Archive for February, 2010

Senate Committee Examines WIA Reauthorization, Experts Call for Postsecondary Support

Friday, February 26th, 2010

While talks on Capitol Hill suggest that the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is being held up by health care legislation, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) on Wednesday reminded attendees that President Obama has declared job creation the nation’s priority.

“That’s why we must act swiftly to ensure that American workers have the education, training skills and support to compete and thrive in the 21st century global job market,” Harkin said.

At the hearing, A Stronger Workforce Investment System for a Stronger Economy, education and workforce experts urged the HELP committee to recognize the significant role WIA plays in the nation’s economic recovery. The hearing is the first of a series that the committee plans to hold as Congress considers reauthorization of WIA.

The witnesses, who included Anthony Carnevale Director of Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, and Robert Templin, President of Virginia Community College, pressed the committee to provide the resources and services that enable individuals to earn credentials or degrees – the ticket to career entry and advancement.

To provide those opportunities, Carnevale said the Obama Administration has provided a “strong start” in aligning the Department of Labor and the Department of Education by asking for a set aside of $261 million to break down program silos and create Workforce Innovation Partnerships.

“The mismatch between job growth and skill is a growing problem in the American economy,’ Carnevale said in his testimony. “Thus, our ability to align our huge investments in postsecondary education and training programs funded by DOE with job openings and labor market services funded by DOL has become crucial.”

Templin echoed Carnevale’s emphasis on postsecondary training, but also added that such programs must prepare students with a broad educational and training base in which they may build upon.

“Without broader foundational knowledge, postsecondary-level training, a portable credential and actual job experience, narrowly focused skill development too often results in a one-way ticket to entry level jobs that are the first to the lost at the next technology innovation or economic downturn,” Templin said in his testimony.

The experts’ recommendations align with the strategies already in place for CTE programs of study, which maps out a comprehensive approach to education and training. As Congress moves forward with its reauthorization efforts in WIA, we hope they hear the message that all students will need to have access to quality education and training programs prior to entering the workforce.

View NASDCTEc’s WIA recommendations.

By Erin in Legislation, Public Policy
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Senate Passes Jobs Bill 70-28

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

After invoking cloture on the jobs bill on Monday, which would prevent a filibuster, the Senate passed the bill yesterday in a vote of 70 to 28. Thirteen Republicans joined 55 Democrats and two independents to vote for the bill, with Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska the only Democrat to vote against it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledged that there is still work to be done: “We need to do more and we understand that. The road to recovery is a very long one. Today’s progress is a small step forward but an important step forward.” Democrats must now reconcile the differences between the $15 billion Senate bill and the much larger $154 billion House jobs bill.

Next on the jobs agenda, Senate Democrats intend to introduce a travel and tourism promotion bill that would create 40,000 new jobs in the service sector and 240,000 other jobs. Reid said he would also propose a Federal Aviation Administration bill that would create “thousands” of jobs.  Democrats will also advance a package of short-term extensions of expiring tax credits, increased federal Medicaid assistance to states and a small-business assistance bill.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Report: Dual Enrollment, Career Academies among CTE Elements in Path to College and Beyond Explored

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Success At Every Step

Success At Every Step

Career Academies, dual enrollment, and enhanced math-in-CTE are highlighted in the American Youth Policy Forum’s (AYPF) new publication, Success at Every Step: How 23 Programs Support Youth on the Path to College and Beyond, which profiles programs that have been proven to help young people complete high school and be prepared for success in postsecondary education and careers, based on the results of recent, high-quality evaluations. The findings of the report showcase a variety of programs that support college- and career-readiness, exploring implications for federal and state policy.

By Ramona in Publications
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Let’s Get Vocal About WIA Reauthorization

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Yesterday, I met with a staffer on the House Education and Labor Committee, which oversees the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). He reinforced what we have suspected for some time now – reauthorization of WIA is being held up by healthcare as resources, time and attention are directed towards that monumental piece of legislation. He reviewed NASDCTEc’s WIA recommendations prior to our meeting and suggested that the best thing our members could do now is to contact their Congressman and urge them to reauthorize WIA. Tell your Congressman why WIA is important to your state, give timely and results-oriented examples, and tell them your state cannot wait any longer!

You can contact your Senators and Representative via email, or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your Senators’ and/or Representative’s office. If you call, remember that telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the Workforce Investment Act.

By Nancy in Legislation
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President Obama Proposes College- and Career-Ready Goals for ESEA

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Providing a glimpse into what the White House would like to see in the overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, President Barack Obama today proposed to tie Title I funds with requirements for states to implement college- and career-ready standards.

President Obama pitched his proposal at the White House this morning to the National Governors Association, which is spearheading a college- and career-ready national standards reform movement. The White House proposal is of particular interest to the CTE community as the definition of career ready remains varied across education groups.

President Obama said the standards would address the shortcomings found in the most recent iteration of ESEA, which he said allowed states to set varied standards and achievement expectations for the nation’s children. The new standards proposal would allow states to again set their own standards, however they must demonstrate that students who meet them are ready for higher education, he said.

CTE, through comprehensive programs of study, can play a strong role in achieving both of President Obama’s college- and career-ready goals as they provide students with career pathways and skill development, and a charted transition to postsecondary education. The resources and strategies to meet these new standards are available if states are seeking how to answer to the President’s proposal.

