Excellence in Action Spotlighting: Granite Technical Institute, Utah Aerospace Pathways Program

October 5th, 2018

Today is Manufacturing Day® a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. This day, recognized annually on the first Friday in October, features events around the world to provide a behind-the-scenes look at a growing industry. Find an event near you here.

It’s a day that gives communities and learners the opportunity to explore what a career in the manufacturing field really looks like. Why is this important? According to a report by Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Manufacturing Institute, 80 percent of manufacturers have a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled production positions. This translates to nearly two million unfilled jobs over the next decade. Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of student in this area can help to close that gap by preparing the workforce of the future with the industry required skills to fill those positions.

Manufacturing is also one of the 16 Career Clusters® in the National Career Clusters® Framework. Superior implementation of a Career Cluster in a program of study is one area needed to qualify for Advance CTE’s annual Excellence in Action award. The award honors high-quality CTE programs of study from across the nation. This year, the Utah Aerospace Pathways program of study at the Granite Technical Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah received the award in the Manufacturing Career Cluster.

This program of study was established in 2015, in response to industry demand for skilled employees in aerospace careers. In that same year, the Utah aerospace industry accounted for 944 companies.The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, five local aerospace industry partners and secondary and postsecondary institutions, worked closely to develop the robust program to address this growing need for a skilled workforce. It is one of the four Utah Talent Ready Initiative programs, which aims to fill 40,000 new high-skill, high-wage jobs in Utah over the next four years.

“The Utah Aerospace Pathway program aligns industry and education to fill critical workforce needs in our state while ensuring continued success in the aerospace industry,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “Career and Technical Education serve an important role in training our workforce in Utah. We appreciate Granite School District and their innovative partnership to make this program available for students in their district.”

In May, 55 learners graduated from the program of study with certificates in aerospace manufacturing. To receive this certificate all learners must have completed rigorous coursework and a 48-hour externship in the industry. This certificate is unique in that it guarantees an interview with any of the participating partner companies including Boeing, Albany International, Hexcel, Janicki Industries and Orbital ATK.

In addition to earning a certificate, learners have options to continue their postsecondary education through an articulation agreement between the high school and Salt Lake Community College and Weber State University.

Learn more by watching this video and reading a two-pager about the program: 

This Week in CTE

October 5th, 2018



As we reported, the Senate voted 93-7 on September 18 to advance an FY19 appropriations package that includes the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education appropriations bill ,which includes key investments in education and workforce programs. On September 26, the House voted to approve that package (361-61) and the President signed it on September 28. This bill includes a $70 million increase in the federal investment in Perkins Basic State Grants. 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!


On-the-Job in a Most Unique Way

The Papillion La Vista Community Schools (PLCS) academies provide learners with real-world, hands-on learning experiences. The PLCS academies include work-based learning opportunities where learners are working with professionals outside of the classroom. In this video, hear from Papillion-La Vista Zoo Academy students and instructors, and the staff of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo where two days a week learners participate in  work-based learning. The curriculum includes studying a Zoology textbook that is used in universities and conducting research that incorporates core subjects. Watch the video to learn more: 


Report: Credential Currency: How States Can Identify and Promote Credentials of Value

There are more than 4,000 credentialing bodies nationwide that offer thousands of different industry-recognized credentials across sectors, making it difficult for states that have encouraged the growth of industry-recognized credentials to determine which ones to prioritize to scale attainment. This report from Education Strategy Group, Advance CTE and Council of Chief State School Officers provides a roadmap for how states can identify which credentials have labor market value and approaches to improve credential attainment and reporting. This report covers common barriers, recommended strategies and opportunities to advance learner attainment of industry recognized credentials with marketplace value.

Learn more here.

Free College: Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program

October 4th, 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 one example of a free college program. Check out last week’s blog on the history of free college, and look for future blogs on the challenges and future of free college.

The idea of free college has gained traction in a number of states. Indiana has been at the forefront of this movement, and has had some form of free college for the past 30 years. Currently, Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program allows participants up to four years of free enrollment at a two or four-year institution. This covers the cost of tuition and any additional fees. Indiana is unique in including four-year colleges in this program, since fewer than half of states with free college initiatives include four-year institutions in their policies. 

This program covers tuition on a “first dollar” basis, meaning that students remain eligible for other forms of aid to go toward non-tuition expenses. Any additional aid learners might receive from the state is not impacted by grants received to cover non-tuition charges.  

