Archive for July, 2011

Massachusetts Helps Students Explore Future Career Pathways

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Lynnfield, Massachusetts recently conducted a job shadowing program involving 35 area students, through the Lynnfield Business Coalition with participating companies and institutions ranging from Massachusetts General and Children’s Hospital to the Summer Street and Huckleberry Hill Schools in Lynnfield, the Massachusetts State Police, the Boston Breakers (women’s soccer team) and others in fields including law, hospitality and physical therapy.

According to author William Laforme in his article, Annual Job Shadowing Program Benefited 35 Students This Year, the program continues to offer area students the chance to have a valuable learning experience and to get a better idea of what career paths may be for them.
Programs like these allow students to be directly involved in shaping their futures by experiential learning and career exploration, unique features of career technical education.

By Ramona in News
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Legislative Update: No Debt Deal Yet, Duncan Testifies Before Senate Subcommittee, WIA Postponed, No Timeline for ESEA, Bills Introduced

Friday, July 29th, 2011

No Deal Yet

Debt ceiling talks picked up this week as scores from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on debt legislation were released. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (NV) plan would reportedly cut the deficit by $2.2 trillion, more than Speaker Boehner’s (OH) legislation.

While support for Boehner’s plan seemed to increase throughout the week, the GOP could not persuade enough members to support the measure last night and a vote on Boehner’s bill was postponed indefinitely. Many Senators contend that the bill would be quickly rejected if and when it makes it to the Senate floor.

Congress has until next Tuesday, August 2nd to come to a deal before the country hits its default deadline.

Duncan Testified at Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing

At a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing this week, Senators were surprised to learn that spending at the Department of Education increased by 20 percent over the last two years. Education secretary Arne Duncan revealed that the increased spending was mostly due to the rise in Pell grant use, a conversation that dominated most of yesterday’s hearing. Duncan also brought up the Race to the Top and I3 funds as priorities, though several members questioned these approaches. Duncan stressed that all students need a well-rounded education and that youth and adults need “new skills for the jobs of tomorrow” but there was no mention of Career Technical Education as a method of delivering these goals.

View a webcast of the hearing here.

WIA Markup Postponed

The August 3rd markup of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) has been removed from the Senate calendar. A new date has not been set.

No Timeline Set for ESEA

Sen. Tom Harkin (IA), chairman of the Senate’s Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, was unable to give a timeline this week when asked about a schedule for marking up the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) bill. Harkin stated that his discussions with the HELP committee’s top Republican, Sen. Michael Enzi (WY), are progressing but they still disagree on major issues like accountability, teachers and comparability. While Harkin would like to see a bipartisan ESEA bill passed, this seems very unlikely to happen before the start of the new school year.

For the first time since Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s controversial offer to grant waivers to states on aspects of the old law, Sen. Harkin suggested that he may be open to Duncan’s waiver idea if no progress is made on reauthorizing ESEA.

Bills Introduced:

Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act

Rep. Judy Chu (CA) and Rep. David Loebsack (IA) reintroduced H.R. 2637, the Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act to encourage collaboration among communities, schools and social-service programs to find solutions for challenges faced by struggling students to reduce dropout rates. The bill would award grants to states, who would award subgrants to local consortia. Grantees may, but are not required to, use funds to implement dual enrollment programs, early college high schools, and strategies for dropout prevention. Grants may also be used to fund opportunities for job training, career counseling, internships, and Career Technical Education.

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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More Baby Boomers Join Student Population

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

The economy is pushing a growing number of baby boomers back to college, according to a recent Smart Money article.

Students ages 50 to 64 increased 17 percent between fall 2007 and fall 2009, according to the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics, the article said. Further, colleges have lured those individuals with programs specifically designed for older students. For instance, the American Association of Community Colleges launched its “Plus 50 Initiative” on 15 campuses in 2008 and has since expanded to 21.

More than half of unemployed workers ages 55 and older have been unemployed for six months or more, compared to 40 percent of workers under 55, the article reported on the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Further, the average unemployed worker over 55 years old spends more than 52 weeks looking for a job, which is nearly 50 percent longer than younger workers.

-Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager,

By Erin in News
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Webinar: How Does the Debt Ceiling Debate Impact Education?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

What impact are the debt ceiling debates having on education? Will the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) be reauthorized in time for the new school year? Is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan really going to pass waivers on the requirements of the old law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), if ESEA isn’t reauthorized on time?

Join the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national policy and advocacy organization, as they take on these questions in a webinar next Monday, August 1 from 3:00 to 4:00 ET.

Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia and president of the Alliance, will lead the discussion and respond to viewers’ questions.

Click here for more information and to register for the webinar.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst,

By Kara in News, Public Policy, Webinars
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Sec. Duncan: “Voc. Education Hit Its Heyday in the 60s and 70s”

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Leaders in industry and education convened last week to unravel factors contributing to the current skills gap and to debate possible solutions that would strengthen the workforce. Though many panelists, including heads of Google, Snap-On, and the Manufacturing Institute, and keynote speaker Senator Mark Warner (VA), voiced support for Career Technical Education (CTE), one major participant was less optimistic about the role of CTE.

