Archive for October, 2018

Register for Insights into the 2019 Excellence in Action Award Webinar

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Advance CTE’s annual Excellence in Action award recognizes and honors superior Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study from across the nation. Do you think you have one of the best CTE programs of study?

Apply for the 2019 Excellence in Action award to showcase the amazing work of your learners, instructors, partners and faculty at the national level. The application submission deadline is November 21, 2018.

Join us for a webinar on November 1, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST to learn all about the application process from Advance CTE staff. You will also hear from a 2018 award winner, the Building Construction Technology program of study at the Dauphin County Technical School in Pennsylvania.

Learn more about what makes an award-winning program and get tips on how to fill out your application directly from an award winner. Register Today!

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate


By Nicole Howard in Advance CTE Spring Meeting

This Week in CTE

Friday, October 19th, 2018



Advance CTE Excellence in Action Award Applications are Open!

Advance CTE’s annual Excellence in Action award recognizes and honors superior Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study from across the nation. Selected programs of study will exemplify excellence in the implementation of the Career ClustersⓇ, show a true progression from secondary to postsecondary education, provide meaningful work-based learning opportunities and have a substantial and evidence-based impact on student achievement and success.

Do you think you have one of the best CTE programs of study in the nation? Apply for the 2019 Excellence in Action award to showcase the amazing work of learners, instructors and faculty at the national level. Be sure to submit the application before the deadline of November 21, 2018 at 5 p.m. ET.

Want to learn more? Register for Insights into the 2019 Excellence in Action Award Webinar taking place on  November 1 from 2 – 3 p.m. ET!


Tom Vander Ark of Getting Smart Explores World of Work at Cajon Valley Union School District

Watch this video to get a glimpse into how the Cajon Valley Union School District is sharing the World of Work with learners from elementary to middle school. The Cajon Valley Union School District offers 54 career exploration experiences for learners between kindergarten and eighth grade. The district is connecting industry to education through technology such as work-based learning resources and video chats with industry professionals. The district is working to help learners identify their strengths and interests and encourage the community to open their doors to create meaningful partnerships with the schools.

Read the full article to learn more.


Three Educational Pathways to Good Jobs: High School, Middle Skills, and Bachelor’s Degree

A recent report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce titled, Three Educational Pathways to Good Jobs: High School, Middle Skills, and Bachelor’s Degree explores the pathways to ‘good jobs’ defined as as one that pays at least $35,000 for workers 25-44 and at least $45,000 for workers 45-64.  The research finds that in 1991, there were 15 million good careers requiring a high school diploma, 12 million good middle-skills jobs, and 18 million good careers requiring a bachelor’s degree. By 2016, careers requiring only a high school diploma decreased to 13 million good jobs, middle-skills careers  grew to 16 million, and those careers requiring a bachelor’s degree doubled to 36 million. Other key findings include:

Learn more by reading the full report here:

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

By Nicole Howard in Uncategorized

Advance CTE Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: Gold Sponsor, Ohana Solutions

Friday, October 19th, 2018

According to recent social media trends, modern Americans, especially Millennials, would happily trade traditional gift-giving for the gift of travel or experience in relation to how they most want to enjoy a contribution toward life.

Because we know this (or had at least heard about it on our own perusing around social media), my husband and I offered a last time adventure opportunity for our oldest daughter the summer before she left for college.  We decided to embark on a family trip from our home in Florida all the way out west to Yellowstone.

This trip was, of course meaningful on all parenting levels, but it also made me wonder about all the states we had not explored.  With the passing thru of all, I rattled off state statistics, highlights, and fun facts of each one, and we all learned a little something new.  I started to wonder, how many children actually know things about states that make them appealing outside of the wonders they maybe once had to do a diorama about in grade school.

For instance, do the students of Alabama know that their state built the rocket ship that took the first Americans to the moon?  What about Utah—do the students there know it was here that the Jarvik-7, the first artificial heart was created and surgically implanted? Or how about Massachusetts’ claim toward the invention of the World Wide Web.

This trip made the former educator in me wonder what if we ever actually explore the benefits of our own backyards—the inventions, the manufacturing, the industries that create and contribute to our own communities?   Are we aware of how our state contributes toward the greater vision of the entire nation and even global economic advancements? Do our children know?

