CTE & College-Going: One Advocate’s Read on the New Research

November 7th, 2017

Last week, a new research study made its way through the edu-sphere, exciting a lot of CTE advocates. The AERA study – Linking the Timing of Career and Technical Education Coursetaking with High School Dropout and College-Going Behavior – validated some long-held truths about CTE, most notably that it boosts high school graduation rate.

In brief, the study found that taking a greater number of CTE courses was associated with a lower chance of dropping out, estimated at a decreased probability of dropout of 1.2% per CTE course completed across high school.  The probability of not dropping out – or probability of graduating – increases to 1.6% for every CTE course taken during 11th grade or 12th grade.

This jives well with existing data showing higher graduation rates for CTE concentrators – and survey data that shows CTE students are simply more satisfied with their educational experience than students not involved in CTE.

However, some of the coverage of this new study left me scratching my head. For example, Education Week’s blog was titled “Career and Tech Ed. Courses Don’t Boost Chances of College-Going, Study Finds focusing on the research finding that CTE completion is generally not linked to college going, except for a small positive (but statistically significant) link between 11th grade CTE coursetaking and both probability of enrollment within two years (0.8%) and probability of ever enrolling in postsecondary education (0.8%).

To quote the researchers: “These results imply that CTE may not be strongly associated with later college-going behaviors, but it also does not appear to have any negative influence on a student’s decision to pursue further education beyond high school.”

Now, for a CTE advocate, this is actually a game changer!

Consider the change in postsecondary enrollment over the last 25 years:

So, to summarize the chart above, the direct postsecondary enrollment rate for CTE concentrators increased by 28 percentage points between 1992 and 2004, while the postsecondary enrollment rates stayed stagnant for non-CTE students, which is a pretty huge jump. Now, we have new data showing that students engaging in CTE are just as likely to go on to college as those not taking CTE coursework! (As an FYI, the data shared above is from the same dataset used by AERA, NCES’ Education Longitudinal Study).

For years, CTE leaders have been talking the talk on the value of CTE, and developing policies, programs and frameworks to ensure our programs also walk the walk. The bottom line is that the quality of CTE programs and policies are on the rise and the data is showing a very positive upwards trajectory.

Some of the light criticism following this report is that we “still have work to do” to ensure CTE is a successful college preparation program. But, honestly, CTE hasn’t been designed with college preparation as its core purpose. Rather, it’s designed to support career readiness, with college readiness as a byproduct – and is now doing a pretty impressive job of offering equally rigorous pathways to high school students.

Look, I’m not sugarcoating the fact that we still have a long way to go to ensuring every CTE program is of the highest quality and provides meaningful post-high school pathways for every learner. And, I join the researchers in calling for more research on the impact of CTE, particularly around how CTE coursetaking impacts the drop out and completion rate for 9th grade students, who are often a higher drop out risk, something that has not received adequate focus. We also know college enrollment is not a particularly strong indicator of success, when compared to college retention and completion. But this study validates the impressive and difficult work undertaken by states and local leaders to up the rigor and quality of CTE programs and should be celebrated as such.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

New Fact Sheet Highlights How States Use Perkins Basic State Grants

November 6th, 2017

Earlier this year, Advance CTE conducted a survey of State CTE Directors asking how states were implementing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) and using their Perkins Basic State Grants. It is important to note that Perkins requires that at least 85 percent of each state’s Perkins grant go to local eligible recipients (e.g., school districts, area technical centers, institutions of higher education, etc.). The focus of the new fact sheet, “How States Use Perkins – The Basics” details how states are using the remaining 15 percent and other flexible portions of their grants. The findings include:

  • 50 states report using a portion of their state leadership funds on supporting or improving new CTE courses or initiatives and the improvement of career guidance and academic advisement;
  • 38 states report dedicating a portion of the local allocation to the creation of a reserve fund, which can be used for specialized projects benefiting rural areas, areas with a high number of CTE students and/or areas with a high percentage of CTE students; and
  • 12 states report that they require local secondary recipients to distribute 100 percent of their Perkins funds to programs of study

To learn more about the top uses of state leadership funds, how states are distributing their reserve funds and more, check out the fact sheet here.  

