Advance CTE Begins a Critical Conversation about Equity at the 2018 Spring Meeting (Part 2)

May 9th, 2018

In alignment with Advance CTE’s work to empower state leaders to advance high-quality CTE policies and programs for each learner, Advance CTE held long overdue equity discussions at the 2018 Spring Meeting to begin an important conversation about how CTE can be leveraged to help promote equitable outcomes for various learner populations.

After a panel discussion on equity in CTE, attendees of the Spring Meeting went to breakout sessions facilitated by partner organizations that focus on equity challenges and allowed for an open and honest dialogue to take place about equity in CTE.

From these breakout sessions, major themes emerged about challenges to achieving equity in CTE, as well as states’ efforts and ideas to address these barriers.

Discussion Theme: Data on CTE and Equitable Outcomes

The inability to connect existing CTE data across systems to measure the outcomes for specific populations makes it difficult to communicate to students, parents, school boards and stakeholders the effectiveness of CTE as a tool for equitable outcomes. Members in multiple sessions mentioned that it is difficult to disaggregate CTE data by race, disability or income level. For many states, data cannot be connected across systems or disaggregated to make claims regarding equitable access or outcomes, which hinders their ability to make informed decisions to ensure equity in CTE.

However, states should not use the lack of data as an excuse; they should be using existing data as a first step in examining equity gaps and strategizing ways to close those gaps.

Discussion Theme: “Vocational Education” Stigma

A common theme from all the sessions was the stigma still surrounding CTE as a result of the history of “vocational education,” which in many situations included the tracking of low-income students and students of color into vocational education programs. State leaders identified the messaging around CTE as a challenge, as they work to rebuild trust in communities where the “tracking” of students was common, and emphasized the importance of communicating that high-quality CTE programs can result in high-wage, high-skill, high-demand jobs.

Some states have made efforts to address the stigma and messaging around CTE. Maryland, Indiana, Washington and New Jersey are participating in the Siemens Foundation initiative with Advance CTE, which involves incorporating nationally tested messages about CTE in a variety of in-person events and virtual campaigns to improve the perception of CTE. Additionally, in the “Serving Students of Color” breakout session, participants suggested that states elevate efforts to build relationships with leaders within communities to spread awareness about the effectiveness of high-quality CTE programs.

Discussion Theme: Lack of Resources for Special Populations

Many sessions recognized that basic necessities such as food and transportation need to be satisfied for special populations to participate and succeed in CTE programs. Attention was drawn to the need for daycare, transportation, food, flexible schedules and financial aid to accommodate diverse populations at the secondary and postsecondary level.

Discussion Theme: Lack of Representation and Cultural Competency within Secondary and Postsecondary Institutions

Participants recognized that instructors often are not representative of their students in regard to income, race, gender and ability status. This, coupled with the general difficulty that institutions face when recruiting and retaining CTE instructors, makes it difficult for programs to recruit teachers that are representative of the population they are educating.

State participants recognize that this lack of representation may hinder certain populations from participating in CTE programs and negatively impact their experience within programs due to feeling isolated or receiving biased treatment. Participants recognized the need for targeted professional development opportunities for instructors to address any potential implicit bias and to promote cultural competency at the institutional level.

These breakout sessions represent the beginning of Advance CTE’s ongoing commitment to promoting equity in CTE. As part of our equity initiative, throughout 2018, Advance CTE will be releasing a series of briefs about equity in CTE.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Advance CTE Begins a Critical Conversation about Equity at the 2018 Spring Meeting

May 3rd, 2018

As part of Advance CTE’s vision, Putting Learner Success First, our organization has challenged the Career Technical Education (CTE) community to continue on the path of fierce dedication to quality and equity so that each learner is empowered to choose a meaningful education and career. Advance CTE recognizes that if we’re going to ask our community to commit to equity in CTE, then we must lead the way.

Our first step was to create the space at our 2018 Spring Meeting to begin this long overdue conversation with our membership about how we define and can achieve equity in CTE.

