Archive for February, 2018

Making Students Career Ready in a Globally Connected World

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Increasing numbers of careers are requiring global competence, facility with world languages and cultures, and the ability to work in global teams. Just consider these facts:

At a fundamental level, the goal of Career Technical Education (CTE) is to prepare students for successful careers, and CTE programs should provide opportunities for students to learn and apply global competencies in order for students to successfully participate in the American economy and beyond.

While this may feel like a natural fit, too few educators have the training or resources they need to teach the global aspects of their career pathways. To address this challenge and support the field, Asia Society, together with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Advance CTE, developed a free professional development course and set of tools: Global Competence Through Career and Technical Education.

This web-based, interactive course and related tools are designed to help CTE educators integrate global content and skills into what they are already teaching in their classrooms to prepare students for the global world of work. The tools – which can be used within the context of the course but are also available on their own – including career-planning lesson plans and worksheets, videos providing global competencies in a range of career clusters, sample global CTE classroom projects, project management resources, and more. One of the main features of the online module is that educators not only get to test out these tools, they also have the opportunity to share their experiences with other participants across the country.

As a partner in this work, Advance CTE sees a great opportunity for states to embed this resources in their own professional development offerings. So how can you learn more?

As states increasingly prioritize career readiness and CTE – including the 35 states that included career readiness indicators in their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans, the 10 states participating in New Skills for Youth, and 49 states and DC that passed policies related to career readiness in 2017 alone – this is a critical moment in time to ensure that CTE and related experiences and pathways prepare students for success not only in their own communities but in the entire global community.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Resources
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This Week in CTE: States Take to Social Media to Celebrate CTE Month

Friday, February 16th, 2018

To celebrate CTE Month, states are taking the lead in honoring the students, educators, administrators, industry partners and all those it takes to make high-quality CTE happen in every community across the nation. Many states are using social media as a way to highlight CTE, with a focus on lifting up impressive student success stories.

Utah has taken their campaign to Facebook and Twitter, highlighting student success:

Arkansas is similarly highlighting student stories, in addition to using video to capture some amazing student projects, including this student-build hoverboard made in a CTE class!

While North Dakota is using the hashtag #ND_CTE to showcase CTE Month activities and accomplishments.

I Love Nebraska Public Schools released a new video for CTE Month, demonstrating CTE’s importance in career exploration, and that finding out what you don’t love, is just as important as finding out what you do.

RESOURCES

Signing up for the CTE: Learning that works for America® campaign is a great way to get the word out about CTE at the state and local level. We’ve created both national and state-specific Learning that works logos, as well as a number of resources and tools to help you make the case for CTE. Check out our fact sheets, tips for celebrating CTE Month, and a new guide to help you put the campaign into action.

States are also helping locals communicate about CTE Month by providing a number of resources including:

Career Technical Student Organizations are also incredible resources to turn to throughout the month. Unfamiliar with Snapchat? DECA just released a guide on how to create Snapchat filters.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Manager 

 

 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources, CTE: Learning that works for America

Utah Valley University Charges Forward as a Dual-Role Community College and University

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Numerous states have begun to allow community colleges to grant four-year degrees. These changes have led to concerns over “credential creep,” where institution leaders push for the increased perception of prestige that advanced postsecondary degree offerings provide them, and neglect their CTE programs. This article from Inside Higher Ed highlights the work being done at Utah Valley University to maintain focus on providing high-quality degree programs, whether they be two- or four-year degrees.

The institution implemented a “structured enrollment” approach to preserve its open-door admissions policy. This approach enrolls underprepared students in one-year certificate programs that include numerous student support services. From there, students can enroll in a two-year degree program and eventually a four-year program, all within the same institution. “The certificates and degrees stack on top of each other, thus all credits move up with the student. For example, all of the certificate classes are required in the associate’s degree, and all of the associate classes are required in the bachelor’s degree,” a university spokesman said via email. “If the student doesn’t do well in the certificate track, university counselors will circle back to try to find a better fit.”

Report Offers Recommendations for Using Data and Evidence to Improve Student Outcomes

Colleges have long been working to use data more effectively to analyze and improve student outcomes. However, these efforts have often been the responsibility of individual institutions or systems, and are dependent on the resources available for data analysis and new technologies. A new report from Results for America offers recommendations for state governments to become more involved in these initiatives. Their recommendations fall into three categories:

  1. Improve measures of student success
    • Improve the accuracy of graduation rates
    • Publish employment outcomes by major
    • Develop measures of learning and civic outcomes
  2. Help colleges act on and analyze data
    • Invest in the data capacities of colleges
    • Generate evidence of what works
    • Kickstart evidence-based improvements
  3. Align resources behind student success
    • Make payoffs clear and certain
    • Prioritize equity
    • Consider post-graduation goals
    • Consider additional strategies to help low-performing colleges

White Paper Examines Overlap between Afterschool Programs and Workforce Development

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) recently published a new white paper highlighting the shared goals and opportunities for collaboration between afterschool programs and workforce development initiatives. While both youth and workforce development initiatives implement programs and activities to help youth develop skills and competencies for the world of work, they often operate in separate and disconnected silos.