Learners can become involved in this program as early as seventh grade. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch in seventh or eighth grade are eligible to apply to be part of 21st Century Scholars. Below are 12 requirements that participating students must meet throughout high school in order to qualify:

  • 9th grade:
    • Create a graduation plan (to be updated annually);
    • Participate in an extracurricular or service activity; and
    • Watch “Paying for College 101”
  • 10th grade:
    • Take a career interests assessment;
    • Get workplace experience; and
    • Estimate the costs of college
  • 11th grade:
    • Visit a college campus;
    • Take a college entrance exam (ACT/SAT); and
    • Search for scholarships
  • 12th grade:
    • Submit college application;
    • Watch “College Success 101;” and
    • File FAFSA

In 2017, the program granted over $160 million in financial aid. As of the fall of 2018, there were about 80,000 program participants throughout middle and high school and 20,000 in college. This program has bipartisan support in the state.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

President Signs FY19 Appropriations Bill that Includes Increase for Perkins

October 2nd, 2018

Last week, Congress wrapped up its work on the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) Appropriations bill. Read below to learn more about what the bill included for key education and workforce programs and to find new resources from Advance CTE on Perkins V.

President Signs FY19 Appropriations Package that Includes $70 Million Increase for Perkins 

As we reported, the Senate voted 93-7 on September 18 to advance an FY19 appropriations package that includes the Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations bill (which includes key investments in education and workfo

rce programs). On September 26, the House voted to approve that package (361-61) and the President signed it on September 28. This bill includes a$70 million increase in the federal investment in Perkins Basic State Grants – check out the press statement from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) to learn more. You can also 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.

In addition, this legislation included language from the conferees (the Members of Congress who served on a c

ommittee determine the final Labor-HHS-Ed FY19 bill) about the use of Perkins for National Activities, the importance of computer science education and the role of the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE). First, it directs the U.S. Secretary of Education to award innovation and modernization grants through Perkins and notes that these funds could “support coding programs that can be particularly important in rural and underserved areas that do not have access to coding resources.” The legislation also discusses computer science education more broadly, noting that “computer science education programs, including coding academies, can provide important benefits to local industries and the economy and help meet in-demand workforce needs. Therefore, the Departments of Labor and Education should work together with industry to improve and expand computer science education programs and opportunities, including through apprenticeships.” Lastly, the legislation also affirms the value of OCTAE and notes the conferees’ concerns about its elimination or consolidation in terms of achieving OCTAE’s mission and implementation of programs. Importantly, it confirms that “OCTAE is authorized expressly in statute and cannot be consolidated or reorganized except by specific authority granted by Congress.”

Advance CTE Releases New Perkins V Resources

Advance CTE released two new resources on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The Perkins V Accountability Comparison examines the secondary and postsecondary indicators of performance in Perkins IV and Perkins V, as well as alignment with performance measures from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Advance CTE also released a side-by-side comparison of the text of Perkins IV and Perkins V that includes an analysis of the changes between the two laws. You can find all of Advance CTE’s Perkins V resources on our Perkins webpage.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy 

Advance CTE Fall Meeting Sponsor Blog: Making the Most of School Counselors in Career Development

October 2nd, 2018

This post is written by the Fleck Education and Thomas P. Miller & Associates, a Gold Level sponsor of the 2018 Advance CTE Fall Meeting.

School counselors find connecting learners with Career Technical Education (CTE) coursework and career pathways to be an effective career advising and development strategy.  Yet, few counselors are able to make these connections. In their report, “The State of Career Technical Education” Career Advising and Development, Advance CTE and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) looked to see if states and their school counselors are using effective strategies, finding that more than half (58 percent) of states believe “they are only somewhat effectively serving K-12 learners with career advising and development systems” and less than 30 percent of middle school counselors connect students with CTE coursework or career pathways, despite the fact that the majority (87 percent) of those who use this strategy find it effective or extremely effective.

In their study of school counselors’ perceptions of competency in career counseling, Morgan, Greenwaldt, and Gosselin (2014) found that while school counselors did not identify specific training areas that would have helped them, they did acknowledge that continuing education was imperative based on what they received in their graduate preparation programs.  Overall, they mostly relied on their professional networks for support, describing casual, question-and-answer partnerships being used most frequently.

As providers of professional development, we witnessed this desire to consult and collaborate in our recent work conducting workshops with local State CTE Directors and school counselors.  Overwhelmingly, school counselors appreciated having a facilitated “nuts and bolts” discussion about CTE and programs of study, but especially valued being given the time to collaborate with one another.  This was reflected in a sample of their feedback on what they found helpful:

  • “Solutions to challenges instead of just defining problems;
  • [Obtaining] “need-to-know” information. I also liked that we were able to ask questions, confirm ideas, etc.;
  • It was nice to collaborate with other counselors;
  • Being able to hear about what others are doing with success;
  • Being able to talk to fellow counselors; and
  • Brainstorming with fellow educators.”