The conversation began with a panel discussion that featured experts in education and equity from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, the  Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Center for Law and Social Policy and United Way of Delaware.The panelists took a critical look at equity in CTE and examined the history of CTE and tracking students, the stigma around CTE and how equity should be defined within CTE. From this discussion, major themes about equity in CTE emerged:

  • While CTE provides students with a variety of college and career options, institutions need to recognize that their “all are welcome” policies aren’t enough to engage diverse populations.
  • Many institutions are operating with a “compliance mindset” by only focusing on gender equity (largely because of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act). To truly address equity concerns in CTE, institutions must move from a “compliance mindset” to an “improvement mindset.”
  • Equity in CTE cannot only be about achieving proportionate representation in CTE courses. Student outcomes across populations must also be examined.
  • State leaders have control over mechanisms (policy “levers”, program “levers”, funding, partnerships with organizations) that they can use to ensure equity in CTE.

Notably, Kisha Bird from the Center for Law and Social Policy  recognized that while equity is a complex issue in that it is influenced by numerous social, economic and political factors, it is ultimately a simple problem that can be addressed by continually asking the following of any action: Am I creating or breaking down barriers?

The conversation held at the equity panel represents the beginning of Advance CTE’s ongoing commitment to promoting equity in CTE. As part of our equity initiative, throughout 2018, Advance CTE will be releasing a series of briefs about equity in CTE. This post is the first of two blogs that will highlight the equity discussions from the 2018 Spring Meeting.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Advance CTE Explores the Critical State of CTE Research at the 2018 Spring Meeting

April 19th, 2018

At Advance CTE’s 2018 Spring Meeting, the organization hosted the “Critical State of CTE Research” session in response to the need for more robust CTE research.

The session began with a panel of Career Technical Education (CTE) research experts, which included Corinne Alfeld from the Institute of Education Sciences, Tom Bailey from the Community College Research Center, Shaun Dougherty from the University of Connecticut, and Andy Smarick from the American Enterprise Institute. The panel highlighted current CTE research and explored barriers and opportunities to expanding CTE research.

The panelists discussed how CTE practice is far ahead of CTE research, in large part because of the lack of capacity and data access to actually do meaningful research. The panel emphasized the importance of increasing the pipeline of CTE researchers and developing partnerships between states and researchers to actively plan out research questions. The panelists expressed a desire for access to cross-state level data to enable them to make accurate generalizations about CTE and its impact.

Some specific research issues that the panelist were interested in included the noncognitive abilities of CTE students, the earning potential associated with short-term credentials, the specific elements in high school CTE programs that make them effective and Work Colleges, which are liberal art schools that evaluate people on their work in addition to their academics.

Following the panelist discussion, an input session was held where participants broke into small groups and identified priority topics for future research efforts. From these identified topics, the following research themes emerged:

  • Student outcomes, such as graduation rates, employment rates and the relationship between CTE participation and college debt;
  • Evaluating the elements of a high-quality program of study;
  • How to improve the quality of CTE data;
  • Teacher professional development;
  • Updated definitions or descriptive statistics on CTE learners; and,
  • CTE’s short- and long-term return on investment.

Within these themes, a number of interesting research questions emerged. In regards to student outcomes, for example, multiple groups inquired about CTE’s impact on student debt and whether it is actually accurate to make the claim that CTE program completion is associated with less student debt. While certain programs, such as the Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) apprenticeship program, can boast that its participants transitioned into apprenticeships or employment with no student debt, it is unclear whether there is enough data to make the sweeping generalization that CTE program completion at the secondary or postsecondary level is associated with less student debt..

Participants mirrored the panelists and expressed a desire to know what distinct elements of a CTE program have the greatest impact- good or bad- on outcomes. While the defining features of a high-quality CTE program have been identified, it is unclear what elements within those features lead to positive outcomes for learners. Parsing out those elements will allow institutions to improve the quality of their CTE programs and consequently lead to better learner outcomes.

Additionally, in regards to professional development, multiple groups inquired about the best way to prepare CTE instructors to facilitate learning for students with special needs. These questions showcase the desire for CTE to be leveraged to produce positive outcomes for each learner and a recognition that targeted professional development for teachers is critical to achieving equitable outcomes.

The research themes gathered from this 2018 Spring Meeting session will be utilized to help inform future Advance CTE resources as well as potential partnerships with research organizations.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Staff Reflections of the 2018 Spring Meeting: Part 2

April 18th, 2018

Starting with the first day of the meeting, there was a sense of excitement about federal policy – our meeting began within two weeks of Congress’ passage of an omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018. With the first significant increase to the federal investment in the Perkins Basic State Grant in years (read more about this in Advance CTE’s statement), state leaders were eager to discuss how we could build on this momentum and move toward doubling the investment in Career Technical Education (CTE). Meeting attendees channeled this enthusiasm into thinking about how to leverage not only the federal investment, but also the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) itself to advance a statewide vision for CTE.

