Archive for May, 2018

Connecting Rural Learners to the World of Work in Livingston, Montana

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Livingston, Montana is a small ranching community of about 7,000, just north of Yellowstone National Park. Most of the town’s economic activity revolves around agriculture and tourism — being so close to Yellowstone brings in lots of travelers. Bozeman, which is about 30 miles away hosts a growing manufacturing and photonics industry. Despite these opportunities, students at nearby Park High School don’t always interact with industry leaders in the area, limiting their ability to explore different career options and weakening the talent pool for local business owners.

Last year Meagan Lannan, then manager at the Livingston, Montana Job Service office, along with several community leaders, decided to step in and ask educators how best to support a new work-based learning program to help close the gap and connect young learners with industry mentors. After studying states like Tennessee, Washington and California for inspiration and strategies, she built a coalition of key partners to launch a work-based learning program and engage more than 260 high school students in their first year.

So how did Lannan mobilize her town to go all in on work-based learning?

She started by securing buy in and support — including funding — from key business and education leaders in Livingston. After getting commitment from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, the Montana State University Park County Extension, and Park High School, Lannan established a memorandum of understanding to clarify the roles of each partner. She also secured an agreement from the Arthur Blank Foundation, the charitable organization of Home Depot founder and philanthropist Arthur Blank, for four years of funding for a work-based learning facilitator pilot program.

Leveraging the relationships she cultivated at the job service office, Lannan was able to mobilize a network of Livingston business leaders to drive and provide work-based learning opportunities for high school students. It took a lot of time and effort to build and nurture these relationships, but Lannan’s hard work paid off. Once the community recognized the value and critical role in connecting learning with work, business leaders were on board.

In total, more than 260 work-based learning experiences were brokered through the first year of the pilot program. Experiences ranged from low-touch engagements such as guest speaking to more intensive internships, apprenticeships and more. Some employers even came into the classroom to teach a few classes under the teacher of record before leading students on a tour of their facilities. While several work-based learning experiences were in industries like agriculture or manufacturing that are considered high-demand in the Livingston area, students had the opportunity explore a variety of different careers. One student learned about wolf tracking in Yellowstone National Park. Another partnered with a local business to learn about sound wave engineering.

Providing work-based learning opportunities can be a challenge in rural communities, which often have a small employer base and limited industry presence. But, as Livingston, Montana discovered, a successful work-based learning program hinges on the support and buy-in of the community. Rural business leaders are often ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and, as Lannan puts it, help “raise the barn.” It just takes a thoughtful, coordinated strategy to generate buy in, secure sustainable funding and connect learners with the world of work.

To help state and local leaders develop a comprehensive plan to improve access to high-quality work-based learning and career pathways in rural areas, Advance CTE developed and released a rural strategy guide earlier this year. The guide, part of the CTE on the Frontier series, provides five strategies for rural leaders to replicate Livingston’s approach:

Ensuring access to high-quality career pathways in rural areas is a persistent challenge facing state and local leaders — but communities like Livingston, Montana defy the odds, recognizing the value of work-based learning and committing to expanding opportunities for students.

Thanks to Meagan Lannan, Work-Based Learning Facilitator Lead, for providing input into this story.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Uncategorized
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Welcome Wayde Sick, North Dakota’s New State CTE Director!

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Wayde Sick may have less than a month on the job in his new role as North Dakota’s State CTE Director, but he’s already setting some ambitious goals for Career Technical Education (CTE) in his home state.

Among them, he’s setting out to raise the profile and awareness of CTE in North Dakota so that it is a first-choice for students while in education – including those who plan to attend a four-year university after high school – and be recognized source of workforce talent by employers.

“I believe in the importance of CTE – not only for education but for fulfilling [the state’s] workforce needs,” Sick said. “I want to tell everybody what CTE is and the opportunities it can lead to.”

Sick knows he has big shoes to fill, as the previous State Director held this position for 15 years, but is confident that his background and experience will be an asset to help him develop creative, effective partnerships to advance high-quality CTE.