By Erin in Uncategorized

Bipartisan Reauthorization of ESEA is on the Agenda

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Democratic and Republican members of the House Education and Labor Committee announced plans today for a bipartisan reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA), along with Ranking Member John Kline (R-MN), Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-MI), chairman of the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education, and Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-DE), the senior Republican on that subcommittee, issued the following joint statement:

“Today, we’re announcing a bipartisan, open and transparent effort to rewrite No Child Left Behind – a law that we all agree is in need of major reform. It will start with a series of hearings in the coming weeks to explore the challenges and opportunities ahead as we work to ensure an excellent education is available to every student in America. With a real commitment to innovation, we invite all stakeholders who share our serious interest in building a world-class education system to email us their suggestions.”

The House is expected to schedule hearings on ESEA throughout the spring, with the first hearing to be held on February 24 focusing on charter schools.  The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is also rumored to be setting their schedule of hearings on ESEA for March.

The House Committee will also be accepting comments from stakeholders regarding ESEA reauthorization at eseacomments@mail.house.gov. The deadline to submit your comments is March 26.

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Webinar Announcement: CTE Statistics and Your Input Equals Better Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)  staff will provide a brief background on the CTE data and statistics that NCES currently collects, and will seek your input on how they can do better.

When: March 10, 2 p.m. EST

You must register to attend. Register at least 24 hours in advance.

 Event number: 200 009 917   Event password: input

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the US Department of Education, is currently broadening the focus of its CTE Statistics program, from examining participation in CTE courses to education’s role in workforce preparation.  More generally, the Center is adopting a more comprehensive view of postsecondary education, CTE, and adult learning as key determinants of workforce preparation.  To guide this transition, NCES is seeking input on the issues and questions that their data should address.   

During this webinar, NCES staff will provide a brief background on the CTE data and statistics that NCES currently collects. But their main interest is to hear from you on how they can do better.  They will ask for your input on the questions that should be addressed by statistical data, to improve the data’s usefulness for policymakers, researchers, and practitioners interested in the interplay of education, training, and working life.  One caveat: As you reflect on this topic, it is helpful to keep in mind that NCES relies on descriptive data from nationally representative sample surveys and institutional records data. While these data are useful for describing and monitoring important aspects of education systems, they also have their limitations, i.e. they are not useful for evaluating programs or curricula.

This webinar presents a rare opportunity to guide the direction of federal statistics.  Please join us to make your voice heard, and to ensure that the federal government provides the data we all need.

By Ramona in Research
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Differences in Green Jobs Can Help Guide Green Education

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Business, industry and education are all influenced by the “green” concept. Although it is one of the hot buttons now, it is not a passing fad we can choose to ignore. Environmental awareness is no longer considered a luxury, it is now demanded in the workplace and we are beginning to cultivate it in our education institutions. Many existing CTE programs have opportunities to incorporate “green” concepts, like sustainability and alternative energy, into the classroom. However, before launching green-focused CTE courses or programs, it is important to obtain a clear understanding of the green industry and the way it is influencing workforce demand. The CTE community in particular must also see from this perspective in order to develop relevant and effective curriculum and programming.  

O*NET, Occupational Network Database, has done significant research on green occupations by delving into the nuances and clarifying similarities and differences to allow for straightforward yet detailed categorization of these green occupations. They began by defining the “green” economy as: economic activity related to reducing the use of fossil fuels, decreasing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the efficiency of energy usage, recycling materials, and developing and adopting renewable sources of energy. This definition focused their research and led them to discover that “green” influences the world of work in predominantly three different ways, identified as follows. 

Green Increased Demand Occupations: these occupations may have experienced a small change in work context, but the task has not changed. The change is the increase in demand. 

– Example occupations: geological and petroleum technicians, locomotive engineers, architectural drafters, chemists, natural science managers, and agricultural inspectors.

Green Enhances Skills Occupations: the core purpose of these occupations remains the same, but skills and worker requirements have increased and possibly require additional credentials.

– Example occupations: power plant operators, electrical engineers, and heating and AC. 

Green New and Emerging Occupations: these occupations are new or born from existing occupations. They have unique work and worker requirements.

– Example occupations: wind turbine or farm engineers, biofuels plant operators, and solar power plant technicians. 

 

O*NET’s research has led to the development of an online tool to search the green occupations they have identified, which are helpfully categorized according to occupation, sector and what kind of “green” the occupation is. It is easy to use, just head to their homepage and click on the “green occupations” icon and start searching, it is that simple.  

By Emma in Research
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Senate Plans Cloture Vote on Jobs Bill Next Week

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

As we told you last week, the snow in Washington, DC and the scheduled Congressional recess have pushed movement on the Senate jobs bill to next week.  When the Senate returns on February 22 they are expected to begin with a cloture vote on the bill.  Cloture is a parliamentary procedure that allows the Senate to vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill, and thereby overcome a filibuster. To invoke cloture three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes, must vote to invoke it.

Senator Reid’s proposed jobs package includes two programs that affect education:

By Nancy in Legislation
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ED Introduces the National Financial Capability Challenge

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

In December 2009, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan along with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced the National Financial Capability Challenge, an awards program for educators and high school students that aims to encourage the teaching of personal finance and to increase the financial knowledge and capability of high school aged youth across the United States so they can take control over their financial futures. Educators and top-scoring students in each school will earn personalized award certificates and states with the highest participation rates will also be recognized. Participation is free and the deadline to register for Challenge is March 14, 2010.

To reach their goal of getting one million high school students to take the Challenge by April 9, 2010, they are encouraging high school educators to take these steps:

  1. View the video message from Secretary Duncan
  2. Register for the Challenge by March 14th
  3. Recruit their colleagues to participate (flier available here)
  4. Prepare their students (using the free educator toolkit or their own resources)
  5. Administer the online exam one day between March 15th and April 9th
  6. Present official (printable) awards certificates to high-scoring students

By Nancy in Advance CTE Announcements
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