This Week in CTE

November 10th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

As the election passes, with little details from the campaign to draw on, Education Week reflects on what a Trump administration may mean for education.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Check out this new infographic on how U.S. executives view the skills gap and its impact on the American workforce.

RESEARCH OF THE WEEK

A new study took a look at the effects of programs of study on high school performance and found enrollment improved students’ probability of graduation by 11.3 percent, and that each additional CTE credit earned increased their probability of graduation by 4 percent.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

This Week in CTE

November 4th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

IBM makes the case as to why reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is critical to the success of America’s workforce.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

The Oceans of Data Institute developed an occupational profile identifying the work, activities, skills, knowledge and behavior that define what data practitioners need to know and be able to do. It will be used to develop courses and programs that lead to big data careers.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Next week on November 10 from 11 a.m. – noon ET, we’re hosting a webinar taking a dive into the 2017 Excellence in Action award application process. Learn more about how to apply for the award, hear from some 2016 award winners, and be ready with questions for Advance CTE staff and a member of last year’s selection committee so that you submit an award-winning application.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

Strengthening the Teacher Workforce through Talent Management Pipeline Strategies

November 4th, 2016

teacher talent pipelinesTalk to any rural district about challenges facing their school system and they’re likely to cite a teacher shortage. Recruiting and retaining high quality educators who are equipped to meet the demands of a 21st century classroom is one of the most pressing challenges the American education system faces today, affecting communities of all sizes and geographies. Crucially, Career Technical Education (CTE) classrooms – which demand highly-skilled teachers – are struggling to fill open positions.

A new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF), released this week, examines teacher recruitment practices from school districts in Arizona and finds that many schools struggle to find teachers that are adequately prepared to support the diversity of student needs. Part of this preparation gap is due to the lack of formal systems to communicate teacher supply needs and build pathways into the classroom. Recognizing parallels with other industry workforce shortages, USCCF developed a set of recommendations for school districts to expand the pool of quality teachers through a talent pipeline management strategy. Recommendations include:

  • Schools should come together in groups to define collective demand for talent and define skills needed from candidates.
  • Analyze current ways of sourcing teacher talent.
  • Build and incentivize relationships with top talent providers.

These strategies aim to improve the quality and supply of the teaching workforce by streamlining the talent pipeline and increasing avenues of communication and collaboration from the preparation to the recruitment stage. In regions where teacher workforce gaps exist, states should consider strategies to reach potential teachers earlier in the pipeline and expand pathways into the profession.

Promising News for College Promise

In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress and the states to provide tuition free community college for students in the U.S. This proposal was inspired in part by the Tennessee Promise program, which provides last-dollar scholarships to eligible students in the state. In the time since then, free community college programs have expanded significantly, encompassing a total of 150 programs across 37 states. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently developed a web-based platform that maps and details each of these programs. Additionally, the College Promise Campaign — a national, non-partisan initiative to research and advocate for Promise programs — released its 2016 annual report, profiling pioneer and emerging programs across the states. One example is the Oakland Promise program, which aims to reach back to early learning years in order to create a college-going culture and provide college and career advising supports throughout the K-12 education system. Students who qualify for the scholarship program can receive up to $16,000 towards their postsecondary education.

On a related note, the College Board released its annual “Trends in College Pricing Report” and found that in 2016-17, the average net tuition and fees paid by two-year college students was $920 less than before the Great Recession (though costs have increased since 2011-12). Over roughly the same period, state and local appropriations for higher education declined 9 percent.

Odds and Ends

talent shortage surveyShort on Talent. Manpower Group’s 2016/17 Talent Shortage Survey reports the highest global talent shortage since 2007, largely in the skilled trades, IT and sales industries. As a result, more than 50 percent of surveyed employers are training and developing existing staff in order to fill open positions.

Data Linkages. All 50 states plus D.C. have the ability to connect data between systems — but only 17 (plus D.C.) have a full P20W system. That’s according to the Education Commission of the States’ 50-state comparison of statewide longitudinal data systems.

For the Equity Toolbox. The National Skills Coalition released a set of five policy toolkits with resources and recommendations for adopting and aligning policies to expand equitable access to training, credentials and careers. Toolkits include stackable credentials and integrating education and training, among others.

