Hear from over 25 CTE leaders at the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting

March 15th, 2017

Join us May 2 – 4, 2017 in Washington, D.C. four our annual Spring Meeting bringing together Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across the country for two and a half days of panels, breakout sessions and networking opportunities. This year’s meeting will feature over 25 leaders in CTE tackling issues from Perkins reauthorization to expanding access to CTE in rural communities.

As the new administration takes shape, it’s critical to stay up-to-date on how these changes may affect your state. This year’s meeting includes panels discussing timely topics such as:

  • Leveraging the Every Student Succeeds Act to Drive Career Readiness for All;
  • Reauthorizating the Higher Education Act; and
  • CTE and School Choice

Register Today! 

Not an Advance CTE Member? Become one today and save $175 on registration!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Encouraging Students to Dream Big, Plan Accordingly Spurs Economic Development

March 13th, 2017

wwckfa3ix5

This Week in CTE

March 10th, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK 

A brief by Education Commission of the States found that workforce development and CTE is a priority of at least 24 governors.

REPORT OF THE WEEK

Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officer’s report, Destination Known: Valuing College AND Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems, provides recommendations on the ways states can use college and career readiness measures to drive their accountability systems.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

A video competition by Heads Up America, housed within the College Promise Campaign, is hosting a video competition around the theme, “breaking up with student debt.” The winning Instagram video submission will receive $2,000.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Analysis Suggests Metrics for Measuring Impact of Community Colleges

March 9th, 2017

March 9, 2017

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released a report in partnership with the Association of Community College Trustees examining which metrics best tell the story of the services community colleges provide and the supports they require. They determined that the three important indicators of community college progress are:

  • College Persistence
  • Transfer and Mobility
  • Certificate and Degree Completion

The report makes a distinction between measuring college retention and college persistence, as retention only measures how many students return for the following Fall semester at the same institution. Using persistence as a measure for community colleges captures the large number of students who transfer either to other community colleges or to four-year institutions. This requires a more systematic approach to tracking enrollment across different institutions and across state lines. When enrollment was tracked this way using Student Clearinghouse data, they found that almost half of all bachelor’s degree recipients were enrolled in a community college at one point before transferring to a four-year institution, a fact that demonstrates the clear role community colleges play in student success.

Study Finds Girls Turn Away from STEM Subjects Early

A new report published in Science found that girls tend to turn away from STEM subjects as early as first grade. The report attributes this partly to their findings that girls begin to associate boys as being smarter and therefore tend to shy away from subjects intended for more intelligent people. Boys around that age seem to also believe themselves to be inherently smarter. The findings in this study echo previous studies that correlated boys’ and girls’ performance in math and science with their self-reported levels of confidence and anxiety with the subjects.

The authors of the report suggest that schools must begin working to break down gender stereotypes far earlier than many might expect. They also recommend that families work to foster girls’ interest in STEM subjects as early as possible.

Odds and Ends

As you know, last month was CTE Month. To celebrate, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) launched a newly redesigned CTE statistics website, which provides national-level information on CTE at the secondary and postsecondary education levels, as well as information on occupational certification and licensure.

Several pieces related to equity have been released lately. CCSSO and the Aspen Institute released a report on the role SEA chiefs can and should play in defining and promoting equity in schools. Chiefs For Change also released a report on equity, with a focus on using ESSA and financial transparency to improve equity.

The U.S. Departments of Labor and Education recently released a technical assistance document to support communities working with in-school youth in accordance with WIOA. Additionally, the National Conference of State Legislatures launched a database that tracks state legislation related to WIOA implementation.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Getting to Know… Missouri

March 7th, 2017

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know…” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Missouri

State CTE Director: Dr. Blaine Henningsen, Assistant Commissioner, Office of College and Career Readiness, Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

About Missouri: The issue keeping state leaders in Missouri’s Office of College and Career Readiness up at night is figuring out how to ensure quality in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs across the state. Missouri is home to 57 area career centers, 450 comprehensive high schools, 12 community college districts and one state technical college that provide CTE courses to more than 244,000 students combined. As in other states, quality varies from district to district. That’s why, in 2013, Missouri worked to identify the menu of indicators that best reflect high-quality CTE programs. Eventually, the Office of College and Career Readiness settled on six criteria to guide and promote quality, called the “Common Criteria and Quality Indicators,” which were launched publicly in 2015. The indicators describe necessary components related to curriculum, instruction, assessment and more.

