.

Earlier this spring, CareerTech launched Galaxy as a component of OKCareerguide.org — a system that had previously served sixth-grade students through postsecondary and adult users. Now, from pre-K through adulthood, Oklahomans of all ages and stages of life can access the system’s lifelong college and career readiness tools and resources.

According to Erica Harris, OK Career Guide coordinator, OK CareerTech fosters relationships with school counselors and other educators by providing resources and professional development for schools to strategize and collaborate on vertical PK-12 alignment of career development offerings.

“The greatest achievement of the OK Career Guide is the awareness that career development is not something that just starts your senior year of high school,” Harris said. “Research shows that students begin to eliminate career options and their capabilities as early as third grade. This only makes career awareness and exploration a critical need to be addressed with elementary students.”

Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s IT Careers

April 2nd, 2019

This post is written by CompTIA, a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

The World Economic Forum estimates that 65 percent of students today will ultimately be working in jobs that don’t currently exist. That may be an alarming statistic for any person entering the workforce, but reading between the lines, this is a reminder for employers in all sectors that transferable skills and the right training are more important than ever, because jobs are evolving. Smart employers look to a candidate’s career and technical education experience, along with industry-standard certifications, like CompTIA’s, for reassurance.

As we look to future-proof student’s careers, it’s important to evaluate what skills are needed, as well as understand the labor market and predicted opportunity for the future.  

The technology industry in the U.S. alone is anticipated to grow by 4 percent in 2019, according to CompTIA’s Industry Outlook Report.  Also consider that technology is now a part of the fabric of every organization. Digital transformation is giving rise to a growing demand for IT talent not only in the IT sector, but for varied career pathways within all organizations. Hiring managers in manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and automotive, cannot find enough employees with the required skills and competencies to fill their IT job roles. The CompTIA 2019 CyberStates (cyberstates.org) research found that nearly half of IT jobs are in non-tech companies.

Another factor that makes an IT career pathway promising is the increased demand for Cybersecurity talent.  With data breaches expected to rise globally to nearly $6 trillion dollars in 2021, the number of jobs in cybersecurity are expected to increase by 56% percent within the next 3 years.

With so much opportunity to develop in-demand tech skills and meaningful IT and cybersecurity careers, CompTIA works with State and Local CTE leaders to deliver IT career pathway programs.

As the non-profit association for the tech industry, CompTIA develops certifications for IT professionals.  Certifications are mapped to specific job roles and updated by in-the-field experts, who are in touch with the emerging competencies required.  Another hallmark of CompTIA’s certifications is that they are performance-based, recognizing that it’s not just about “what you know” but “what you can do”.  Having CompTIA certifications signals that you have both knowledge and problem-solving ability, which translates into career success.

CompTIA Career Pathway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn More:

We invite you to learn more during the Advance CTE conference. Included in your Advance CTE Spring Meeting bag are additional materials for you to review. You may also visit with us during the State Director Networking Reception or stop by our exhibit. To reach our team, email us at academy@comptia.org

 

Setting Students on the Path for Professional Development with Certifications

April 1st, 2019

This post is written by Certiport, a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations grew twice as fast as others between 2009 and 2014.  STEM jobs are also expected to grow faster than any other job category through 2024 with a projected growth rate of 28.2 percent, compared with the average projected growth for all occupations of just 6.5 percent.  

In order to meet this need in the future, former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently pointed out the need for U.S. education institutions to “create opportunities for people to develop 21st-century skills and level the playing field for all demographics.”

Duncan continues, “If we expect to compete in a global economy that demands increasingly higher skills, we need to concentrate on closing the digital divide. The reversal must begin in K-12, where currently only one in four schools teach computer programming.”

High school graduates will typically need a lot of additional training to fill the high-tech jobs of the future, but starting in K12 sets students on a path for continued learning – it opens the door and helps them to realize an interest in and an aptitude for a career in computer science.

Certifications Validate those Entry Level Technology Skills

Industry-recognized certifications are one way to get K12 students started on a path to a career in technology.  CTE programs around the country are adopting certification programs to set students on a path to professional development, and one fantastic example is Sun Valley High School in Monroe, North Carolina.

When teacher Eddie Mull arrived at Sun Valley High School three years ago with a 35-year background in the drafting industry, he aimed to rejuvenate the drafting program to make sure students learned work-ready skills.  Over his career, he earned several Autodesk Certified Professional certifications and has seen their value in the workforce.

“I knew I wanted to get Autodesk certifications going at Sun Valley,” said Mull. “The professional-level certifications are valuable in the workforce and if I could get my students earning the user-level certifications they would be on the path for career success.”

As a result of Mull’s efforts and the support of the CTE department, Sun Valley students quickly caught the fire of earning Autodesk Certified User certifications. Each semester approximately 40 to 50 students take Drafting 1 and most earn Autodesk Certified User AutoCAD certification, and another 15 or so take Drafting 2 and most of them earn the Autodesk Certified User Revit certification.

“They want that bullet point on their resume, they want the certificate,” said Mull. “They want to get good at something so they can get a head start and differentiate themselves in a career.”

A new statewide initiative directs Drafting 3 students to earn a professional level certification – which is very difficult.

