Archive for September, 2018

California, Oklahoma and Virginia Invest in CTE

Friday, September 28th, 2018

The majority of 2018 state legislative sessions have come to a close. During these legislative sessions, states enacted budgets that illustrate a continued commitment to invest in Career Technical Education (CTE) and opportunities for learners to earn credentials that translate into high-skill, in-demand occupations.

In California, Governor Jerry Brown signed a Fiscal Year 2018-2019 budget that invests millions in CTE-related programs and initiatives. The budget includes $164 million ongoing funds to establish a K-12 specific component within the Strong Workforce Program, an initiative that aims to improve CTE programs and increase the number of learners enrolled in CTE programs that culminate in high-wage, in-demand jobs. The budget also includes $6.7 million in funds to offer 338 additional CTE programming slots and to expand CTE to thirteen additional sites in California.

Additionally, the budget provides $100 million one-time and $20 million ongoing funds to establish a statewide online community college. Currently, 2.5 million adults in California between the ages of 25 to 34 only have a high-school diploma, despite an estimated 65 percent of jobs requiring some form of postsecondary education and training beyond high school by 2020. The online community college will provide a cost-effective way for working adults in that age range to earn short, career ready credentials.

In Oklahoma, Governor Mary Fallin signed a Fiscal Year 2019 budget that increases the amount of funds appropriated to the State Board of Career and Technology Education by more than $12 million when compared to last year’s budget. This investment aligns with the the state’s efforts to build and strengthen career pathways through the Oklahoma Works initiative, which aligns education, resources, training and job opportunities to bolster Oklahoma’s workforce.

Virginia’s 2018-2020 biennial budget provides an additional $2 million in grant funding each year for the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program. This program, created in 2016, covers up to two-thirds of the cost of a noncredit workforce training program, requires the Board of Workforce Development to maintain a list of credentials and noncredit workforce training programs in high-demand fields, and encourages participating institutions to award academic credit for credentials earned.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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Advance CTE Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: New Hands-on Training and Certification Program – CPT+ Skill Boss

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

This post is written by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC), a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Fall Meeting.

The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) is pleased to announce the release of its complete hands-on advanced manufacturing CPT+ Skill Boss Training and Certification program. Built upon MSSC’s well-established Certified Production Technician (CPT), this new program is designed to prepare certificants with the next generation skills to work in a computer-driven, data-intensive advanced manufacturing workplace.


The centerpiece of this new program is a transformational training device, invented by Amatrol, that enables MSSC to offer hands-on training and assessment as an enhancement to its signature CPT training and certification system.  “Skill Boss” is a computer-controlled machine that performs a wide variety of functions aligned with 55+ skills drawn from the MSSC’s National Production Standards.  

Leo Reddy, Chair, MSSC & Paul Perkins, President, Amatrol, pictured with CPT+ Skill Boss Device

As shown in the Skill Boss Brochure, the “Skill Boss” device is portable, compact, and “classroom friendly.” Together with its associated programmable logic controller (PLC), Skill Boss fits comfortably on a standard 3’x 6′ table. It is strongly built with industrial grade components to withstand heavy use. Additionally, it is designed to cover many of the core technical competencies related to advanced manufacturing discrete parts and process manufacturing.  

Colorful and multifaceted, Skill Boss will be more fun than a robot for many students and will encourage them to enter a career pathway in advanced manufacturing. Cost-effective, Skill Boss will enable many more schools, including most high schools, who cannot afford a costly lab or tech center, to offer hands-on CPT training and testing. Watch the video below to see the Skill Boss functions!

“As an instructor, having Skill Boss will provide me with a functional hands-on teaching and testing tool that will allow my students to learn and demonstrate the valuable skills and concepts of the MSSC CPT program.” -Victor Burgos, Master Trainer, MSSC

Skill Boss Value Add:

Relationship with Current CPT Program, Instructors, and Fees:

The current MSSC CPT Program remains in full force as a highly successful program for training and certifying individuals with the core technical competencies needed to enter front-line production jobs in all manufacturing sectors. There is no requirement that education and training institutions offering CPT will need to purchase a Skill Boss trainer.