The Maximizing Perkins to Advance Your State’s Vision for CTE panel featured state leaders who did just that – maximized Perkins to continuously improve CTE and move toward their statewide vision. In the workshops that followed, there was much discussion about how a statewide vision for CTE can kickstart important discussions with partners and stakeholders interested in CTE about student outcomes data, the quality of CTE programs and the degree to which learners have access to such programs. These themes came up often in policy conversations during the Spring Meeting – from the panel that focused on the Higher Education Act reauthorization to the session that featured Kara McKee, the Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Policy. Meeting participants also had the chance to bring up these ideas and more during the View from the Hill Panel, which focused on Perkins reauthorization. This was my favorite part of the Spring Meeting – seeing Advance CTE’s members share their stories and engage with staff for members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee about their ideas and priorities for Perkins reauthorization!  

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

I joined the Advance CTE team two years ago, in April 2016. Since then, Perkins reauthorization has been JUST around the corner. But state leaders don’t need to wait for a new bill to pass to re-envision how CTE can be delivered in their states. Imagine, Perkins was last authorized 12 years ago — predating Tesla, the iPhone and the Great Recession. State plans are long overdue for a refresh.

This year at the Spring Meeting, states began discussions to set and execute new visions for CTE. In partnership with RTI International, our team organized a series of workshops to help states plan around a five-step continuous loop: Vision, Analyze, Plan, Execute and Measure. Action steps include identifying and articulating a clear vision, defining and prioritizing equity, and aligning the state vision for CTE with other statewide priorities. As Congress works to approve a new Perkins bill, there is much work state leaders can do now to set in motion new plans for CTE.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

As usual, the Spring Meeting featured sessions highlighting Advance CTE research, and it was fantastic this year to see such a variety of topics and projects throughout the meeting. During a series of breakouts after lunch on Wednesday, April 4, participants could hear about research related to career advising, teacher recruitment in rural areas, messaging for CTE and work-based learning. Advance CTE has released resources related to all of these topics in the last year and a half, and we continue to learn about and share new state examples and promising practices.

Other Advance CTE research was highlighted throughout the meeting, particularly in Friday’s “Problems of Practice” session, where states presented on specific challenges and participated in facilitated discussions around those challenges. States talked about rural employer engagement, CTE teacher certification and postsecondary readiness indicators, all areas where Advance CTE was able to provide specific insights and practices.

I was especially excited to utilize the Spring Meeting to begin the research for our equity initiative, gathering input from a panel presentation and five breakout sessions focused on specific learner populations. In this way, the role of Advance CTE conferences in our research agenda continues to evolve as we use them to share findings but also gather promising practices.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

CTE advocacy and implementation spans across the federal, state and local levels. The Spring Meeting provided a platform to hear from individuals across the entire spectrum. From Friday’s panel with Congressional staffers and an administration representative, to conversations with local practitioners, I found a common message resonated with all: the desire to create quality and accessible CTE programs.

The Spring Meeting also opened the floor to discussions about the range in progress of implementation of these high-quality CTE programs. The Excellence in Action keynote and award series gave insight into examples of leading CTE programs of study throughout the country, and I enjoyed speaking to the program leaders during the session about their unique local stories. Workshops held on Thursday and Friday opened the floor to discussions on challenges faced at the state level. Attendees were able to share common barriers and offer guidance moving forward.

It was a unique experience to hear from a variety of advocates across different stages of CTE program implementation, and I learned something different from each.

Meredith Hills, Graduate Fellow, Federal Policy

Staff Reflections of the 2018 Spring Meeting: Part 1

April 10th, 2018

Advance CTE’s 2018 Spring Meeting opened with a focus on some of the most critical external factors impacting CTE – in particular labor market demand and the upcoming 2018 elections.

The meeting kicked off with a keynote from Nicole Smith of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce who discussed what “good jobs” are available – specifically those that pay a sustaining wage, offer pathways to advancement and are accessible to individuals with some college but less than a four-year degree – and who currently has access those good jobs. Through a moderated discussion with Chauncy Lennon of JPMorgan Chase & Co., who funded the “Good Jobs Project,” Smith shared some of Georgetown’s major findings, including the rise of health care careers and the fact that women disproportionately “own” about two-thirds of all student loan debt, to the tune of $1 trillion, despite only holding one-third of all good jobs.