Standards for CBE. C-BEN, a coalition of more than 30 colleges offering competency-based education (CBE) programs, released draft quality standards for CBE. The standards will be finalized early next year and focus on eight areas, including clear, measurable, meaningful and complete competencies and credential-level assessment strategy with robust implementation.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Apply Today for the 2017 Excellence in Action Award!

October 26th, 2016

Advance CTE’s annual Excellence in Action award applications are open! This award recognizes exemplary local programs of study across the 162017ExcellenceinAction_final Career Clusters that demonstrate 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.

 
WHY APPLY?
This award will showcase your program of study on a national platform at conferences, in the media, on our website and blog, and more.

In fact, all winners were highlighted in Education Week in May, a few of the 2016 award winners were highlighted in a recent op-ed in Real Clear Education, while a student from Upper Valley Career Center, a 2015 award recipient, was profiled in the New York Times. Advance CTE provides winners with a press release and two-pager to circulate to their networks, resulting in a number of articles featuring winning programs.

 
AWARD CRITERIA & ELIGIBILITY

Criteria: Selected programs will exemplify excellence in:

  • Implementing Career Cluster®-based programs of study;
  • Maintaining effective employer and business partnerships;
  • Demonstrating alignment to rigorous and relevant college- and career-ready expectations;
  • Demonstrating a clear progression of knowledge and skills and student transitions across secondary and postsecondary systems;
  • Integrating successful career guidance and advisement;
  • Integrating high-quality work-based learning experiences;
  • Highlighting alignment to workforce and employer needs in the community; and
  • Providing concrete data on the program of study’s impact on student achievement and success at both the secondary and postsecondary levels.

Eligibility:

  • This award is open to any secondary or postsecondary schools or colleges in the United States. Your school or institution may submit one application per Career Cluster;
  • The program of study must have at least one full graduating class or cohort; and
    Applications that do not include data to support positive impact on student achievement will not be eligible for consideration.

Join us for a webinar on November 10 at 11 a.m. ET that will dive into the application process, and feature a few of the 2016 award recipients and a member of the selection committee who will provide tips on what makes an award-winning application.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Staff Reflections of the 2016 Fall Meeting (Continued)

October 24th, 2016

Last week, Advance CTE held its 2016 Fall Meeting bringing together attendees from across the country to take a deep dive into all things Career Technical Education (CTE). Advance CTE staff reflects on the Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in this two-part series. 

Breakout Sessions Create Space for Shared Learning

Each year, Advance CTE’s convenings bring together experts, administrators and researchers from around the country to learn from one another and share ideas about how to improve the quality of CTE programs in their respective states. This is why the concurrent breakout sessions, which each cover a relevant and challenging topic in CTE, are so valuable – because they create an opportunity for attendees to learn from and engage with leaders in this work.

The breakout sessions at the Fall Meeting were oriented around different components of a high-quality CTE system, highlighting specific strategies that have been successful in other states. Topics included:

  • College-and career-ready accountability frameworks;
  • Understanding what your data is telling you to drive change;
  • Mapping Upward: Stackable credentials that lead to careers; and
  • Building and scaling effective work-based learning programs.

I had the pleasure of organizing and attending the last session on work-based learning, which was led by Heather Justice, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education at the Tennessee Department of Education. Tennessee has covered significant ground in recent years towards a new, collective vision for work-based learning. Heather shared a little bit about the state’s vision – a student-centered approach that aims to equip students with relevant skills along a continuum of exploratory and immersive experiences – and explained how her state plans to track student progress and ensure program quality. She also addressed some common myths about work-based learning, such as the belief that employers can’t work with minors (in Tennessee, students as young as 16 can participate, and the state’s workers’ compensation policy protects students, regardless of age).

All in all, the sessions provided ample opportunity for attendees to connect with counterparts in other states and learn about strategies to address common challenges.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Collaboration Roundtables Explore Opportunities to Lead through Change

All of our members are facing uncertainty and potentially big changes in their states over the next year. Whether or not Perkins is reauthorized this year, states are still facing policy shifts as CTE and career readiness continue to gain more attention from the public. For this reason, in addition to sessions that discussed specific policies, we designed a few sessions about how to manage these changes as a system.