Nor will there be any change in the credentialing documentation that MSSC provides for successful completion of CPT Modules. CPT+ is a “stackable” credential.  Individuals seeking a CPT+ credential must pass the current multiple-choice assessments for all four CPT Modules: Safety, Quality Practices & Measurement, Manufacturing Processes & Production, and Maintenance Awareness.

CPT+ Credentialing:

MSSC CPT+ Skill Boss trained Instructors will issue a “MSSC Transcript” to students who satisfactorily complete hands-on training for each of the four CPT Modules.  MSSC will also offer a final, hands-on CPT+ Assessment after students pass all four CPT modules. The CPT+ certification will be on diploma-style parchment, suitable for framing, and include two CPT+ arm patches.

Delivery Expectations of CPT+ Instructor Training and Assessment:

Only MSSC Representatives are authorized to sell the Skill Boss training device and will be responsible for demonstrating Skill Boss to CPT Instructors, for invoicing and collections, and for customer service questions related to Skill Boss. Assessment related questions and orders will be done through the MSSC Headquarter office.

MSSC strongly encourages its interested community members currently and/or previously offering CPT, to order the new CPT+ Skill Boss Assessment device.  Please contact your local MSSC Representative for more information on placing your order. For information on who your MSSC Representative is,  please visit our website or contact our office by email at or 703-739-9000.

By Nicole Howard in Advance CTE Fall Meeting

Advance CTE Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: PMIEF & The Big Picture of Project Management

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

This post is written by PMIEF, a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Fall Meeting.

Reengineering the Learning Experience

Across the globe, there’s a widening gap between employers’ need for key skills and the availability of professionals to fulfill those needs. A strategic mindset is the most desired yet, hardest-to-find skill among employers. Given recent changes in the economy, we need to ask how schools organize learning to support new economic realities and encourage deeper learning outcomes. Are students:

Most young people will manage projects every day for the rest of their personal and professional lives. Applying project management methodology in the classroom offers students rich opportunities to learn how to manage and lead effective projects, hone a variety of essential 21st century skills, apply these skills to deepen their subject-matter knowledge, and reduce the talent gap.

If we want to empower the millions of students for whom college is not a given or those without access to a quality education, then consider project management and the big picture: projects aren’t the big picture or an end result – they’re part of the picture itself and project management provides a standard framework for consistently doing projects well.

To learn more about changing the way children learn, live, and plan for the future through the knowledge and application of project management, visit PMI’s Educational Foundation (PMIEF)or visit our booth at the 2018 Advance CTE Fall Meeting.

By Nicole Howard in Advance CTE Spring Meeting

The State’s Role in Communicating About CTE

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

On Thursday, September 20, 2018, Advance CTE hosted a webinar to highlight the important role the state plays in communicating about Career Technical Education (CTE) and programs of study available for learners. This webinar is part of the four-part Communicating about CTE Webinar Series.

As CTE continues to gain popularity in the media and even the election campaign trail. However, there is a still a challenge to both communicate what CTE is and the benefits of CTE programs of study. In a survey of State CTE Directors and leaders, 74 percent reported the greatest challenge in promoting CTE is navigating the public’s perception. To offer a solution we spearheaded a research initiative.

Advance CTE, with support from the Siemens Foundation, commissioned focus groups and a national survey to explore the attitudes of parents and students currently involved in CTE, as well as prospective CTE parents and students. The survey revealed that school counselors, instructors and alumni of prospective parents and students are the best messengers to share the CTE story. It also revealed that only 47 percent of prospective parents and learners have heard of CTE, indicating that there is much work to be done to educate stakeholders about CTE.

In this webinar, Dwight Johnson, CTE State Administrator, Idaho Division of Career and Technical Education and Caty Solace, Outreach and Communications Manager, Idaho Workforce Development Council, shared the communications tactics they used to improve the image of CTE.

They provided some key takeaways including:

Idaho Career and Technical Education’s increased focus on communications has  resulted in a 23 percent increase in state CTE general fund budget after decades of being stagnant.

Overall, the advice shared was to be sure that communications is not an afterthought. Create goals, make a plan, establish branding, share real stories and get out into the field to spread the word. Hear the full webinar here. Join us for our next webinar in this series, discussing Engaging the Media, on October 10, 2018 at noon EST. Register here.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate 

By Nicole Howard in Uncategorized

Free College: A Brief Policy History

Monday, September 24th, 2018

Advance CTE will be writing a series of blog posts profiling the policies and practices of free college in the United States. This post will explore the history of the movement toward free college. Check back for blogs on the challenges, successful practices and future of free college.

College affordability, or lack of affordability, is one of the most pressing problem in the world of higher education. Free postsecondary education has long been a topic of conversation, and various models have been piloted at the state and local levels. The Atlantic’s “Debt Free” article explains that this idea was given renewed national attention when former President Barack Obama addressed the topic in his 2015 State of the Union speech. In particular, President Obama advocated that the place to start implementing such policies was in community colleges. Afterward, with the upcoming presidential election campaigns underway, the conversation of free college remained part of many candidates dialogue. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), for example, was a vocal advocate.

Some state higher education institutions previously held free college policies, but found that model unsustainable over time. TIME’s piece, “What Happened When American States Tried Providing Tuition-Free College,” profiled some such examples:

A main driver behind institutions pulling back on free college practices has to do with the significant increase in enrollment, as reported by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Whereas in the 1909-1910 school year only 355,000 of Americans 19-24 years old (2.9 percent of those in that age bracket) enrolled in higher education, by 2012 that number increased to 31.4 million (41 percent). At the same time, state and local funding for public colleges and universities decreased. Just from 2008-2016, overall state dollar allocation across the country to institutions of higher education has declined by 16 percent. If free college policies were put in place at the founding of an institution, the combination of increased enrollment and decreased state and local funding made the model unsustainable.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

By Meredith Hills in Research, Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE

Friday, September 21st, 2018



Senate Votes 93-7 to Advance FY19 Appropriations Bill

On September 18, the Senate voted 93-7 to approve the FY 19 Appropriations Bill, as well as a continuing resolution that would run through December 7 to extend current funding levels for other government agencies without final appropriations bills in place by October 1. The bill heads to House for a vote next week and if passed, will go to the President for his signature. Read our blog to learn more.

To make sure you get the latest news and resources about federal policy that affects Career Technical Education (CTE), sign up for our Legislative Updates!


Why Does Idaho Power Invest in Registered Apprenticeship

The Idaho Power registered apprenticeship program employees have a higher retention rate than their overall workforce. This video, developed by Idaho Career & Technical Education,  provides an overview of the elements of an apprenticeship program, the benefits for the employer and the learner. Watch this video to learn more.


Report: Building Better Degrees Using Industry Certifications

CTE programs of study provide learners with a variety of opportunities including earning industry-recognized credentials and participating in meaningful work-based learning experiences. Certifications are a way to demonstrate to an employer that the learner has accomplished a level of understanding and skill. In a recent report, Building Better Degrees Using Industry Certifications, New America conducted research as a follow-up to a 2016 national survey of institutions. This report is a deep dive into how certifications are being included in degree programs. It explores the challenges and successes, and recommendations based on their findings. They report that adults with a degree and at least one industry certification earn nearly 40 percent more than those with the same degree but no certification.

Learn more about this report here.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate 

By Nicole Howard in Uncategorized
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CTE’s Equity Challenge

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Throughout history, and continuing today, learners of color, low-income learners, female learners and learners with disabilities have been historically tracked into terminal vocational programs leading to jobs with uncertain promise of economic growth and prosperity. While the quality of CTE programs has significantly improved since then, many of these same learners cannot access high-quality CTE programs of study that prepare them for success in postsecondary education and their future careers.

To help state leaders recognize these historical barriers and adopt promising solutions to close equity gaps in CTE, Advance CTE is launching a new series of policy briefs called Making Good on the Promise. The first two briefs are now available in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

The first brief explores CTE’s history, taking a close look at the practice of tracking learners into low-quality vocational programs and examining the different ways that certain learners have faced barriers to accessing high-quality CTE programs of study. The second brief highlights promising practices from states that are using data to identify and address access and achievement gaps by different learner populations.

Ultimately, each learner deserves to access a learning environment in which he or she is supported, feels welcome, and can acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities to achieve lifelong career success. But many of the structures and systems in place today enforce historical biases and discrimination that make it challenging for learners to access these opportunities. Reversing historical trends and expanding access and opportunity for each learner will require tough conversations, humility, and a commitment to both quality and equity.

In Delaware, for example, state leaders made a commitment to use state CTE data to expand equitable access to high-quality CTE programs. Through the regular CTE performance management process, the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) compares the population of learners in CTE programs to learners in the larger student body to identify enrollment gaps.

If a certain learner population is either underrepresented or overrepresented in the program of study, it triggers a structured protocol. DDOE staff work in partnership with local leaders to conduct interviews with teachers, learners and parents and dig deeper into the root causes. DDOE and district staff debrief about the conversations and collectively develop a report summarizing the findings of the study. Although local sites are not required to act on DDOE’s recommendations, many recognize the need and seize the opportunity for additional state support.

Conversations about equity are often difficult, but they are necessary to secure access and opportunity for each learner. Collaborative, data-driven strategies like Delaware’s CTE performance management protocol allow state leaders to identify and address inequities in an impactful way.

In future briefs, we will explore how state leaders can work to rebuild trust among communities that have been historically under-served, expand opportunity for every learner, and put mechanisms in place to ensure learner success. The Making Good on the Promise series is made possible through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. These briefs and all future resources can be accessed in the Learning that Works Resource Center at

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Resources
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Senate Approves FY19 Appropriations Bill that Includes Key Education and Workforce Programs

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

As Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) winds down for the government, Congress is working to advance FY19 appropriations bills. Read below to learn more about the path forward for the FY19 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations bill and the U.S. Department of Education’s back to school tour.

Senate Votes 93-7 to Advance FY19 Appropriations Bill 

On September 13, the conference committee (comprised of members of both the House and Senate that was formed to negotiate the FY19 appropriations bill for Labor-HHS-Ed) released their agreement. The bill includes appropriations for education and workforce programs. On September 18, the Senate voted 93-7 to approve the bill, which is bundled with the Defense appropriations bill, as well as a continuing resolution that would run through December 7 to extend current funding levels for other government agencies without final appropriations bills in place by October 1. The bill heads to House for a vote next week and if passed, will go to the President for his signature.

We were excited to see that the bill passed by the Senate includes a $70 million increase in the federal investment in Perkins Basic State Grants. Other notable increases included additional support for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Apprenticeship grants and a $100 increase in the maximum award for Pell grants (but this draws down the Pell reserve, the unobligated funds for the program that have been previously appropriated by Congress). You can find the bill’s specific levels of investment in key U.S. Department of Education programs in this table from the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) and in key U.S. Department of Labor programs in this table from National Skills Coalition.

The bill also contains that language about the proposed consolidation of the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) and the Office of Postsecondary Education into one Office of Postsecondary and Lifelong Learning, noting that, “In particular, the conferees recognize the value of the Office of English Language Acquisition and the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) and are concerned that the elimination or consolidation of either office will undermine the ability of the Department to fulfill not only its mission, but also congressional directives to implement relevant programs and purposes. Further, the conferees note that OCTAE is authorized expressly in statute and cannot be consolidated or reorganized except by specific authority granted by Congress.”

Assistant Secretary Stump Goes on Back to School Tour

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education began its back to school tour with travel across the country under the guiding theme of “Rethink School,” emphasizing innovative programs in education. On Tuesday, September 11, as part of this tour, Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education, traveled to the Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His tour featured the Center’s 40 CTE programs, small business incubator and college preparatory career academies. On Wednesday, September 12, Assistant Secretary Stump spent time in Wichita, Kansas at the National Center for Aviation Training, where high school students are able to achieve a technical certification in aviation production and maintenance that leads to a career in aviation.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

By Kathryn Zekus in Legislation, Uncategorized

Excellence in Action Spotlighting: A&M Consolidated High School, Information Technology Program

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Imagine how you would complete your work each day without technology. Today is a good day to thank the people who keep those systems running smoothly. It’s Information Technology (IT) professionals day or #ITProDay! The third Tuesday in September is a day to celebrate system administrators, network engineers, information security professionals, developers, IT support technicians and more. To honor this day, we are highlighting the Information Technology program of study in College Station, Texas.

A&M Consolidated High School has provided IT Career Technical Education (CTE) programs for nearly four decades. It began as a computer programming course and has transformed into a robust IT program of study designed to provide students with a rigorous academic foundation. Learners gain skills in areas including computer hardware, software, coding, networking and cybersecurity.

This year, the program received the annual Excellence in Action award in the Information Technology Career Cluster®. The program was one of 11 recognized for providing clear pathways into college and careers, rigorous academic and technical coursework, strong industry partnerships, and effective work-based learning experiences that offer opportunities for career exploration and subject-matter mastery.

Over the summer break, learners competed in the 53rd Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Students in their chapter were awarded first place in the Career Pathway Showcase in Information Technology and second place in Cyber Security Demonstration. Read more about all of their accomplishments at this event here.

In addition to winning competitions, learners spend a significant amount of time giving back to their community. The program was awarded a $25,000 grant to work with industry partners to install a network and security infrastructure in an elementary school converted to temporary housing for homeless families. They have even earned recognition from the President of the United States for their commitment to volunteer service by completing a minimum of 1,000 hours of service over a 12-month time period.

In addition to a strong commitment to community service, learners also host events such as video game tournaments where students apply their skills in systems networking, live stream technology, cybersecurity and customer service.

Learn more about the Information Technology program at A&M Consolidated High School and our 2018 award winners.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

By Nicole Howard in Uncategorized
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Excelencia in Education Report Explores 2018 Hispanic Serving Institutions and Workforce Survey

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Excelencia in Education (Excelencia), in partnership with Gallup and with support from Strada Education Network, explored the services and practices of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and the accompanying outcomes of the graduating students. An institution is categorized as an HSI if at least 25 percent of the full time undergraduate students are Latino. As of the 2016-2017 school year, HSIs include 65 percent of Latino undergraduate students and 15 percent of colleges and universities across the country, and these number are only expected to increase. It is more important than ever to understand the role that HSIs play.

The findings are based on the 12 HSIs that were or currently are part of Excelencia’s national “network of institutions that leverage their collective expertise and resources to accelerate Latino student success.” The main findings include:

The full findings and analysis can be found in Excelencia and Gallup’s report, Examining Life Outcomes Among Graduates of Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

Last week, Excelencia and Gallup hosted a briefing to share the results of the survey and key findings of the report. The briefing featured presentations from the following experts:

In addition to providing background information on the survey and report, the presenters underscored the importance understanding the collected data and taking action in response to the results. The point was made that higher education systems and institutions are most successful when leaders are intentional about meeting the needs of their students. When making decisions, one must consider student values, along with data.

A panel, moderated by Sarita E. Brown, President of Excelencia in Education included:

The panel discussed topics such as the importance of intentionality in increasing Latino representation in higher education institutions and in the workplace, the need to pay attention to the full pipeline from secondary education through the workforce and what it will take to close both the opportunity and access gaps. There was also a call to action to bring more employers and learners together. In doing this, the students have the opportunity to learn about career paths, and industry leaders benefit from interacting with and better understanding those who will be joining the workforce. Additionally, the role of HSIs was reinforced as pivotal to students. For example, less than 10 percent of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics degree holders are Latino, and the majority of these individuals come from HSIs.

You can check out the full recording of the briefing to hear more about the topics covered.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

By Meredith Hills in Uncategorized