Thankfully, with workforce incentive programs, placing an emphasis on classroom content that pairs students to the particulars of their own home states, can make some real headway into bringing back a tradition of career-leveled job opportunities. And students won’t have to travel halfway across the world to see this as new or innovative.  In fact, with content paired directly to local industries, students should be able to not only define what it is their state might claim as bragging rights, but they can also see where they might fit in the local workforce.

As Americans, we all deserve an opportunity to contribute in some way toward the appreciation of our own state industry.  We need to know what exists there, how we might contribute toward it, or how we might advance it toward a far-reaching goal only before imagined. Like me, Ohana Solutions believes in this promise for American students as well.  We want to see industries highlighted and communities enhanced–and the content we created for specific career pathways will do just that.

Using the localized careers found within the career and technical industries of each state, students will be able to cite off those statistics necessary for prosper and advancement. I hope to find the careers those states produce being enhanced in great ways by a generation who wants to lead it toward greater findings and contributions.

And I hope to someday see, on those push-pinned maps of teenage bedrooms, the industries lead by a team of innovators who successfully contributed toward putting their states on that map simply because they were taught about it in grade school, and they believed they could.

By Nicole Howard in Advance CTE Fall Meeting

Advance CTE Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: Diamond Sponsor, YouScience

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

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

YouScience is a revolutionary career guidance platform that is poised to change the way learners explore Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study and plan for their futures.

CTE has changed quite a bit over the years. CTE programs offer great exposure to many postsecondary options, but there is often a missed opportunity to get learners into CTE programs – a problem that is perpetuated by current interest-based surveys. Results from interest-based surveys are limited by learners’ exposure, reinforce social bias, and don’t often recommend young women and minorities to explore high-wage, high-demand CTE career paths.  

A recent study found that while there was a significant disparity in reported interest between males and females for careers like construction, information technology and manufacturing, gender aptitude fits were comparable across all industries. That is, there are just as many young women with the natural talent, and potential to succeed in technical careers.

States that are becoming aware of this “exposure bias” limitation are shifting their focus and are having great success. Georgia, for example, is using its Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) dollars to identify non-traditional learners with the aptitude for underrepresented pathways by using an aptitude-based advisement tool called YouScience.

“It frustrated me in the past that all we did were interest inventories. As a career pathway educator, I really did not put a whole lot of stock in an interest-only survey or test.  You have to put the aptitude part in to understand students’ real, natural abilities,” said Tim Brown, Career Pathways Director Marietta City Schools. “And for some of these students, truly it’s been the first time that someone has told them that they’re good at doing something.”

Technology is changing at a rapid pace and so should career guidance. By using real measures of natural aptitudes, combined with interests, YouScience uniquely helps administrators guide learners into their best-fit programs, and gives learners hope, purpose and relevance. “Beyond simply preparing our students with the skills and training to be successful in high-demand careers, YouScience allows each school’s faculty to engage students in making proactive choices that will maximize the value of their education,” said Georgia Lt. Governor, Casey Cagle.

By Nicole Howard in Advance CTE Fall Meeting

Three Takeaways from the National Forum to Advance Rural Education

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Last week’s National Forum to Advance Rural Education was the nation’s 110th annual gathering of rural teachers, administrators, superintendents and state leaders from across the country.

I attended the meeting on behalf of Advance CTE to talk about our work on high-quality CTE and the CTE on the Frontier series. The meeting also served as a powerful opportunity to hear and learn from state and local innovators from rural America. Over the course of the conference, three themes stood out to me:

1. Preparing learners for careers is a priority for rural educators

We spend a lot of time trying to convince policymakers that what follows the “and” in “college and career ready” is just as important as what precedes it. But at the conference this was already understood. From the breakouts to the keynotes to the tabletop conversations, everyone emphasized the importance and value of exposure to real-world learning in high school and in college. This idea was best captured by student panelist Savannah Burris, a senior at Holyoke High School in northeast Colorado, who said that high school students need to get “real world life experience” to be prepared once they graduate. Throughout the rest of the conference, participants heard about efforts to strengthen regional career pathways, provide robust career guidance to high school students, expand access to rural career centers, and partner with employers and industry leaders in rural communities.

2. Collaboration is key in rural schools and communities

I heard a lot of stories of local and state leaders who are working collaboratively with employers, neighboring school districts and members of their community to prepare learners for success in the real world. One example is a partnership between the Widefield and Peyton School Districts, which are both located just outside of Colorado Springs. Over the past three years, Widefield and Peyton have collaborated to purchase and design a facility for hands-on instruction in industries such as woods manufacturing and construction.

The facility, called the Manufacturing Industry Learning Labs (MiLL) National Training Center, is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery that was acquired through relationships with nearly 70 industry, education and community partners. Students in the program can enroll in Widefield’s Project Lead the Way engineering program and earn CTE credit, math credit and even postsecondary credit. MiLL has gained such attention and interest that the center is now offering evening classes to community college students and is working with employers to train new hires.

3. Rural America is an incubator for innovation — because it has to be

Tight budgets, teacher shortages and small student populations have forced rural schools and institutions to be creative with how they deliver high-quality educational experiences for learners. These same challenges make rural institutions better positioned to test new ideas and see what works. Collins Career Technical Center in Lawrence County, Ohio, for example, organized a student learning experience earlier this year called “No Hazards Here.” The experience, which simulated a chemical spill resulting from a collision between a truck and a bus, involved students across all programs offered at the career center. Students in the health academy were responsible for performing CPR and caring for the dummies who suffered from the crash. Students in the auto body repair and automotive technology programs serviced the damaged vehicles. Meanwhile, forensics students tested the chemicals in the spill using full-body HAZMAT suits and rinsing hoods. Dedication from the center staff, as well as relationships with the local community college, helped make the event a success.

As Rural Teacher of the Year Wade Owlett, a Pennsylvania elementary school teacher who was awarded the title on the second day of the conference, eloquently said: “innovation is not the key to success. It is the key to survival.” The same features that make it challenging to scale high-quality CTE in rural communities can also be assets that allow for flexibility, creativity and collaboration.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Resources

CTE and Workforce Systems Alignment: Lessons Learned from States

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Aligning systems is one of five key principles of the shared vision, Putting Learner Success First. System alignment can ensure a shared vision and commitment to seamless college and career pathways for every learner; by maximizing resources, reducing inefficiencies and holding systems accountable, every learner can have the supports they need to find success.

The recent enactment of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins IV), presents new opportunities to align Career Technical Education (CTE) and state workforce systems to strengthen and expand opportunities for learners. States have taken different approaches to align CTE and the workforce systems, from submitting Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) combined state plans with Perkins IV as a partner program to establishing strong connections between CTE and the workforce systems via strategic partnerships and plans. As states think about improving the effectiveness of this connection, it’s critical to reflect on and learn from states’ efforts to enhance CTE and workforce system alignment.

To inform this post, Advance CTE interviewed several State CTE Directors to learn about how they align CTE and workforce systems in their respective states. Below are key takeaways from those conversations and highlights of a few state examples.

Approaches to Promoting CTE and Workforce Systems Alignment
While states take different approaches to aligning CTE and workforce systems depending on their needs, some common approaches to aligning CTE and workforce systems emerged.

Systems Alignment Sustainability
Trend data from Advance CTE surveys since 2005 suggests that coordination between CTE and other state initiatives is more common when there is an external forcing event, such as state or federal legislation that triggers a statewide planning process. As states expand upon or strengthen their work to align CTE and workforce systems, they must consider how they will sustain systems alignment even when these statewide planning processes conclude.

Some states, such as West Virginia, established CTE and workforce systems alignment sustainability through building partnership infrastructure. West Virginia has a WIOA combined state plan with Perkins IV as a partner program, which helps to promote collaboration between the CTE and workforce systems. Representatives from the West Virginia Division of Technical, Adult and Institutional Education (WV-CTE) serve on the WIOA State Board and helped to develop the state goals articulated in the WIOA combined state plan. Representatives attend a quarterly WIOA group that meets to ensure that the state is making progress on the goals articulated in its WIOA plan.

Additionally, WV-CTE has a Governor’s Economic Initiative office within it that ensures CTE programs of study are aligned to industry needs and developed collaboratively between business, industry and education. West Virginia is able to sustain its CTE and workforce systems alignment through establishing statewide goals via the WIOA combined state plan, clearly defining roles through committees and establishing routine accountability checks.

CTE and workforce systems alignment is necessary to ensure that learners are on a path to securing in-demand, high-wage careers. While the state examples in this resource showcase the importance of elevating partnerships and collaboration to achieve alignment, CTE and workforce systems alignment can take many different forms. A state’s approach to CTE and workforce systems alignment should be guided by its state vision, goals and infrastructure.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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Free College: Looking Ahead

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Advance CTE wrote a series of blog posts profiling the policies and practices of free college in the United States. This post will explore the future landscape of community college. Check out previous blogs on the history of free college, Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program and challenges and limitations to free college programs.

As of September 2018, there are over 350 local and state college promise programs across the country. Though the source of funding for free college varies , the goal of increasing access despite the growing cost of college is the commonality. So far, the 2018 election cycle has seen a number of candidates include some form of free college in their platform. Overall, ten Democratic gubernatorial candidates are promoting free college in their campaign. For example, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous is advocating for free community college and debt free four-year college, Arizona gubernatorial candidate David Garcia is supporting a proposal to make four-year public colleges free and Connecticut gubernatorial Ned Lamont is proposing making the first two years free at any state public college.

At the federal level, various members of Congress have introduced legislation that promotes free college. Perhaps most well known is Senator Bernie Sanders’ (VT-I) “College for All,” proposed in the spring of 2017, that promotes measures such as making all public colleges free for learners with a household income of up to $125,000 and having all community colleges be tuition free. In the spring of 2018 Senator Brian Schatz (HI-D) introduced the “Debt Free College Act” that proposes measures to make college debt free with a focus on the total fees associated with college (such as textbooks, food and housing) instead of only tuition.

The Institute for Higher Education explored the concept of free college, and came up with five ways to fix current programs and build “equity-driven federal and state free-college programs:”

  1. Invest first and foremost in low-income students;
  2. Fund non-tuition expenses for low-income students;
  3. Include four-year colleges in free college programs;
  4. Support existing state need-based grant programs; and
  5. Avoid restrictive or punitive participation requirements, such as post-college residency requirements


Additionally, the Education Trust evaluated free college programs through an equity lens, and developed equity driven guidelines to rate and improve current state tuition-free college programs or proposals. They built an eight-step evaluation to use when assessing free college program quality:

  1. Whether the programs cover living expenses;
  2. Whether they cover fees;
  3. Whether they cover the total cost of tuition for at least four years of college;
  4. Whether they include bachelor’s-degree programs;
  5. Whether adult students are eligible;
  6. Whether repayment of aid is required under certain circumstances;
  7. Whether there are GPA requirements; and
  8. Whether there are additional requirements to maintain eligibility


Although there is a growing national focus on free college, and even more state-level attention on this issue, a uniform agreement on what this should look like is lacking. There is no general consensus on what free college should look like and the scope of what “free” would truly mean. However, the overarching common goal of making college affordable and accessible will keep the conversation around free college moving forward.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

By Meredith Hills in Uncategorized
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Advance CTE Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: Discover the Stories in Your Data

Monday, October 15th, 2018

This post is written by PTD Technology, a Gold Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Fall Meeting. 

“Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.” — W. Edwards Demming

“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” — Jim Barksdale

These two quotes sum up the importance of having data to support any action or program.  However, just having data is not enough, as the next quote explains;

“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” — Daniel Keys Moran

The goal really isn’t data, but information. With the advent of local, state and federal mandates for the collection of data, paired with modern data collection tools, we are data saturated. As such, data is no longer the problem.  The steps to transform data into information are:

The inability to clean, model and visualize data in a timely manner leads to less effective decisions. Until these steps are completed, subject matter experts cannot do their work of interpretation and analysis.  Visualizations such as the charts and graphs are often created by people who do not understand the nuances of the data, and end up creating marginally useful, static or unchangeable information.

Modern Data Analytics to the Rescue

Just as modern data collection techniques have improved, so have tools to prepare data for analysis.  Business Intelligence (BI) tools, such as Microsoft’s Power BI or Tableau, enable users to clean and model data effectively and efficiently. Powerful and useful dynamic visualizations, when presented through dashboards, empower all stakeholders to make timely, successful decisions.

PTD Technology (PDT) can get pertinent information into the hands of those who need it, when they can still use it!

Participation and performance gap analysis for program improvement

Empower teachers, school counselors and administrators to identify and address gaps in performance.

Trend analysis

Combine multiple years of data to discover trends.  Slice and dice the data in real-time to compare special populations, gender, special population characteristics, districts, or even programs.

Publish dashboards to any website 

PTD has tools that make publishing dashboards to any site very easy.  We can provide appropriate access to information for administrators, teachers, parents, learners, or any other stakeholders.   

Take advantage of data you already have

Let us show you how easy it is to turn data you already have into effective, customized dashboards. Stop by our table at the 2018 Fall Meeting to learn how easy it is to create dashboards for your state using your federal EDEN/EdFacts submissions and take advantage of a Free Trial.  Discover how quickly you can create customized dashboards based on your organizational needs and how easy they are to maintain.

We look forward to helping you turn your data into information you can use to tell your Career Technical Education story.  Hope to see you there!

Visit our website to learn more

By Nicole Howard in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
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This Week in CTE

Friday, October 12th, 2018



A new initiative is launching this month in Washington, D.C. The Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) is a multi-year, collaborative initiative that will support the success of efforts in states and cities to expand access to high-quality apprenticeship opportunities for learners in high school. One area of focus for this work will be improving public understanding and awareness of high-quality American youth apprenticeship. To learn more visit their website here.


Worcester Technical High School learners and instructors were featured on CBS This Morning’s education series – Schools Matters. The video takes you into the spaces where learners are gaining real-world, hands-on experiences. The school offers 22 Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study that prepare learners for postsecondary education and the workforce. Worcester Technical High School’s success is evident in the numbers. It has a 99.1 percent graduation rate compared to the national average of 84 percent. Eighty six percent of graduates go on to pursue a college education. See how learners in this school are using their real-world experiences to give back to the community and prepare for their future.

Watch the video here.


Report: STEM4: The Power of Collaboration for Change

Equity gaps in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) preparedness and access persist among underserved populations. According to the research noted in STEM4: The Power of Collaboration for Change, predominantly minority high schools are less likely to offer math and science classes, especially at advanced levels This report from Advance CTE, the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics, the Council of State Science Supervisors, and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association offers recommendations to increase access to and equity in STEM preparedness. Learn more here.

By Nicole Howard in Uncategorized

Advance CTE Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: From Pipelines to Gardening

Friday, October 12th, 2018

This post is written by the National Center for College and Career Transitions or NC³T, a Gold Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Fall Meeting.

The most common image when talking about workforce development is that of a “leaky pipeline;” where we lose people at every key transition point along the way to the labor pool. In high school, we lose learners who drop out before graduation. Among those who do graduate, we lose the ones who don’t go on to some form of postsecondary education. Among those who do pursue postsecondary credentials, we have another round of dropouts who leave before earning a degree or certification. As a result, the final pool of qualified workers is much smaller than the pool we started out with.

Our workforce development model was designed in the 1960s, and it worked because the largest demographic cohort in history – the Baby Boomers – feed into the pipeline. There were a limited number of jobs requiring advanced skills or credentials. But things have changed – the Boomers are retiring, and the number of jobs requiring advanced education and training has grown exponentially.

To deal with this challenge, NC³T is advocating for a “gardening” mentality, in which every seed is nurtured. That means providing every single learner with opportunities to explore the world of work, gain hands-on experiences, identify their interests, develop a path and pursue the college and career options that provide the best possible fit. It works for them as students – there’s plenty of research on improved outcomes and levels of engagement – and it works for them as entrants into the workforce. And of course, it works for employers as well.

Our approach is one of Career Connected Learning, ensuring that connections to the real world – specifically, the world of work – are made for every learner. This is the heart of Career Technical Education (CTE). Our role is to build awareness, advocate, train, and support the work that educators and policymakers are doing in this arena. We look forward to working with all of you to build and manage rich, engaging experiences for all learners. Visit our website here.

By Nicole Howard in Advance CTE Fall Meeting