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

Finding the IB’s Career-Related Program (CP) was like Finding that Sweet Spot…

March 19th, 2015

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in April. 

What students really think of the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programgirls

On a recent visit to South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia a group of CP Fashion Design students were asked what they thought of the IB’s Career-related Programme (CP).

Q: How have colleges reacted to the CP?

“They like it, they think it’s a cool program. They think of it highly, just  like the IB (Diploma) program.

Q: What about the CP do you like?

“I think it’s a good alternative for students who are more well-rounded, as opposed to just academic students because it gives you more flexibility with scheduling and time. I have plenty of time for my sports now because I do a lot of things outside of school, different coaching jobs, sports and stuff, so that with (CP) I don’t have the pressure of the full IB Diploma. I can do sports and still get sleep at night! Finding out about this program was like finding that sweet spot, I was able to do all that I wanted to do (outside of school) and take all the IB classes that I wanted.”

There are now 80 million millennials in America, more than their Baby Boomer parents. They have different IB_logo_FCattitudes from their parents too, less financially secure, but more optimistic about their future. Millenials are determined to steer their own course, entrepreneurial and willing to do what it takes to custom-fit their lives to their passions.

Programs like the IB Career-related Programme are tailor-made for both the parents of millenials who want assurance that their children are academically well- prepared for college and for their offspring who are specializing at an earlier age than ever and want to pursue a course of study that uniquely fits their interests.

The CP is a  framework of international education that incorporates the values of the IB into a unique program addressing the needs of students engaged in career-related education.

CP students undertake a minimum of two IB Diploma Programme (DP) courses, a CP core consisting of four components and a career-related study. For CP students, DP courses provide the theoretical underpinning and academic rigor of the program; the career-related study further supports the program’s academic strength and provides practical, real-world approaches to learning; and the CP core helps them to develop skills and competencies required for lifelong learning.

Schools choose their own externally recognized career-related study. Typical offerings include culinary arts, engineering, health science, business and marketing, but are not limited to these pathways.

Prior to now, schools were required to have the IB Diploma Programme in place   in order to offer the CP.   Beginning in 2016 any school can apply to become a CP school. For further information about the program and how to join the international community of IB World Schools , complete the School information form at:

Thank you to International Baccalaureate for sponsoring the 2015 Spring Meeting!

Today’s Class – Interactive Online Textbook and eLearning Tool

March 16th, 2015

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in April. 

Today’s Class is an interactive online textbook and eLearning resource.  The educational program with learning management system Todays Class Logo- Registred Trademark-1-7-14(1)delivers interactive coursework to school systems and technical institutions. Today’s Class programs are designed with the instructor in mind and enhance an instructor’s curriculum with content, vivid animation, and interactive exercises. The program provides quizzes, final exams, eBooks, and a student time just to name a few features.  By supplying concepts and theory it allows for up to 25% reduction in lecture time, which allows instructors more time for hands-on lab work and in-class demonstrations.

Currently, Today’s Class offers automotive, cosmetology, health science, anatomy & physiology, and agriscience programs.  Assessments are included for automotive, cosmetology, and health science programs.

The cosmetology program aligns with NIC standards that most states base their curriculum from, providing comprehensive theory and step-by-step methodology.  Also included within the program is an assessment to gauge if the student is ready to take their state board exam.

The health science program explores body systems, the protocol for vital sign measurement, emergency response, ethical & legal responsibilities, and other necessary health science courses.

The automotive program covers the eight core NATEF areas, the new Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) series, and other automotive related materials to enhance student development.  The Automotive Service Technician (AST) modules will be released this summer.  Job sheets, crosswalks, and blueprints are included in the automotive modules.

The agriscience program contains: Concepts of Agriscience, Science of Agricultural Animals, Science of Agricultural Plants, Science of Agricultural Environment and Science of Agricultural Mechanization.

Many attendees know Dr. Rod Boyes, a long-time NASDCTEc supporter and President of the organization. Also representing Today’s Class at the meeting will be Peggy Albano – please say hello to them both and learn more about Today’s Class programs and initiatives. Today’s Class is a Gold Level Sponsor at the NASDCTEc Meeting.

