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Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

New CTE Legislation Introduced in the Senate, Caucus Event Highlights Confluence of CTE & Literacy

September 15th, 2014

CapitolLate last week Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), co-Chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, introduced the Career and Technical Education Opportunity Act (S. 2795)— legislation aimed at expanding eligibility for federal student aid programs to postsecondary CTE students. Co-sponsored by fellow Senate CTE Caucus co-Chair Tim Kaine (D-VA), the legislation amends the Higher Education Act (HEA) to allow students enrolled in shorter-term CTE programs that lead to an industry-recognized credential to qualify for federally backed student loans made available under Title IV of the law.

Specifically the CTE Opportunity Act amends current program eligibility requirements under HEA to incorporate programs that have at least 250 clock hours offered over a minimum duration of five weeks of instruction (a lower threshold than current law), so long as the program culminates in an industry-recognized credential in demand within a local, regional or state economy. NASDCTEc has supported this legislation and applauds the Senators’ ongoing commitment to ensure equitable access to federal student aid programs for postsecondary CTE students.

“As our nation works to educate and train students of today for the jobs of tomorrow, it is critical that we afford them the necessary resources to complete education and training programs that are most demanded by employers” said NASDCTEc Executive Director, Kimberly Green during the bill’s introduction last week. A press release and additional information on the bill can be found here.

Senate CTE Caucus Hosts Briefing on CTE and Literacy

Last Thursday, the Senate CTE Caucus hosted a briefing on strategies and approaches for integrating literacy services with Career Technical Education (CTE) coursework. The event aimed to highlight the interdependency between CTE and literacy programs—particularly technical literacy— provided by schools as a way to combine efforts to prepare students for the demands of the workplace. Three distinguished panelists, including Sheila Harrity Principal of Worcester Technical High School and a recent Principal-of-the-Year participated in the event.

The briefing began by highlighting an ongoing collaborative effort between two experienced CTE practitioners from the Arlington Career Center who have successfully integrated their Information Technology (IT) program with the school’s English Language Learners (ELL) department in a number innovative ways. For instance, students from Arlington’s IT programs developed a mobile app dictionary for students in ELL programs to use and also developed related games for ELL students to hone their vocabulary and grammar. For her part, Harrity highlighted her school’s journey to becoming a leading national CTE school, while highlighting the importance of strong partnerships with community businesses and other employers to the school’s success to date.

Following the panel’s presentations, Senators and CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Kaine (D-VA) and Baldwin (D-WI) gave remarks on several new bills they had recently introduced, including the CTE Opportunity Act outlined above and the Middle STEP Act introduced last week. Summing up the overall narrative of the briefing, Senator Kaine captured it succinctly in his remarks saying, “I detect an ongoing transformation in how we view Career and Technical Education.”

Odds and Ends

As we shared in May, the full House approved legislation which aims to reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA). Titled the Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA), the bill continues its support of education research programs and, of particular note to the CTE community, grants for state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is set to hold a mark-up of this legislation this Wednesday, September 17th. The Chamber is also expected to bring last week’s Continuing Resolution (CR) to the floor for a House-wide vote tomorrow or Wednesday of this week.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded $14.7 million to 40 school districts in 20 states across the nation late last month to create or expand school counseling programs in elementary and secondary schools. More info on the program and project abstracts can be found here.

Next Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services will host a National Dialogue on Career Pathways. Leaders from these agencies will provide insights into how to effectively develop and sustain these promising models. More information can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

NOCTI: Responding to the CTE Community

September 15th, 2014

NOCTI--Navy-11-2009NOCTI is proud to be an important member of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. We have a long-standing history and commitment to providing the services that CTE needs. Data that accurately and objectively validates the competency of the nation’s technical training programs and the technically skilled individuals coming from these programs is critical for many reasons. Though we won’t discuss the specifics of those needs in this blog, we will mention how NOCTI is working to provide forward-thinking solutions for the CTE community.

Last spring our blog entry focused on a data-driven improvement book entitled “Putting Your Data to Work: Improving Instruction in CTE”, co-published with ACTE. In this entry we are excited to highlight our second book. This publication focuses on surviving and thriving in a CTE classroom during the first few months. It is written by four seasoned CTE practitioners with combined experiences totaling well over 150 years. In addition, this book contains the experiences of many others in the CTE community and provides examples of how they succeeded in their early years. Here are a few other resources worth mentioning.

Teacher Tests: We have made a commitment to expand our current teacher testing battery. This is in response to a number of states who requested the ability to use our test to assure that incoming instructors have experiences in all aspects of their particular industry. We have increased our teacher test offerings to include over 35 assessments, and more are on the way.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA): By leveraging our association with the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) we are able to assess experiences that have occurred outside the classroom. This service has been particularly successful with our community college partners.

Open Badges:The beta test conducted in five states and discussed in last Spring’s blog was successfully completed. Any student taking any NOCTI assessment this fall who meets the established benchmark will be eligible for a college credit recommendation digital badge at no additional cost.

Curriculum Partners: Though NOCTI is a not-for-profit company, working in the field of industry credentialing we are often asked for curriculum resources for CTE programs of study. We have begun exploring potential collaborations with several companies who are able to tie their curriculum to our industry standards. Watch our web page and social media pages for further developments.

Industry Credentials: All NOCTI assessments are industry credentials. When utilized properly, NOCTI assessments compare student competence against current industry standards in over 100 unique programs of study and use local industry practioners to make that comparison. In addition, passing scores are determined by national industry experts. We collaborate with numerous Industry association groups to deliver their credentials as well.

Contact us at [email protected] to see how we can help you. NOCTI is also a Gold sponsor of the NASDCTEc fall meeting; be sure to seek us out and say hello!

Leaders, Laggards and the State of the Common Core

September 12th, 2014

2014 Leaders & Laggards

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has released the newest version of its Leaders & Laggards, a state-by-state analysis of K-12 education. Seven years after its inaugural edition, the report found that every state had improved in K-12 education but results still vary greatly in student outcomes across the country.

The 2014 report graded states on an A-F system using 11 metrics including student achievement, return on investment, international competitiveness and postsecondary and workforce readiness. The American Enterprise Institute conducted the research in the report. This year’s report also showed how student scores changed over time since the initial report.

Tennessee was highlighted as a state that made tremendous progress since the 2007 rankings, receiving an A for progress but was still awarded D’s and F’s in categories such as academic achievement, Technology and international competitiveness.

The report drew from national data such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Advanced Placement exam passage rates, and high school graduation rates.

Citing the country’s high unemployment rate and persistently high number of unfilled jobs as evidence of a skills gap, the researchers attempted to look closer at how the K-12 system was preparing students for college and careers. However, they said insufficient data and the lack of a single accountability metric prevented them from being able to truly measure career readiness or post-high school outcomes.

Also, despite having a category that examined career readiness, CTE was visibly absent from both the report and the conversation at the public event in Washington, D.C. When asked about why CTE wasn’t included, AEI’s Frederick M. Hess called out the lack of quality, consistent national data on CTE as the reason for its absence from the report.

You can spend time with the report’s sophisticated web tool, which allows you to compare states by metric, see full state report cards and look closer at the data used.

Where does the Common Core stand now?

After months of heated debates over the Common Core State Standards, it might be easy to lose track of which states have kept, renamed, modified or overturned the new (or not so new) standards to measure college and career readiness.

Education Commission of the States have taken a state-by-state look at where the Common Core currently stands. While some more high-profile examples have made news headlines, other changes – sometimes in name only – have bypassed national news. In fact, though many states have maintained their commitment to the standards, 25 have quietly renamed the standards such as Iowa Core, Maine’s Learning Results and Wyoming Content and Performance Standards.