First, Ellyn Artis, Strategic Consulting Program Manager at Hobson’s, kicked off the first full day of the meeting with a session on leading through change. She reminded us all that we can either resist change, be acted upon by change, or lead change – but no matter what, the change will happen. She then introduced several tools to help with this work, all of which can be found in her slides here. The tools and framework introduced help to ground her discussion of change management in a way that would allow any education leader to understand and discuss it with others.

This theme of change management was followed up later in the day with our collaboration roundtables. For this meeting, we designed each interactive roundtable to focus on a theme around implementation. Topics included setting a statewide vision, secondary and postsecondary alignment, state and local alignment, quality and access in rural regions, targeted stakeholder messaging and telling your story with data. Participants in these sessions heard examples from states on how they tackle these issues, and then joined in facilitated activities and discussions on various topics. Each roundtable finished with staff asking participants how Advance CTE can help in this area, and we received a lot of great ideas and requests, which we will take with us into our planning for 2017.

As Advance CTE Board President Jo Anne Honeycutt stated when introducing Ellyn Artis, state efforts do not need to be driven by Perkins or other federal legislation. Rather, states can develop and implement their own visions for change and reform, and leverage federal and other initiatives to support that vision.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Transition: An Underlying Theme at the Fall Meeting

Fall is a time of transition. The beauty of the season belies its reality, which requires us to let go of some things we have grown to have comfort with and to prepare for an unknown and unpredictable future.

I felt it was fitting that transition ended up being an underlying theme at the Advance CTE fall meeting.  Looming before us is a new federal CTE law and a new administration. This set on the backdrop of ever-changing expectations of the workplace and economy. And yet, to me this transition is not daunting. Why? Our shared vision for the future of CTE ensures we have aligned goals and collective focus. And at the meeting, I observed a steadfast commitment to equity, access and quality and the willingness to effort the leadership necessary to thrive in this time of change. I am optimistic for the future. Together, we are advancing CTE.

Kim Green, Executive Director

A Topical Wrap-Up: Industry Experts and Credentials of Value

Our annual meetings are often the perfect opportunity to dig into many of the most pressing issues our members and the broader CTE community are facing. This past fall meeting was no different, with sessions on critical topics like work-based learning, career-ready accountability indicators and stackable credentials.

On the last day of our meeting in particular, we had the chance to focus on two particularly acute challenges faced by states – how to recruit qualified industry experts into the classroom and how to identify quality industry-recognized credentials. Offering a preview of research to be released later this year, Advance CTE’s state policy manager, Ashleigh McFadden, and Catherine Jacques from AIR’s Center for Great Teachers and Leaders shared some early insights into potential strategies and barriers to recruiting industry experts into secondary classrooms. Based on a survey of 45 State CTE Directors and almost 300 local CTE leaders and partners, they identified a few early trends, including the pervasive use of alternative certification, which, on its own, is proving to be insufficient to address the CTE teacher shortage. A major takeaway is that states and locals can and should be creative and think outside the box and consider bringing experts into high schools in less formal roles like mentors, advisors or part-time instructors.

In addition, a panel featuring a number of national initiatives to make sense of the “wild world” of industry-recognized credentials raised a number of important questions like: what makes up a quality credential, what are processes that can be put in place for evaluating credentials, and how can we build out data systems and supports to actually measure credentials’ impact on students? Led by Workcred’s Roy Swift and ACTE’s Catherine Imperatore, participants got an update on key efforts like the Credential Transparency Initiative and the Certification Data Exchange Project.  The session was moderated by Rod Duckworth of Florida, a state leading the nation in industry credential validation, recently featured in Advance CTE’s brief “Credentials of Value: State Strategies for Identifying and Endorsing Industry-Recognized Credentials.”

While both sessions only scratched the surface on these critical but incredibly complicated issues, they generated important questions and lessons from the audience and will continue to be priority for Advance CTE’s research, resources and events moving forward.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

This Week in CTE

October 21st, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Harvard Political Review published an article making the case for Career Technical Education as an important option for students who want a pathway to a successful career:  “Students often leave CTE programs with certifications that allow them to immediately enter the workforce. Surprisingly, some see this as CTE’s greatest failing. Yes, welders might make up to $140,000 dollars a year, but how can the government support “condemning” students to blue-collar labor? The reasoning of many against CTE programs seems misguided at best.”