The morning then shifted to the first full panel of the meeting, featuring some of Advance CTE’s strongest partners: Steve Bowen on the Council of Chief State School Officers, Anna Davis of National Governors Association and Kermit Kaleba of the National Skills Coalition. With 36 gubernatorial elections happening in 2018, along with a potentially major mid-term election impacting both chambers of the U.S. Congress, all three of the panelists urged Advance CTE and its members to keep up on the positive communications about CTE given its popularity and bi-partisanship. The speakers also encouraged the CTE community to do more to educate policymakers and partners on what CTE, and Perkins, is all about to ensure their support going forward.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director, Advance CTE

This year’s 2018 Spring Meeting was the most highly attended in Advance CTE history. We thank each and every attendee and sponsor for bringing their 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 250 national, state and local CTE leaders joined us April 4-6 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Our attendees represented 27 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands and came from every corner of CTE including secondary, postsecondary, workforce development, adult education and even the philanthropic community and other key partners.  

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

Diamond Level

  • CompTIA
  • Certiport
  • Lincoln Electric
  • Microsoft Imagine Academy
  • Oracle Academy

Platinum Level

  • Manufacturing Skills Standards Council
  • Simulaids

Gold Level

  • NC3T
  • Siemens

Bronze Level

  • CareerSafe
  • Career Solutions Publishing
  • CORD
  • Fleck Education
  • KnowledgeMatters
  • MBA Research
  • Precision Exams
  • RealityWorks
  • Vivayic

Not yet a member? 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 October 22-24 at our Fall Meeting at the BWI Marriott just outside Baltimore, Maryland!

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Congratulations to the 2018 Excellence in Action Award Recipients!

April 9th, 2018

On Friday, we announced the 11 2018 Excellence in Action award recipients that represent some of the best Career Technical Education (CTE) programs in the country.  The awardees were chosen by a selection committee based on their proven ability to exemplify excellence in the implementation of the Career Clusters®, show a true progression from secondary to postsecondary education, provide meaningful work-based learning opportunities, and have a substantial and evidence-based impact on student achievement and success.

Award Winners included:

  • A&M Consolidated High School, TX (Information Technology)
  • Anderson 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center, SC (Transportation, Distribution & Logistics)
  • Carl Wunsche Sr. High School, TX (Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources)
  • Dauphin County Technical School, PA (Architecture & Construction)
  • Granite Technical Institute/Granite School District, UT (Manufacturing)
  • Indian Capital Technology Center, OK (Health Sciences)
  • Nashua Technology Center at Nashua High School South, NH (Arts, A/V Technology & Communications)
  • Saginaw Career Complex, MI (Hospitality & Tourism)
  • Sunrise Mountain High School, AZ (Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security)
  • Traverse Bay Area ISD Career Tech Center, MI (Education & Training)
  • William J. Pete Knight High School, CA (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)

“The programs of study that we are honoring today all share a steadfast commitment to the highest expectations for CTE,” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE. “This dedication to quality and excellence leads to strong learner outcomes, creating opportunities for a lifetime of career and education success. Today’s honorees serve as national models of what high-quality CTE looks like and can achieve.”

Award recipients were honored at the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting, where nearly 30 administrators, educators and students traveled across the country to be recognized in front of state and national leaders.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Sandra Clement, principal of Foy H. Moody High School, a recipient of a 2014 Excellence in Action award, created an inspiring energy in the room as she spoke about the successful CTE programming, and it’s positive impact on the learners at the school..

“I wanted to make sure the change I was making was not only at the school but to our community,” said Dr. Sandra Clement.

She continued, “CTE is not an elective, it is a pathway.” Dr. Sandra Clement also emphasized the importance of recognizing and celebrating the instructors and administrators that contribute to these award-winning programs. “Our classrooms are powered by the hearts of our educators,” she exclaimed.

This was clearly event throughout the ceremony as instructors representing the winning programs shared the success of their programs and their passion for seeing students excel.

“Those who can do, but those who inspire teach!” said Bart Taylor, Information Technology teacher at A&M Consolidated High School.


Learn more about the 2018 Excellence in Action awards here.

