Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: Certiport Discusses Training Digital Natives for Academic and Workplace Success

March 26th, 2018

Below is a guest blog from Advanced CTE’s Diamond Sponsor, Certiport, a Pearson VUE Business. Certiport will host an evening of drinks and hors-d’oeuvres at a hospitality suite Wednesday, April 4, from 4:30 – 7:00 PM in Room 835 of the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Training Digital Natives for Academic and Workplace Success

Although today’s digital natives have grown up immersed in technology, many do not know how to use productivity tools intelligently and efficiently. Students may know how to navigate Google and use a cell phone with ease, but can they format a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet?  Can they use Adobe Photoshop to cut out an unintended passerby in a photo?  Knowing how to use basic, ubiquitous technology tools is essential for academic and workplace success.

Succeeding in the Modern Workplace

Basic digital literacy skills are required in virtually every industry, but students often enter the workforce without them.  Code.org projects there will be an estimated 1 million more computing jobs than applicants who can fill them by 2020, based on estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on job creation and estimates of college graduation rates by the National Science Foundation.

This is why performance-based digital literacy certifications — such as Microsoft Office Specialist, Adobe Certified Associate, and Certiport’s IC3 Digital Literacy Certification — are critical for students.  Certification validates basic technology skills, giving students a leg up as they apply to college and start a career.

Succeeding in School

The benefits of certification are numerous – several studies show that students who earn certification have an increased graduation rate, higher G.P.A., increased post-secondary enrollment and improved confidence.  The Florida Career and Professional Education department performance report in particular shows an average G.P.A. of 3.09 for students with certification compared to 2.72 for students without certification.  An impressive 97.2% of students with certification graduate compared to 83.9% of students without.

Learn More

Certiport hosts the annual CERTIFIED Educator Conference, the perfect place to learn how much technology certification can impact your classroom, your career, and the lives of your students.  Learn more about attending the event from June 13 – 15 in Atlanta, Georgia at www.certiport.com/certified.

We also invite you to read more about the need for foundational technology skills in the issue brief that will be included in your Advance CTE Spring Meeting conference bag.  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
  • Autodesk Certified User
  • QuickBooks Certified User
  • IC3 Digital Literacy Certification
  • IC3 Spark
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Please join us the evening of Wednesday, April 4 for hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and discussion at our hospitality suite (Room 835 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel) from 4:30 – 7:00 PM.

We look forward to visiting with you at the Spring Meeting.

Eldon Lechtenberg, Vice President, Sales-Americas
Mike Maddock
, VP, Microsoft Volume Licensing Business – Americas
Lori Monson
, Senior Director, NOAM Sales
Brent Clark
, Director, Strategic Accounts – NOAM

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: Oracle Academy Reflects on CTE

March 14th, 2018

This post is written by the Oracle Academy, a Diamon Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

One of the many advantages of being the North America Oracle Academy Regional Director, is the opportunity to spend time talking with education leaders at the State, K12 District, school site, and post-secondary level from all over the nation. I spend time learning, sharing ideas, celebrating successes, and understanding challenges that these leaders face each day. These conversations and experiences are often the most exciting yet humbling part of my job. February is celebrated as CTE Month and this year, I found myself reflecting on the impact that Career Technical Education (CTE) has on our students both now and in the future. A few thoughts to share are:

Reflection #1: CTE continues to evolve to meet changing needs. State and District leadership continue to strive to build sustainable and real-world CTE Pathways that lead our students to college and career success.  It’s the CTE leadership that can both anticipate and leverage, through research and relationships, the corporate workforce need and then translate that need into CTE pathways for students to pursue. Many of these pathways include applicable industry certifications, apprenticeship/internships, and defined articulation programs with feeder post-secondary institutions. At Oracle Academy, we work to ensure our resources continue to support the needs of CTE leadership through curriculum and certification opportunities that reflect industry needs.

Reflection #2: Collaboration between local industry and education leadership continue to drive CTE student success. This isn’t a new concept but what I’ve noticed is an uptick in our education and industry leadership working together to create applicable internships, apprenticeships, and mentorships to support the interest of our students. I’ve heard over and over again the importance that these roles play in supporting and creating sustainable CTE programs.  At Oracle Academy, our role revolves around building the best classroom resources for the student and teacher so that their content knowledge and often times, confidence, is foundationally strong so that attainment of first time internships and/or apprenticeships are successful.