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Join us for a webinar on November 10 taking a deep dive into the application process for the 2017 Excellence in Action award. You will hear from past award recipients and a member of the selection committee on what makes an award-winning program, providing insight into how to create a successful application.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

National Skills Coalition released a report on the importance of providing supports to low-income people for postsecondary education and training, citing Arkansas’ Career Pathways Initiative as a model program.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Staff Reflections of the 2016 Fall Meeting

October 20th, 2016

This week, Advance CTE held its 2016 Fall Meeting bringing together attendees from across the country to take a deep dive into all things Career Technical Education (CTE). Advance CTE staff reflects on the Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in this two-part series. 

Perkins Reauthorization and Looking Ahead

The Carl D. Perkins Act and related reauthorization efforts in Congress were top of mind throughout our meeting. During a general session on Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to participate on a panel with Alisha Hyslop, the Association for Career Technical Education’s Director of Public Policy, and speak to the current reauthorization processes in both chambers of Congress. With an overwhelming vote of support from the House, activity and focus has centered on the Senate where the parties remain locked in negotiations over the issue of secretarial authority. Following this, Kimberly Green, Advance CTE’s executive director, led a reaction panel with distinguished set of state CTE directors from Washington state, Iowa, and Maryland. With the prospects for Perkins uncertain in this congress, the discussion focused on what states can be doing now, using current law, to promote their respective visions for high-quality CTE.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

Fall Meeting Provides Opportunity for CTE Leaders from Across the Nation to Come Together 

Networking is one of the greatest benefits of attending an Advance CTE meeting. This year’s Fall Meeting was no different – with 150 attendees gathering from 40 states, one territory and D.C. Consistent with our new name and tagline, “Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work,” attendees included State CTE Directors, counterparts, state staff, as well as local and national CTE leaders.

This meeting was made possible thanks to financial support from our many longtime sponsors:

  • Diamond-level sponsors: Certiport, Kuder, and the National Center for College and Career Transitions.
  • Gold-level sponsors: NOCTI and Today’s Class
  • Bronze-level sponsors: CTECs, MBA Research, Realityworks

Many attendees had the opportunity to take part in a special networking opportunity thanks to the generous support from Kuder, who sponsored a dinner cruise along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

With all of the excitement and energy around CTE, we are looking forward to seeing this community of bold CTE leaders continue to grow during our next in-person meeting. Save the date – May 2-4, 2017 in Washington D.C. for our 2017 Spring Meeting!

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Membership Engagement

Advance CTE and Meeting Attendees Lean into Putting Learner Success First

Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE was a central topic throughout 2016 Fall Meeting, which provided participants with insight into how to share and implement the vision including solid state, local and partner examples of the fantastic work already being accomplished. The meeting kicked off with a dinner and opening session that brought together all attendees to learn more about the multitude of resources Advance CTE and partners have developed, the sign on campaign, which has been supported by over 30 states, and the growing list of national partners. We heard from one of our newest supporters, Goodwill, Inc., who described CTE’s importance in serving all learners to bring them successfully into the workforce, the Association for Career and Technical Education who reiterated the success of the vision in speaking to the necessity of high-quality CTE educators, and FCCLA who continues to commit to the success of all learners. We also heard from states including Wisconsin and Nebraska who have worked hard to spread the vision far and wide in their states, and use it as a resource when strengthening their own state visions. We are thankful to our partners, members and meeting attendees who have wholeheartedly adopted this vision for CTE, and continue the imperative work of carrying out vision principles and strategies as we strive to ensure all learners are prepared for a lifetime of career success.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

Prepare for the 2017 Excellence in Action Award

October 20th, 2016

For the past three years, we have celebrated innovative programs of study from across the country through our Excellence in Action award, which2017ExcellenceinAction_final recognizes programs of study that exemplify excellence in the implementation of Career Cluster-based programs of study, 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. Applications for the award will run October 26 – December 14, 2016.