Check out the full overview to see where your state stands.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Legislative Update: House Delays Action on CR, CTE Legislation Introduced in the Senate, OCTAE Hosts RPOS Briefing

September 11th, 2014

CapitolHaving just returned from a month-long August recess, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) late Tuesday night to extend current Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 appropriations levels through December 11th, 2014. Current federal appropriations are set to expire October 1st, 2014. Congress must act prior to that date to avert a shutdown of government operations when the new FY 2015 is set to begin. Despite the topline spending caps put in place via the Bipartisan Budget Agreement (BBA) earlier this year, widespread disagreement on individual program funding levels has largely contributed to much of the Congressional gridlock seen throughout the year. In the later parts of the summer, with the November midterm elections fast approaching and with the Congress’ annual August recess commencing, it became apparent to lawmakers in both parties that a temporary funding measure would be necessary to fund government operations after the deadline.

After much anticipation, the Chairman introduced H.J. Resolution 124 which would extend current FY 2014 funding through December 11th, 2014 to do just that. Due to differences in FY 2014 and FY 2015 spending levels, this extension will result in a small across-the-board cut to all discretionary spending programs totaling 0.0554 percent. For the Department of Education (ED) specifically, that would result in a $37.3 million reduction in funds. However, since most ED programs such as the Carl D. Perkins Act’s (Perkins) basic state grant program, are funded in advance (also known as forward funded) this reduction will have no impact on current funding levels for these programs until a longer-term decision on appropriations is made ahead of the extension deadline in December. Another important feature of this particular CR is that it contains no unrelated amendments or “riders”— something that would make its passage much more difficult— and will likely be considered under House rules preventing the proposal of such controversial amendments.

Although the House intended to act on this legislation yesterday, Republican leadership in the Chamber announced that they have postponed a vote until next week. This delay is being attributed to a last-minute request from the Obama administration for additional funding authority to aid Syrian rebels’ efforts in the region. However, there is also some conservative opposition to the length of the CR and the extension of the Export-Import Bank which may make its passage more difficult. Nevertheless, NASDCTEc expects a vote in the House on this CR by the middle of next week.

Senators Introduce Middle STEP Act

Yesterday Senator Kaine (D-VA), co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, introduced the Middle School Technical Education Program (Middle STEP) Act which would promote career exploration activities in middle school. The Middle STEP Act proposes to establish a pilot program for middle schools to develop CTE exploration programs in partnership with postsecondary institutions and employers.

Co-sponsored by Senators Boxer (D-CA), Casey (D-PA), and Warner (D-VA), the Middle STEP Act aims to “expose students to a wide range of career choices through hands-on learning so they will be more informed about future paths and what they can do in high school to pursue them,” according to Sen. Kaine. “Middle school is an important time for students to explore their own strengths, likes, and dislikes, and CTE exploration programs are great tools to educate them about the type of coursework or training that goes into a career field that matches their interests.”

NASDCTEc provided input during the development of the legislation and is supportive of the Senators’ vigorous interest in promoting career exploration— a critically important feature in many successful CTE programs. The Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) also issued a statement of support for this legislation which can be viewed here.

OCTAE Briefing on RPOS

Earlier this week, the Office of Career, Adult & Technical Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education held a briefing on the Rigorous Programs of Study (RPOS) grant, bringing together state and local educators from the grantee states – Arizona, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, Wisconsin and Utah.

The briefing covered a range of local outcomes from the RPOS grant, such as new collaboration between CTE, mathematics and literacy teachers at Helena High School in Montana; a new system of stackable credentials and credits between Peoria high schools, Glendale Community College and Northern Arizona University; and industry externships for counselors in Wichita, Kansas. The common theme from the 13 secondary and postsecondary educators representing the six states was that the RPOS framework and supportive grant helped raise the rigor, partnerships and credibility of CTE in their communities.

Odds and Ends

With the recent passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the process for implementation of the legislation is underway. To that end, the U.S. Department of Education and Labor asked for public input into the development of accountability metrics which will eventually be required under the law. In response, NASDCTEc and ACTE submitted joint comments which can be viewed here.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced $76.3 million in YouthBuild grants in August. More information can be found here. The U.S. Department of Education also released new information regarding their Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) initiative. An updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page, recent presentation recordings, and an updated consultation paper have all been added to the department’s website.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

Fall Meeting: You Asked, We Listened

September 10th, 2014

Each of NASDCTEc’s annual meetings affords us an opportunity to improve as a result of feedback from session leaders and attendees. We structured the 2014 Fall Meeting with your comments, reflections and suggestions in mind to offer you the best professional development and networking opportunities we can provide.