Applications for the Excellence in Action award close November 15

November 3rd, 2017

Applications to the 2018 Excellence in Action award close November 15! 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.

Apply today to honor the hard work of your instructors, administrators, and your students. Your program will be featured in the media and an awards ceremony in Washington D.C. in the spring, in an ongoing blog series and to critical CTE stakeholders. By lifting up your exemplary program, you’ll be contributing to a positive image of CTE programs, and letting policy makers, employers and education leaders know that CTE really is for all students, and prepares them for a lifetime of college and career success. One program of study will be honored per Career Cluster.

Learn more about the application process and hear from two award winners here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

U.S. Department of Education Will Withdraw Outdated Guidance, New WorkforceGPS Webinar Announced

November 2nd, 2017

This week’s news includes announcements from the U.S. Department of Education on the guidance it will withdraw and Workforce GPS on an upcoming webinar, as well as updates on legislation related to postsecondary data and work-based learning. Read below to find out more about these new announcements and legislation.

U.S. Department of Education Will Withdraw Outdated Guidance 

On October 27, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that it will withdraw over 600 pieces of subregulatory guidance that is out-of-date (including nine pieces from the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education that are no longer relevant). The press release notes that “each item has been either superseded by current law or is no longer in effect.” The announcement comes as ED’s Regulatory Reform Task Force continues its work to determine which regulations should be replaced, rescinded or modified.

WorkforceGPS Announces New Webinar, “MOU Negotiations: The Partner Perspective – A Virtual Roundtable”

On Wednesday, December 6, 2017 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET, Workforce GPS will be hosting a virtual roundtable on “the requirements of the one-stop delivery system’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) negotiations as called for under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)”. The webinar’s description notes that “grantee representatives from the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services will highlight not only the obstacles they have faced during their local negotiations, but also some best practices they have picked up along the way.” You can register for the webinar online here.

Members of Congress Push for College Transparency Act  

On November 1, Members of Congress pushed for continued support for the College Transparency Act on the House floor. Advance CTE is proud to support this legislation – it would create a federal postsecondary student-level data network to yield better and more complete information about student outcomes in our higher education system. Better data will help students, college leaders and policymakers make more informed decisions about higher education. Read more about a student-level data network in a new policy brief by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP).

PARTNERS Act Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives 

On October 25, Representatives  Bonamici (D-OR) and Ferguson (R-GA) introduced H.R. 4115, the “Promoting Apprenticeships through Regional Training Networks for Employers’ Required Skills Act of 2017” (or PARTNERS Act). According to the bill summary, the bill would “establish a grant program to support the creation and expansion of industry and sector partnerships to help small and medium sized businesses develop work-based learning programs and provide mentoring and support services for workers.”

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Employer-Driven Innovations in CTE

November 1st, 2017

On Friday, October 20th, the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) and the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) hosted the “Employer-Driven Innovations in CTE: Promise, Practice, & Opportunities for Policy Capitol Hill forum,” moderated by Jennifer Brown Lerner of AYPF. Presentations, followed by a panel discussion, were given by Mary Visher, Senior Associate, MDRC; Stanley S. Litow, President Emeritus, IBM International Foundation and Vice President Emeritus, IBM Corporate Citizenship; Cate Swinburn, President, YouthForce NOLA and Van Ton-Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor, Workforce & Digital Futures, California Community Colleges System. 

The forum showcased trends and new movements in CTE, and some highlights included:

  • MDRC’s emphasis that CTE must include both college and career pathways. Visher also spoke about the important relationship between employer needs and student needs, and expressed that programs must address both.
  • IBM’s P-TECH program, “a new grade 9-14 public school model focused on STEM fields and Career and Technical Education,” reported increased academic achievement in its partner schools. This model is also attempting to reduce the stigma around CTE through new terminology. For example, “soft skills” are labeled as “essential skills” and the phrase “new collar” is used to refer to the evolving job market. 
  • YouthForce NOLA broke down career readiness into three parts: job-specific skills; soft skills and work experience. Skilled crafts, health sciences and creative/tech were named as three of the most relevant career sectors today.
  • The California Community College System is emphasizing the value of a postsecondary experience in the current workforce. The state has a shortage of skilled employees with an associate’s degree, certificates or industry-valued credentials. Ton-Quinlivan also spoke about the need for colleges to work together regionally to meet the skills demand, instead of competing with one another.

