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Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

This Week in CTE

November 7th, 2014

TWEET OF THE WEEK:
Opportunity Nation: If we promise to stop trying to make #fetch happen, will you promise to help us make #CTE happen? http://huff.to/1y3unEW

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK: In South Carolina, A Program That Makes Apprenticeships Work
South Carolina was facing a shortage of qualified workers, so launched an innovative apprenticeship program in a variety of fields including nursing, pharmacy and IT. The tax credit for companies certainly helps, but the major influence has been the German companies, BMW and Bosch, who have plants in South Carolina and developed a system of apprenticeships similar to Germany’s. “Apprenticeships are win-win,” says Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. “Apprentices are opportunities for young people to punch their ticket to the middle class and for employers to get that critical pipeline of skilled labor.”
Read More 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: What is CTE? Fact Sheet
We released a new fact sheet this fall providing an overview about what CTE is and why it’s important, all backed up by hard data. For example: CTE concentrators are far less likely to drop out of high school than the national average, estimated savings of $168 billion per year.
Read More

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK: The State of Employer Engagement in CTE
Over the summer, NASDCTEc conducted a survey of the State CTE Directors to better
understand how and in what ways employers are engaging in CTE today. December 3rd from 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET, we will host a free webinar that will unpack the survey’s results and seek to illustrate the employer engagement landscape with a particular focus on the ways in which states are and can foster and sustain meaningful employer engagement to strengthen their CTE system for all students.
Register for free

RESEARCH REPORT OF THE WEEK: Labor Market Returns to Sub-Baccalaureate Credentials: How Much Does a Community College Degree or
Certificate Pay?
A new study published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, which studied 24,000 first-time community college students in Washington, found that short-term certificates have ‘minimal to no positive effects.’ However, it is important to note the value of these short-term certificates as stackable credentials that can lead to more training and experience. “It can be a foundation that gets you in the door and it gives you something you can work towards,” said Kate Blosveren, Assistant Executive Director of NASDCTEc.
Read More 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Midterm Elections Place Republicans in Control of Congress, Gainful Employment Regulations Finalized

November 6th, 2014

CapitolThe long anticipated 2014 midterm elections took place on Tuesday, ushering in a wave of new Republicans into both chambers of Congress. The central question ahead of these elections rested on the balance of power in the Senate and with it full Republican control of the entire Congress. Late Tuesday night, that question was finally put to rest. As of this post, the GOP has picked up seven new seats in the Senate, with three races still in contention. In the House the results were much the same, with the Republicans swelling their majority in that Chamber to at least 243 and possibly 250— a high water mark for the Republican Party not seen since 1928.

Although a few races are still in contention, the Republican Party looks poised to add additional seats in both Chambers over the next several weeks, as the elections results continue to trickle in. Democrats who have served in both the House and the Senate on the Chambers’ respective education and appropriations committees have lost their seats which, along with the influx of new Republican lawmakers to the Capitol, will significantly change the composition of the Committees that oversee and ultimately fund the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) along with other key education and workforce programs.

Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) along with Representative Tim Bishop (D-NY), who have served on education and appropriations committees in both Chambers have all lost reelection. Two others including Senators Beigich (D-AK) and Landrieu (D-LA), are in races whose final outcome have yet to be determined.

So what does this all mean for the Career Technical Education community? First and foremost, the key Committees in both Chambers which will oversee the reauthorization of the Perkins Act— the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the House’s Education and the Workforce (HEW) Committee— will look dramatically different in the 114th Congress which is set to convene formally on January 3rd, 2015.

Current Ranking Member of the Senate’s HELP Committee, Lamar Alexander (R-TN), will likely become Chairman of this influential committee, where he is expected to prioritize the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the committee’s legislative queue. Additionally, the retirement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) has positioned Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to likely take the Ranking Member position on the HELP Committee next January. Both Senators Alexander and Murray were among the main architects behind recent reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act— evidence that the two could also work in bipartisan fashion on other education and workforce issues.

In the House current HEW Chairman, John Kline (R-MN), is expected to retain his position pending Republican leadership approval of a request for a term-limit  extension to stay on as Chair (current House rules cap panel leadership at three terms). For the Democrats, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) is anticipated to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of current HEW Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA).