In preparation for filling our your application, join us November 10, 11 a.m. – noon ET  for a webinar where you will hear from past award recipients and a member of the selection committee on what makes an award-winning program, providing insight into how to create a successful application. Can’t join at that time? We’ll have the webinar recorded for your review on our webinars page.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

New Credential Registry Aims to Bring Transparency to a System in Crisis

October 18th, 2016

We’ve seen a lot of activity this year at both the national and local level to expand and systematize the use of industry-recognized credentials (including our own brief on credentials of value, which you can check out here). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics even released a helpful guide that describes different types of credentials and their prevalence in different industries. While credentials can serve as a useful signal of workforce competency that is recognized by both educators and employers, many learners face a credentialing marketplace that is as confusing as it is expansive.

To address this crisis, the Lumina Foundation in 2015 helped launch the Connecting Credentials Initiative, a collaboration designed to advance a well-functioning and sustainable credentialing system. Last month, the initiative revealed a 7-point action plan, based on input from more than 100 stakeholders, that articulates a vision for such a system.

credential_registry_2016One group already working to advance this vision is an organization called Credential Engine (formerly the Credential Transparency Initiative), which last month announced the launch of a national credential registry. The registry is designed to allow job seekers, employers and educators alike to access information about myriad credentials in various industries. The registry uses common terminology and guidelines for organizations to publish comparable information, and provides free and open access. While the system is currently being piloted in 60 sites with plans to expand in the future, we look forward to seeing how employers, job seekers and third-party accreditors alike will use the platform to contribute to a more transparent credentialing system.

Transparency is a key element in a successful credentialing system, particularly when it comes to identifying stackable credentials. According to new research, longer-term credentials are associated with higher earnings, though the return varies on a sliding scale depending on the length of time and effort required to earn the credential. Job seekers must be equipped with the right information to obtain stackable credentials that enable them to enter and exit the labor market at various points, building on their education and experience as they go.

Promising Practices in Work-based Learning

Meanwhile, the National Skills Coalition (NSC) and New America have both sparked dialogue about engaging the nation’s youth in work-based learning. NSC recently released a report titled “Promising Practices in Work-based Learning for Youth” that profiles four exemplar programs using work-based learning as a strategy to engage underserved and at-risk youth. One of the organizations profiled in the report, Urban Alliance, is a youth services organization operating out of Baltimore, Chicago, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Urban Alliance not only connects youth with paid internships through its flagship High School Internship Program, but also provides professional development and linkages to career and postsecondary pathways as well. NSC draws on this and other examples to identify four common policy elements for a strong work-based learning program:

  • Paid work-based learning opportunities, with wages provided either through employer, provider, or combination of the two;
  • Strong partnerships with business and other community stakeholders;
  • Positive youth development and continued support services; and
  • Linkages to career pathways either through future employment opportunities or future education and training opportunities.

In a similar vein, New America announced a project to study opportunities and challenges facing the nation’s youth apprenticeship programs and to develop a set of recommendations. In a blog post, the organization lays the groundwork and begins to identify the most prevalent challenges to expanding apprenticeships to youth. For one, the American apprenticeship system is aimed primarily at adults. With the average apprentice at nearly 30 years old, New America aims to challenge the old guard and find a way to extend these opportunities to younger learners.  

Odds and Ends

pew collegeWhose Job Is It? According to the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of Americans believe the public K-12 education system is responsible for ensuring the workforce has the right skills and education to be successful in the economy. Interestingly, the same study found that 67 percent of four-year degree holders believe their education prepared them for the workforce, compared to 58 percent for two-year degree holders and 78 percent for professional and technical certificate holders.

Rate Yourself. Building on its College and Career Readiness Organizer, CCRS released a self-assessment scorecard to help state policymakers identify gaps and opportunities for preparing K-12 students for postsecondary success. Based on the needs identified in the survey, the scorecard provides additional resources to help states and districts in their college and career readiness efforts.

The STEM of Success. The Education Commission of the States released a STEM Playbook last month as part of its “SepSTEMber” campaign. The playbook identifies three core components of a successful STEM strategy: statewide coordination; adequate, reliable funding; and quality assurance or program evaluation.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

October 14th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

The Pew Research Center and the Markle Foundation released a study on the changing attitudes of the workplace with some interesting findings.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Workforce Data Quality Campaign published, “Data Policy Toolkit: Implementing the State Blueprint,” highlighting policies states can enact to improve data infrastructure and use in their state.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

On Tuesday November 15 at 2:30-3:30 pm ET, join us for an update on Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE and learn about ways in which you can help support this vision of career success for all learners. Register today!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

 

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