Born and raised in North Dakota, Sick attended Minot State University and graduated with a degree to teach social studies. Soon after graduation, he accepted a position teaching high school history and coaching football and track. A few years later, he had the opportunity to move to the Burdick Job Corps Center in Minot and continue teaching as an academic instructor. It was here that he first connected with CTE. By the end of his eight-year tenure at the center, Sick served as the manager of all CTE programs and even rose to be deputy director.

After a short stint helping to turn around a local Montessori preschool, Sick joined the North Dakota Department of Commerce, where he helped establish a unique partnership with the state’s Society of Human Resource Managers to co-host a Governor’s Workforce and Human Resources Conference to help employers and state leaders work collaboratively on workforce solutions.

Another point of pride for Sick was establishing a workforce development grant program with the state’s tribal colleges to align with in-demand industries and help lower the unemployment rate for the state’s native populations.

Serving as the director of the state’s workforce development programs also allowed Sick to interact with the state CTE office. Though he had no plans to leave his post at Commerce, when the job of State CTE Director became available, Sick jumped at the opportunity.

Sick said he is settling into his new role and excited about the work ahead.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

By Andrea Zimmermann in Advance CTE State Director

Secretary DeVos Testifies in House Hearing, OCTAE Announces New Grant

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Career Technical Education (CTE) has been getting a lot of attention in Washington, D.C., with news about CTE from Congress, the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the Department of Education and the Administration. Read below to learn more about these items and check out a new video from Advance CTE.

Secretary DeVos Testifies Before House Committee on Education and the Workforce

On May 22, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education,” during which U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified. Members’ questions and comments focused on a variety of topics including school safety, accountability, school choice and more. Several members discussed CTE and asked Secretary DeVos about the need to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). Secretary DeVos emphasized the need for the Senate to take up reauthorization quickly and to keep the law flexible.

OCTAE Announces New Grant Focused on STEM Apprenticeship 

On May 18, a notice in the Federal Register announced a new grant program to be administered by OCTAE, “Pathways to STEM Apprenticeships for High School CTE Students.” The notice notes that the grants “will fund State-level efforts that support local or regional approaches to establishing Apprenticeship programs for high school CTE Students or that support efforts to implement or expand coordinated Apprenticeship programming for high school CTE Students.” OCTAE expects to award approximately five three-year grants ranging from $500,000-$750,000 each. Find more information about the grants, including a webinar for prospective applicants and deadlines for submissions on the Perkins Collaborative Resource Network website.

In Case You Missed It: President Trump Nominates Scott Stump for Assistant Secretary for OCTAE 

On May, 14, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Scott Stump to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Stump boasts a long and distinguished career in education. He served as a national CTE leader, serving as President on the Advance CTE Board of Directors in 2014-15. Advance CTE is proud to fully endorse his nomination.

Advance CTE Releases New Video 

Advance CTE just released a new video that provides an overview of how CTE prepares learners for their futures while closing the skills gap for employers across the country. Use this video to help you make the case for CTE and demonstrate the benefits of today’s CTE!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

By Kathryn Zekus in Legislation

Spotlighting Jones County Junior College, Emergency Medical Technology for EMS Week

Friday, May 25th, 2018

It is the 44th annual National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week which was authorized by President Gerald Ford in 1974, to celebrate the important work of EMS practitioners. In honor of EMS Week, we are highlighting a high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) program of study, which provides learners with rigorous coursework and the work-based learning experiences they need to be a successful healthcare professional. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics is projected to increase 15 percent from 2016 to 2026.

In 2017, the Jones County Junior College Emergency Medical Technology Education (JCJC EMTE) program of study in Ellisville, Mississippi received the annual Excellence in Action award in the Health Science Career Cluster®. The program trains EMTs and paramedics to become knowledgeable health care providers in a rural community that is in great need of qualified and skilled employees.

In addition to a robust curriculum, all EMTE students must complete clinical internships in the field earning 500-plus hours of training. One of their many impressive student success outcomes is a 90 percent first-time pass rate on the National Registry of EMTs, compared to a national average of 60 percent. In 2016, JCJC learners clocked 1,400 hours of classroom instruction, had opportunities to earn over seven industry-recognized credentials and had a 100 percent job placement rate.