For example, afterschool programs have long focused on building the social and emotional skills of students, skills which also contribute to employability readiness. “Participation in high-quality afterschool programs has a positive impact on problem-solving, conflict resolution, self-control, leadership, and responsible decision-making, all of which are included within the employability and [social emotional learning] frameworks.” If efforts are better aligned and resources more coordinated, more of this training can be implemented.

The white paper examines case studies in Florida, Pennsylvania and Illinois and from those extrapolates recommendations for further collaboration between the two types of initiatives.

Odds and Ends

This report from AEI examines common barriers for providing high-quality CTE at community colleges and suggest five strategies for overcoming those barriers, most of which are structural and policy barriers, but also include the perceived stigma of CTE.

The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) recently launched this video highlighting the problem of “The Forgotten 500,000” – the 500,000 students who are in the top half of their high school classes but do not go on to complete a postsecondary certificate or credential. Among other recommendations, CEW believes this problem can be solved by tying education more deliberately to career pathways.

The American Institutes for Research released this infographic highlighting the importance of using CTE as a strategy for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who are CTE concentrators are five percent more likely to graduate high school on time and 20 percent more likely to be employed after graduation.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Research
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Congress Raises Budget Caps, Recognizes CTE Month

Friday, February 9th, 2018

February 1 officially marked the start of Career Technical Education (CTE) Month and Congress has recognized its importance! Read below to find out more about CTE Month resolutions, hearings in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and a status update on the Fiscal Year 2018 budget and appropriations process.

Congress Supports Resolutions to Recognize CTE Month

On February 7, Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, introduced a resolution to recognize national CTE month. The bipartisan resolution was co-sponsored by 38 additional Representatives.

Senators Kaine (D-VA), Baldwin (D-WI), Portman (R-OH) and Young (R-IN), co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, are co-sponsoring a CTE Month resolution. Please encourage your Senator to co-sponsor the CTE Month resolution by visiting the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) CTE Action Center here. The deadline for additional co-sponsors is 5pm Eastern Time on Monday, February 12.

Hearings on Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA) Continue

As we reported, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has held a series of hearings on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). On January 30, the hearing, “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Accountability and Risk to Taxpayers” featured testimony from Anthony Carnevale (Research Professor And Director, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce), Jose Luis Cruz (President, Herbert H. Lehman College City University of New York), Jason D. Delisle (Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute), Ben Miller (Senior Director, Postsecondary Education, Center for American Progress) and Mamie Voight (Vice President Of Policy Research, Institute for Higher Education Policy). The hearing focused on a number of topics including how the law’s accountability, data and public reporting provisions can be updated or reformed.

The latest hearing, “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Improving College Affordability” was on February 6, and included a broad discussion of federal student aid that touched on expenses associated with postsecondary education, college completion and more.

House Committee Hearing Focuses on Use of Education Data

On January 30, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing, “Protecting Privacy, Promoting Policy: Evidence-Based Policymaking and the Future of Education.” The hearing included a discussion of the federal laws that govern the use of student data and data privacy practices. Witnesses also testified about how education data and research can be used to inform policy, drive decisions and evaluate programs.

Congress Raises Budget Caps, Funds Government Through March 23

The last short-term funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, that Congress passed to keep the government funded at its current levels expired on February 8 at midnight. Early on February 9, Congress passed a measure that will fund the government through March 23 and also raise the current budget caps in place for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 by $296 billion. President Trump signed the measure on February 9. With the new caps in place, Congressional appropriators will likely turn their attention to finalizing an omnibus appropriations package for Fiscal Year 2018 before March 23.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

By Kathryn Zekus in Legislation

This Week in CTE: Happy CTE Month!

Friday, February 9th, 2018

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCES OF THE WEEK

Join the CTE: Learning that works for America campaign to get the word out about CTE in your community! Joining the brand gives you access to the national and state logos, in addition to a variety of new tools and resources. Check out our guide for putting the campaign into action, and check out our tips on how to celebrate CTE Month.

REPORT OF THE WEEK

Not only is it CTE Month, it’s also School Counselors Week! To better understand the connection between CTE and school counseling, we conducted research and released a report with the American School Counseling Association. The report finds that, across the board, states are not overly confident in the effectiveness of their career advising and development systems. Fifty-eight percent believe they are only somewhat effectively serving K-12 students, and 55 percent believe they are either only somewhat effective or not effective at serving postsecondary CTE students. And while school counselors who connect students with CTE coursework and career pathways find it an effective career advising and development strategy, relatively few are able to make these connections.

How are you celebrating CTE Month? Let us know by sending an email to Katie at kfitzgerald@careertech.org 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Manager

By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources, CTE: Learning that works for America, Research, Resources, Uncategorized

U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Recognizes Outstanding CTE Students

Thursday, February 8th, 2018


Every year, the U.S. Department of Education recognizes the top high school seniors across the country through the
U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. This 60-year-old program was expanded in 2015 to include students who excel in Career Technical Education (CTE).