With the Republican Party set to take the reins of Congressional power early next year, the question now shifts to what education and workforce legislation— possibly including the Perkins Act— will be prioritized in a new Congress. Nevertheless, the current “lame duck” Congress still has much to accomplish beginning next week when both Chambers are set to reconvene.

As we have previously shared, Congress passed a Continuing Appropriations Resolution (CR) which extended Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 spending levels into the current FY 2015. This stopgap funding measure is set to expire on December 11th of this year and Congress must act to fund the federal government past that date. NASDCTEc and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) have called on Congress to pass a comprehensive omnibus spending bill to replace the current CR and restore funding to the Perkins basic state grant program. Senate Democrats recently circulated a similar request last month.

As all of this and more unfolds over the coming weeks and months, check back here for more information and updates.

Gainful Employment Regulations Finalized and Released

Last Friday, the Obama Administration’s Department of Education (ED) released the final version of its widely anticipated “gainful employment” regulations which impact postsecondary institutions offering career education programs. These newly finalized rules, set to go into effect July 1st, 2015, regulate institutional eligibility to access Title IV federal student aid under the Higher Education Act (HEA). Current law requires that most for-profit programs and certificate programs at non-profit and public institutions prepare students for “gainful employment in a recognized occupation” to access Title IV student aid money. However, current statute does not fully define the term “gainful employment” and these regulations have sought to do just that.

As we have previously shared, these regulations are the result of nearly five years of off-and-on negotiated rulemaking sessions between a broad swath of the higher education community and ED. A previous attempt by the Department to implement new gainful employment regulations was struck down by a federal district court in 2012 which ruled that the rules were arbitrarily constructed and applied, but upheld ED’s authority to make a new, more fully justified set in the future. Last Friday, after months of negotiated rulemaking sessions failed to reach consensus agreement, ED released the final version of these regulations for public consumption.

Under the proposed regulations gainful employment will be measured using three criteria which ED hopes will identify and weed out the lowest-performing programs among the institutions and programs these regulations apply to. Almost all programs at for-profit postsecondary institutions, as well as non-degree programs at public and private nonprofit institutions, including some community colleges and area career technical education centers, will be subject to these new regulations which include:

  • Certification Requirements: Institutions must certify that their gainful employment programs meet accreditation standards, along with state or federal licensure requirements.
  • Accountability Metrics: To remain eligible to receive Title IV funds, gainful employment programs must meet two minimum standards for their graduates’ debt-to-earnings; less than 8 percent of total earnings or less than 20 percent of discretionary earnings.
  • Public Transparency: Institutions must make performance and outcome data— including costs, graduate earnings, debt and completion rates— publicly available for each of their gainful employment programs.

The Department’s factsheet which lays out these metrics in a bit more detail, can be found here.

Significantly, ED did not include a program cohort default rate (pCDR) as a third accountability metric— a measure which was included in the Department’s initial proposal this past spring. Many community colleges and sub-associate degree institutions argued that a pCDR metric would unfairly penalize their programs whose students largely do not receive any federal student aid.

While these regulations are set to go into effect July 1st, 2015, a transition period for institutions to meet the more stringent debt-to-earnings metrics will be established over the next seven years to allow programs to make the necessary changes to meet these new requirements. A press release from ED, containing more information can be found here and the final regulations can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager 

Upcoming Webinar: The State of Employer Engagement in CTE

November 4th, 2014

From its earliest roots, employer engagement has been a part of CTE’s legacy. Yet little is known about what is really happening consistently and systematically across the country, and what state leaders can do to accelerate effective engagement.

Over the summer, NASDCTEc conducted a survey of the State CTE Directors to better understand how and in what ways employers are engaging in CTE today. To review the results of the survey as outlined in the report, The State of Career Technical Education: Employer Engagement in CTE, NASDCTEc will host a free webinar on December 3, 2014 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET.  The webinar will unpack the survey’s results and seek to illustrate the employer engagement landscape with a particular focus on the ways in which states are and can foster and sustain meaningful employer engagement to strengthen their CTE system for all students.