Since winning the award in 2017, the program has continued to increase enrollment. The current 2017-2018 paramedic cohort is one of the largest that they’ve ever seated. In addition to growing their program, JCJC has been asked to take an active role in EMS within the state of Mississippi. Their Program Director serves as the President of the EMS Educators group within the state and JCJC was instrumental in rewriting the circuirculm for future paramedic classes. Furthermore, they have assisted several other smaller paramedic programs grow and helped establish another paramedic program in an underrepresented part of the state.

Eric Williams, MS, NR-P, the Assistant Director of the CTE program of study believes that the visibility and understanding of this career is evolving.

“We were once seen as “Ambulance Drivers”. The public now realizes that there is so much more to the job. The changing tide of information on what it is that EMTs and Paramedics do in the back of the ambulance has led to increased pay, additional responsibilities and greater interest in the profession.“

To keep this positive momentum going, JCJC is making tremendous efforts in ensuring youth are aware of this career path through partnerships with several area preschools, middle schools and high schools to allow younger learners to explore the program. This early career exploration is helping learners find out what they love, while also increasing enrollment into the EMT program of study. 

“Our hope is to continue being a leading force in EMS education and research for the future.”

Read more about this Excellence in Action recipient here.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

By Nicole Howard in Uncategorized

The New Fact Sheet on the Role of CTE in Statewide Attainment Goals

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

More than 40 states have set statewide attainment goals for the percentage of adults holding postsecondary degrees or credentials by a certain year. These efforts have been sparked by Lumina Foundation’s 2025 national credential attainment goal – 60 percent of Americans holding a credential beyond a high school diploma by 2025.

Some states have involved Career Technical Education (CTE) from the onset and others are now looking to ensure CTE is part of their overall strategy. The new fact sheet released by Advance CTE explains why and how CTE can be a major driver of postsecondary attainment across the country.


What States Should Do

Read more about how Oklahoma, New Jersey and Tennessee have connected the dots between CTE and statewide attainment goals in the new fact sheet.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources
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Idaho, Iowa Pass Bills to Bolster their States’ Workforce; Washington, Idaho Expand Scholarships

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

As the legislative session moves forward, states have passed bills that will expand Career Technical Education (CTE) funding, strengthen workforce initiatives and expand scholarships that benefit CTE learners.

Idaho Expands CTE Program Funding

In Idaho, Governor Otter signed a bill to expand funding for high-performing career and technical education programs in grades 9-12 in high-demand fields. The Idaho State Department projects that there will be a shortage of 49,000 workers by 2024 in Idaho. By investing further in high-quality secondary CTE programs, Idaho creates a workforce pipeline that will help to address the “skills gap” and job shortage that the state faces.

Gov. Reynolds Signs Future Ready Iowa Bill

In Iowa, Governor Reynolds signed legislation that establishes programs in Registered Apprenticeship development, voluntary mentorships and summer youth internships. The legislation also establishes summer postsecondary courses for high school students that are aligned with high demand career pathways, as well funds and grants related to an employer innovation fund and Future Ready Iowa programs, grants and scholarships.

The legislation is the latest piece in Gov. Reynolds’ Future Ready Iowa initiative, which aims for 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce to have education or training beyond high school by 2025. Currently, 58 percent of Iowa’s workforce has  education or training beyond high school, and that percentage must increase in order to fill the 65,000 current open jobs in Iowa.

States Expand Opportunity Scholarships that Benefit CTE Learners

Additionally, states have been expanding postsecondary scholarship programs, which will allow more learners from different backgrounds to engage with CTE. In Washington, Gov. Inslee signed a bill that expands the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship to allow high school graduates to receive the scholarship to help pay for certificates and professional technical degrees offered at the state’s technical and community colleges.

As part of their continued focus on CTE, in Idaho, lawmakers passed another bill, which expands the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship to benefit adult learners. The scholarship originally only benefitted Iowa high school graduates, but the bill will allow the State Board of Education to direct up to 20 percent of scholarship funds to Idaho adult residents striving to finish a degree or certificate.

These bills will make postsecondary CTE accessible to more learners from diverse populations, which is critical as states face a shortage of skilled workers.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Public Policy, Uncategorized
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New Video To Help You Make The Case For CTE

Friday, May 18th, 2018

We are excited to announce a new CTE video as part of the CTE: Learning that works for America® campaign for you to watch and share with your community.

