BROUGHT TO YOU BY
National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

CTE Research Review

September 26th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013Spotlighting effective apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are increasingly gaining attention from policymakers and employers as an effective tool to fight the skills gap and provide workers with higher wages and employment outcomes. Through a recent series of white papers, Center for American Progress (CAP) is adding its voice to those calling for more and better apprenticeships in the United States.

The DC-based think tank recently spotlighted five innovative apprenticeships including programs in Vermont, South Carolina, Washington and Michigan.

In Washington, apprenticeships have proven to be a smart public investment. For every $1 the state invests in apprenticeships, taxpayers receive $23 in benefits, according to one state study.

Although there is clearly more than one way to structure a program that engages multiple employers, CAP offers a few lessons learned from these five successful examples:

  • A strong intermediary is key to a strong apprenticeship program;
  • A little public investment goes a long way; and
  • Industry-recognized credentials add value to apprenticeships in nontraditional occupations.

NACTE final report released

The U.S. Department of Education has released the long-awaited final report of the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education (NACTE).

The report focuses on the new features of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV). Although the NACTE is charged with evaluating the implementation and outcomes of Perkins IV, the actual report stops short of providing insight into the effectiveness of the new law. The evaluation period covered only the early years of Perkins IV and as such can only shed light on the new law’s early implementation. Also much of the outside data used in the report comes from before the new law was passed.

The NACTE spotlighted four major areas:

Programs of study: As a new feature in the 2006 law, the NACTE found that programs of study (POS) have been implemented in widely varying ways both within and across states. Also, states played a larger role in POS development on the secondary level, whereas higher education institutions tended to take the lead when developing postsecondary POS.

Funding: Despite sustaining a total funding loss of 24 percent between fiscal years 2007 and 2014, states continued to become creative with the funding levers available to them. For example, states increasingly began using the reserve option to facilitate further funding to rural areas or those serving large numbers of CTE students. Also, in fiscal year 2010, states divided their Perkins money to secondary and postsecondary grantees by a split of 64 percent and 36 percent, respectively. Of the funds allocated to postsecondary CTE, three-fourths of that money went to community colleges.

Accountability:  Though at least three-fourths of states met 90 percent of their performance targets in 2011-12 for secondary and postsecondary CTE, researchers said the flexibility in the Perkins accountability system makes it difficult to draw valid cross-state comparisons. They also raised questions about the validity of some student outcome data.

CTE programs and participation: The NACTE found that nearly all public high school students attended a high school that offered CTE instruction and 85 percent of graduates had completed one or more CTE courses. While the number of high school students taking three or more CTE credits in the same field was much smaller (19 percent), the most common subject areas were business, communications and design and computer and information sciences. At the postsecondary level, more than 8 million students sought a CTE degree or certificate in 2011-12. The most popular fields were health sciences and business.

In addition to mandating the NACTE report, Perkins IV also required an independent advisory panel be formed. The panel prepared its own report with findings and recommendations to Congress. The panel recommended:

  • Integrate CTE with broader education reform;
  • Develop greater coherence between secondary and postsecondary CTE; and
  • Gather robust, actionable information about the implementation and outcomes of CTE.

Calling CTE a part of America’s long-term solution to economic recovery and sustained prominence, the panel said CTE must continue to reposition itself as a pathway into postsecondary programs that links degrees and credentials to occupations.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Recapping the National Dialogue on Career Pathways

September 26th, 2014

On September 23, 2014 the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, including NASDCTEc President Scott Stump, for a day of discussion around the future of the career pathways movement.

Looking to build on the momentum surrounding the recent passage and ongoing implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the day presented a diverse array of stakeholders with the opportunity to describe the promise of career pathways, as well as the challenges inherent in implementing a system that touches education, workforce development and social services. It was a day full of constructive dialogue reinforcing the notion that people at all levels of the process are ready to work together to make sure students are both college and career ready upon graduation.

The event began by highlighting how pathways fit into the Obama Administration’s goal to construct “ladders of opportunity,” and ensure that graduates are coming out of school with the skills that they need to thrive in the modern economy, noting the repeated references to career pathways in the Vice President’s report Ready to Work: Job Driven Training and American Opportunity. Citing their ongoing work in encouraging state-level career pathways systems, representatives from each of the three hosting departments (as well as meeting attendees) voiced enthusiasm about the prospect of deeper collaboration at the federal level while agreeing that industry, communities and the public must also take part in the process.