Support for reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) was firm and widespread. Multiple groups acknowledged the need for current Perkins funds to be used to address the workforce demands through experiential learning and collaboration (between secondary and postsecondary, as well as regionally).

Meredith Hills, Graduate Fellow for Federal Policy

State Policy Update: How States Are Working to Increase Credential Attainment

October 30th, 2017

Strategies Include Promise Programs, Reverse Transfer and Postsecondary Credential Attainment Goals

The demand for Bachelor’s degrees may be overinflated in the labor market, but the number of jobs requiring at least some postsecondary education or training is growing. According to the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce, nearly all of the jobs created since the recession have gone to workers with more than a high school education. As such, many states have adopted programs and policies since the recovery to help learners obtain the knowledge, skills and credentials necessary to succeed in today’s workforce.

This month, California joined the ranks of Tennessee, Oregon, Rhode Island and New York after Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation into law establishing a California Promise program. The program is designed to reduce barriers to entry for California college-goers by providing tuition-free community college to first-time students who enroll full time and complete a FAFSA form. Under the legislation, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office would be responsible for administering the program and developing a funding formula to support the program’s objectives.

Although the California Promise program has been signed into law, the program is still subject to state appropriations. The California General Assembly estimates that the program would serve 19,000 students at a total cost of $31.1 million.

Meanwhile, Mississippi is the latest state to help Bachelor’s degree candidates obtain associate’s degrees. The program, called Complete 2 Compete, aims to increase the number of Mississippians with postsecondary credentials by identifying students who either have completed enough credits to qualify for an associate’s degree or are on the cusp of completing a degree. Many postsecondary and adult learners with their sights set on a four-year degree don’t realize that they’ve already earned enough credits for another award. Under the program, some 28,000 students already qualify to receive an associate’s degree without any further education or training.

Increasingly, states are looking to reverse transfer programs like Mississippi’s to help postsecondary and adult learners get recognition for the education they have completed. According to research from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE), these programs help struggling students who would not otherwise complete a four-year degree earn a postsecondary credential.

States Set Ambitious Postsecondary Attainment Goals

Separately, the number of states with ambitious goals for postsecondary credential attainment is growing. In September, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education released an update to the 2012 Master Plan, setting a postsecondary credential attainment goal of 66 percent of adults by 2025. The goal is accompanied by four strategies to increase learner success in Colorado colleges and universities:

  1. Increase credential completion
  2. Erase equity gaps
  3. Improve student success
  4. Invest in affordability and innovation

 

New Jersey and Vermont also released goals to increase postsecondary credential attainment to 65 percent and 70 percent respectively by 2025. In New Jersey, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Department of Education jointly launched a new campaign to help increase the credentialed population. The campaign, titled “65 by ’25: Many Paths, One Future,” will seek to engage colleges, universities, businesses and state officials through regional summits to devise strategic plans to achieve the goal.

In Vermont, Governor Phil Scott announced the launch of a new initiative called 70x2025vt. With guidance and support from a 25-member council of employers, educators and state officials, the initiative aims to create a college-going culture, remove barriers to access for underrepresented populations, increase college preparedness, and ensure high school students enroll in and succeed in postsecondary education. To monitor progress along the way, Vermont has identified six indicators of progress, including college aspiration and postsecondary/career integration experiences (including work-based learning).

The need for skilled workers has grown in the wake of the Great Recession. Now, more than ever, postsecondary education and training is a prerequisite for a family-sustaining job. With the recovery of the national economy, these states are working overtime to help their residents gain the skills they need for career success.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Apprenticeship Task Force Members Named, U.S. Department of Education Announces Proposed Competitive Grant Priorities

October 26th, 2017

Both the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education made important announcements over the last two weeks. Read below to find out more about these announcements and how you can help push the U.S. Senate to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins).