Why Is This Important? 

We know that how we discuss CTE in the media, with policymakers, employers and families matters. We are thrilled to share a new video that showcases what today’s CTE looks like and how it prepares learners for their future careers while closing the skills gap for employers across the country. We know that learners who participate in CTE graduate at a higher rate, are more satisfied with their education, and just as likely as non-CTE students to go on to postsecondary education. Now, it’s time that everyone understands the incredible value of CTE.

How Can You Use This?

This video is designed to help you make the case for CTE in your community and demonstrate the many benefits of today’s CTE! Share it at your statewide meetings, with partners, and encourage your networks to use it too.

We’ve developed a promotional toolkit to get the word out on this video, which you can find here. If you’re curious about the data points in the video, check out our one-pager on the data here.

Join the Conversation: 

To get you started here are two tweets you can share right now, but be sure you are following us on twitter @CTEWorks.

Tweet: I support the work of @CTEWorks as they continue to combat false perceptions of what CTE is and who it is for. This video highlights how CTE prepares learners for success. We hope that you will watch, share and #RT! #CTEWorks

Tweet: Learn how Career Technical Education prepares learners for their futures while closing the skills gap for employers across the country. #CTE #CTEWorks

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Manager 

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

Welcome Trey Michael, North Carolina’s New State CTE Director!

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Trey Michael has a philosophy that he takes with him wherever he goes – to help the people around him grow.

As the new State CTE Director for North Carolina, Michael is charged with leading the state’s Career Technical Education (CTE) system, and he plans to use that philosophy to help grow the state’s future workforce.

“I want every student to be as prepared as possible to make intelligent and guided decisions about a career path for their life as soon as possible, and then support them with tools and resources to help them begin to go down that path,” Michael said.

The philosophy is one that he stumbled upon early in his career while in the financial services industry in the mid-90s, where there was no structured training program for new staff. He began informally trying to help build the knowledge and skills of the new associates, and unknowingly, set himself on a path that would soon lead him to return to graduate school and pursue a degree in marketing education at North Carolina State University.

After graduating, he took a job teaching middle school business and marketing classes and soon took on additional responsibilities coaching soccer and track. For Michael, coaching was also another opportunity to recruit students into his CTE classes. As he says, once a marketer, always a marketer.

Michael’s energy and passion helped him then move on to help open a new high school outside of Raleigh, and then to the state Department of Public Instruction in 2001 to help strengthen curriculum, instruction and standards for marketing education across the state. Over the 15 years that followed, Michael managed myriad responsibilities within the department, serving most recently as a section chief.

In his new role, Michael said he is looking forward to strengthening middle and high school CTE programming with a focus on key industries in the state including computer science, health care, construction trades, and information technology.

“We have a skills gap and have fallen behind as a country competitively, and the only way we fix that is by thinking really hard about how we prepare elementary, middle and high school students to be more competitive in the workforce,” Michael said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

By Andrea Zimmermann in Advance CTE State Director

High School Senior, Danielle Rothchild’s FCCLA Experience Lead to Creating a Non-Profit

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Danielle Rothchild is a senior at Carmel High School (CHS) in Indiana and will be pursuing her postsecondary education at Purdue University with a $10,000 scholarship. She attributes her growth as a leader to her experience in Career Technical Education (CTE) classes and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) program.

At CHS the family and consumer science courses count towards the Career-Technical program sequence. Five out of seven of her classes this semester are family and consumer sciences (FCS). Family and consumer sciences courses provide learners with skills to impact society in areas such as work and family, health care, child and elder care, hospitality, global economics and education. CHS provides an array of FCS course offerings in the following career pathways: education and training, hospitality and human services, architecture and construction, business marketing, and health science.

During her freshman year, she learned about FCCLA and was interested in participating in the Students Taking Action with Recognition (STAR) events. STAR events are competitions in which members are recognized for proficiency and achievement in projects, leadership skills, and career preparation. Danielle got involved with FCCLA to engage her competitive spirit and is now the chapter president.

For three years she competed in the Recycle and Redesign event where learners use their recycling and redesign skills from the family and consumer sciences courses. Participants select a used item to recycle into a new product. Her first year she created a dress out of shower loofahs, the next year she used cupcake liners and her junior year is when everything changed.