NASDCTEc President Scott Stump, State Director of CTE in Colorado, sat on the panel “Advancing Career Pathways Systems.” Representing a postsecondary-led career pathways system, President Stump described Colorado’s evolution toward career pathways approach as the product of close collaboration between secondary and postsecondary leaders, as well as key leaders from business and industry. President Stump was joined on the panel by Judy Montrude of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Zoe G. Thompson of the Kansas Department of Commerce and Kansas Board of Regents, CharlotteWorks’ Steve Partridge and Nancy Dischinat from the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, each of whom echoed his sentiments that a career pathways system cannot be built unilaterally, but must be built in consultation with stakeholders from every phase of the career pathway process. They also echoed his sentiment that, while worth it, that process can be hard work!

“Yesterday was really enjoyable,” President Stump said. “It presented a great chance for our community to once again remind those involved in pathways that Career Technical Education is the critical core to any career pathway system, because it’s about more than one course or one diploma. Career pathways are about providing people with a sequence of learning and an arsenal of skills that they can carry with them into the workforce and continue to tap throughout their careers.”

For a Twitter recap of the event, check out our Storify. The livestream will be available here, by next week and complete your recap by checking out the agenda and official watch party instructions.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Microsoft IT Academy & CTE Community: Closing the Skills Gap Together

September 25th, 2014

IT Academy-stacked-large

Technology plays an ever increasing role in our daily lives.  It changes how we communicate, how we learn and how we function in the world today. With all of the growth in the technology sector, workplace needs have shifted and technical skills have become vital to employment.

A current IDC study discovered that cloud-based companies will create 14 million new jobs by 2015, half of which will be in IT. The same study predicts over the course of the next ten years 77% of all jobs will require technology skills. That’s where Microsoft IT Academy and the Career Technical Education community join forces to close the gap.

Microsoft IT Academy provides industry-leading technology training and certifications. Currently, there are 13 Microsoft IT Academy statewide initiatives in place, and still more state programs to be deployed in the near future. Microsoft IT Academy and the CTE community are helping drive economic development by improving education outcomes for students and pathways for current workers to advance their careers. See our blog for recent success stories.

Microsoft certifications differentiate students in today’s competitive job market and broaden their employment opportunities. Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams prepare students to be more productive in school and business careers. For students considering IT careers, Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exams provide an entry-level opportunity to explore various technical careers. Both MOS and MTA certification validates a student’s knowledge of specific technology concepts and helps them stand out when submitting college and internship applications.

With the Microsoft IT Academy program, academic institutions and their educators, students and staff get digital curricula and certification for fundamental technology skills as well as courses critical for students to be successful in today’s technologically evolving world. Microsoft IT Academy offers training at all levels: from basic fundamental computing to advanced technical courses for those who are interested in pursuing a career in IT. For more information on Microsoft IT Academy benefits visit: http://www.microsoft.com/education/itacademy/Pages/benefits.aspx

Microsoft IT Academy is a proud sponsor of the 2014 NASDCTEc Fall Meeting.  Amy Merrill and Lance Baldwin will be representing Microsoft Learning and IT Academy at the conference. For the latest information on Microsoft IT Academy, follow us on social media!

Twitter: @MS_ITAcademy   |    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MicrosoftITAcademy

Contacts: Amy Merrill – MS Learning, Business Deployment Manager: [email protected]

Lance Baldwin – MS Learning, Senior Solutions Specialist: [email protected]

This blog was contributed by Microsoft IT Academy, diamond level sponsor at the 2014 Fall Meeting.

Countdown to NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting

September 22nd, 2014

Time is running out to secure your spot at this unique professional development event! Join State Directors of Career Technical Education and CTE leaders from across the country October 20-22 in Baltimore to build collaborative solutions to some of CTE’s stickiest problems.

Whether it’s your first or fiftieth year in CTE, the Fall Meeting offers a chance to broaden your professional network and content knowledge. Get examples from experts coming in from across the country while contributing your own unique perspective at our collaboration roundtables.

Network. Learn. Build. Join us at the Fall Meeting and help prepare for the future of CTE.

REGISTER TODAY

How Pathways Address the Motivation and Decision-Making Gaps

September 22nd, 2014

NC3T logo clean large Recently, I heard the U.S. described as a country where there are “workers without jobs” and “jobs without workers.” This is pithy way to describe the skills-worker mismatch that explains the paradox of our modern workforce.

In this paradox, America has millions of long-term unemployed who can’t find meaningful, gainful employment. America also has millions of jobs (mostly with specific skill requirements) that can’t find qualified workers.

When we play out a root cause analysis, there are many complicated and interconnected factors, such as globalism and the rise of internet-enabled and robotic technologies. These factors are disrupting entire industries and reshaping the way work is done, which has a tumultuous impact on staffing.

But we also know that one root cause of the workforce mismatch is that too few young Americans – only about 50 percent – are completing postsecondary degrees and earning skill credentials by their mid-20s. This low rate of postsecondary attainment occurs despite the fact that about two-thirds of them are enrolling in postsecondary education fairly soon after high school graduation.  At the same time that our young people are underperforming in attaining skills and degrees, our relatively higher-skilled baby-boomers are beginning to leave the workforce.

Further root cause analysis ultimately takes us back to the K-12 environment.

I’m going to focus on two essential gaps in the preparation of many teens. Based on the work of the Gallup Organization and Dr. William Damon respectively, we know that over one-half of high school students are disengaged learners, and that three-quarters of teens are disengaged, dabbling, or dreaming, whereas only one-quarter are “purposeful.” I believe we can safely estimate that at least one-half of our high school aged students are part of a personal motivation gap, a college-career decision-making gap, or possibly both.

Here’s what I mean by personal motivation gap and the college-career decision-making gap.

Personal motivation gap: Too many students lack the personal motivation to put forth personal effort into their education. They may be students of average achievement who could be higher performers with stronger personal motivation. They could be students from difficult economic circumstances who need extra internal motivation to make the effort needed to strengthen their personal academic skills and find a way to participate in postsecondary education and training. The clear fact is, if students aren’t personally invested in the purpose of education, many simply won’t do the work. Their personal options will be limited as a result, and the education system won’t attain its goals of higher rates of student proficiency.

College-career decision-making gap: Too many students don’t have the knowledge and skills to make reasonable, well-informed choices about education and training after high school. The result of this gap is that students enroll in postsecondary education without clear purpose, and often drift from one major to the next. If they do graduate, it takes significantly longer than it should – but many never graduate at all. And many other students who should consider education and training after high school write it off entirely, because they feel it’s unaffordable or they just don’t like school.

Not surprisingly, the personal motivation gap and the college-career decision-making gap are intertwined. If students have more knowledge and positive experiences with skills, careers, and how postsecondary education could be affordable and attainable, it would have a positive impact on their personal motivation.

The Solution?

The Pathways System approach, which includes intentional and sustained career development, high quality pathways programs of study that reach all students, extensive employer engagement with students, and a partnership structure among community stakeholders, is a key organizing strategy to address the twin challenges of motivation and informed decision-making.

I believe that offering signature pathway programs that only reach a small percentage of students is a good start, but it’s not enough: Having programs for the elite students or the very needy students or so-called “pocket” career academies, existing within a general high school system, simply perpetuates the notion of college OR careers.  It perpetuates the idea that career-themed programs are for those students who can’t cut it in the traditional college-prep environment, rather than promoting the concept that pathways will also boost the achievement and engagement of higher achieving students. The Pathways System will work to engage all students, strengthening personal motivation and informed decision-making.

Please take a look at how we’ve laid out the pathways concept and the process for communities to develop a Pathways System plan. PATHWAYS SYSTEM OVERVIEW

Let’s continue our work at strengthening the quality of CTE and STEM programs, and integrating them into comprehensive Pathways Systems.

This blog post was contributed by Hans Meeder, President of the National Center for College and Career Transitions, a participant and gold level sponsor at the 2014 NASDCTEc Fall Meeting.

Why Is Workplace Safety Training Important?