Register for free

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series: The State of CTE: Employer Engagement

November 3rd, 2014

In late October, at NASDCTEc’s annual Fall Meeting, five state and business leaders joined a panel to discuss their reactions to The State of Career Technical Education: Employer Engagement in CTE, a paper to be released accompanied by a free webinar (register now) on December 3rd. The following are highlights from the panel.

Marie Barry, Director of Career and Technical Education, New Jersey Department of Education, started us off by highlighting ways in which state leaders can use the report once it is released. First, she suggested using it as a reflection tool to answer questions such as: does your state have the right employers at the table? How can your state help in defining what a quality employer and CTE partnership is? She also encouraged states to employee a model of working with schools to ensure states are engaging businesses effectively, while also finding businesses to champion CTE in the state.

Next, Andrew Musick, Director of Policy and Research, New Jersey Business & Industry Association spoke about his group’s support of an effort to pass an eight-bill package, which among other objectives, would increase funding for the state’s Country Vocational Technical Schools. Along with the eight bills, which delve into everything from funding and teacher preparedness to implementation of indicators for student career readiness, Musick identified further goals:

  1. Focus on workforce alignment;
  2. Promote CTE as a resource for employers;
  3. Create a strong infrastructure for school and employer partnerships

Lolita Hall, State CTE Director, Virginia Department of Education, showcased a premier partnership example the Virginia Department of Education has with the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association. Through this partnership, the Association has place over 1,000 students in automobile internships since 2000. Using this collaboration as a model, Hall cited the following steps in developing an effective partnership:

  • Determine compatible procedures and policies;
  • Agree on roles and responsibilities of each partner organization;
  • Define ways in which you can leverage resources;
  • Define common outcomes and communicate it to stakeholders;
  • Establish mutual goals and objectives;
  • Monitor results;
  • Implement measures to mature partnerships; and
  • Recognize partners.

Lastly, Matthew James, President and CEO, Peninsula Council for Workforce Development, Newport News, Virginia, provided a call to action to states. “Your advantage is relevancy; there is a sense of urgency. Entrepreneurs need you.” Though CTE has the opportunity to create a workforce ready population, he stated the importance of recognizing the international implications developing career-ready students has on the U.S. “Businesses will leave if you don’t provide a skilled workforce,” said James.

For more information and resources from the 2014 Fall Meeting, visit the Fall Meeting page.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

October 31st, 2014

We’re excited to launch a new series, This Week in CTE, which will feature a roundup of articles, Twitter conversations, events and announcements you may have missed during the week.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Michigan’s Manufacturing Future Pure Michigan: Michigan Economic Development Corporation, released a video showcasing the importance of workforce development to Michigan’s economy, with a focus on Manufacturing Day. “As manufacturing in Michigan continues to evolve, Michigan’s talent is a key component to ensuring this industry’s success.”
October 2014
Pure Michigan
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ARTICLE OF THE WEEK: #SBSTEM Pathways: Q&A with LeAnn Wilson, ACTE LeAnn Wilson, executive director of the Association for Career and Technical Education discusses the connection between STEM and CTE. “I heard it best from a CTE teacher when he said that CTE really brings the curriculum to life for students; it turns a concept like slope of a line, which might be a challenge for some students, into something they can understand like the pitch of a roof,” said Wilson. October, 28, 2014
SmartBlog on Education
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REPORT OF THE WEEK: Accelerating U.S. Advancing Manufacturing This month the Steering Committee of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 (AMP2.0) released a report, Accelerating U.S. Advancing Manufacturing, detailing the steps the Federal government needs to take to expand advanced manufacturing in the U.S. AMP2.0 developed three recommendations: Implement a Federal strategic plan across all Federal activities to improve advanced manufacturing, ensure research in developing the workforce pipeline, and use Federal organizations to deliver information to manufacturers.
White House
October 2014
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WEBINAR OF THE WEEK: Partnerships that Deliver Results: The Workforce System and Registered Apprenticeship – Part 1 (Webinar Series)
This two-part webinar series will highlight the importance of apprenticeships and their contribution to creating more skilled workers, who have the education and experience necessary to earn higher wages. The series was developed in response to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and will showcase effective partnerships, provide resources and give attendees the opportunity to ask questions. Webinars will take place November 6th and November 20th.
Workforce One More

TWEET OF THE WEEK: House Congressional CTE Caucus Hearing Live Tweet
On Friday, the House Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus hosted a field hearing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to explore the ongoing challenges with the nation’s skills gap and the role CTE has in addressing it. You can read an overview of the hearing on NASDCTEc’s Blog and read our live tweet updates here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

CTE Research Review

October 29th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013As talk of data increasingly dominates education and employment conversations across the country, 37 states are working to track the employment outcomes of participants in education and workforce programs, according to a new report from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC).