She decided to create a dress out of bread tags. Danielle used 5,000 tags for her project and had 40,000 bread tags left over. She decided to research how others are using bread tags and discovered a foundation in South Africa called Bread Tags for Wheelchairs that collects and sells bread tags for money to buy wheelchairs for people in need. She reached out to the organizer to learn more.

In the spring of 2017, Danielle brought this idea to life. She started a nonprofit organization called Danielle Cares for Chairs. She recycles bread tags and uses the money to buy mobility chairs for those in need. Her collection stands at nearly two million.

The process she uses for this project is to take bread tags to a recycling plant and use the proceeds to buy others mobility products. Danielle understands that any vision cannot be brought to life on its own. She has continued to raise awareness about her organization and gaining support leading to the creation of collection points in twenty-four states and Canada. She also has several colleges contributing to her efforts.

To date, Danielle’s collection of two million has enabled her to purchase five mobility cars and/or wheelchairs. She recently organized an event to create the world’s longest bread tag chain and was featured in the Scholastic Choice Magazine as one of three planet heroes making a difference. Danielle has continued to create community events and received attention from media and grant funding from organizations such as Disney. Watch as Danielle delivers these items to children here.

As she is quickly approaching graduation her vision for the future is to continue managing the non-profit throughout her college experience. Danielle will be attending Purdue University and wants to focus on learning about business.

Her advice for other students considering taking CTE classes is, “Even though it’s Family and Consumer Sciences you don’t have to be amazing at sewing or cooking. It’s really teaching you how to be a well-rounded adult.”

Danielle believes she has gained the skills needed to be successful – from managing her finances to presentation skills – because of CTE courses. She recently traveled to Washington, DC for an FCCLA event to lead a session on community service and will head to Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia.

“I feel like with every Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) is there to teach you how to be successful and how to be a leader. I’m really bad at sewing and I’ve made three dresses. I found a passion with helping people out, helping the community, that’s what FCCLA taught me, it showed me what I love.”

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate 

By Nicole Howard in Uncategorized

Presidential Scholars Named, Hearing on the Skills Gap, Apprenticeship Task Force Completes Report

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Career Technical Education (CTE) was in the spotlight this week with the announcement of the 2018 Presidential Scholars and a congressional hearing on closing the skills gap. Read below to learn more about these items and an update on the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion.

2018 CTE Presidential Scholars Announced

On May 8, 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars were named by U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. This includes 20 students who are U.S. Presidential Scholars in CTE. On June 24these students will be recognized at a ceremony, during which they will receive their Presidential Scholar Medallions. Check out this blog post to learn more about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Closing the Skills Gap

On May 9, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing, “Closing the Skills Gap: Private sector solutions for America’s workforce.” The witnesses who provided testimony during the hearing were Ryan Costella, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Click Bond, Inc., Tamar Jacoby, President of Opportunity America, Steve Partridge, Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development at Northern Virginia Community College and Traci Tapani, Co-President and Owner of Wyoming Machine, Inc. Members of the Subcommittee focused their questions on a variety of factors that influence the skills gap and how programs and partnerships between business and education can work together to overcome it. Witnesses discussed the role CTE can play in connecting education to business and industry and examples of programs that have seen promising results. In addition, they discussed the importance of investing in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Additional topics were also discussed, including the need to both strengthen career guidance and advisement and change the perception of CTE.

Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion Completes Final Report

The Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, which was called for by President Trump’s June 2017 Executive Order on Expanding Apprenticeships in America held its final meeting on May 10. The Task Force was chaired by Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta and vice-chaired by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and comprised of 20 members representing business and industry, education, state and local government and more. As part of the Executive Order, the Task Force was “charged with the mission of identifying strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeship programs are insufficient” and submit a final report to the President with their findings. The final report includes 26 recommendations from the Task Force’s four subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Education and Credentialing, the Subcommittee on Attracting Business to Apprenticeship, the Subcommittee on Expanding Access, Equity, and Career Awareness and the Subcommittee on Administrative and Regulatory Strategies to Expand Apprenticeship. You can find the final report along with materials from the Task Force’s previous meetings on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion webpage.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

By Kathryn Zekus in Legislation