At the moment, the Quality Indicators carry no weight in the state’s accountability or funding structure, though Missouri is redesigning its CTE funding formula to better integrate and promote the six criteria. The plan is to roll out an updated formula in the 2018-19 school year to ensure state funds go to support quality programs. In the meantime, the Quality Indicators framework is available as a self-evaluation tool for local programs.

Programs of Study: Missouri’s programs of study follow the national Career Clusters framework and are further organized into six content areas:

  • Agricultural Education;
  • Business, Marketing and Informational Technology Education;
  • Family Consumer Sciences and Human Services Education;
  • Health Sciences;
  • Skilled Technical Sciences; and
  • Technology and Engineering Education.

Agricultural education and business are two of the most popular programs in the state, though manufacturing has enjoyed increased popularity as the sector has grown in the decade since the economic crisis.

Students enrolled in CTE programs are also encouraged to participate in work-based learning opportunities and take industry credentialing examinations. Schools earn additional points toward their “college and career readiness” score for these students. Additionally, the state has an Apprenticeship USA grant to support Registered Apprenticeships. To encourage vertical alignment between secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, Missouri offers dual enrollment opportunities for students to begin earning credit toward a postsecondary degree while they are still enrolled in high school. There is also a representative from the postsecondary system on the state’s CTE Advisory Council (more on that below).

Noteworthy in Missouri: The state legislature recently made two significant changes to the Missouri CTE system. First, it established a CTE Advisory Council, which includes four members from the general assembly and 11 other individuals appointed by the Commissioner of Education. The Council meets four times annually and provides guidance and recommendations on strengthening Missouri’s CTE programs. The Council was convened for the first time in January, 2017.

Another new and notable policy in Missouri is the adoption of a Career Education Certificate that students can earn in addition to their high school diploma. The policy was adopted by the state legislature in 2016, and the Office of College and Career Readiness, with support from the CTE Advisory Council, is in the process of defining the certificate requirements. Under the current proposal, the certificate will be available to CTE concentrators who pass a technical skill assessment or earn an industry-recognized credential, complete work-based learning experiences, and meet certain GPA and attendance requirements. The Office aims to implement the certificate beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Early Achievements and Innovations from Phase One of the New Skills for Youth Initiative

March 1st, 2017

Last spring, 24 states and Washington, D.C. began a national, six-month effort to examine and transform their career readiness systems and expand opportunities available to students in their states. Under the initiative, part of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s $75 million New Skills for Youth initiative, states were required to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment and use the results to construct a three-year action plan. States were provided grant funds to conduct the needs assessment and begin early implementation of their action plans.

Today, Advance CTE, Council of Chief State School Officers and Education Strategy Group released a series of snapshots documenting state efforts under Phase One of the New Skills for Youth initiative. The snapshots profile some of the significant achievements and lessons learned through this early work, drawing out strategies that other states can emulate. A holistic summary of the cross-state Phase One work is available here, along with individual state snapshots.

These resources were developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

While all states had CTE and career readiness policies in place prior to the start of the initiative, each began the work at different starting points. Nonetheless, states made considerable progress during the grant period. Cross-sector ownership was one area of focus, as many states worked to distribute the work across various stakeholders — particularly within business and industry — and secure commitment from cross-sector leaders. These efforts paid dividends, ensuring that employers were not only aware of the work, but were empowered to lead key initiatives. Additionally, states that engaged stakeholders early and often found it easier to distribute the work and clarify roles during the planning process. Rhode Island, for example, gathered input from business, secondary education, postsecondary education, the Department of Commerce and the Governor’s Office, which enabled the state to assign activities in its action plan to individual staff members within each partnering organization.