WDQC promotes a 13-point state blueprint for inclusive, aligned and market-relevant education and workforce data systems that identifies key features of high-quality data infrastructure to provide useful information for policymakers, educators, employers and more. NASDCTEc is a WDQC partner.

The report surveyed 40 states and the District of Columbia about their progress implementing the 13 indicators including:

  • Expanding use of labor market information;
  • Assessing employment outcomes;
  • Counting industry-recognized credentials;
  • Including all students and pathways; and
  • Ensuring data access and appropriate use.

The results found a majority of states had achieved or were progressing toward establishing cross-agency councils to oversee statewide data collection, capturing employment outcomes such as graduates’ employment status and cross-state data sharing, and creating scorecards for students and workers. More than half of states, however, reported not having starting initiatives related to industry-recognized credentials such as increasing the range of credentials being counted or developing a process for industry validation of credentials.

WDQC highlighted several standout states such as Utah, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Maine. Be sure to check out the report for many more outstanding state examples.

WDQC will host a webinar on Thursday, Nov. 6, to discuss the report and highlight the work being done to connect and use workforce data in Utah and Indiana.

In Case You Missed It:

Check out new research from Burning Glass, Education Development Center and more!

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

House CTE Caucus Hosts Field Hearing

October 27th, 2014

IMG_0877On Friday, the House Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus hosted a field hearing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to explore the ongoing challenges with the nation’s skills gap and the role CTE has in addressing it.

The bipartisan hearing, titled “The Role of Career & Technical Education in Creating a Skilled Workforce: Perspectives from Employers and Stakeholders,” was co-hosted by State Senator John Blake (PA-22), Co-Chair of the House CTE Caucus Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Rep. Perry (R-PA).

Rep. Thompson began Friday’s hearing by laying out the central role CTE has in addressing the nation’s skills gap and pointed out that, “the number one asset of any business is its people and CTE is an integral part of developing them.”

State Senator Blake also underscored the hearing’s core focus on the need for more employer engagement in CTE. “We need to better connect our schools to the business community — and our business community to our schools . . . Early and effective career development assures for our children a more efficient transition from school to the world of work and enhances our state’s economic growth,” he said.

Six witnesses, including NASDCTEc Executive Director Kimberly Green, provided expert testimony on how CTE could more effectively engage with employers and the role federal legislation could have in aligning CTE programs more closely to the needs of the local, regional, and state economy.

Green’s testimony highlighted NASDCTEc’s 2010 CTE Vision and the organization’s legislative recommendations for the reauthorization of the principal federal CTE legislation— the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).

In addition to her remarks, five other witnesses provided a broad array of perspectives from both the private sector and institutions, highlighting the unique challenges facing them in their respective industries and how stronger partnerships with CTE programs could help to address these issues and improve CTE program relevancy and outcomes. Witnesses included:

Following testimony, the assembled lawmakers had the opportunity to pose a series of questions to the witnesses, requesting specific recommendations and strategies for how to improve and elevate the entire CTE enterprise to balance the shared interests of both students and employers. A recording of the event is can be viewed here and a press release outlining some of the hearing’s key takeaways can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series: Teachers, Employers, Students and the System: What needs to change?

October 24th, 2014

Earlier this week at NASDCTEc’s annual Fall Meeting, Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education, delivered a strong call to action to the CTE community. Highlighting Gallup’s research on the education system the economy in America today, Busteed urged attendees to leverage this data to reframe CTE in national and local conversations about education and careers.

Gallup conducted a national poll of students and found that students become significantly less engaged each year they are in school. More than 75 percent of elementary school students identify as engaged, while only 44 percent of high school students report feeling engaged at some point during the school day.