Because Advance CTE is recommending more effective professional development and resources to school counselors, and the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) now requires the provision of professional development for a wide variety of CTE professionals, CTE programs of study might consider the following opportunities:

  • Provide professional development to currently practicing school counselors through workshops or webinars.  Allow for time to be devoted to collaboration and sharing;
  • Identify if there is a formal or informal communication system among school counselors in the state—a listserv or website.  Consider creating a listserv for counselors geared toward career counseling and advising;
  • Reach out to all school counselors at all levels – elementary, middle and high school – with developmentally appropriate information on CTE. For example, for elementary school counselors, it could be as simple as guidance on designing a field trip to a CTE program or center;
  • Partner with your state’s school counselor association or become a sponsor of their statewide conference. Present at their conferences or professional development opportunities; and
  • Collaborate with school counselor education programs in your state, particularly the faculty who teach the career theory/development course.  This is a required course for all school counselor education graduate programs and is typically taught by faculty who focus on theory with little to no opportunity for real-world application.

Finally, professional development that focuses on the practical skills of career counseling will help fill the knowledge gap experienced by most of today’s working school counselors.  This could include a “refresher” on interpreting career assessment results, how to have developmentally appropriate career conversations with students, and identifying connections between Career Clusters® or areas of interest.

Fleck Education and Thomas P. Miller & Associates will attend the 2018 Advance CTE Fall Meeting in Baltimore scheduled for October 22-24, 2018. For more information on our services, please contact Kelly Dunn at kelly@fleckeducation.com.

Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA, to Keynote Advance CTE Fall Meeting

October 1st, 2018

We are excited to announce that Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA, will keynote the Advance CTE Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland later this month. This meeting will occur on the heels of the passing of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and ahead of many state elections. The Fall Meeting is designed to empower state leaders of Career Technical Education (CTE) with the information, knowledge and skills they need to lead over the coming months of transition and change.

Humpton will underscore the importance of being a bold leader who is willing to take risks and strive for quality. While there is much uncertainty and potential challenges ahead for state CTE leaders, it is also a great time for opportunity and innovation. She will discuss her role as CEO, and how she serves as an inspiring leader to 50,000 people across the United States.

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

Apply Today to the 2019 Excellence in Action award!

October 1st, 2018

Do you think you have one of the best Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study in the nation? Advance CTE is on the search for programs of study that 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. Apply for the 2019 Excellence in Action award to showcase the amazing work of your learners, instructors, partnerships and faculty at the national level.

Not only will your program be featured in the media and an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in the spring, you’ll also be contributing to a positive image of CTE programs. In its sixth year, this award showcases innovative programs of study to policymakers, employers and education leaders and lets them know that CTE is for all learners and prepares them for a lifetime of college and career success. Applications are open to secondary and postsecondary schools/institutions. Apply today!

Hear what past award winners had to say:

“The Advance CTE recognition of our programs is wonderful validation of the work of our students and staff. These awards have helped us dispel outdated perceptions of Career Technical Education (CTE) and supported our efforts to reframe the conversation about postsecondary educational options for learners. Students no longer have to choose between college or CTE, and these awards provide public confirmation that some form of college or certification is a part of all quality CTE programs that prepare students for high-skill, high-wage, in-demand careers.”

–Stephanie Joseph Long, Traverse Bay Area ISD Career Tech Center, 2018 Award Winner  

“Being selected as an Excellence in Action award winner has been one of the greatest honors that our program has received. The EMS Education Program at Jones County Junior College has always sought to exemplify the characteristics and values that makes Career Technical Education successful. Having been recognized on a national stage by Advance CTE means that we can promote our methods to other programs all across the United States. Since the award, our school has played host to multiple instructors who wish to model our success as an award winner. The recognition is great, but the chance to make a difference with other CTE programs has made everything worthwhile!”

– Eric Williams, Jones County Junior College, 2017 Award Winner

“The Advance CTE award has elevated expectations for students and staff, but more importantly, it has elevated confidence and reaffirmed our efforts. Similarly, it has enhanced industry and community support and awareness for each of our programs.”

-Jason Jeffrey, EdDTraverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, 2016 Award Winner

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

California, Oklahoma and Virginia Invest in CTE

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

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

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:

  • Allows for documentation of 55+ “Hands-on” Skills from MSSC National Standards
  • Affordable for lower rural and urban income regions
  • Trains and assesses hands-on skills for all sectors of manufacturing
  • Increases employer confidence in their workforce and apprenticeship investment by requiring evidence of hands-on skills
  • Strong training and assessment tool also for incumbent workers
  • Interactive with CPT virtual 3-D simulation learning
  • Offers students and workers a robust introduction to mechatronics
  • Increases incentive to earn the full CPT
  • Appeals to tactile learners through dynamic learning experience
  • Meets ISO Standard 17024 accreditation requirement that MSSC offer exactly same assessment using the same equipment nationwide. 

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 info@msscusa.org or 703-739-9000.

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

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:

  • Learning how to utilize their own interests and passions to grow their skills? 
  • Mastering core academic content that is relevant to the challenges of their future careers?
  • Collaborating with others; learning complex skills and behaviors needed to successfully complete projects likely encountered in college, universities, and especially in the workplace?

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.