The snapshots also detail trends related to:

  • The role of equity in early implementation and strategic planning;
  • How states worked regionally to develop and execute action plans;
  • Efforts to link data and build career-focused accountability systems;
  • Enhancing career guidance strategies.

The Phase One planning and early implementation grant period concluded in October, but ten states were selected to receive additional funds and still more have elected to work as a cohort to implement their three-year career readiness action plans. Stay tuned for periodic updates from states’ ongoing New Skills for Youth work.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Perkins Reauthorization Top of Mind for House Reps After Hearing on CTE

February 28th, 2017

Earlier this morning, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education held a hearing on secondary CTE, kicking off renewed efforts to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). A recording of the hearing is available here.

Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) in his opening remarks shared examples of CTE’s impact in his home district and charged his fellow committee members to complete its work to reauthorize the Perkins Act, which hasn’t been updated in more than ten years. He recognized the committee’s success in the previous session, during which the committee unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that later sailed through the House with a 405-5 vote. That bill was stalled in the Senate, and the Committee is expected to introduce a similar piece of legislation in the coming weeks.

In his opening statement, Ranking Member, Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) stated “ Reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act presents this Committee with an opportunity to ensure that CTE programs are of high quality, emphasize equity, align with academic and labor market demands, and provide opportunities for all students – especially those historically underserved – to receive credentials that lead to high-skill, high-wage, in-demand career opportunities.”

Witnesses representing both workforce and education organizations praised the important role Career Technical Education (CTE) has played in increasing access to opportunity and closing the skills gap and urged the committee to renew support for CTE programs nationwide.

Mr. Glenn Johnson, representing multi-national manufacturing company BASF shared about the educational programs and supports his organization provides in various communities across the states, but expressed alarm about the growing skills gap and challenges recruiting individuals into the manufacturing sector. According to Mr. Johnson, 11,000 baby boomers turn 70 every day, contributing to the growing need to prepare the future workforce to fill critical jobs.

The conversation in the hearing then turned to two core issues: ensuring all students have access to high-quality CTE and addressing the public stigma that a four-year degree is superior to technical training.

To the former point, Mimi Lufkin of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity urged the committee to focus on underserved students in its reauthorization efforts, specifically to encourage students to pursue nontraditional fields. She shared examples from Douglas County, Oregon and Morgan County, Ohio where efforts to reach nontraditional students led more girls to enroll in a welding program and increased participation of boys in a health science course. Janet Goble, Board member of ACTE and CTE Director in Canyon County, UT, shared a story from her own school district, where a program aimed at introducing middle school girls to non-traditional occupations increased the participation rate of non-traditional high school students from 26 percent to 53 percent.

Finally, Mike Rowe, television personality of “Dirty Jobs” fame and CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, argued that participation in CTE would stagnate without a concerted effort to address the stigma around vocational education. He argued that promotion of four-year postsecondary education programs comes at the expense of two-year, technical and apprenticeship opportunities that may better equip students with relevant skills and connect them to a high-wage job.

In the question period, which was well attended by committee members from both the subcommittee and full committee, many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle spoke to the need to change the image of CTE and applauded the witnesses’ inclusion of data in their testimony.

Today’s event comes at a critical point in time, when the Trump administration has signaled potentially dramatic cuts to domestic programs including education. If there is any takeaway from this morning’s hearing however, it is that CTE enjoys broad support, not only from members of Congress in both parties  but also the education and employer community as well.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Getting to Know… Georgia

February 27th, 2017

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know…” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Georgia

State CTE Director: Dr. Barbara Wall, State CTE Director, Career, Technical and Agricultural Education, Georgia Department of Education

About Georgia: Georgia CTE is delivered through a combination of comprehensive high schools, charter schools and technical colleges. CTE students in the state are active and high achievers. More than 150,000 students participate in Career Student Technical Organizations (CTSO), and in 2015, 95 percent of CTE concentrators graduated from high school — a considerable achievement compared to a statewide graduation rate of 79.2 percent.