Busteed noted that there are reasons for student disengagement. Student success is measured through graduation rates, SAT scores, and G.P.A., which rarely – if ever – takes into account the student as a whole person. While these measures are certainly important, hope, mentorship and the opportunity to work on long-term projects are stronger indicators of success.

“What are we doing to identify entrepreneurship in our schools right now?” said Busteed. “We identify athletic talent with ease, we identify IQ; we don’t work to identify the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. There are no indicators the education system uses to determine who will be an effective or successful entrepreneur.”

To that end, Busteed cited a recent interview with Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, who called grades and test scores worthless predictors of successful employees.

Just as internships are valuable experiences for students, teacher externships can be incredible opportunities that may be key in helping connect classroom curriculum to the modern workplace. Given the typical capacity issues for work-based learning, 3 million teacher externships would be the equivalent of more than 50 million student internships.

Businesses also value a stronger partnership with higher education. Currently, only 13 percent of business leaders think there is “a great deal” of collaboration between higher education and employers, while almost 90 percent favor an increased level of collaboration.

What implications does this research have for CTE? High-quality CTE programs provide all the opportunities Busteed called essential to student success: a focus on employability skills and technical skills, mentorship through work-based learning and curriculum that is made relevant by tying learning to the real world.

Busteed left the group with a final charge – the CTE community needs to better communicate career technical education not as option B, but instead as a staple of all students’ educational experience.
To view Busteed’s PowerPoint, please visit our 2014 Fall Meeting page.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Welcome to new Delaware State CTE Director Luke Rhine

October 16th, 2014

cte-socialmedia-delawareWe are pleased to welcome Delaware’s new State Director of Career Technical Education Luke Rhine!

State Director Rhine’s career in CTE began as a career technical educator. After years in the classroom, he transitioned into leadership as a program specialist with the Maryland State Department of Education, building statewide programs of study in Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology as well as Arts, Media and Communication. He moved into his current role as State CTE Director of Delaware late this summer.

With his on-the-ground experience as an engineering CTE instructor and years spent programming in Maryland, State Director Rhine understands the crossover between CTE and traditional core courses. He highlights aligning CTE and academic courses—particularly STEM—as a key touchpoint for the development of CTE in Delaware and across the country.

State Director Rhine sees Delaware as uniquely positioned to exploit the integration of CTE and traditional courses, as the state already requires public school students to complete a career pathway (three credits in a related area) in addition to the courses traditionally required for high school graduation. This requirement, he says, is usually met with a mix of CTE and relevant academics. The entire process is mapped out within the framework of a customizable five-year student success plan, providing flexibility in the development of career pathways while emphasizing the importance of long-term pathway planning.

Learn more about Delaware CTE here, and be sure to welcome State Director Rhine at the 2014 Fall Meeting!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Adobe’s Hiring for the Future Report Carries Implications for CTE

October 15th, 2014

Last month, Adobe surveyed 1,068 American hiring managers seeking insight into what the gatekeepers of tomorrow’s careers believe are the most critical skills, habits and credentials for job-seekers in the 21st century labor market.

The result? An overwhelming number of responses emphasizing the importance of digital literacy, creative thinking, problem-solving and flexibility. Hiring managers rejected the notion that students in technical fields fundamentally lack the creativity succeed (only 36% agree), but even more believe that positions requiring technical skills also benefit from creative thinking (81% agree).

Technical skills are still viewed as one of the top three factors identified as having gained the most value over the last five years (46% identified as one of top three skills gaining value), suggesting that competency remains crucial to employer hiring decisions. Also in the top three, however, were problem solving/critical thinking (51%) and creativity/innovation (47%).

Taken as a whole supports the need for more high-quality CTE, with its emphasis on skill building through career pathways and comprehensive, integrated programs of study. modern approach

Unsurprisingly, many policies prioritized by CTE programs of study, including internships, mentors and courses specifically designed to prepare students for the world of work by teaching both broad and specific skills, ranked high on the list of proposed solutions to boost preparedness (see chart, at right).

Other findings concur with similar past surveys of employer needs, including the impression that students are underprepared for jobs when entering the workforce, with 69% of hiring managers agreeing that new job seekers lack the necessary skills for success and 61% calling lack of communications skills as a top factor in underpreparedness.

Read the full report here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

 

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