Reflection #3: A focused effort and persistence will prevail!  As we all know, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is critical to ensuring that quality and sustainable CTE programs meet the changing needs of learners and employers. This act works to improve the academic and technical achievement of CTE students, helps to strengthen the bridge between secondary and post-secondary, and balances the student need with that of a new economy.  As parents, educators, and leaders, it’s our duty to encourage organizations, like CareerTech, that advocate on behalf of CTE programs as well as the teachers and students dedicated to CTE success. Oracle Academy supports this mission by continuing to provide our world-class student-facing curriculum and educator professional development – aligned to the IT Career Cluster Pathway – for FREE.

For those of you not familiar, Oracle Academy is Oracle’s flagship program in education philanthropy, currently supporting more than 3.5 million students annually in 120 countries. We advance computing technology education to increase knowledge, skills development, innovation and diversity in computing fields by providing:

Two years ago, we introduced Oracle Certified Junior Associate certifications in database and Java; these certification exams align to our Java Foundations and Database Foundations courses and are specifically designed with students in mind to help support internship, summer job, and first job applications.

Oracle Academy exists to improve the computing technology skills of young people, globally! If we strengthen the computing technology pathway between secondary, post-secondary, and career, we are essentially strengthening the future for our children!

Career Technical Education holds a very special place in my heart and I hope this blog reflects both the love and respect that I have for CTE programs and its significant impact on student achievement!

Register Now for the 2018 Spring Meeting

January 10th, 2018

Join us April 4 – 6 in Washington, DC for the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting to learn, network and engage with more than 200 Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across the country. This year’s conference is poised to be one of Advance CTE’s best, where you can expect to:

  • Hear the latest about Congress’ efforts to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act;
  • Network with CTE leaders from the local, state and national level;
  • Collaborate with your peers to share best practices and find cross-state solutions to common CTE challenges; and
  • Celebrate innovative and effective programs of study during our 5th annual Excellence in Action award ceremony and luncheon.

Register before February 9 and receive $100 off your registration.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Staff Reflects on the 2017 Spring Meeting Part 3

May 16th, 2017

Earlier this  month, we held the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting, which brought over 200 participants from across the country together to dive into all things CTE. From digging into new research to updates on federal policy, hear what our staff had to say as they reflected on this year’s meeting in this three-part series. 

This year’s Spring Meeting was one of Advance CTE’s largest to date, and featured a strong, forward-looking agenda that covered the biggest issues in CTE today. We had not one – but two keynote speakers and a range of panels and small group discussions designed to support leaders in strengthening their state systems and increasing access and opportunity for all learners.

More than 200 national, state and local leaders came together from across the country, including 41 State CTE Directors. We saw attendees – many of whom are Advance CTE members – from 48 states, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This great turnout is a personal point of pride for me as the staff person in charge of our professional development offerings and member engagement.

It also makes me excited for our future meetings. Starting on July 1, the Advance CTE state membership will expand to include up to five individuals. So far, 41 states have exercised this new member benefit, which will cover 136 additional individuals along with the State Directors. Nearly two-thirds of these individuals are new members of Advance CTE, and hail from across the continuum of CTE.

The prospect of these new members make it an exciting time to be a part of Advance CTE, and bring with them the opportunities for us to connect members based on their role in CTE to bring new dimensions to the cross-state sharing and networking that is the cornerstone of our organization.

Not yet a member? Today is the perfect day to join “the family”! Member benefits include discounted meeting registration, which you can use at our next in-person meeting.

We hope to see all of you October 16-18 at our Fall Meeting at the BWI Marriott just outside Baltimore, Maryland!

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Over the past few weeks, I have had the great pleasure of interviewing our 11 Excellence in Action award winners about their amazing programs of study, bringing their applications to life (you can read the two-pagers we created for each program based on their interview here). What is clear is that every program is led by dedicated and enthusiastic educators and administrators that deliver innovative and rigorous programs of study uniquely tailored to their students. These programs provide their students with the ability to find their passions while still in high school, all while earning credits, certifications, and networking with employers.

Earlier this month, we honored these 11 programs at our awards ceremony during the 2017 Spring Meeting. Hailing from 10 states and spanning 11 Career Clusters, they collectively serve over 1,500 students by providing high-quality programs that prepare learners for future success in their education and career goals. 25 program leaders representing education and industry came from as far as California to be recognized by Advance CTE and the over 200 state leaders in attendance.