Currently, the Department of Education is working in partnership with the Governor’s office to align CTE programs with Georgia’s 12 economic development regions. This work is part of Gov. Nathan Deal’s High Demand Career Initiative. Gov. Deal launched the initiative in 2014 in an effort to bring together both private sector employers and higher education leaders to learn from one another and discuss opportunities to align education priorities with workforce needs. This work not only illuminated the priority skills and industries for Georgia’s future economy, but also spurred new strategies, such as a workforce needs assessment, sector partnerships, and industry-specific task forces, to help align education with workforce needs. CTE has been at the table throughout this process, listening to and learning from business leaders across the state.

Programs of Study: Georgia offers programs of study in 17 Career Clusters. These are based on the 16 industry sectors in the national Career Clusters framework plus an additional Cluster focused on energy. While programs of study are developed and delivered locally, the state recently designed frameworks that can be adapted and delivered according to local needs. The state has also worked to increase local flexibility and empower district-level decisionmaking by rolling back rigid regulations on state capital equipment grants.

Postsecondary Counterpart: Funding from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 is split almost evenly between the secondary and postsecondary sectors in Georgia. As such, Dr. Wall has been working to strengthen the relationship between the Department of Education and the Technical College system to create more seamless pathways for students. Recently, parties from both sectors engaged in an effort to examine high school and postsecondary CTE courses and identify connections and opportunities for alignment.

Notable in Georgia: In addition to Georgia’s strong partnerships, high graduation rates and CTSO participation, the state is notable for its efforts to provide professional learning opportunities to CTE teachers and administrators and to engage students in career planning.

Compared to other states, Georgia’s professional development system is unique. Local education agencies can set aside five percent of their Perkins allotment to feed into a statewide professional learning consortium that provides resources and trainings for CTE teachers and administrators. This consortium, called the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education Resource Network (CTAERN), provided training for more than 7,900 professionals in the 2015-16 school year alone. By pooling resources across the state, CTAERN is able to provide professional learning supports and resources at scale.

Additionally, each eighth grade student in Georgia is required to develop an Individual Graduation Plan (IGP) that identifies coursework and opportunities aligned with that student’s academic and career goals. The IGP is required under HB400, or the Georgia BRIDGE Act, which was passed in 2010. In addition to the IGP, the BRIDGE Act requires local education systems to provide students with career counseling services, career awareness activities and information to guide their academic and career planning.

In January 2017, Georgia’s partnership with business and industry leaders culminated in the launch of the Career Pipeline Toola web-based platform that enables students and families to identify accessible career pathways in their local schools and map those opportunities against corresponding in-demand industries in their region. The tool also provides information to employers about the workforce competencies of the local student population, helping them make critical decisions about staffing and training needs.

Moving forward, Dr. Wall’s office plans to develop and launch an economic development certificate program to recognize school districts that have effectively engaged business and industry partners in their region. This program is designed to build upon Gov. Deal’s High Demand Career Initiative Work and strengthen partnerships between education and employers at the local level.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE: Happy 100 Years!

February 24th, 2017

HAPPY CTE MONTH!
Thursday marked the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Hughes Act, the foundation for today’s Career Technical Education! As we reflect on this important milestone for CTE, we’re excited to share how states, districts, schools, educators, students, parents and employers have lifted up powerful CTE success stories throughout the month, demonstrating how far CTE has come in the last century. Below are some innovative ways they have raised awareness about the value of CTE through a variety of channels.