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: New MSSC High School Pre-apprenticeship

April 3rd, 2018

High-quality Feeder System for Manufacturing Registered Apprenticeships

The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council is proud to announce a new High School Pre-Apprenticeship Program for manufacturing, which includes 560 hours of “Earn and Learn” On-the-Job Learning over summer semesters during junior and senior year. It is an excellent preparation for the 3,000-hour Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) Registered Apprenticeship Program that embeds the MSSC Certified Production Technician (CPT).


The U.S. Department of Labor recently approved this program as a nationwide quality pre-apprenticeship. An earn-and-learn competency-based program, that takes place over 2 years. It consists of:

  • Related Training: 80 hours junior year and 80 hours senior year
  • On the Job Learning (OJL): 280 hours (8 weeks) in the summer of junior year and 280 hours (8 weeks) in the summer of senior year, for which the student will receive a stipend.

During Related Training, candidate earns the industry-recognized, nationally portable MSSC Certified Production Technician (CPT) or the hands-on CPT+ based upon the new and highly innovative Amatrol “Skill Boss” training device (see brochure). CPT+ is an additional option under the CPT program.

MSSC suggests that the participating employer pay $2800 per year per candidate for this program: $1000 goes to the high school (or partnering community college) for the Related Training and $1800 goes towards the student summer stipend (about $6.50 per hour). This covers the student’s 80 hours per summer semester of OJL. The 2-year total employer contribution is $5600 per student.

Relationship to Manufacturing Registered Apprenticeships, especially IMT

MSSC CPT is a Related Instruction provider for more than sixty 3,000-hour registered apprenticeship programs in the U.S. for the occupation of Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT). While partnered with IMT, the MSSC Pre-Apprenticeship can serve as a high-quality feeder system for most 3,000 hour+ Registered Apprenticeships in manufacturing.

Traditionally focused on two-year colleges, MSSC is becoming increasingly active in high school settings with currently 230 actively participating high schools in the MSSC Certified Production Technician (CPT) and Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) programs. MSSC delivers its training and certification services through 2200 MSSC-authorized Instructors and 1150 MSSC Authorized Assessment Centers, mostly at community colleges and secondary schools, in 49 states.

If you are interested in potentially participating in either the new MSSC High School Pre-Apprenticeship or the IMT U.S. DOL Registered Apprenticeship Program, please e-mail or call Catherine Feeney, MSSC Marketing Manager, 703-739-9000, ext. 2222
The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC), a 501(c)3 non-profit, is an industry-led, training, assessment and certification system focused on the core skills and knowledge needed by the nation’s front-line production and material handling workers. For details, see

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: Addressing the CS, STEM and Employability Skills Gap Nationally: CTE Leadership and Alliance

April 2nd, 2018

This post is written by Microsoft, a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Technology skills requirements are rapidly changing in the workforce. Skills and learning including technology skills that used to be important for a narrow band of students pursuing computer science or technology curriculum are now priorities across the education spectrum. Jobs require increasing technical skills across all sectors from health care to banking to marketing. In fact, it’s increasingly difficult to think of a position or career that is not touched in some way by technology.

Meanwhile, today’s global youth unemployment rate is 13.1% and rising. 50% of today’s jobs require depth technology skills and this is predicted to increase to more than 77% in less than a decade. According to an IT labor shortage report, there will be 6.2 million new IT jobs by 2022, most in cloud-related fields.  We also know that 71% of jobs classified as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related are in computing fields or the “T” in STEM. Yet, only 8% of graduates are enrolled in the relevant Computer Science programs in universities. And it’s a challenge that starts earlier and raises a good question as to how Microsoft and others in the industry can collaborate with educators and government leaders in the US and globally to help equip younger learners (and educators) in K-12 with resources to help fill the future pipeline for technical skills.

Microsoft is committed to making this space of technical and employability skills education in schools a priority across the US and in markets around the globe. A key part of that focus is collaboration and alliance with the mission of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the US and represented in multiple, ongoing partnerships Microsoft has formed with state leaders and CTE programs across the country.

Microsoft’s hallmark 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 – factors relevant to governors and policy-makers in states and communities across the US. With schools engaging for the employability skills priority in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico,

Microsoft and its certification partner Certiport, a Pearson VUE Business, are focused on a highly impactful formula for institutions, educators and students to incorporate both the latest technology skills curriculum and industry validation leading to skills for success and career preparation for students

A key focus of the Microsoft Imagine Academy program is also on state and school leaders looking to transition their education systems to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive global economy. A critical part of that digital transformation in schools is preparing teachers for technology and innovation adoption in the classroom. Microsoft Imagine Academy designed with student outcomes in mind and also built to provide educators the resources they need to bring practical, applied technical learning to the classroom and blended learning experiences globally.