State CTE Directors introduced each program, and recognized them for seamlessly combining academic coursework and real-life, hands on experiences with industry experts; supported transitions from secondary to postsecondary education, all backed up by incredible data. I encourage you to read more about each program, and look to them as models in the country.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

Staff Reflects on the 2017 Spring Meeting Part 2

May 10th, 2017

Last week, we held the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting, which brought over 200 participants from across the country together to dive into all things CTE. From digging into new research to updates on federal policy, hear what our staff had to say as they reflected on this year’s meeting in this three-part series. 

As the topic of career readiness continues to gain prominence in state policy conversations, state and local CTE leaders have been increasingly interested in career advising and counseling as strategies for improving career readiness. In response to that interest, Advance CTE had two sessions at our Spring Meeting on counseling.

The first was our keynote speaker on the second day of the meeting, 2017 School Counselor of the Year, Terri Tchorzynski. Terri, a school counselor at the Calhoun Area Career Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, spoke about how she uses data to plan interventions that support students’ needs not just emotionally, but academically as well. For me, it was informative to hear her discussions on the stigmas and perceptions facing both CTE and counseling, and her superhero examples led to an unofficial theme for the day – describing the people who do this work on the ground in schools as true superheroes.

The second session that day on counseling was a breakout led by Jill Cook, Assistant Director of the American School Counselor Association. In her session, Jill led a discussion with our members on the role counselors can and should play in schools, and how they can support CTE. This information seemed particularly relevant given the report just released on the attitudes of students and parents when it comes to CTE. I’m excited to continue this conversation and find ways for counselors and CTE leaders to work together and help learners.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

 

At last year’s spring meeting we debuted new candies printed with the brand-new Advance CTE logo. We jokingly referred to these as “Advance-mints” in recognition of the new name.

Candy-related puns aside, advancement was a clear and unspoken theme at the 2017 spring meeting. This year’s conference explored thorny issues, celebrated exemplar programs and continued to advance an ambitious agenda centered around the organization’s Putting Learner Success First vision for the future of CTE.

On Tuesday afternoon, Advance CTE coordinated five concurrent workshop sessions, building on a new idea introduced at the October convening. These sessions were designed to help participants go deep on a particular issue and work through challenges with experts in the field. Each session took a different approach — some included panel discussions, while others required participants to roll up their sleeves and work on material they could take back to their states. But the aim of each session was the same: to inspire deep thinking and idea sharing and advance the caliber of the field.

The topics for the five sessions included:

  • Determining Quality Industry-Recognized Credentials
  • Driving Continuous Improvement through Meaningful Local Program Evaluation
  • Finding the Right Message for Students and Parents
  • Input Session: CTE Program Approval Policy Framework
  • Using Career Readiness Data to Drive Student Success

I attended “Driving Continuous Improvement,” which was developed and run by Sandra Staklis and Laura Rasmussen Foster at RTI International. Through a technical assistance contract with the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), RTI has been working with different states to identify relevant metrics and design rubrics to support monitoring and accountability at the local level. In North Carolina, RTI helped design a CTE program evaluation instrument that local districts have since been using to evaluate the quality and health of their programs. In Wyoming, a similar rubric is being used to facilitate regional conversations, using data to explore continuous improvement opportunities.

In the session, we unpacked trends RTI uncovered in their work, and helped participants explore potential metrics to use in their own states. At my table, we decided to prioritize student success outcomes, pulling out metrics such as the “percentage of CTE students enrolling in postsecondary without requiring remediation” and “percentage of CTE students employed in high wage, high demand fields after graduation.” Although these indicators are often the hardest to measure, they are no less important in determining program success.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

College and Career Indicators: How Do You Define CTE Completion?

April 27th, 2017

This post is written by Harris School Solutions, a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

As we draw near to the end of another school year, we should be asking ourselves, “Have we prepared this year’s graduates to really be ‘college and career ready?’” To answer that question, we first must decide what, exactly, that phrase really means.

Nearly every state in the nation is on a fast and furious quest to answer this question. College and Career Indicators (CCI) have emerged, as each state is defining various criteria that can be measured to validate “college and career readiness.” In today’s world of data crunching, this phrase should not be just a subjective evaluation; it must be quantifiable, based on specific and measurable student outcomes.

Some examples of CCI are more easily measured. Business internships give students real-world work experience. Practical-skill attainment based on robust CTE Programs of Study can lead to increased student engagement. Industry credentials can be earned before a student graduates from high school.

However, one of the most highly sought after CCIs remains elusive and difficult to define: CTE completion. While everyone wants to claim their students have “completed” a career pathway or program of study, what exactly does this mean? Some states define it by the number of hours a student is enrolled in a given pathway. Others base it on the amount of curriculum completed, where 70 percent is often a universally accepted threshold of proficiency.

CTE completion rates are complicated by the fact that different states offer CTE programs during different intervals of secondary education. High schools that specialize in CTE often provide three- or four-year programs of study, where students can accumulate 360-400 hours of concentrated CTE study per year. In traditional high schools, students may take a CTE course for only two or three hours per week in a given semester, accumulating, on average, 180 hours of study. Some practitioners feel it’s important to distinguish between enrollment duration and attendance hours. If a student is absent for two weeks, she potentially could lose 30 or more hours of seat time, thus affecting her ability to “complete.”

Regardless, if our quest is to measure whether a student is truly “college and career ready,” then expressing these various metrics in a universal dashboard is critical. Though the goal of consensus may be ambitious, aggregating data to share CTE outcomes is nonetheless a necessity for objective comparison and subsequent improvement. Furthermore, interpreting the data to help key stakeholders – students and parents – understand the value of a CTE education will help students to realize the opportunity for high-skill, high-wage, high-demand careers.

California has taken the lead in creating a CTE College and Career Indicator Dashboard. The Association of Career and College Readiness Organizations (CAROCP) is trailblazing an initiative to define what deems a student to be “college and career ready.” What makes the California initiative impressive is that it is a grassroots movement; a group of 11 pilot sites have published the first edition of a California CCI Dashboard. They started with simple metrics, but have gained the attention of the California Department of Education. In fact, superintendents from across California recently marched into the State Capitol, armed with mobile devices, sharing evidence of CTE student success using the CCI Dashboard. The Senators loved it – and asked for more.

We know all students must be “college and career ready” by the time they graduate. By striving to utilize our CTE data in meaningful and productive ways, we can help others to realize the benefits that a CTE education has to offer today’s students in accomplishing that goal. But that only happens if we, as CTE educators, commit our time, resources, and energy to ensuring “college and career ready” stands for something more than just words – we must translate it into numbers.

To learn more about how your state can collect and measure College and Career Indicators, please contact Kathy Ritch, Harris School Solutions, at kritch@harriscomputer.com.

Computer Skills No Longer Optional

April 21st, 2017

This post is written by the Certiport, a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

It’s easy to think of the millennial generation, those born roughly between 1982 and 2002, as tech-savvy digital natives — and in many ways they are. Immersed in consumer technology since birth, today’s youth has mastered the art of the swipe, the selfie and social media. So it may come as a surprise that millennials often lack essential digital skills needed to succeed in the workplace — be it a conventional office setting, an auto mechanic’s shop, or in a tractor on a farm.

Technology: Ubiquitous in Every Industry

Digital technology has extended its reach into every field imaginable — and it isn’t limited to white collar careers. Ninety-six percent of working Americans use new communications technologies as part of their daily life, while 62 percent use the internet as an integral part of their jobs.1 Nearly all industries today require at least some on-the-job interaction with a digital device, including sectors the general public often doesn’t consider technology dependent.

Succeeding in the Modern Workplace

Basic digital literacy skills are requisite in virtually every industry everywhere you go, but students often enter the workforce without them. This is why performance-based digital literacy certifications — such as Certiport’s IC3 Digital Literacy Certification — are critical for both employers and students.

“A certificate provides an excellent opportunity for kids to reach a goal. There’s a lot of discipline in obtaining a certificate, and a lot of structure in certificate programs. These elements help students become successful at whatever they pursue beyond high school.”
–Dan Ramirez, National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3)

Learn More

We invite you to read more about the need for globally-recognized, third-party validated digital literacy skills in the issue brief that will be included in your Advance CTE Spring Meeting conference bag.

Certiport offers performance- and knowledge-based certification exams, as well as courseware and practice materials for the following programs:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist
  • Microsoft Technology Associate
  • Adobe Certified Associate
  • Autodesk Certified User
  • QuickBooks Certified User
  • IC3 Digital Literacy Certification
  • IC3 Spark
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business NEW
  • ToonBoom Certified Associate NEW

Please join us Tuesday evening for drinks and discussion at our hospitality suite (Room 825 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel) from 5 to 7 PM. Click here to RSVP.

