Archive for April, 2014

Witnessing Excellence in CTE: SUMCO

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

SUMCO 1One of the all-new tours on offer at Achieving Excellence in CTE: The Career Clusters Institute will take attendees to SUMCO Corporation’s Phoenix plant.

A multinational employing thousands of workers worldwide, SUMCO’s advanced manufacturing puts its workers–many former students of Career Technical Education themselves–at the cutting edge of both the STEM and Manufacturing Career Clusters.

Dependent upon a skilled workforce of dynamic employees, the company knows the benefit of the highly skilled lifelong learners that walk out of CTE classes every day. The SUMCO tour will put participants face-to-face with the type of workplace CTE graduates may eventually spend their career, giving you a CTE experience to remember, and to recount to parents, students, faculty and other CTE stakeholders in months and years ahead!

Don’t miss this and the countless other incredible professional development opportunities at this year’s Achieving Excellence Institute. Build your school, district or state’s CTE team and register today!

Evan Williamson, Communications AssociateSUMCO 2

By Evan Williamson in Career Clusters®, CTE: Learning that works for America, National Career Clusters Institute

NASDCTEc in Taipei

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Delegates

Last week, I had the honor as serving as a delegate at a conference held by the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperative (APEC) Alliance for Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Taipei, Taiwan. Along with education and government leaders from Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. This event was co-hosted by Taiwan’s Ministries of Labor and Education and Taipei Tech University.

One thing that struck me was the similarity in our challenges and the goals of our CTE/vocational education and training systems. Nearly every leader spoke of high youth/young adult unemployment, an aging population, the disconnect between what students are learning in school and the skills demanded in the workforce, and the need to upskill our systems. Other countries are also struggling with raising the image of CTE – the representative from Thailand, for example, noted that they refer to this challenge as “3D” in that the jobs are considered “dangerous, difficult and dirty.” While the language and solutions might vary across countries, the role of CTE as a driver of economic development and vitality was something we all had in common.

CVTCOn the second day of my trip, I had the opportunity to visit two models of technical institutions, the Chinese Culture and Social Welfare Foundation Vocational Training Center (CVTC) and Chung Gang University of Science and Technology (CGUST). CVTC is a privately-run, publicly-subsidized institution that provides training (ranging from 300-900 hours) to unemployed individuals in areas such as culinary arts, gardening/landscaping, webpage design and computer maintenance.  CVTC is one of 13 public training centers in Taiwan – and was the first training center established over 50 years ago. Like most other training centers in Taiwan and the other Asian countries represented at this conference, CVTC provides on-site certifications. (See a map of their campus to the right)

Chang Gung 2CGUST, on the other hand, is a private four-year institution that provides training for health care professionals through its College of Nursing and College of Human Ecology. This campus features state-of-the-art simulation equipment, an on-site kindergarten class run by students and staffed by nurses (who also happen to be instructors), and one of the highest placement rates for its graduates.  All students participate in professional internships during summer breaks and about 87% pass their professional certification, which is twice Taiwan’s national average.

All in all, the trip was an eye-opening experience that brought our own CTE system – and its strengths and ongoing challenges – into focus.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Uncategorized

NASDCTEc Welcomes Andrea Zimmermann and Evan Williamson

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

NASDCTEc is glad to welcome its two newest staff members, State Policy Associate Andrea Zimmermann and Communications Associate Evan Williamson!

AndreaAndrea Zimmermann

Andrea’s path to Washington, DC, started in Illinois, wound through Eastern Europe and eventually ended here in the nation’s capital.

Hailing from southern Illinois, she pursued both her undergraduate and master’s degree in the Land of Lincoln and finished her graduate program at the University of Illinois-Springfield in 2008 with a specialty in political journalism that primarily focused on state government.  After graduation, she worked as a journalist in Illinois covering local, state and national news.

Drawn to fulfill a lifelong dream to serve internationally, Andrea joined the Peace Corps shortly thereafter. For nearly three years, Andrea lived and worked in Ukraine, where she taught English, conducted teacher training and worked on local issues such as youth leadership and HIV/AIDS.

She discovered her passion for education while in Ukraine. Upon returning to the United States, she moved to Washington, DC, and worked for the U.S. Department of Education prior to joining NASDCTEc. Her own family’s close ties to Career Technical Education makes this position a perfect fit. Andrea will focus on state-level policies and trends in CTE.

Andrea says she loves living in Washington, though never misses a chance to return home to Illinois to see family and friends.

 

Evan Williamson

Evan2 (214x300)Evan joins NASDCTEc after two years working in communications on Capitol Hill. Evan’s prior experience includes stints working in environmental policy and communications, political and campaign volunteerism during the last four election cycles and work in the offices of U.S. Representatives Luis Gutierrez (IL-04) and Peter Visclosky (IN-01).

Evan is a native of Champaign, Illinois. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.A. in Political Science, minoring in Sustainability Studies. In the course of his undergraduate study, he uncovered his passion for political communications as an exchange student in Manchester, England, while studying the United Kingdom’s 2010 general election. Returning to the states, Evan outlined a path into the world of issue-oriented communications and advocacy that has culminated in his arrival at NASDCTEc.

With deep personal and professional connections to education, Evan is committed to raising the profile of CTE as a means to improve student outcomes, reduce youth and adult unemployment and promote American economic competitiveness. As communications associate, Evan will conduct media outreach on behalf of NASDCTEc, spearhead communications initiatives, publicize Association and Foundation events and manage the organization’s online presence.

Evan is soccer devotee, his playing career beginning as a kindergarten all-star in 1993 and continuing to the present. Expanding his profile, he has also coached for three consecutive seasons with the Arlington Aces soccer club. An avid sports fan as well as participant, he boasts having attended at least one Illinois basketball game every year since 1996 and, to less satisfying results, attending at least one game in each of the last 15 seasons of his beloved Chicago Cubs. He also attempts (with limited success) cooking, bass guitar, the New York Times Sunday Crossword and long-distance running in his spare time.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Advance CTE Announcements

Legislative Update: ED Continues Program Integrity Negotiations, NASDCTEc & IBM Host Briefing on CTE, Perkins

Friday, April 25th, 2014

CapitolBeginning this past Wednesday and ending today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) reconvened a panel for a third round of negotiated rulemaking on program integrity and improvement. Negotiators are discussing a number of proposed regulatory changes for postsecondary institutions including clock-to-credit-hour conversions, state authorization of distance learning programs, remedial coursework, cash management and — most contentiously — how to define adverse credit history for the purposes of certain federal financial aid eligibility.

Since a preliminary consensus had already been reached on clock-to-credit-hour conversions during the last round of negotiations, the panel moved quickly on a second draft of proposed regulatory language. The proposed changes maintain the existing conversion formula, but significantly improve the clarity of the regulation. The intent of this particular rule is to ensure that postsecondary students enrolled in programs which provide instruction based on clock hours rather than credit hours receive equivalent amounts of federal financial aid for the same amount of coursework. It is important to note that for a formal consensus to be completed, the panel must also reach consensus on the other issues currently under discussion.

A newly drafted set of rules governing state authorization of distance programs was also heatedly debated this week. These proposed regulations determine the legal authorization of postsecondary education programs provided by institutions that are not physically located in the state. These proposed rules would primarily affect online, distance and correspondence education programs. Such programs would need to meet the various legal requirements imposed by individual states to offer distance education programs in each state where an enrollee resides if 50 percent or more of a course can be completed remotely. Among many other proposed changes, an institution would not be eligible for federal financial aid for its students if its graduates are not able to receive a certification or complete a licensing examination required for employment in that state after program completion, unless the program obtains prior acknowledgement from the student.

A fourth and final round of negotiations is expected on May 19-20, 2014. As this process unfolds, NASDCTEc will continue to monitor these negotiations and gauge any potential impact on postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. More information on these negotiations and additional supplemental information can be found here.

NASDCTEc & IBM Host Briefing on CTE, Perkins

Yesterday the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and IBM hosted a briefing for stakeholder groups interested in learning more about CTE and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). NASDCTEc’s Executive Director Kimberly Green and Stan Litow, IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and President of IBM’s Foundation, provided a joint briefing on these issues in an effort to prepare these groups for the reauthorization of Perkins.

While no official timeline has been laid out by Congress for the reauthorization of the law yet, employers and other stakeholders groups in the education and workforce communities have taken a significant interest in CTE and the Perkins Act over the past year as the law has come due for renewal. As both the House and Senate take steps to reauthorize Perkins, the briefing provided important background information on the 2006 reauthorization process, emerging themes and major changes occurring within the CTE enterprise over the past several years, employers’ growing interest in CTE, IBM’s P-Tech initiatives in New York and Connecticut and finally what to expect in the upcoming legislative process surrounding Congress’ consideration of the law.

NASDCTEc would like to thank IBM for hosting the event and for those who participated in the briefing. As the reauthorization process gets more fully underway in the coming year, NASDCTEc looks forward to working constructively with Congress, employers and other stakeholder groups to thoughtfully renew the law which constitutes the primary federal investment in CTE and our nation’s high schools.

OCTAE RFI Update

Earlier this week, NASDCTEc shared an announcement from the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health & Human Services (HHS) regarding a request for information (RFI) on career pathway systems. This multiagency RFI is soliciting information from a diverse group of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, as well as from state, regional, tribal, and local entities on how to develop and improve career pathway systems. Specifically they are seeking information on effective career pathway models, best practices, barriers to their development and implementation, and also ways in which federal agencies can more effectively support these types of systems. Responses collected through this RFI will help inform future departmental career pathway strategies, policies, and investments.

Responses are due June 9th, 2014, and the official notice can be found here. The departments have also announced a webinar to provide an overview of this RFI and to provide instructions on how to respond. More information on that, including how to register, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

By Steve Voytek in News, Public Policy
Tags: , ,

Achieving Excellence Institute pre-sessions announced!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Achieving Excellence in Career Technical Education: The National Career Clusters® Institute will take place June 16-18, 2014, and is full of new features to offer the best professional development and networking opportunities in CTE today.

Today we are pleased to announce our pre-sessions (pricing and registration information is available here), designed to prepare attendees for the Achieving Excellence Institute and provide a deeper look at topics affecting how you deliver high-quality CTE today. Beginning June 15, 2014, pre-sessions at the Achieving Excellence Institute include:

Each pre-session registration includes a copy of The Career Pathways Effect and excellent networking opportunities with fellow CTE stakeholders from across the country. Don’t wait: register today!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

By Evan Williamson in Career Clusters®, CTE: Learning that works for America, National Career Clusters Institute

Federal Agencies Launch Program to Reach Disconnected Youth

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Today, the federal government announced a new pilot program to enable communities, states and tribal governments to better address the needs of their disconnected youth.

The Performance Partnership Pilots, also known as P3, are designed to grant communities more flexibility in using discretionary funding across federal programs to improve the education, employment, health and well-being for more than 5 million disconnected youth across the country by leveraging existing partnerships and supporting promising local strategies.

The federal government defines disconnected youth as being between the ages of 14-24, are low income and either homeless, in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system, unemployed or not enrolled in or at risk of dropping out of an educational institution. Depending on a person’s circumstances, he or she may have as many as four case managers in order to access the full range of services needed. This means duplicative paperwork for the youth as well as the social worker and a multitude of other barriers to service.

Through P3, the Obama Administration is hoping to identify and scale up innovative community solutions that address the challenges of reaching disconnected youth. Local, state and tribal agencies are encouraged to re-imagine its current funding streams and services to breakdown program silos for a more coordinated approach. This could include blending competitive and formula grants or obtaining waivers for nonessential program requirements in order to create more opportunities for communities and states to design approaches that best meet their needs and build on their strengths.

To apply, send a letter of interest to Disconnectedyouth@omb.eop.gov.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in News, Public Policy

Legislative Update: President Obama Announces Final Round of TAACCCT Grants and an Apprenticeship Program, DOL Unveils WIA Incentive Grant Awards

Friday, April 18th, 2014

CapitolEarlier this week, President Obama and Vice President Biden traveled to the Community College of Allegheny County in Oakdale, Pennsylvania to announce two initiatives related to job training as part of the President’s larger job-driven training agenda outlined in his State of the Union address earlier this year. Both of these initiatives— one relatively new and the other part a larger existing program— are administered and funded by the Department of Labor (DoL).

The fourth and final round of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program was the first of these initiatives to be announced. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Obama Administration designated approximately $2 billion to provide community colleges and other eligible postsecondary institutions with funds to expand career training programs that can be completed in two years or less. Intended to nurture partnerships between these institutions and employers, funding has been targeted for programs that prepare students for high-skill, high-growth careers. Funds have been distributed on a competitive basis among eligible institutions and have gone out in three separate installments, each with their own overarching areas of focus.

This fourth and final round of TAACCCT grants, worth a total of $450 million, will focus on three priorities outlined by the Administration:

The Obama Administration plans to award at least one grant in every state and applications which emphasize the above priorities may be eligible for larger award amounts. DoL’s full announcement can be found here. Applications are due by July 7th and detailed instructions for applying can be found here.

American Apprenticeship Grants

President Obama and Vice President Biden also announced a new American Apprenticeship Grants competition which is set to begin in the fall of 2014. Funded through H1-B visa applications fees, $100 million in grants will be used to incentivize partnerships between employers, labor organizations, training providers, community colleges, local and state governments, the workforce system, non-profits and faith-based organizations. Priority will be given to applications that meet three criteria laid out by the Administration:

This announcement looks to strengthen Vice President Biden’s other recent effort  named the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium (RACC), an initiative that seeks to allow graduates to use their apprenticeship experience for postsecondary credit. More information on RACC can be found here. Application information for American Apprenticeship Grants is forthcoming.

2014 WIA Incentive Grant Awards

The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (DOLETA), in conjunction with the Department of Education (ED), recently announced a list of eight states which are eligible to apply for approximately $9.9 million in incentive grant awards created under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). To have qualified, states must have exceeded performance levels under WIA Title IB and Title II during the 2012 program year. These incentive grants can be used to fund specific programs under the aegis of WIA or programs funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

To receive funds, a state must submit its application for an incentive grant award to DOLETA no later than May 30, 2014. Eligible states include Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas. More information can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

By Steve Voytek in News, Public Policy
Tags: , ,

Position Announcement: Administrator, Professional-Technical Education – Idaho

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Education has a position opening for Administrator, Professional-Technical Education.

Please click link below to access position announcement:
https://labor.idaho.gov/DHR/ATS/StateJobs/jobannouncement.aspx?announcement_no=NONCLS058071

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Advance CTE Announcements

36 States Participate in Field Test for Common Core-aligned Exams

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Field testing for Common Core-aligned assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is well under way in schools across the country. Since testing began in late March, millions of students have taken the computer-based assessments in mathematics and English language arts and literacy.

The newly developed exams are designed to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and better determine students’

progress toward college and career readiness through more complex (and non-multiple choice) items. The massive field test – which will involve students from 36 states – is one of the final stages before the assessments are finalized for schools to use in spring 2015.

Students in grades 3 through 11 will take the field tests through June 6, 2014. The assessments are as much a test for the students as they are for the technology being used. Many districts had to make large technological investments to administer the exams.

There haven’t been major incidents reported, aside from smaller technical glitches for both field test efforts. Smarter Balanced was scheduled to launch its tests on March 18, but delayed it by a week for “quality checking,” according to a spokeswoman.

Two additional consortia are developing similar tests for students with severe cognitive disabilities.  Field tests for those assessments are ongoing.

You can keep up with the field testing progress through regular updates from PARCC and Smarter Balanced.

Students aren’t the only ones who can enjoy the testing fun. Put yourself to the test – how would you fare on a practice exam?

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in News, Public Policy

Legislative Update: House Appropriators Question Administration’s FY15 Priorities, New Proposals on Perkins Emerge

Friday, April 11th, 2014

CapitolOn Tuesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee regarding the Obama Administration’s FY 2015 budget request for education.  As we shared previously, the Administration requested $1.117 billion for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins) basic state grant program— a figure that would maintain the same level of funding as in FY 2014, but would keep the program below pre-sequestration levels. The request also proposed to use a portion of these funds for a competitive “innovation fund” similar to what the Administration has previously proposed in its 2012 Blueprint for Career Technical Education (CTE).

During the subcommittee hearing, members from both parties strongly questioned these aspects of the budget request, asked why additional funds were not requested for the Perkins Act and voiced strong opposition to the Administration’s other proposals for new competitively funded programs.

“The concern is that these proposals would be made at the expense of meeting our current obligations,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) said. The ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), echoed these sentiments and emphasized the importance of the overall federal investment in education. The full hearing and testimony transcripts can be found here.

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) questioned the Secretary further on these issues asking, “Why does the Administration continue to propose competitive grants that only benefit a few students rather than investing in proven programs like CTE that help to further the goal of career readiness for all students?”

Secretary Duncan did point out that 89 percent of the funds from his department actually go to formula programs and that the Administration on the whole has invested heavily in CTE via alternative funding streams such as the Youth CareerConnect program.

However, there was genuine skepticism from many of the members present for how these proposals would negatively impact the ability of students to equitably access CTE programs throughout the country. As Rep. Roby pointed out, “We have yet to fulfill our commitment to fully fund existing formula-driven programs.”

To that end, members of Congress on and off the subcommittee have been hard at work over the past several weeks to push for additional investments for the Perkins Act ahead of the Congressional FY 2015 appropriations process. Two Dear Colleague letters, one in the House and the other in the Senate, were supported on a bipartisan basis by 93 Representatives and 25 Senators respectively, calling for a restoration of the Perkins Act basic state grant program to pre-sequester levels.

NASDCTEc encourages its members and those in the CTE community to reach out to all of the lawmakers who supported these efforts and thank them for their strong support for the Perkins Act and CTE. Special recognition must go to Sens. Blumenthal (D-CT), Kaine (D-VA), Baldwin (D-WI) and also Reps. Thompson (R-PA) and Langevin (D-RI) who lead these efforts in both Chambers.

Don’t know how to get in touch with Congress? Find out here!

Perkins Amendment Introduced in the House

Earlier this week Reps. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the “Perkins Modernization Act of 2014,” which seeks to more closely align CTE programs with labor market needs. Specifically it would substitute all references to “high skill, high wage, or high demand occupations in current or emerging professions,” currently found in the Perkins Act and substitute them with “employment in current or emerging in-demand industry sectors or occupations.” A definition for an “in-demand industry sector or occupation” is also proposed, which would be informed to a greater extent by labor market information culled from various sources at the local, state and national levels.

As the House Committee on Education and the Workforce (HEW) along with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) continue to work to reauthorize the Perkins Act, it is important to note that the above proposal is not a comprehensive reauthorization bill. Instead the Perkins Modernization Act introduces into the reauthorization discussion an issue important to these members of Congress.  NASDCTEc appreciates Reps. Kennedy, Kinzinger, Davis, and Polis’ recognition that CTE programs are crucial components to the nation’s economic competitiveness and agrees that a greater availability and use of labor market information is needed to ensure that CTE programs prepare students for success in the workforce.

NASDCTEc looks forward to working constructively with Congress to thoughtfully reauthorize the Perkins Act and to ensure that programs are empowering students with the necessary skills and knowledge demanded by today’s employers and affording graduates the opportunity to secure family-sustaining wages.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Moves on ESRA

The House Education and the Workforce Committee (HEW) moved forward on the Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366). This bill, introduced by Representatives Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), reauthorizes the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA). Currently, ESRA supports educational research programs such as the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), NAEP exams, and state longitudinal data systems. “Quality education research is critical to successful schools,” Rep. Rokita said upon the Committee’s approval of the bill by voice vote.

A particularly promising aspect of the bill would amend the authorization for state longitudinal data system grants to encourage the alignment of data across K-12, postsecondary and workforce programs. This would greatly support efforts to report on post-program employment outcomes for CTE graduates. Moreover, H.R. 4366 emphasizes the importance of using data effectively and lays out a more thoughtful approach to its use. The Workforce Data Quality Campaign, of which NASDCTEc is a national partner, supported this bill. The text of the bill, fact sheets, and other useful information can be found here.

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Apprenticeship Bill

On Wednesday Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced the Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprenticeship Programs (LEAP) Act, a bill that incentivizes employers to increase the number of apprenticeships available to young people. Specifically the LEAP Act would grant companies a $1,500 tax credit for hiring new registered apprentices under the age of 25. A $1,000 tax credit would also be offered to employers hiring apprentices older than 25 years of age. The bill would also incent the expansion of existing apprenticeship programs

The Workforce Investment Act

Both Chambers of Congress have continued discussions on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) this week. According to recent reports, the Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Chairman of the House HEW Committee, John Kline (R-MN), have publicly stated that they have “resolved nearly all differences” and hope to complete the legislation when Congress returns from recess in late April.

“The likelihood is that the staff will be able to hammer out what is left while we are gone,” Chairman Kline said. “Hopefully, by the time we come back, we’ll have it all put together,” Chairman Harkin was reported as saying.

There has also been speculation that the reauthorization of WIA could possibly be attached to Congress’ consideration of extending unemployment insurance benefits. NASDCTEc will monitor this process as it evolves and will continue to work with policymakers to ensure that a thoughtful reauthorization of the law emerges from these negotiations.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

By Steve Voytek in Legislation, News, Public Policy
Tags: , , , ,

 

Series

Archives

1