 

RAISING AWARENESS & MYTH BUSTING
Social media has been an incredible way to raise awareness and share stories about Career Technical Education. A number of advocates used social media to dispel common myths about CTE, such as it is a program for ‘other kids’ or doesn’t prepare students for the breadth of educational and career opportunities. To combat these negative stereotypes, many states and schools focused on fact-based infographics to get the word about what CTE looks like today highlighting how CTE leads to higher graduation rates, postsecondary education, and higher earnings.

Orange Tech College infographic

29 Oregon districts with approved programs of study had CTE concentrator graduation rates of at least 95%

 

SHARING STUDENT SUCCESS STORIES
A number of CTE Month advocates have used Twitter as a platform to share what CTE means to them and their preparation for the future.

The Technology Center of Dupage shared the importance of CTE to their students through their “TCD is…” photo campaign with testimonies from students themselves highlighting things that make CTE unique like the opportunity for career exploration, hands-on learning and dual enrollment. Milton Hershey School and McMinnville School also ran similar campaigns sharing students experiences in CTE programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 
MAKING THE CASE TO POLICYMAKERS
A critical audience during CTE Month is policymakers. A number of states, cities and towns have recognized CTE Month through proclamations voicing their support for CTE in their communities. Local and state leaders including city councils, mayors, governors, and members of Congress have used CTE Month to demonstrate their commitment to CTE.
For policymakers who may not be convinced, students, as part of a variety of Career Technical Student Organizations have used CTE Month as a way to make the case for CTE, and its role in their success. Additionally schools across the nation invited their local policymakers for site visits and career fairs to demonstrate CTE programs in action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Looking Towards the Next 100 Years of CTE

February 23rd, 2017

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Hughes Act, the foundation of today’s Career Technical Education (CTE). As we celebrate this important milestone it’s important to recognize how radically different today’s CTE looks compared to 100 years ago. Today’ CTE programs prepare students for both college and career; support all sectors of the economy; combine academic and technical coursework; encourage hands on learning that prepares students for the real world; provide learners with the ability to explore their interests; and ignites their passion for the future.

Today’s CTE is innovative and engaging and truly prepares students for their future, however there is still work to be done to ensure that all learners have access to these incredible CTE programs, and that all programs are truly high-quality. While it’s important to look back at how far we’ve come, it’s critical that we look towards the future of CTE.

To that end, we encourage you to explore Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, which establishes a bold vision for the transformation of education, and CTE’s role in that transformation. Supported by 12 national organizations and over 35 states, this vision challenges our community to continue on the path of fierce dedication to quality and equity, while providing the leadership necessary to continue to re-examine, grow and transform CTE into a system that prepares all students for a lifetime of success.

State leaders, educators, administrators and CTE stakeholders are already leading this charge in a variety of ways:

I will support Putting Learner Success First by increasing exposure to as many elements of the career spectrum as are possible. Looking for ways to expand upon the foundations of Manufacturing Day, Field Experiences in Healthcare, exposure to the full range of Engineering possibilities, and experiencing technology careers that are just emerging. – Illinois

By making sure that our CTE programs are of the highest quality and rigor. – Florida

It has been presented to the CTE stakeholders in Arizona and will be crosswalked with our Arizona CTE Strategic Plan. – Arizona

Develop and deliver rigorous, engaging CTE curriculum which drives high levels of student engagement and achievement. – Connecticut

I will be sharing the ‘Putting Learner Success First ” information with all of my constituents during conferences, academy’s and workshops. – Michigan

I will support Putting Learners Success First by encouraging my students to be thoughtful and proactive in making decisions about their future. My goal is to expose them to the many careers and pathways available. – Texas

I’d like to work on accountability for high quality CTE programs and certification for CTE instructors, especially at the post-secondary level. – Illinois

 I fully support the vision and action steps. One example of our support is to have begun the process of aligning CTE programming from middle through post secondary. We will use this as our guiding light. – Florida

As you celebrate CTE Month and a century of CTE, I encourage you to let us know how you plan to support the next 100 years of CTE here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

 

Series

Archives

1