After sharing her observations of successful vocational programs in countries such as South Korea and Finland, an interviewer asked her guest, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, why America doesn’t talk more about career readiness. Duncan replied that “Vocational education hit its heyday… in the 60s and 70s,” and that the country has backed off of the approach since then.

Duncan said that vocational training needs to prepare students for viable careers in fields like technology and healthcare, and not in outdated fields. When asked why he thinks the “heyday” of vocational education was a half-century ago, the Secretary stated that:

“At that point, we maybe had a clearer sense of what we were preparing students for. And my concern today – there are some amazingly high-performing ‘voc’ and career programs in high schools – but you honestly have too many schools today that are still preparing students for the jobs of 30 or 40 years ago. So for me, it’s – are you getting industry-recognized credentials? Are you getting a certificate? Are you getting a piece of paper? Are you getting the training that’s going to lead you to a good job and to a career coming out of high school? And we want to put a lot more resources behind places that are doing that.”

Click here to view Sec. Duncan’s interview (begins at 16:53).

Today’s CTE programs are vastly different than the vocational education programs offered 50 years ago. NASDCTEc developed a new vision for all CTE programs last year that clearly frames principles and actions to ensure high-quality CTE nationwide. States and CTE programs across the country have taken enormous steps to provide students with multiple options and transferable skills through innovative programs. CTE students can participate in a variety of pathways, each providing real-world opportunities for knowledge and skill attainment.

Still, Duncan continues to point to the same measures – rates for credential and certificate attainment, graduation and placement – as the most convincing evidence of a CTE program’s effectiveness. The lack of outcomes data for CTE programs was part of the Department of Education’s rationale for cutting CTE funding in FY 2011.

If your state or CTE programs can provide positive statistics in the above areas, please share this information with NASDCTEc and your Members of Congress. Providing this data is a critical step towards showing the impact of CTE on your state and saving CTE funding!

Please send examples of CTE success, including state or program data, to Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst at

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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AYPF Webinar This Week – Rural High Schools Preparing Students through CTE and Dual Enrollment

Monday, July 25th, 2011

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit professional development organization for policymakers, practitioners and researchers, is holding a webinar this Thursday to describe how rural schools are preparing students for college and careers through dual enrollment and Career Technical Education (CTE). The webinar will feature speakers from two rural high schools as well as John White, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education. Read more

Date: Thursday, 7/28/2011
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 ET

Click here to register for this webinar.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst,

By Kara in News, Webinars
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Perkins Cut Impacts Resonating in Media

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Last week, a New York Times article highlighting career technical education (CTE) brought to light the impacts funding cuts could have on programs that effectively prepare students for college and career. Seemingly, the blogosphere and local media are catching wind of this significant issue. This may be an opportunity for the CTE community to call attention to how these budget cuts are felt on the ground.

The FY11 funding bill cut $140.2 million from Perkins, including completely eliminating funding for Tech Prep and cutting Basic State Grants by $37.3 million. These cuts may disable programs that have results in preparing students for college and career – the very objectives the nation are working to achieve.

In Maryland, The Gazette, features an article: State losing 15 percent of career education grants, Maryland worries about impact on job market. The Gazette hones in on Thomas Edison High School of Technology in Silver Spring, which partners with the community college system to offer a comprehensive program in which students may earn a national Automotive Service Excellence certificate. The successful program may be in danger, according to the article.

Kathy Oliver, the Assistant State Superintendent for Career and College Readiness at the Maryland State Department of Education told The Gazette that the funding cuts conflict with efforts to boost the nation’s economy.

“It’s a huge blow, and I’m somewhat perplexed why the administration, why the Congress, would take this action now when we know that one of the big issues to re-enegizing our economy is jobs,” Oliver said.

In the business and industry world, an article in at Sustainable Plant, an online publication and resource dedicated to advancing the sustainability of manufacturing, called on its community to support programs like CTE that help fuel the economy.

“More realize that if we’re going to keep a strong economy, it must have a strong feeder system. This is your chance to garner the influence and support you need to advance your operations. I hope that you can take advantage of this precious window of opportunity,” the article said.

How will budget cuts impact your CTE program’s ability to prepare students to succeed, and help cultivate a competitive workforce? Reach out to your local media today and tell your story.

By Erin in News
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Legislative Update: Debt Talks Continue, Labor-HHS-ED Markup Postponed, ESEA at Standstill, Bills Introduced

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Debt Talks Continue

Even moreso than in the past weeks, the focus of Congress this week has been on reaching a debt limit deal. News reports earlier this week falsely stated that President Obama and Speaker Boehner had reached a $3 trillion deal, which both have since denied.

If Congress fails to come to an agreement on the debt ceiling by August 2nd, Americans may face, among other things, higher interest rates, decreases in the value of the dollar, and unstable financial markets. Key Members of Congress and the President plan to continue talks through the weekend.

The Senate voted down Republicans’ “Cut, Cap and Balance” measure this morning which proposed a plan to cut spending by $111 billion in 2012, cap spending over the next decade, and forbid borrowing until Congress reached an agreement on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

House Labor-HHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee Markup Postponed

The House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED), the subcommittee responsible for appropriating funds to discretionary programs such as CTE, has pushed back its markup from July 26th until further notice. Due to the House schedule, this means that the earliest the markup for the FY 2012 Labor-HHS-Ed bill will occur is on September 7th.

ESEA at Standstill

Three bills passed by the House to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – on repeals, charter school expansion and innovation, and funding flexibility – have seen little movement in the past weeks. Senate markup will occur after August recess at the earliest.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has not given any additional information on the details of the ESEA waivers that would allow states to bypass aspects of the current law. Duncan stated last month that he planned to grant waivers to states if Congress does not reauthorize ESEA before the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

Bills Introduced:

National Youth Summer Jobs Act

Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH) introduced H.R. 2539, the National Youth Summer Jobs Act of 2011, that would award competitive grants to entities for the creation of job placement summer programs for out-of-school youth. Programs would be targeted toward basic-skills deficient and unemployed or underemployed young people. The goal of the bill is to increase GED attainment and job placement for participants.

Jobs for Urban Sustainability and Training in America Act

Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) introduced H.R. 2537, the Jobs for Urban Sustainability and Training in America Act, to provide grants for job training, public work and economic development programs in cities with high unemployment rates.

21st Century Readiness Act

Rep. Tom Petri (WI) introduced H.R. 2536, the 21st Century Readiness Act, to help students acquire 21st Century Skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communicating, collaborating, and creativity. The bill aims to fuse higher-order thinking skills with core academic knowledge to create content knowledge attainment in real-world contexts. The bill is being offered as an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Public Private Vocational Partnership Act

Rep. Don Young (AK) introduced H.R. 2549, the Public Private Vocational Partnership Act, an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The build would allow a business credit for donations for vocational educational purposes.

Jobs Now Act

Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL) introduced H.R. 2574, the Jobs Now Act, to amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The bill would create a pilot program that would award grants to local government and community organizations to retain, employ, and train jobs. Funds used to provide training for veterans, individuals with disabilities, unemployed individuals, and dislocated workers would receive priority.

Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act

Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ) introduced H.R. 2611, the Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act, a bill that would amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to prepare individuals with barriers to employment to enter the workforce by receiving job training, education and support services. The bill would grant resources to nonprofit organizations and institutions serving underrepresented minorities to increase skills training, job placement, and on-the-job training.

By Kara in Public Policy
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Report: Projected Job Growth in CTE Fields

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

How many years will it take before the United States can lower its unemployment rate, currently more than 9 percent, to pre-recession rates of around 5 percent? Even the most optimistic projection estimates that full employment rates won’t return until 2020, says a new report. Training provided through Career Technical Education (CTE) may be key for reducing this rate and getting 14 million unemployed Americans back to work.

The report, An Economy That Works: Job Creation and America’s Future, explores how companies use labor, where new jobs are likely to come from, and the conditions that are necessary for sustainable job creation. Key finding include:

• Six sectors illustrate the potential for job growth in this decade: health care, business services, leisure and hospitality, construction, manufacturing and retail.

• Potential shortages will occur in many occupations including: nutritionists, welders, nurse’s aides, computer specialists and engineers.

• Employers will increasingly be able to disaggregate job tasks, leading to more part-time and contingent employment and enabling employers to bring back some service jobs from abroad.

The report also presents ideas to spur job creation including: innovation and new business creation, removing barriers to job creation and scaling up the country’s industries.

Though the current unemployment rate is discouraging, these projections are promising. CTE students have the opportunity to train in upcoming high-demand fields. Through the Career Clusters Framework, CTE provides training so that students have skills to match the needs of the labor market. See the Career Clusters webpage for more information.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst,

By Kara in Research, Resources, Uncategorized
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New NASDCTEc Resource: Business & Industry One-Pagers

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Business and industry are key stakeholders in and contributors to Career Technical Education (CTE) – their consistent involvement and regular input is critical to providing CTE students with relevant knowledge, experiences and employment opportunities. Likewise, CTE students are also crucial to business and industry, providing their employers with a steady stream of highly knowledgeable and skilled workers. Therefore, NASDCTEc’s latest one-pagers are geared toward the cooperative relationship between CTE and business and industry that greatly benefits both entities in addition to stimulating the economy.

The three one-pagers can be accessed through NASDCTEc’s Advocacy Tools webpage under “Business & Industry Involvement.” The topics of the one-pagers are:

• “Why Business and Industry Support CTE”
• “Data Sheets: CTE Leads to College and Careers”
• “Cuts to CTE: A Problem for Business and Industry”

Please feel free to use these tools as a resource for your business and industry partners or in your advocacy efforts with your Members of Congress.

For more information, please contact Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst, at

By Kara in Advance CTE Resources, Resources