“It is hard but doable, I have had two students earn the Autodesk Certified Professional certification so far with about a dozen more preparing,” said Mull. “The program will be formally implemented next year.” Mull works with students to make sure their Autodesk Certified User level and Autodesk Certified Professional level certifications stand out on their resumes and even provides a resume template.

Some of his recent graduates with Autodesk certifications have interviewed at as many as five places and have been offered jobs by all five. Whether his students plan to go to college or enter the workforce, Autodesk certification helps with admissions and job interviews.

“The certification indicates that students have the skills and are able to perform the tasks necessary to utilize the Autodesk applications,” said Robert Filter, Union County Public Schools Director of Career Readiness. “It provides the students an opportunity to spotlight their skills and knowledge over other potential candidates when applying for a job.

Recent Sun Valley graduate Gabriel Blount said earning an Autodesk Certified User certification has already helped him as he builds a career in drafting.

“Adding Autodesk certification to my resume has been extremely beneficial since it shows my ability to learn and be flexible in a professional setting. Autodesk certification has helped in my future career – the principles I learned are now a part of my new job and I would have never guessed how helpful it would be when I was taking the drafting courses.”

Learn More

We invite you to learn more about how to implement certification in your CTE program to prepare students for college and career.  Certiport offers learning curriculum, practice tests, and performance-based IT certification exams to open up academic and career opportunities for learners.  Our offerings include:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist
  • Microsoft Technology Associate
  • Adobe Certified Associate
  • App Development with Swift Certification
  • Autodesk Certified User
  • EC-Council Associate
  • QuickBooks Certified User
  • IC3 Digital Literacy Certification
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Please join us the evening of Tuesday, April 9th from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at our Hospitality Suite at the Advance CTE Spring Meeting to learn more.

Focusing on Career

March 27th, 2019

This post is written by eScholar, a Gold Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Students want careers they are excited about. Once they know the careers that excite them, they want the most effective pathways to succeed in those careers. CTE pathways start earlier and lead to many rewarding careers. The challenge is to show a wide variety of students that CTE programs can launch them directly toward numerous careers and provide a running start toward an infinite number of others.  We know that with successful CTE programs students have lower dropout rates, higher test scores, higher graduation rates, higher postsecondary enrollment rates, and higher earnings than students who do not enroll in CTE offerings. The key is to show students the short- and long-term benefits and provide constant feedback and guidance about where their pathway can take them.

The goal of CTE in your state is to enable the delivery of achievement in not only academics but also in career-readiness through connected systems within the state. That means strengthening pathways based on actual education and workforce experience data. Some of the most economically successful states are making strides in these areas today. The data is clear.   

What are some of the leading states doing to deliver these benefits?

  • States, including Texas and Pennsylvania, are leveraging their longitudinal data systems to link anonymized data across the entire pathway, including K12, postsecondary, and workforce data.
  • They are analyzing how to show students the path toward their goals. Pathway analytics can show students real paths towards their goals and how to meet their individual circumstances.
  • In Texas, they are managing one of the country’s most comprehensive longitudinal data system, which includes CTE experiences, postsecondary and workforce goals. This enables analysis of pathways, comparing desired and actual outcomes.
  • They are developing strong employer partnerships, to ensure students are attaining educations that make them ready for the workforce.
  • States like New Mexico are providing real career exposure to students and showing them many opportunities in different fields through New Mexico Career Pathways.  

When a state is able to execute on all of these best practices, they deliver evidence-based CTE programs that ensure workforce-ready graduates.

At eScholar, we have long been focused on providing data-driven pathways that provide a clear scope and sequence for students to achieve their goals in any career cluster. It’s a unique approach. The eScholar Pathways Project analyzes the educational and career pathways of millions of individuals to evaluate the effectiveness of individual pathways to educational and career goals.  This project has also analyzed billions of educational and career experiences for millions of anonymized individuals to identify effective pathways to degrees and careers. The experiences analyzed include course taking, extracurriculars, interventions and employment and wage data.

By taking this approach, a state can provide strategic and tactical insight for both organizations and individuals. If a school district is interested in expanding its CTE program, it can use pathway analyses to determine how to design its curriculum. An individual can review a pathway report to select the best courses that are most highly associated with goal success. A guidance counselor can use a pathway report to provide more precise advice on when a student should take a certain course.

We are not the first ones to examine course-taking patterns and goal attainment. Clifford Adelman’s book Answers in the Tool Box: Academic Intensity, Attendance Patterns, and

Bachelor’s Degree Attainment found that academic intensity and the quality of one’s high school curriculum are the most significant factors in bachelor’s degree attainment. However, taking an expanded approach with the eScholar Pathways Project, we can analyze not just courses, but experiences. We can also analyze pathways for outcomes beyond bachelor’s degrees, including associate degrees, advanced degrees, and career outcomes.  

We are still conducting research and development on our pathways design, but so far, it has shown a striking amount of promise and the ability to take state and local CTE programs to the next level.

What are your thoughts on this? What initiatives is your state taking to elevate its CTE program?

Follow us on Twitter @eScholar or visit us to learn more at www.escholar.com.

 

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