This year, there are 227 candidates for U.S. Presidential Scholars in CTE, up from 209 last year. The 2018 candidates hail from 47 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Americans Abroad (U.S. citizens living abroad).

The application and approval process is rigorous, to say the least. A U.S. Presidential Scholar in CTE must be nominated by their Chief State School Officer (CSSO), who can nominate only five students. All candidates then complete an application that includes transcripts, a secondary school report, essays and self-assessments. Candidates are then evaluated for academic achievement, character and leadership by a review committee of secondary and postsecondary education leaders. The review committee selects the semifinalists from this group, and the Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of independent individuals appointed by the President from across the country and spanning a range of professional backgrounds, asses the remaining pool to choose the finalists. The Commission selects only 60 CTE semifinalists and up to 20 CTE finalists.

From the current pool of candidates, the review committee will announce semifinalists in April and the Commission will select finalists in May. The final U.S. Presidential Scholars will be invited to Washington, DC to be honored at the National Recognition Program. During their visit, they will spend one week with scholar alumni while they tour the city, hear from elected officials and view performances. Wondering who from your state is a potential Presidential Scholar? Find out here.

By Meredith Hills in Uncategorized

Words Matter: A Response to President Trump’s Recent Remarks on CTE

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Twice last week, President Trump praised Career Technical Education (CTE) and called for its expansion – at the State of the Union and during a meeting of Republican leaders in West Virginia.

Unfortunately, his support was muted by the way he described CTE, which was both off-base and off-message. Our friends at ACTE responded from a substantive stand point, laying out the many ways CTE has evolved into high-quality pathways that ALL learners can and should benefit from. We obviously agree – as we articulate in Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education – and remain committed to making this vision a reality through advocacy and policy support for our members and the field.

Given the extensive work we’ve done over the last year to identify the best way to talk about CTE, we wanted to take this opportunity to focus on why it’s so important that we use the right words and messages with respect to CTE.

Last year, we conducted focus groups and a national survey of current and prospective CTE parents and students, and found that, across the board, high school CTE programs are most valued for their ability to provide real-world skills within the education system. Prospective parents and students are hungry for these types of opportunities, including gaining real-world skills, engaging employers through internships or networking and earning college credit while in high school.

At the same time, the vast majority of parents and students (85 percent) continue to value college as the post-high school aspiration.

Bringing us to my point: any message about CTE must emphasize that CTE is a pathway to careers AND college.

When parents and students hear descriptions that focus on CTE being for those who aren’t the “greatest” students or not “college material,” it’s immediately positioned as a lesser track rather than a pathway to success (as the data very much supports) – and is in direct conflict with parents’ and students’ aspirations.

Similarly, when CTE is pigeon-holed into a few blue collar fields, it deemphasizes the vast opportunities available in a variety of industries and sectors – from culinology to architecture – and can turn off students who want to explore their options.

Again, we appreciate the President’s interest and excitement over CTE and look forward to more opportunities to work with the Administration and Congress to put in place the right policies that will support our vision for high-quality CTE for all learners across high schools, area technical centers and community colleges. But, if we don’t talk about the policies and pathways in the right way, too many parents and students continue to see it as a great option – for someone else.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

 

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Advance CTE Announcements

Report Describes What Else States Should Do To Support Career Advising and Development

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Today, Advance CTE and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) released a report exploring the strategies currently in place across the country to support career advising and development efforts. Too often, career advising and development only occurs at the high school level, even though learners should have access to career awareness, exploration and planning activities from elementary school all the way through postsecondary education. Anecdotally, many state and local leaders assume that this is not happening to the extent that it should be, but there has not yet been an in-depth examination of the data.

This topic has been a key focus of the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. NSFY has provided funding to 10 states to transform their career readiness systems, and all 10 participating states have strategies in place to improve their career advising and development activities.

Advance CTE, as part of NSFY, partnered with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) to conduct research with three questionnaires. Advance CTE surveyed State CTE Directors, and ASCA sent separate surveys to a selection of school counselors and to State School Counseling Directors, in states where that role has been specifically identified. Some of the key findings include:

The report examined numerous strategies currently in place to support career advising and development efforts. Wisconsin’s Academic and Career Plan, for example, is an ongoing process for middle and high school students that involves coordinated conversations around career interests and options, and that helps students make informed choices about career pathways. Texas has spent the last few years developing extensive virtual supports for school counselors, available through TXCTE.org and Texas OnCourse. These resources provide school counselors with messaging materials, lesson plans and other information on CTE and career advising. Maryland has leveraged state and organizational partnerships to develop several career advising strategies at the elementary and middle school levels, which incorporate career awareness and exposure with civic engagement and financial literacy.

To hear more about this report, join our webinar on February 20, which will feature presentations from ASCA and Advance CTE, as well as a local CTE practitioner.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Publications, Research, Uncategorized
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