We look forward to visiting with you at the Spring Meeting.

Eldon Lechtenberg, Vice President, Sales-Americas
Mike Maddock, VP, Microsoft Volume Licensing Business – Americas
Lori Monson, Senior Director, NOAM Sales
Brent Clark, Director, Strategic Accounts – NOAM

 

 

CompTIA: Helping Student Success in IT Careers

April 10th, 2017

This post is written by CompTIA, a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Currently, there are more than 500,000 open IT jobs and not nearly enough qualified candidates to fill them.  Does anyone anticipate this number going down?  We certainly don’t.  As everything becomes more and more connected—lightbulbs, appliances, smart grids—the need also increases to maintain and secure these connections.  In addition, IT is everywhere!  Is there any industry that doesn’t have IT needs?

Did you know:

  • Median IT job salaries are nearly $40,000 higher than non-IT jobs
  • By the end of 2017, the global IT industry will exceed $5 TRILLION
  • According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IT Security Analyst position is the fastest growing job they have ever seen
  • 85 percent of executives indicate there is an IT skills gap in their business

A great way to visualize the size of the skills gap is to visit the new CompTIA sponsored website  www.CyberSeek.org.  This new site includes very recent job data to illustrate the need for  qualified cyber workers by state, region and nation.  There is also a cyber pathway tool that shows specific cyber jobs, salaries and openings in the US.

We need to work together to help students and educators understand the vast opportunities in technology careers.  Employers are looking for candidates that can demonstrate the skills needed to fill technology positions in almost every industry sector.

Providing students with the proper preparation AND a recognized industry recognized credential will help them stand out during their career search.  Keeping skills current and relevant is a challenge, but one answer is to ensure that they obtain Industry-Recognized Certifications.  More than 72 percent of businesses say they believe IT skills certifications are becoming more important.  CompTIA is at the forefront of helping prepare students to become job-ready:

  • We have certified more than 2 million individuals worldwide
  • Our certifications are recognized globally
  • We are the largest vendor-neutral IT certification body in the world
  • Our Academy Partner Program works with secondary and post-secondary schools to support their efforts to train and certify students

What can you do NOW to help properly prepare students for a rewarding IT career?  It must first start in our high schools:

  • Instructors need to be certified in the certifications they are teaching
  • Help students understand the importance recognized certification credentials;
  • Certifications=Jobs, and most colleges provide credit for industry-recognized certifications towards a degree
  • Combine classroom-based instruction with work based learning opportunities—apprenticeships, visits to local businesses, etc.

CompTIA is here to help!  Our Academy Partner Program (free to schools) provides:

  • Complimentary instructor vouchers and CertMaster online learning companion
  • Significantly discounted certification vouchers for students
  • CompTIA Instructor Network community to network with other teachers and provide webinars on how to teach our certifications.
  • Research, posters case studies and other resources

Working together, we can help students get started towards an exciting career in the tech industry.  Please stop by our tabletop to learn more.

Hear from over 25 CTE leaders at the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting

March 15th, 2017

Join us May 2 – 4, 2017 in Washington, D.C. four our annual Spring Meeting bringing together Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across the country for two and a half days of panels, breakout sessions and networking opportunities. This year’s meeting will feature over 25 leaders in CTE tackling issues from Perkins reauthorization to expanding access to CTE in rural communities.

As the new administration takes shape, it’s critical to stay up-to-date on how these changes may affect your state. This year’s meeting includes panels discussing timely topics such as:

  • Leveraging the Every Student Succeeds Act to Drive Career Readiness for All;
  • Reauthorizating the Higher Education Act; and
  • CTE and School Choice

Register Today! 

Not an Advance CTE Member? Become one today and save $175 on registration!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Explore major trends in student engagement at the 2017 Spring Meeting

February 14th, 2017

Advance CTE Keynote Will Explore Student Engagement

For years, Gallup has polled high school and college students, recent graduates and their parents to gauge their perceptions, aspirations and experiences within the U.S. education system. In this session, hear from Tim Hodges, Ph.D., Director of Research for Gallup’s Education Practice, as he leans on years of research to share what students, parents and employers want.

Early bird registration for the 2017 Spring Meeting ends in two weeks! Register today to save $100.

In case you missed it last week, we released an agenda packed with informative panels, engaging breakout sessions and impactful small-group discussions exploring the latest in federal policy and trends in CTE. Register today to save $100 on your registration!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

 

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