Thank you to Today’s Class for being a NASDCTEc Spring Meeting Sponsor!

You Spoke – We Listened. How we’ve Changed the 2015 Spring Meeting

March 11th, 2015

Every year we take your evaluations from previous meetings and adjust our agenda, presentations and topics based on your reviews. Here are some of the ways we’ve made changes to this year’s NASDCTEc Spring Meeting in Washington, DC. For more information, take a look at our full agenda.cherry-blossoms-at-jefferson-150x150

“Suggest in future you think about having interactive breakout sessions. We ask that our teachers engage our students in contextualized…we should do the same.”

Great suggestion! To make sure that there’s a balance between didactic and hands-on learning, we’ve structured this year’s meeting around a variety of keynotes, panels, breakout sessions and discussion roundtables. We want to make sure that you’re hearing from panelists, but encourage you as a CTE leader, to share during these sessions as well.

“How do we change the perceptions of CTE amongst key stakeholders (parents, business, students, administrators, etc.)?”

Though we have come a far way in advocating for CTE as education for all students, we still have work to do. We encourage you to join the Overcoming CTE Myths collaboration roundtable, where you’ll work with your peers to come up with actionable solutions, guided by states leading the way. In addition, we’re hosting a panel Featuring CTE Excellence in the Press, where journalists on the education beat will talk about how to make a successful pitch to press, what has changed in the CTE narrative and how to tell your CTE story.

The conference seemed to be very heavy on secondary CTE. Many of the sessions did not offer enough for those of us in postsecondary or higher education.”

Given the importance of secondary, postsecondary and workforce development engagement in CTE, we have an entire day focused on cross-sector collaboration, as well as other postsecondary-focused content offered throughout the meeting. With panels on federal agency coordination around WIOA implementation and the Higher Education Act, two breakout sessions on efforts to implement career pathway systems and WIOA, and relevant collaboration roundtables, there’s something for everyone.

 “How do states finance CTE through performance-based funding?”

It’s no surprise that in today’s financial climate questions on funding come up again and again. We have some stellar examples of how states are utilizing performance-based funding systems which you’ll learn about from two national experts during one of our concurrent sessions, Paying for Performance: Developing State Performance-Based Funding Systems.

 “We need more discussions around industry certifications and the impact on state programs.”

Employer and industry engagement has been a hot topic this year, and we’re excited to offer two panels and a roundtable discussion on how employers are getting involved at the state and local levels, and, in particular, around credentialing. We’ll also be kicking the meeting off with a keynote address from Chauncy Lennon, Managing Director and Head of Workforce Initiatives at JPMorgan Chase, who will discuss their efforts to close the skills gap.

Registration and discounted hotel rates closes Friday, March 20, so register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Pathways for all – With CTE at the Heart

March 9th, 2015

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in April.

For a very long time, American education has offered an either/or choice for students: Either follow a career track OR enter the (default) baccalaureate track which, while well-intended, is failing LARGE numbers of students. Today’s Pathways model offers a third choice, combining the best of both. And CTE Leaders have an incredible opportunity today to provide leadership in defining and driving the NC3T logo clean largePathways agenda.

At NC3T (National Center for College and Career Transitions), we promote the notion that school districts thrive when they work with employers and postsecondary partners to create a “pathways for all” approach. The Pathways for All approach is more flexible, individualized, and based on the real needs and opportunities in today’s workforce, where skills and knowledge, not years of schooling, leads to meaningful work and family-sustaining earnings.  To accomplish this, each district develops a broad array of pathways, some which are more career- or occupation-specific, and some which are more thematic, like social justice, visual arts, and global leadership.  Ideally, each pathway is designed to lead to several post-secondary options, such as programs leading to certificate programs, associate degrees, and baccalaureate degrees.

To explore this comprehensive Pathways-for-All system, CTE local administrators and state leaders are well positioned (probably best-positioned) to help drive the conversation.  You can drive the Pathways conversation from several entry points, including   Readiness, Teaching and Learning, Effective Employer Engagement, Postsecondary Connections, and Career Development.

Help Define Student Readiness For Work and Life Success
CTE leaders can continue to advance the idea that readiness requires more than academic skills.  Readiness for all students includes Learning Skills, Thinking Skills, Communication Skills, Executive Skills, Persistence and Work Ethic, Interpersonal Competencies, Career Search and Career Management, Civic Awareness and Commitment.

We should stand against definitions that define Career Readiness separately from Postsecondary Readiness.  Yes, there are specific technical skills that are a gateway for certain careers.  But apart from that narrow band of skills, for the most part, the skills and knowledge and attitudes for work success and postsecondary success are the same, but they’re just applied differently based on the learner’s or worker’s context.  A student is really just a worker whose immediate job is learning.

Create Dynamic Teaching and Learning
CTE leaders can work to ensure that CTE teachers learn and apply the most promising and effective teaching practices, utilizing active learning strategies like project-based, problem-based, and inquiry-based learning.  Although CTE content is based on industry-based skills, CTE instruction can easily fall prey to the same trap as a core academic course, in which a teacher “stands and delivers,” conveying information about a career field or the processes of that field, without challenging the students to engage in deeper learning, problem solving, and creativity.  Some CTE teachers deep down may believe that their students can’t learn more deeply, and that simple regurgitation of information and imitation of skills are the best they will be able to accomplish.  This is where strong professional development, and challenging teacher perceptions through collaborative leadership, are essential.

Model effective employer involvement
In a strong pathways system, employers and volunteers are actively involved in classrooms, interacting regularly with students, and helping students get into the workplace.  CTE programs can always get better at utilizing employers in multiple facets of their work.  A good first step is to re-purpose your program Advisory Councils into “Partnership Councils” with the goal of driving deep business-industry involvement in all aspects of instruction, career mentoring, and experiential learning.

Engage leaders from postsecondary education
Each pathway program of study needs active collaboration among teachers and faculty, so that curriculum can be well-aligned and offer early college credits.  CTE teachers and administrators can create the structures and processes for collaboration and recognizing student learning for college credit that others in the school system and colleges can build upon.

Inform Career Exploration
CTE leaders and staff usually have the best understanding and access for career-based information.  They can help inform a comprehensive K-12 career exploration and career development system.

Start the Bigger Conversation
CTE leaders are particularly able, and well-positioned, to develop good working relationships with K-12 system leaders, postsecondary education, and employers. As a result, they are the ideal point people to convene these sectors and begin to explore what a Pathways System looks like.  You can host a business-education summit; create a Readiness-forum among K-12, postsecondary and employers; or call partners together to discuss the merits and challenges of the Pathways-for-All approach.

Positive Momentum
If you’re in the CTE movement, you may already recognize that the wind is behind our backs in this work.  Many educators, parents, and business/community leaders are troubled and looking for better answers: They realize that core standards and testing are necessary, but not sufficient, because alone they do not adequately engage enough students. They recognize that too many students are pursuing college and taking on debt without a realistic career objective. And they understand there is a broad continuum of postsecondary options for which our guidance systems and programs of study don’t match up well. The result is that only 40 percent of our young adults complete an Associate’s degree or BA program, and about half of young adults lack tangible knowledge and skills that are in-demand.

Just promoting college-going isn’t enough: We must promote discovery, exploration and postsecondary education that has purpose.

So, the wind is behind our backs, but it could change direction at any time. We need to act quickly and help build consensus about what a Pathways-for-All system can be in our communities.

Federal rules, regulations and funding are slow in coming, which is why the pioneering leadership we’re seeing at the state and local levels now is so critical. CTE isn’t the full answer, but it is a foundational part of what a pathways system will become, and CTE leaders can help leverage and engage all facets of our education system to create Pathway Systems that work.

Thank you for your indispensable leadership.  We are standing with you.

Hans Meeder, President and Co-Founder
National Center for College and Career Transitions

Thanks to NC3T for being a NASDCTEc Spring meeting sponsor!

This Week in CTE

March 6th, 2015

@CareerBuilder  The title says it all: 13 growing occupations with certifications to boost your hireability and pay grade: .

How Google and Coursera May Upend the Traditional College Degree
Coursera, the online education firm and Google, who needs no introduction, have teamed up to bring together Instagram and a variety of other tech companies to launch microdegrees. These microdegrees will consist of online courses and a hands-on capstone project designed with input from universities and tech industry focused on providing learners less expensive and customizable degrees.

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

NASDCTEc 2015 Spring Meeting!
NASDCTEc’s Spring Meeting is only a month away! Join us in Washington, D.C. to hear from national leaders, work together to build common solutions to problems facing Career Technical Education, get the latest state and federal policy updates, hear from best practice programs of study from across the country and network with State CTE Directors and partnering organizations. Registration closes March 20, so register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

CompTIA: The IT Industry Trade Association

March 6th, 2015

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in April.

CompTIA 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.CompTIA_Logo_Pantone

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.

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.

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.

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!

Thanks to CompTIA for being a NASDCTEc Spring meeting sponsor!

NOCTI: Honoring our Past and Embracing our Future

March 3rd, 2015

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in April.

From our early days 49 years ago as part of the “vocational” teacher certification process, to our current leadership in the areas of technical data-driven instructional improvement, credentialing and digital badging, NOCTI has always been proud to be an important member of the career NOCTI--Navy-11-2009and technical education (CTE) community.  As a non-profit entity lead by a board elected by the 56 state directors of CTE around the country and in US territories, we do our best to stay ahead of the needs of the field we serve. Though we won’t discuss the specifics of those needs in this blog, we will mention how NOCTI is working to provide forward-thinking solutions for the CTE community.

At our core, we consider everyone we work with to be a partner striving to make CTE as strong as it can be.  Recognizing outstanding established and promising CTE teachers and administrators is important to NOCTI and one reason why we provide awards each year to these CTE professionals. NOCTI’s awards focus on the qualities important to our founders and are awarded each year at the ACTE Vision conference.  In addition, we participate in additional opportunities for our students to show off their skills, most recently through the NOCTI-sponsored Video Contest as part of CTE Month.  NOCTI received 44 video submissions from media classrooms across the nation focused on the 2015 theme “Mission CTE.”  Check out the videos here!  Finally, here are a few other resources worth mentioning.

Collaborations: In addition to the numerous industry association partnerships we maintain, we believe that connecting to our community and related communities is critical. NOCTI has close relationships with NASDCTEc and Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) as well as the National Academy Foundation, the International Baccalaureate Program, Mozilla, the National College Test Administrators and the Association of Test Publishers.

Teacher Tests: We continue to fulfill our commitment to expand our current teacher testing battery. We recognize that we are the only organization with the ability to assure that incoming instructors have experiences in all aspects of their particular industry, and that this has always been part of our history. NOCTI has increased its teacher test offerings to reinforce a commitment to this important population.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA): By leveraging our association with the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), NOCTI is able to assess experiences that have occurred outside the classroom through Prior Learning Assessments. This service has been particularly successful with our returning servicemen and servicewomen and community college partners.

Digital Badges: NOCTI currently offers over 120 digital badges. We are collaborating with multiple partners to deliver badges that include both summative and formative structures, as well as badges for both cognitive and hands-on skills.  Badges are also being explored that are based on both asynchronous and synchronous evaluation.  Lastly, we have also started work with a number of our industry partners in building customized badging platforms.

Deep Analytical Reports: By utilizing NOCTI-collected data, we can assist states and regions in identifying which programs–and by extension which teachers–are able to deliver technical instruction that facilitates student competence. What would you do as a curricular leader in your state if you were able to objectively identify the best blueprint reading program in your state? We think we know the answer and we are providing the data to help states get there.

Industry Credentials: All NOCTI assessments are industry credentials and include benchmarks established by industry.  When utilized properly, the assessments provide a way to compare student competence against current industry standards in over 100 unique programs of study.  Local industry practitioners play an important role in assisting with the comparison between knowledge and skills learned and applied.  NOCTI also currently delivers over 40 collaborative industry association credentials.

Contact us at  to see how we can help you. NOCTI is excited to be a Gold sponsor of the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.; be sure to seek us out and say hello!

Thank you NOCTI for sponsoring the 2015 Spring Meeting!

Register today for NASDCTEc’s 2015 Spring Meeting!

February 11th, 2015

The NASDCTEc Spring meeting is just around the corner, so register now!
With confirmed speakers from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, Aspen Institute, Education Week, Education Daily, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Manufacturing Institute, among others, our upcoming Spring meeting is shaping up to be our best yet!

Participants will learn from national experts and each another on topics such as career pathways, private sector credentialing and CTE in the media, and get the latest on federal policy through panels, collaboration roundtables and breakout sessions. Visit our agenda page for more details.

Don’t miss out on this exciting and informative event!

Member registration
Non-member registration

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

2015 Spring Meeting Registration Open

January 15th, 2015

Join us April 8 – 10, 2015 in Washington, DC 2014-11-Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-washington-dc-back-Marko-Berndtfor NASDCTEc’s annual Spring Meeting. This meeting is designed to bring together secondary and postsecondary leaders in Career Technical Education (CTE), as well as national partners and CTE stakeholders to share and learn from one another. Meeting themes include cross-systems collaboration, innovative state solutions and a state and federal policy outlook. We hope you can join us! Get more information on the Spring Meeting’s agenda and logistics on the event homepage.

Be sure to register by February 2 to take advantage of our early bird registration. Members and non-members should register today to secure these special rates.

We look forward to seeing you in April!

Member registration
Non-member registration

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Spring Meeting Recap: CTE a Growing Priority for State Associations

April 9th, 2014

Leaders from three major education associations – representing key state policymakers and education leaders – discussed their growing interest and key initiatives related to CTE on Wednesday April 3 at NASDCTEc’s Spring meeting. The overarching theme from the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE): while CTE hasn’t necessarily been a key area of focus in the past, it certainly is going to be moving forward.

Kristen Amundson, Executive Director of NASBE, noted that given the lack of movement at the federal level on any education policies, including Perkins, the real leverage point is the states. She mentioned some emerging work of NASBE to convene a career council and a tech council, which will pull together state board of education members, CTE educators and leaders, and representatives from business/industry to identify how to best structure state-level CTE policies. She laid out some common challenges with CTE policy – how to measure career readiness, how to break down the “academic” and “CTE” worlds – and that NASBE would also focus on identifying innovative programs and practices to share with their network.

Next, Steven Bowen, Strategic Initiative Director for Innovation at CCSSO, announced a new Career Readiness Task Force being launched this month. This task force – largely instigated by CCSSO’s current chair, Terry Holliday the State Superintendent of Kentucky – will meet over six months to develop a set of recommendations for state CTE policy and touch on Perkins as well. Early areas of focus include standards, secondary-postsecondary alignment, assessing career readiness and addressing barriers to access. Kim Green, NASDCTEc’s executive director, will serve on this task force, along with NASDCTEc’s President John Fischer and Vice President Scott Stump.

Finally, Stephen Parker the NGA’s Legislative Director shared the governors’ perspective on CTE. First he noted that CTE and workforce development were among the most common education priorities identified in the 2014 State of the State addresses (see here and here for NASDCTEc’s take on these addresses). While many governors are exploring state-level policies and levers to support CTE, they have also encouraged the NGA to develop principles for Perkins reauthorization. Last week, coinciding with the Spring meeting, the NGA held conference calls with many State CTE Directors participating to open dialogue. Parker noted that some of the emerging priorities include more state-level flexibility in supporting innovation, a clearer and stronger gubernatorial role, the removal of red tape and the need to address maintenance of effort.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director