Secretary Acosta Names Members of Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion

On October 16, U.S. Secretary of Labor Acosta announced the members who will serve on the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. Members include representatives from education, business, industry and labor. The Task Force was one of the components outlined in the Executive Order, “Expanding Apprenticeship in America,” that President Trump signed in June.

U.S. Department of Education Announces Proposed Priorities for Competitive Grants, Seeks Comments

On October 12, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the proposed priorities for awarding competitive grants. ED has asked the public to weigh in on these priorities through a 30-day public comment process and will later announce the finalized priorities, which may be used to award competitive grants going forward. The proposed priorities are listed below:
  1. Empowering Families to Choose a High-Quality Education that Meets Their Child’s Unique Needs.
  2. Promoting Innovation and Efficiency, Streamlining Education with an Increased Focus on Improving Student Outcomes, and Providing Increased Value to Students and Taxpayers.
  3. Fostering Flexible and Affordable Paths to Obtaining Knowledge and Skills.
  4. Fostering Knowledge and Promoting the Development of Skills that Prepare Students to be Informed, Thoughtful, and Productive Individuals and Citizens.
  5. Meeting the Unique Needs of Students And Children, including those with Disabilities and/or with Unique Gifts and Talents.
  6. Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, With a Particular Focus on Computer Science.
  7. Promoting Literacy.
  8. Promoting Effective Instruction in Classrooms and Schools.
  9. Promoting Economic Opportunity.
  10. Encouraging Improved School Climate and Safer and More Respectful Interactions in a Positive and Safe Educational Environment.
  11. Ensuring that Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families Have Access to High-Quality Educational Choices.

 

You Can Still Help Push the Senate to Reauthorize Perkins 

As you may know, the  U.S. House of Representatives passed a Perkins reauthorization bill in June (find our summary and analysis online here). We have been urging the Senate to take up reauthorization swiftly, but they have yet to do so. Right now, Representatives Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Thompson (R-PA), the two main co-sponsors of the House Perkins reauthorization bill, are planning to send a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter to the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee leadership encouraging them to take up Perkins reauthorization. They are asking for their colleagues in the House to join them in signing this letter. Now is a great time to reach out to your Representative to ask them to sign on to this letter (thanks to our partners at ACTE for sharing this Action Center with the entire CTE community)!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

 

Staff Reflections of the 2017 Fall Meeting: Part 2

October 26th, 2017

Staff Reflection: Ensuring Quality for All Learners
Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

High-quality CTE is always a focus area for Advance CTE, but in our Fall Meeting this year there was a special focus on how to use program approval and evaluation policies to ensure quality.

The first full day of the Meeting began with a panel discussion featuring Kim Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE; Marcie Mack, State CTE Director, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education; and Donna Lewelling, Deputy Director of the Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission. The panel, moderated by Kate Kreamer, began with a discussion around Advance CTE’s recently released Policy Benchmark Tool on CTE Program of Study approval policy. Marcie and Donna explained how they plan to use the tool in their states to assess current policies and make changes moving forward, particularly as the states prepare for a newly-reauthorized Perkins. The panelists then talked about program quality more broadly, including how and when to shut down programs that are not producing the right outcomes for learners.

Following the panel discussion, Danielle Mezera, formerly the State CTE Director in Tennessee, and I led a breakout discussion on program evaluation policy. In that session, we discussed with state leaders and organizational partners the crucial questions that high-quality evaluation policies should ask and answer. State leaders brainstormed about how specific evaluation data could be collected, using the Benchmark Tool as a thought-starter.

It was wonderful to be able to participate in these conversations during the meeting, and I look forward to helping our members continue those conversations now that the Fall Meeting has ended.

Staff Reflection: Focusing on Postsecondary CTE 
Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director 

Advance CTE’s meetings always strive to not only be engaging, relevant and informative – but also personalized to our diverse members, who represent every facet of the CTE system. Over the years, we have worked to ensure we have a strong balance of national and state experts, as well as sessions that resonate with participants who work in the secondary, postsecondary and workforce development spaces. This year, with some input from an informal “postsecondary member kitchen cabinet,” we made sure we had sessions on some of the top issues facing postsecondary leaders – including expanding dual/concurrent enrollment and the use of labor market information.

We also know that there is much those working in secondary can learn from those working in postsecondary (and vice versa), which is why we had a session that reflected on what worked – and didn’t work – around stakeholder engagement strategies under both the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to inform future stakeholder engagement strategies when Perkins is (finally) reauthorized.

Finally, given so much of the conference focused on high-quality CTE, we were excited to feature the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, the annual competition honoring institutions that strive for and achieve exceptional levels of success for all learners, including the current winner, Lake Area Technical Institute of South Dakota.

Ultimately, Advance CTE’s goal is to hold meetings and professional learning opportunities that reflect our vision for the future of CTE and put learner success first by ensuring aligned programs, aligned policies and aligned commitments to high-quality CTE.

Staff Reflection: Sharing Early Lessons from the New Skills for Youth Initiative
Austin Estes, State Policy Associate 

Earlier this year it was announced that ten states were selected to participate in the New Skills for Youth initiative, an ambitious, national effort — supported by three-year, two-million dollar state grants from JPMorgan Chase — to transform career readiness systems, expand access to high-quality career pathways for all students, and develop replicable practices that could be emulated in other states. At Advance CTE’s Fall Meeting, participants got to see how the New Skills for Youth work is progressing and learn early lessons from the ten participating states. Sessions on the agenda, many of which pulled from work in the New Skills for Youth states or Advance CTE research funded by the initiative, included:

  • Rural CTE Access and Quality: State leaders from Idaho and North Dakota led a meaningful discussion on strategies to serve learners in rural schools and colleges. Idaho’s program alignment initiative, which was recently featured in Advance CTE’s CTE on the Frontier series, brings together secondary and postsecondary educators to align learning competencies. Meanwhile, the Dakota Nursing Program in North Dakota demonstrates how states can leverage rural healthcare facilities to bring experts to rural communities.
  • Strengthening the CTE Teacher Pipeline: Building upon Advance CTE’s recent research, the New Jersey Department of Education, the Center for Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institutes of Research (GTL), and Advance CTE led a workshop on recruiting and training industry experts. The workshop focused on work New Jersey is doing with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education to strengthen the CTE teacher pipeline. Advance CTE plans to continue this work through both the New Skills for Youth initiative as well as an ongoing workgroup in partnership with GTL.
  • Communicating about Labor Market Information: Led by state leaders in the Kentucky Department of Education, this session highlighted Kentucky’s data innovations and helped participants better understand ways that labor market data could be used to inform program prioritization and design. To build upon lessons learned in the workshop, Advance CTE plans to release a guide in the coming weeks to help states communicate and leverage labor market information.
  • Identifying and Measuring Credentials of Value: By 2020, two-thirds of all new jobs will require a postsecondary degree or training. Under the New Skills for Youth initiative, Education Strategy Group (ESG) has convened an expert workgroup to develop recommendations and strategies for states to meet this demand. At Advance CTE’s fall meeting, ESG previewed the workgroup’s recommendations and gathered reactions and input from state leaders in attendance.

This is just a slice of the work Advance CTE and partners are conducting under New Skills for Youth. As the initiative progresses, there will be ample opportunity to identify and elevate best practices from the participating states. New Skills for Youth is a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Staff Reflection: Effective Stakeholder Engagement
Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy 

This year’s Fall Meeting featured a session called, “Building Effective Stakeholder Engagement for Perkins V,” which was designed to share the best practices and lessons learned from states’ stakeholder engagement processes used during the state planning process for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The panelists provided many helpful pointers for states preparing for the stakeholder engagement process for a reauthorized Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), but I’ll focus on just three:

  • Building relationships and partnerships is beneficial to fostering statewide collaboration – don’t wait until a planning process is underway to find stakeholders or start the conversation with them
  • When the time comes to gather feedback and input on a state plan, be sure to execute a strong communications plan to get the word out and include clear expectations about the feedback you seek
  • Use the state’s vision for CTE as a driver for planning efforts, not the legislation that requires a plan

These three ideas stood out to me not only because they apply to Perkins and other statewide planning efforts, but also because they apply to advocacy planning. When building out an advocacy plan to accomplish a goal, it is unlikely that the work can be done by one person, agency or organization – building relationships and partnerships is key. A strong communications plan can help with this – stakeholders and partners won’t know they can contribute if they aren’t aware of the process. Or, as one panelist noted, “Asking who else should be involved is like saying “raise your hand if you’re not here.” Setting clear expectations about a request for a partner or stakeholder to weigh in or do something related to a plan is also important to the plan’s ultimate success. Lastly, advocacy, like stakeholder engagement, is most effective when it is proactive and informed by a larger vision, not limited to one time-bound initiative.

Staff Reflections of the 2017 Fall Meeting: Part 1

October 19th, 2017

Staff Reflection: Honoring Our State CTE Directors
Kimberly Green, Executive Director 

One of the best parts of working for a membership organization is the chance to meet interesting, inspiring leaders from every state in the country! During my tenure with the organization, I began in 1993, I have seen a lot of State CTE Directors come and go but the one constancy among them has been leadership. Our members, by definition of the positions they hold, are leaders; they are also leaders because of the beliefs they hold and the work they do every day to help more students find success by demanding excellence, ensuring equity and building support and visibility for Career Technical Education.

What often gets lost in our drive for improvement and achievement is the celebration of success. That is why I am so happy that annually Advance CTE’s Star of Education award recognizes former State Directors who have helped pave the way to get us where we are today, as well as rising stars who will pick up the ball and continue to move the work forward. Congratulations to this year’s winners – Kathy Cullen (former State Director in Wisconsin); JoAnn Simser (former State Director in Minnesota); Francis Tuttle (posthumous recognition, former State Director in Oklahoma); and our Rising Star – Marcie Mack, current State Director in Oklahoma! CTE and the lives of many are indelibly better because of each of you.

Staff Reflection: Supporting Our Members
Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

During Monday’s Star of Education Award Ceremony, there was one comment that would stick with me for the rest of the meeting. Tom Friedemann, superintendent and CEO of the Francis Tuttle Technology Center, accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Francis Tuttle, who is known as the grandfather of Oklahoma Career and Technology Education. Friedemann said Tuttle always surrounded himself with “idea people.” This habit helped him create the infrastructure that still supports CTE in Oklahoma today.

Over the next few days, I would walk around the conference hotel and pop into various sessions. I’d listen in on the conversations and Friedemann’s words about “idea people” kept coming back to me.

As the staff member who is responsible for member engagement, leadership development and the Advance CTE meetings, I was struck by how many “idea people” were in these session rooms both as speakers and attendees. My favorite part of each session is the rich cross-state sharing and “a-ha moments.” Those were in abundance at this year’s Fall Meeting, and I know this was driven by the people in the room.

This year’s meeting saw attendees from 46 states and the District of Columbia, and they hailed from all corners of the CTE landscape – from K-12 and postsecondary to workforce development and even industry representatives. A point of pride for me was that 77 percent of attendees are Advance CTE members, and of that, 25 percent are brand-new members experiencing their first Advance CTE meeting. Most of these new members are part of Advance CTE’s newly expanded state membership structure.

Advance CTE members enjoy up to 35 percent off the price of a regular registration. Join today and take advantage of discounted registration rates for the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting, which will be held April 4-6 in Washington, DC.

Staff Reflection: States Leading the Way in Shifting the Perception of CTE
Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

CTE’s continued success is evident in the compelling sessions held throughout the Fall Meeting, where states were featured prominently in sessions spanning a variety of topics from supporting rural learners through innovative strategies, to strengthening secondary-postsecondary credit alignment.

While dedicated state leaders have continued to focus on program quality and demonstrated that Career Technical Education is an option that is truly for all learners, states are still grappling with how to ensure that students, parents, employers, educators and policymakers understand that CTE sets up learners for both college and careers.

To tackle the ongoing CTE stigma challenge, we dedicated a half day of sessions to highlight our communications and messaging research and explore how states are improving their communications in an effort to shift the perception of CTE.

The day began with a panel featuring leaders from Washington and Maryland, who shared their findings from a one-year pilot that tested communications and recruitment strategies anchored by our research outlined in “The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education.” Both states focused on virtual campaigns including developing a video template that Washington’s 200+ districts can use to ‘sell’ their own CTE programs, and developing sample social media posts and a how-to social media guide for two districts in Maryland.

Following the panel, attendees were able to choose from four workshops to further dig into the most effective ways to communicate about CTE including:

  • Advocacy 101: How to Advocate Effectively for CTE;
  • Leveraging Your CTE Champions to Reach Parents;
  • Building Effective Messages to Communicate About CTE with Parents and Students; and
  • Maximizing Employer Engagement

Be sure to check out the 2017 Fall Meeting agenda to view session PowerPoints and handouts, and learn more about the communications research in a recent webinar here.

Four Essential Components of a Quality CTE Program

October 16th, 2017

This post is written by the NOCTI, a Gold Level sponsor of the 2017 Advance CTE Fall Meeting.

For the past decade, our community has grown accustomed to the public’s perception about CTE and how the perception swings back and forth like a pendulum. At times, the perception is focused on how beneficial CTE is to both our students and the nation, and at other times, CTE is viewed as a path for only “certain” students.  Recently, the pendulum has been swinging toward the side of positivity and credibility. CTE has gone from “odd-man-out” to the person everyone wants to befriend.

It is a bit ironic that this popularity is occurring at a time when some of the factors that attributed to CTE’s popularity are weakening a bit.  It is critical that the entire CTE community focuses on addressing and strengthening any shortcomings if the growth and “popularity” of CTE are to be sustained. NOCTI has been working in the CTE arena for over 50 years and our mission is to provide tools and services to build a world-class workforce. There are four important factors that we believe should be part of every quality CTE program:

  1. Quality Administrators: Organizations like Advance CTE, ACTE, NOCTI, SREB, and numerous others have all noticed a disturbing trend. Many CTE administrators are not coming from the ranks of the CTE teaching community. In addition, most universities have eliminated formal programs that prepare CTE administrators. This creates a situation whereby a large cohort of well-meaning individuals are being hired in CTE administrator positions and are continuously challenged with understanding the nuances of a quality CTE program. Those nuances are essentially the differences in basic education and CTE including mission, governance, instructional delivery, financing of CTE programs, as well as the professional development needs of CTE teachers. The over-arching difference also relates to the ability to embrace and determine a strategy for engaging business and industry.
  2. Quality Programs: CTE responds to the needs of local economies, helps individuals become independent, assures our nation’s standard of living, and helps maintain our infrastructure. It is critical that the programs are not only high quality, but are also offered based on need and potential growth within the community. This is an entrepreneurial model and one that may be foreign to those who do not have a CTE background.
  3. Quality Teachers: Like quality administrators, CTE teachers need a deep understanding of and experience in the related technical content they deliver. Often CTE teachers are individuals coming to CTE as their second career and follow what many refer to as an “alternate pathway” to CTE teaching. It is important that the processes for bringing new CTE teachers to the classroom are straightforward and that efforts are made and supported to ensure these individuals are kept up to date with new methods, materials, and products that are occurring within the workforce. At the same time, it is as equally important that classroom pedagogies are reinforced.  
  4. Quality Tools and Data: CTE schools, programs, and teachers need tools that can help to objectively measure and reward both individual and program success. Third-party data is important for schools, programs, and teachers for a variety of reasons. It can be used to underscore a program’s credibility, help in identifying instructional areas of improvement, and serve as a useful tool in determining areas in which professional development should be offered.

The four components briefly described above are critical to program success. As the focus on CTE increases, these topics—as well as others—will be in the spotlight. NOCTI has developed collaborative products and services that can assist state leaders in addressing these and other areas within CTE. Check out our website for further details.  We are looking forward to seeing you at the Fall Meeting in Baltimore. Stop by our table and say hello!

John Foster, NOCTI President/CEO
Amie Bloomfield, NOCTI Executive Vice President

 

Series

Archives

1