Microsoft Imagine Academy provides industry aligned curricula and certifications to train and validate students and educators competencies for high-demand technologies .The program focus is on four in-demand learning and career pathways of  study: Computer Science, Data Science, IT Infrastructure, and Productivity.

Program courses are available online and can be used for classroom instruction, blended learning and self-paced learning. Each school membership includes access to more than 150 cloud and classroom-based courses for students, staff and educators and helps prepare learners for Microsoft’s globally recognized industry certifications:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
  • Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
  • Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE)

Today’s Imagine Academy is utilized in more than 16,000 academic institutions around the world, reaches 8.5 million students and educators annually, and last school year helped deliver 2.3M certification exams in academic institutions around the world.

Thank you to the many state CTE leadership teams Microsoft is already collaborating with for success. Through alliances with state leaders and the energized support of CTE programs nationally, thousands of students each year are participating in the premier Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) championships competition and gaining strong preparation for future college and careers.  Microsoft is proud to support the mission of CTE programs nationally and looks forward to further alliance with state leaders in helping prepare the next generation workforce for success.

“Thanks to the NCDPI’s partnership with Microsoft… teachers are improving their technology knowledge; and students are building the twenty-first century skills that will make them more marketable to future employers.” – Dr. June Atkinson, former North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: CompTIA is at the Forefront of Helping Prepare Students to Become Job-ready

April 2nd, 2018

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

Currently, there are more than 600,000 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!  There is NO industry which doesn’t have IT needs.

Did you know:

  • Median IT job salaries are nearly $40,000 higher than non-IT jobs
  • The global IT industry now exceeds $5 TRILLION and is expected to grow 5% in 2018
  • 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 website  This site was developed from a grant from the National Initiative for CyberSecurity Education (NICE) and data from Burning Glass.  The 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 an 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, and are the largest vendor-neutral IT certification body in the world
  • Our certifications are recognized globally
  • Our Academy Partner Program works with secondary and post-secondary schools to support their efforts to train and certify students
  • We now have our own CompTIA Training Strategies Group, which can do custom training for trainers or 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.

Advance CTE Spring Meeting Sponsor Blog: Lincoln Electric is Ready to Help You Train the Welding Workforce of Tomorrow

March 30th, 2018

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

According to the American Welding Society, 30,000 new welders must enter the workforce each year to keep up with demand and offset retirements, and more than 10 times as many jobs will need to be filled during the next 10 years. This equates into abundant opportunities in a variety of welding disciplines for students looking to begin a career in the trades.

But the welding profession is evolving, as is the definition of knowing how to weld.

To remain competitive globally, today’s manufacturers require welders with experience in more types of welds than ever before, as well as an understanding of robotic automation, advanced equipment, exotic materials, specialized code certification, welding theory and welding procedure specifications.

As the welding profession evolves, so, too, does education.

Welding booths and Statiflex weld fume extraction system at Lincoln Electric’s Welding Technology and Training Center.

In its second century of welding education, Lincoln Electric is responding to this evolution by offering U/LINC®, the industry’s most comprehensive curriculum, immersing students in the latest techniques and theories related to welding and cutting.

Our new Lincoln Electric Welding Technology and Training Center (WTTC) in Cleveland, Ohio, provides students with access to the most innovative welding solutions. In this showcase welding school environment, students learn on the latest advanced equipment, modes and processes. Advanced training is available on waveform technology, automation, production monitoring and metallurgy.

Students will leave the WTTC with both a better knowledge base about welding and about the underlying theories and rules behind specific processes. And educators, who typically come from industry with little or no background in teaching, will learn how to develop lesson plans, engage students, and adopt best practices in lab and classroom activities and take that knowledge back to their own schools. Industrial teams can tailor training around specific weld qualifications, equipment or knowledge needs. Welding, civil and manufacturing engineers seeking professional development will enhance their understanding of design with welding in mind.

Lincoln Electric is excited to play a leading role in the education and development of future generations of welders as we have for more than 100 years. We stand ready to deliver the highly skilled and knowledgeable welding leaders that industry demands.

Learn more about the complete portfolio of Lincoln Electric welding education equipment, curriculum, education discounts, educator professional development, welding simulators and more at: