Archive for June, 2018

More Evidence Demonstrates How Postsecondary Credentials Can Help Learners Unlock Career Opportunities

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Earning a credential of value is still the surest path to success for American workers. A recent New America poll released last month finds that 80 percent of American adults believe there are more opportunities for those who pursue education after high school, compared to 14 percent who think it is better to enter the workforce right away.

For adult learners, the connection between education and careers is even more important. According to Public Agenda, 71 percent of adult prospective students — those who are actively working to go back to school — say that their primary motivation is either to get ahead in their current career or to get the skills they need to start a new career.

Studying the return on investment for credential earners can be quite an undertaking, however, considering the vast number and types of credentials on the market today. Credential Engine, a nonprofit dedicated to counting and cataloging every credential, estimated in April that there are more than 330,000 individual credentials available in the United States today, and only a fraction of them are available at four-year institutions. That count includes nearly 67,000 postsecondary certificates, 13,600 Registered Apprenticeships and 5,400 certifications.

It is well understood that a university education can improve career opportunities. But where to start? Does major matter? And what is the return on investment for other sub-baccalaureate credentials like associate degrees, postsecondary certificates and industry certifications?

More Advanced Credentials Lead to Higher Earnings, but Field of Study Matters

With so many credentials on the market, how can learners navigate the education marketplace and find the credential that best suits their career interests and economic goals?

New research out of the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce helps us begin to demystify the credential marketplace.

The report finds that, while median income rises with more advanced credentials, the field of study matters a lot. A bachelor’s degree in architecture and engineering, for example, will land you a median salary of $85,000, far above the $46,000 median salary for education majors. Further, less education can even lead to higher earnings, depending on the field of study. Associate degree holders who study science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) earn a median salary $13,000 higher than workers with bachelor’s degrees in psychology & social work. Certainly, credentials help learners unlock career success and earn a family sustaining wage, but field of study is far more important than level of education.  

A separate Georgetown study puts a magnifying glass up to one particular type of credential,  postsecondary certifications, examining earnings for individuals who earned a certification at an Oregon community college. The study finds that, on average, certification earners experienced a 19 percent increase in earnings. And Pell students experience an even larger premium, more than 50 percent of their wages prior to enrollment, further demonstrating the power of short-term certifications to provide an on-ramp to a sustainable career.

How Can States Help Learners Navigate the Credential Environment?

As the universe of postsecondary credentials continues to grow, learners will need support and guidance to help determine which credentials to pursue and where to pursue them. Already, a number of states have developed protocols to review, verify and publish a list of high-quality, industry-recognized credentials for secondary and postsecondary students. A new 50-state scan from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign finds that 30 states identify or plan to identify credentials of value at the state level. However, only 23 states report that they analyze employment and earnings outcomes and only 21 seek regular employer input.

If credentials are going to deliver on their promise, the credentialing system must be transparent and learners must be able to know which credentials are valued in the marketplace and recognized by employers. It is important for states to set up systems to regularly gather and put to use employer input. The evidence is encouraging, but there is still a lot of work to do to help demystify the credentialing marketplace and empower learners to achieve their career goals.

To learn more about credentials of value or state strategies to promote high-quality credentials, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Research, Resources
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Secretary DeVos Testifies at Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing, New Advance CTE Resource

Friday, June 8th, 2018

Congress is back in session this week and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies started off the week with a hearing on the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Budget for the U.S. Department of Education. Read below to find out more about hearing, Advance CTE’s advocacy on the federal investment in Career Technical Education (CTE), remarks Secretary DeVos gave this week and a new fact sheet on the role of a State CTE Director.

Secretary DeVos Testifies Before Senate Appropriations Subcommittee 

On June 5, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies held a hearing ,”Review of the FY2019 Budget Request for the Department of Education,” during which U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified. Members’ questions and comments focused on the level of investment for many federal grant programs and they discussed a number of topics including school safety, accountability, school choice and more. Several members asked about topics related to CTE, including how the Department’s FY19 Budget addresses the skills gap, supports apprenticeship and the need to expand eligibility for Pell Grants to short-term programs. Senator Baldwin (D-WI), co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, asked Secretary DeVos about the President’s FY19 Budget Request including flat-funding (at the level Congress provided for FY17) for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). When Secretary DeVos emphasized that level-funding for programs means they are a “top priority” for the Administration, Senator Baldwin (D-WI) noted that this was “disappointing.”

Advance CTE Participates in Committee for Education Funding Advocacy Event

On June 5, the Committee for Education Funding hosted an event for Congressional staff to learn about and discuss the federal investment in the full continuum of education programs. Advance CTE participated in the event and shared resources on the need to increase the federal investment in Perkins with attendees. Looking for resources to share about the federal investment in CTE? Check them out on our website.

Secretary DeVos Speaks at International Congress on Vocational & Professional Training

On June 7, Secretary DeVos provided remarks at the International Congress on Vocational & Professional Training in Zurich, Switzerland. Secretary DeVos discussed the connection between education and the economy and the need to adapt over time, apprenticeships and more. She noted that, “students must be prepared to anticipate and adapt. They need to acquire and master broadly transferrable and versatile educational competencies like critical thinking. Collaboration. Communication. Creativity. Cultural intelligence.” You can find Secretary DeVos’ prepared remarks here.

New Resource: Getting to Know the State CTE Director Role

Advance CTE released a new fact sheet that highlights the responsibilities of the State CTE Director, what factors might impact this role and how this can promote cross-system collaboration.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy 

By Kathryn Zekus in Legislation

New Fact Sheet Highlights the Roles and Responsibilities of a State CTE Director

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

We are excited to announce the release of a new fact sheet that highlights results from Advance CTE’s 2017 Perkins Implementation Survey. Responses to this survey demonstrated that State CTE Directors’ portfolios cover a range of responsibilities, and that there are additional factors to consider when understanding the variety of responsibilities that fall into the portfolio of a State Director.

Some findings include:

Check out the full fact sheet to learn more about the responsibilities of the State Director, what factors might impact this role and how this can promote cross-system collaboration.

By Meredith Hills in Uncategorized

Now Recruiting for the Summer 2018 CTE Virtual Institute

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Last fall, Advance CTE launched the inaugural Career Technical Education (CTE) Virtual Institute, a web-based course designed to help new audiences become experts on CTE. Participants learned about the history of CTE, addressed common myths and recognized the role they play in supporting a high-quality CTE system.

By the end of the course, each participant also designed and delivered an individual project demonstrating and applying lessons learned. Personal projects included:

The CTE Virtual Institute provided the space for professionals to come together and collectively unpack the core components of a high-quality CTE system.

Today, we are excited to announce that we are recruiting a second cohort to participate in the Summer 2018 CTE Virtual Institute. The summer course will begin in mid-July and conclude in early September. New this year, participants will be able to engage directly with the foremost thinkers in the field through a series of “brown bag” calls with CTE experts.

If you are interested in joining, please apply by June 15. Otherwise, consider passing this information along to your network and/or staff. Additional details are provided below.

Join the Summer 2018 CTE Virtual Institute

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Advance CTE Announcements
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Four Lessons for School Leaders from STEM School Principals

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Our friends at Bellwether Education Partners provide some tips for education leaders from two of our Excellence in Action award winning schools. Thank you to Kirsten Schmitz who wrote the article below! 

Career Technical Education (CTE) is having something of a moment. An October Brookings report found that media mentions of the term, which commonly refers to programs teaching specific career-oriented and technical skills, have quadrupled in the past four years, and in 2015, 39 states instituted new CTE-related policies, many of which increased program funding.

While researching high-performing CTE programs, I was able to connect with two school leaders: Earl Moore, principal of Highlands, New Jersey’s Marine Academy of Science and Technology (M.A.S.T), and Jeff Brown, principal of Strathmore, California’s Harmony Magnet Academy. Both schools have a STEM focus, and while the institutions have their differences, four shared lessons emerged:

1. Career Technical Education isn’t what it used to be — we’ve come a long way

When I think about vocational programs, I immediately visualize my own eighth grade shop class. It was a six week crash course — a literal crash, we hung drywall and then smashed it to patch it — and while I took away some foundational hammering and sanding skills, the background wasn’t connected to my eventual career aspirations.

But that’s not what many of today’s CTE programs look like, and it’s certainly not the case at M.A.S.T. or Harmony. In recent years, Harmony has added a student-run enterprise program, courses in biomedicine, and a summer coding camp targeting young women. Brown spoke to Harmony’s engineering program’s constant innovation cycle: “We’re always pushing the envelope to develop new opportunities for students; we’re constantly working to find a new way to make it more real.” Moore credited his school’s success to its ability to reinvent itself: “M.A.S.T. today is not what it was in 1981…the key to a successful CTE program is the ability to change with the times.”

2. Get you a program that does both — combining an academic core with STEM-centered courses prepares students for high-value jobs after college graduation

Both M.A.S.T. and Harmony pair traditional academic core classes with CTE-specific coursework. Both leaders found integrating a technical curriculum with a college prep foundation to be especially powerful. “Teaching academic subjects through a technical lens provides immediate opportunities for application, and students really learn at a higher level. We can’t be just a school,” says Brown. M.A.S.T. also combines CTE-specific experiences with traditional academies. All students take four years of Math, English, Social Studies, and Naval Science, but they also have the opportunity to learn on a 65-foot research vessel called the “Blue Sea.” In addition, all M.A.S.T. students participate in the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

3. Teacher preparation and professional development matter more than ever

Just as CTE has changed over time, how we teach it has changed, too. It’s critical for teacher preparation and development to evolve with the field. Moore links his staff’s ability to prepare M.A.S.T. students appropriately to an increase in ongoing professional development offered at the school and an awareness of the constantly changing skills and knowledge industry leaders are prioritizing, which are reinforced through partnerships with local businesses. “It’s an investment in money and resources,” he says, “but you need to give educators the professional development they need to achieve the goals of the program.”

4. It takes a village — and also local businesses — to get it right

No school is an island — not even a marine sciences academy. Both Brown and Moore underscored the support of local industry and community partners, from college professors to government officials, in developing their curriculum to align with workforce needs. Says Moore, “Vocational schools really need to be in tune with their local businesses.”

Region-specific programs can foster mutually beneficial relationships. Student interns are both learning and contributing to their community.

Researchers found high school CTE participants are more likely to graduate on time and less likely to drop out than students who do not take CTE courses. At the same time, some policymakers voice concerns around equity and access, as well as wide variation in CTE program quality. There’s a lot to unpack, but programs like M.A.S.T. and Harmony show positive student outcomes using hybrid vocational and academic curriculum are possible.

By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Resources

 

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