Below are just a few illustrative comments we’ve received over the last year – and how our upcoming meeting has been designed in response to them.

From Fall Meeting 2013:  “I would have liked to see a few sessions that were more interactive and engaging…It would be beneficial for more hands-on sessions where there is group work or small group discussion.”

We heard you! This year’s meeting has adopted a new framework, including new Collaboration Roundtables on a wide range of State CTE Director-selected topics, to maximize engagement between attendees so that a variety of perspectives can contribute under the moderation of our expert session facilitators. These sessions are designed to be rich, interactive and inclusive.

From Spring Meeting 2014: “Panel sessions could have provided more Q&A from audience for increased engagement.”

Balancing time for presentations, networking, and feedback is of paramount importance. In years past we have attempted to open the floor earlier and limit panel discussion so that the crowd could participate. This year we’ve made sure there is ample time for each session and made sure no session has too many speakers (or PPTs).

From Spring Meeting 2014: “Would like to see more discussion around building industry partnerships.”

Collaboration is at the core of this meeting. Business and industry partnerships are a crucial element of the future of CTE and our agenda reflects that, with the release of new cross-state data, a collaboration roundtable and morning panel all focused on employer engagement.

From Fall Meeting 2013: “It would be nice to have more restaurant options” and “It would be great to be closer to the Inner Harbor”

We agree! We’re excited to offer buses to and from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for dinner on Tuesday night. (All other meals are provided in the meeting itself).  Get ready for some crab cakes!

Learn more about the amazing array of speakers and resource experts participating at our Fall meeting here and register today!

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Friends of CTE: First Book

September 8th, 2014

Katie Niersbach, Operations Manager, First Book National Book Bank

Katie First Book

At First Book, we have delivered over 100 million free and low-cost books to youth in need. Through strategic collaboration with Career Technical Education (CTE) programs nationwide, we have been able to deliver more books than ever before and tied the mission of expanding access to resources for kids in low income communities to CTE students’ hands-on education. In the process, we receive a firsthand look at the awesome power of CTE not only to teach students, but also to serve communities in need.

The Distribution Challenge

Traditionally, First Book worked with donated warehouse space. Once a book donation became available, the National Book Bank team would secure a location, warehouse donors would agree to receive and store the product, and the Book Bank team would notify our network of over 130,000 programs nationwide about the expected available inventory.

Once all the books were allocated at the programs’ request, three to five of our staff members would travel to the site  and process the 350,000–500,000 books over the course of a week. As First Book expanded, we continued to look for more efficient ways to provide over eight million books every year to our network, and minimize the uncertainties in the availability of warehouse space, working with sight-unseen inventory and limited access to labor. While we still very frequently work in this framework and rely heavily on our warehousing partners, a more efficient process would allow us to reach even more kids in need.

CTE for GrowthFirst_Book_Twitter_logo_400x400

In 2008, we learned that students in the Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Career Cluster® were focusing on materials handling. Many of these programs have distribution centers, warehousing equipment and a built-in workforce, but traditionally work with simulated inventory – empty boxes that take up space and student effort.

First Book saw the chance to improve students’ educational experience in a new way and access open, staffed locations for our real inventory, while our CTE partners saw an opportunity to make their classrooms come to life. Working together, we created a mutually beneficial relationship that enables CTE students to enrich their learning with real life work experience while First Book expands its capacity to serve more children in need. First Book currently partners with 15 programs in 10 states, providing the physical capacity to hold over 1.8 million books at a time and engaging approximately 630 students.

“When we got that first shipment of books, I told my students, ‘This is the real world now. We’re sitting on $200,000 worth of books that have been entrusted to us to maintain, warehouse, care for, protect and ship on behalf of First Book,’” explains instructor Ashley Kieffer of Effingham Career & College Academy in Rincon, Georgia.

Programs participate in up to 20 shipments yearly and, depending on capacity, move anywhere from a few dozen to several thousand boxes.

“They learn how to process orders for a national organization,” says Vicki Phillips, instructor at Lehigh Career & Technical Institute in Schnecksville, PA. “It’s a win-win for both sides.”

Providing student support

First Book staff provide live demonstrations of how to manipulate and work with data by engaging with students every step of the way, from inventory to processing to shipping. After several successful shipments, CTEP sites are provided a computer loaded with UPS shipping software, and are trained how to process labels, schedule freight pickups and export tracking information. Programs can also customize their interaction with First Book, including processing unboxed and mixed inventory, assembling collections or managing shipments year-round through summer internships.

Our partnerships also engage the community. Each site can select up to five percent of received inventory “off the top” to distribute locally to programs that fit First Book’s criteria of serving children in need.

“It’s very cool,”explains Luke Usher, a student at Effingham Career & College Academy. “We’re giving children books that they can love and enjoy, because they can’t afford them.”

“The day First Book discovered CTE, our distribution model changed forever,” said First Book Chief Operating Officer Chandler Arnold. “Previously, First Book had millions of books but desperately needed warehouse and logistics support, CTE had amazing warehouse and logistics leadership capacity but needed a real-world products. Seven million books later, I can’t think of a more powerful partnership that not only advances First Book’s core mission but also introduces amazing young people across the country to our organization—giving them a tangible way to make a difference as they develop the skills they need to succeed.”

 

National Dialogue on Career Pathways Approaches

September 5th, 2014

ndcpSave the date: September 23, 2014 at 9 a.m.!

The Department of Education, Department of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services are convening the National Dialogue on Career Pathways. Presenters, panelists and participants (including NASDCTEc President and Colorado State CTE Director Scott Stump) will discuss the crucial role of career pathways in ensuring that today’s students are tomorrow’s high-skilled, employed workforce. Leading voices in CTE and workforce development will discuss lessons learned and best practices, mapping both onto the future of career pathways. The departments have also promised “information about a new technical assistance opportunity to help states, local areas, and discretionary grantees to develop or expand their efforts around career pathways system building will be announced during the meeting.”

Among the diverse array of confirmed participants include Portia Wu, Assistant Secretary for Labor’s Employment and Training Administration; Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education; Mark Greenberg, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families; David L. Casey, Vice President for Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer at CVS Caremark and Maura Banta, Director of Global Citizenship Initiatives at IBM USA

The event will be livestreamed here on September 23, 2014, beginning at 9 a.m. Don’t miss it!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

CTE Research Review

September 4th, 2014

Data, Data, DatResearch Image_6.2013a! This week’s installment of the CTE Research Review takes a look at new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the New York Federal Reserve.

Analysts at BLS are diving deep into their datasets to pull out trends on manufacturing employment and reemployment rates by industry. Using its Current Employment Statistics datasets, BLS found that Los Angeles had the largest total population employed in manufacturing; however, when taken as a percentage, Elkhart, Indiana (also the “RV and Band Instrument Capital(s) of the World,” according to Wikipedia), took the top spot, 47.8 percent of the working population employed in manufacturing.

BLS also examined reemployment rates for displaced workers by industry – those who were employed for at least three years but lost their jobs through layoffs or because a company closed. Although the analysis does not consider whether workers were reemployed in the same industry, it showed that industries such as hospitality, construction and information (such as telecommunications) posted the highest overall reemployment rates.

Over on Liberty Street…

This week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a series of posts on their blog, “Liberty Street Economics,” examining the value of a college degree, which are all related to an article it released in June.

The third post in the blog series found that a quarter of those who earn a bachelor’s degree reap little economic benefit. In fact, the bottom quartile of baccalaureate holders had nearly identical wages to those with a high school degree. Another post also points to the diminishing economic rewards for students who don’t finish in four years.

These numbers poke yet another hole in the baccalaureate-only focus of the college-for-all mantra. By overlooking the broader set of postsecondary pathways, students – and not just those who may fall in the 25th percentile – may be missing their chance to earn a family-sustaining wage with job security and mobility.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

State Policy Update: New Middle-Skill Job Fact Sheets; NGA Awards Funding to 14 States

August 29th, 2014

Across the country, employers are struggling to find qualified workers to fill critical middle-skill jobs. These positions, which require some postsecondary education but not a bachelor’s degree, constitute the majority of the U.S. labor market, but new analysis from the National Skills Coalition (NSC) indicates that there aren’t nearly enough qualified American workers to fill middle-skill openings, hampering states’ economies from growing and employers from hiring.

Earlier this week, NSC released a set of 50-state fact sheets that examines these forgotten middle-skill jobs. Analyzing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Community Survey, NSC found that middle-skill jobs account for 54 percent of the U.S. labor market but only 44 percent of workers fit into the middle-skill cohort. Conversely, the analysis showed a large surplus of low-skilled workers competing for low-skilled jobs and a smaller, but similar, surplus for high-skill workers and jobs.

Career Technical Education helps to bridge these gaps in key industries. Students with a CTE-related associate’s degree or credential can earn up to $19,000 more per year than those with a comparable humanities degree.

 NGA Awards Funding to 14 States

The National Governors Association recently awarded grant funding to 14 states in an effort to help align education and training systems to the needs of the state economies.

As a postsecondary degree or certificate rapidly becomes the new minimum for citizens to gain access to the middle class and beyond, states are looking to maximize their role in promoting collaboration among state agencies, technical training and education institutions to ensure business and industry have the skilled workforce they need to succeed and grow.

With the grant money, states are intended to make progress in the following areas:

  • Articulate and implement a strong vision connecting the education and training systems with the needs of the economy;
  • Integrate and use education and workforce data to inform policy, track progress and measure success;
  • Build industry and education partnerships; and
  • Modify the use of resources and incentives to support attainment of the integrated vision.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate 

Achieving Excellence in the New School Year – Rebel Construction at Tolsia High

August 29th, 2014

As the new school year commences, our Excellence in Action award winners are hard at work, improving upon the great work that earned them our annual commendation in their respective Career Cluster®.

Tolsia High School’s Rebel Construction — part of West Virginia’s innovative Simulated Workplace initiative — is already actively building on last year’s success. The beginning of this school year saw visits from U.S. Department of Labor officials, as well as administrators from Workforce West Virginia curious to see Rebel Construction in action. (Story here.)

Wrapping the 2013-2014 school year as the most profitable of the Simulated Workplace program pilot in the state, Tolsia’s success has enhanced its already stellar reputation among West Virginia CTE programs. An early adopter of the initiative, Tolsia has set the standard for expansion schools joining in 2014-2015.

“I have spoken with representatives from several other schools seeking information on how we do things,” said CTE teacher and program lead Hugh Roberts. “Many instructors and administrators are apprehensive about getting started, but once they get into it, they find Simulated Workplace isn’t so different from what we already do in any successful program. After the first year of the pilot, my advice is to embrace students becoming partners in the operation of a CTE program. It is a huge step in changing from a teacher centered environment to a student centered learning environment and may be the most daunting for incoming programs. Students taking an active leadership role learn what it is like for their choices to have impact. It’s a new and beneficial kind of learning.”

That new learning appears to be paying dividends in student performance. One Tolsia carpentry student won the SkillsUSA West Virginia Carpentry State Championship, an honor that won him a coveted apprenticeship through Carpenters Local 302 out of nearby Huntington, WV. An archetype for a career pathway, that student’s experience is one component of broader collaboration through Tolsia carpentry/Rebel Construction, West Virginia Carpenters and SkillsUSA.

He is not the only student who has had success as a result of the program, however. Mr. Roberts acknowledges a pointed change in his relationship with students after graduation.

“In the past, I would only hear from students occasionally after graduation. Last year’s graduates developed a line communication with me through text and email through the call in process to report absences.” As a result, he says, he’s been able to actively help students as they move onto the next step in life, whether that means looking for a job or pursuing more schooling.

Nor were we the only ones to recognize Tolsia’s success last year. As a result of its success in the Simulated Workplace program, the West Virginia State Board of Education is recognizing Mr. Roberts and Rebel Construction as a standout program, and there’s plenty more upcoming for the Architecture and Construction Career Cluster award winners.

“It seems like I have never stopped in recent weeks!” Mr. Roberts said.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

 

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