September 19th, 2014

According to the CDC, there were approximately 18.1 million young people entering the workforce under the age of 24 in 2013—but this does not mean that these young workers are necessarily prepared and able to handle risks and hazards that can occur in a work environment.[i] Not being knowledgeable of hazards related to a specific job or knowing how to assess and correct a problem can lead to devastating injuries or even death for a worker.

Safety training can make workers more conscious of hazards and risks such as falls, vehicle accidents, overexertion injuries, and workplace violence. Unfortunately, workplace safety has the potential to be unintentionally overlooked which can leave workers and others on the job site unprotected. Every nine minutes, a U.S. teen is injured on the job.[ii] By preparing students for their first entry-level jobs and future career opportunities with safety and health training, young workers will be more capable protecting themselves and others.

The Department of LabCareerSafe Logo Orange Blueor reports that nearly 600,000 workers miss work each year because of muscoskeletal disorders related to work injuries alone; the collective cost to employers, insurance companies, and the government is estimated at $50 billion each year.[iii]

Workplace injuries not only affect the company, but can also lead to devastating consequences for a worker. Being injured while at work can lead to lost wages, large medical bills that may not be completely covered by workers’ compensation, and even disabilities that result in long-term unemployment. In addition to learning how to identify safety and health hazards, workplace safety training, especially OSHA training, provides workers with information regarding their rights in the workplace. First and foremost, workers are entitled to working conditions that are safe and do not pose a risk of serious harm or injury.

Successful occupational health and safety programs require the collaborating efforts and participation of employers and employees. Understanding and implementing safety and health standards related to the work environment is not only the responsibility of an employer but also an employee’s. Promoting health and safety as well as implementing training in the classroom can lead to young workers actively identifying, accessing, and correcting hazards in the classroom and at work. Incorporating a health and safety training program or OSHA safety training in the classroom is a way to lower risks to young workers and begin to prepare future business leaders and workers on practicing safe methods in the workplace. Online OSHA training, like the courses offered by CareerSafe Online, is an easy and affordable way to implement workplace safety training in any career and technical education (CTE) classroom. Because 80% or more of young workers are still in high school when they begin their first job, it gives educators an opportunity to prepare their students for employment as well as apprenticeships and internships related to their studies.[iv]

The more education and training workers receive, the more likely it is that there will be a reduction in injuries and the repercussions of those injuries. Young workers who have received OSHA safety training and possess an industry recognized credential are enhancing their resumes, becoming more employable, and may receive pay increase from employers. Employers want to hire individuals who not only understand the work involved in a position, but are also aware of the risks associated with daily tasks.

Students are our future. Let’s make safety a priority and enroll them in safety training today.

[i] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014) Young Worker Safety and Health.

[ii] Department of Labor, YouthRules. (2012) Are You a Teen Worker?

[iii] Jeffress, Charles N. (2000) BEACON Biodynamics and Ergonomics Symposium. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor.

[iv] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013) Health and Safety of Young Workers.

 

This blog post was written by CareerSafe Online, a participant and gold level sponsor at the 2014 NASDCTEc Fall Meeting

Poll finds overwhelming support for more CTE, internships in high school

September 18th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013A new PDK/Gallup poll released Tuesday showed 87 percent of Americans believe high school students should receive “more education about possible career choices.” Further, a majority of Americans agreed that the factors that help students get a good job include working on a real-world project, possessing employability skills such as teamwork and dependability, and having a mentor or advisor.

These results came from the second installment of the 46th annual PDK/Gallup poll. Be sure to check out our coverage of the first data release here, which primarily focused on the Common Core State Standards.

The findings add to a growing cadre of support for CTE in preparing students for success in both college and careers. The disaggregated survey results were filtered into the following categories: national total, public school parents and political affiliation.

Public school parents strongly agreed that high school students should be required to participate in at least one paid or unpaid internship and should be allowed to earn credits toward graduation from instruction they receive outside of school or online. However, results were mixed about whether students should specialize in a career area of their choice during high school.

Given the enthusiasm shown here for exposing students to more career opportunities, there are clear opportunities to continue educating parents and the public about the benefits of CTE and further breakdown the mentality of CTE as an either/or decision for students — particularly when it comes to preparation for college and careers.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Senate CTE Caucus Hosts Briefing on CTE and the Skills Gap

September 17th, 2014

IMG_20140916_123050Yesterday morning, the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus hosted a panel briefing on the role CTE has in closing the nation’s persistent skills gap. As Congress begins to finalize the remainder of its legislative agenda for the year, this event was aimed at reminding lawmakers, their staff, and the general public about the important contribution CTE has in educating and training students across the country for careers most demanded by employers.

Senate CTE Caucus Co-Chairs, Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Mike Enzi (R-WY) provided opening remarks to the event which touched upon this core message. A recurring theme throughout these statements emphasized the importance of reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) as a way to drive innovation and foster the growth of rigorous, high-quality CTE programs across the country. Sen. Portman in particular highlighted some of the core principles contained in recent legislation which he and some of his Senate colleagues hope to address through this reauthorization:

  • More clearly defining what constitutes a high-quality CTE program through the incorporation of key programmatic elements
  • Increasing opportunities for students to gain postsecondary credit in secondary school
  • Promoting greater collaboration between secondary CTE and postsecondary CTE
  • Supporting the attainment of industry recognized certifications, licenses, and credentials
  • Ensuring states and locals have the flexibility to cultivate and build relationships with employers to ensure clear links between the needs of the labor market and the CTE enterprise and relevant work experiences for students

Following these remarks a distinguished panel of leaders from education, business and the public sector shared their perspectives on how they have leveraged CTE to address the evolving demands of the modern economy and provided policy recommendations for improving upon the past successes of CTE to date. Panelists included:

  • Charles “Chuck” Speelman, Superintendent, Tri-Rivers Career Center, Marion, OH
  • Danny Hunley, Vice President of Operations, Newport News Shipbuilding, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News, VA
  • Bryan Albrecht, President, Gateway Technical College, Kenosha, WI
  • Portia Wu, Assistant Secretary, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

A recording of this briefing can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

American RadioWorks Profiles CTE in Documentary Series

September 17th, 2014

Evidence is mounting that the public is waking up to CTE’s power to engage students and put them on a path to success (87 percent want more CTE in high schools, according to Gallup’s Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools). Through the years, a number of stories have attempted to document the shift in both the practice and perception of CTE, but often reveal only a fraction of CTE’s long and important story.

In their one hour documentary Ready to Work, American RadioWorks takes a look at the transition from vocational education to CTE, the transformative effect modern CTE has had locally in districts like Metro Nashville Public Schools and the power of CTE to engage individual students like those at Minuteman Regional High School in Lexington, MA. In breadth, depth and understanding, Ready to Work exceeds most prior treatment of the subject, and is a must-listen for anyone concerned with the future of public education.

Get the whole story on American RadioWorks’ website here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Today’s Class: Partners for CTE Success

September 16th, 2014

Todays Class Logo- Registred Trademark-1-7-14(1)Today’s Class is a web-based educational program delivering interactive coursework to school systems and technical institutions. Today’s Class programs are designed to enhance an instructor’s curriculum with content, vivid animation, and interactive exercises. Supplying concepts and theory allows for up to 25% reduction in lecture time, which in turn allows instructors more time for hands-on lab work and in-class demonstrations.

Currently, Today’s Class offers automotive, cosmetology, health science, and agriscience programs.  Assessments are included for automotive, cosmetology, and health science programs.

The cosmetology program aligns with NIC standards that most states base their curriculum from, providing comprehensive theory and step-by-step methodology.

The health science program explores body systems, the protocol for vital sign measurement, emergency response, ethical & legal responsibilities, and other necessary health science courses.

The automotive program covers the eight core NATEF areas and the new MLR series.  Job sheets, crosswalks, and blueprints are included in the automotive modules.

The newest program by Today’s Class is agriculture-based and contains: Concepts of Agriscience, Science of Agricultural Animals, Science of Agricultural Plants, Science of Agricultural Environment and Science of Agricultural Mechanization.

Many attendees know Dr. Rod Boyes, a long-time NASDCTEc supporter and President of the organization. Also representing Today’s Class at the meeting will be Peggy Albano – please say hello to her and learn more about Today’s Class programs and initiatives. Today’s Class is a Gold Level Sponsor at the NASDCTEc 2014 Fall Meeting.

 

Series

Archives

33