New Research out of California Finds Higher Earnings for Students with Credentials in the Health Industry

January 5th, 2017

ca credentialsContributing to a growing body of research on the economic benefit of industry credentials, the Public Policy Institute of California last month released a study of employment outcomes for students in health Career Technical Education (CTE) programs in the California Community College system. In California, 18 of the top 25 wage-enhancing degrees are in health. As such, helping students obtain a health-related credential could be one strategy for closing achievement gaps and providing underserved students an on-ramp into the industry.

The authors of the study examined data for a total of 120,000 students enrolled in health CTE programs in California community colleges over the past ten years. Their research found that, despite variations in completion and persistence across different programs, students who obtained credentials increased their earnings by 51 percent compared to non-degree holders.

Earning a credential translates to real changes in earning opportunity. According to the study, students who were not previously employed in the health industry saw a median increase of $8,661 in quarterly earnings after completing a degree or credential.

While a health-related credential may create economic opportunity for underserved students, completion gaps between subpopulations persist. According to the study, there is a six point gap in completion rates for Latino students compared to white students, and a 12 point gap for African American students. However, the researchers also found that providing career guidance and support services could help close the completion gap by helping underserved students identify and complete pathways in high-demand career fields.

A Holiday Surprise from the National Skills Coalition: 50-State Skills Equity Policy Scans

Meanwhile, the National Skills Coalition released an early Christmas gift in the form of four 50-state policy scans. The scans are part of the organization’s Skills Equity series, which includes toolkits to help policymakers identify effective strategies for expanding access to middle-skills training.

One of the reports dives into an increasingly popular method of addressing basic skills gaps, known as Integrated Education and Training, or IET. Now a required activity under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), IET integrates basic academic education with workforce training in order to prepare adults with basic skills for the workforce. While these adults, who are often inhibited by limited English proficiency or mathematical skills, generally struggle to find job opportunities, research shows that IET programs can increase earning potential for students who take at least two credits and earn a credential.

Other scans in the series include state policies on Stackable Credentials, Alignment and Job-Driven Financial Aid.

Odds and Ends

A new report from the Center for Public Education provides a summary overview of CTE, including data and key questions to help policymakers make the case for expanding CTE offerings. While introductory, the report is essential reading for anyone new to CTE.

The National Opportunity Index – which examines education, crime rates, job availability and other indicators to determine a snapshot of economic opportunity by county and state – is out with new data for 2016. While overall opportunity has remained stagnant over the past year, the index demonstrates an increase of 8.9 percent since 2011.

In a series of policy papers released last month, the Education Commission of the States explores strategies for state and federal policymakers to form partnerships to support postsecondary education. One paper highlights opportunities to leverage the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) to support community colleges, such as by using sector partnerships to create career pathways or offering programs that qualify for WIOA support.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Join us for two webinars in January!

January 4th, 2017

As interest in Career Technical Education (CTE) continues to increase, the need for experts qualified to help ensure students gain the real-world experiences they need for success increases as well. Individuals with industry expertise provide a perspective to students that traditional academic teachers may be unable to do, and can also help students explore and connect with particular career opportunities. Unfortunately, there is currently a national shortage of these experts working in schools.Advance CTE, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at American Institutes for Research, carried out two surveys: one of 47 State CTE Directors and one of 260 local CTE teachers and administrators from 26 states. This research informed the findings and recommendations in Advance CTE’s newest report, The State of Career Technical Education: Increasing Access to Industry Experts in High Schools.

Join us for a webinar to discuss the findings from the report, and to hear from the Nebraska State CTE Director, Rich Katt, about his state’s strategies and experiences with this issue.

 

SP_CTE2016State Policies Impacting CTE: 2016 Year in Review 
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
2-3 p.m. ET
It’s that time of year again! The annual State Policies Impacting CTE Year in Review report, a joint publication between Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), will be released at the end of January. Now in its fourth year, the report highlights state legislation, board rules and executive actions impacting CTE across the states. Join us for a webinar to unpack notable policies, discuss trends, and hear more about new state policies in Idaho from Idaho State CTE Director Dwight Johnson.
Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

Kuder Proud to Support Career Technical Education

January 3rd, 2017

As a career guidance solutions provider, helping students and adults plan for and achieve lifelong career success is what drives us at Kuder. Over 165 million people worldwide have used our career assessment, education planning, and guidance resources to help visualize which industry or career, field of study, or school to pursue next in life. We help ensure that people of all ages can unlock the power of their own potential, and create a bright future.

Kuder offers the following solutions for K-20, workforce and economic development:

  • Comprehensive Online Career Planning System;
  • Research-based Career Assessments;
  • Career Development Curricula;
  • Professional Development for Career Counselors, Advisors, & Coaches;
  • Career Program Database Management;
  • Career Coaching for Students and Adults;
  • Career Program Needs Assessment; and
  • Career Program Consulting

Phil Harrington, Kuder President & CEO on the Value of Kuder

Proud to Support CTE

Kuder is proud to partner with Advance CTE, because we believe that competing in a global economy requires a strong, prepared workforce. Our solutions are designed to strengthen and sustain today’s Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and to foster collaboration between education, business, and community stakeholders to drive economic success.

CTE programs throughout the country rely on the Kuder Career Planning System® (KCPS) to support their curriculum development and planning. The KCPS is centered on reliable career assessments that help students identify career interests, skills, and work values. Our assessments are empirically aligned to the Career Clusters® to enable students from the sixth grade and up to explore occupations and related education and training options.

Kuder has also been a longtime participant in our local community’s School-to-Work program, in which we employ high school seniors throughout the course of each year. These interns open our eyes to their world, and we, in turn, open their eyes to the world of work. It’s a remarkable and transformative experience that reinforces our belief in, and commitment to, CTE.

This post was written by Kuder, which was a sponsor at Advance CTE’s 2016 Fall Meeting.

Happy Holidays from Advance CTE!

December 22nd, 2016
staffthankyoupsd
Happy Holidays from all of us here at Advance CTE! As we reflect on this incredible year, we want to say a thank you for your dedication to Advance CTE, and unwavering commitment to providing high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) to learners across the country.
It’s been a transformational year for Advance CTE, and we invite you to share in some of our successes and highlights.
We released Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, establishing a bold vision for all of education, and calling for a systemic transformation of the education system. 11 partners have joined this shared vision, 36 states have signed onto the Putting Learner Success First sign on campaign, and Advance CTE has shared over 28,000 copies of the vision.
Advance CTE underwent an organizational rebrand to better reflect our membership and reaffirm our core values. With support from the Advance CTE Board of Directors and Membership, we created a brand that reflects our commitment to supporting all the state leaders who are committed to advancing high-quality CTE across the country.
In January 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched New Skills for Youth, a $75 million, five-year initiative, aimed at strengthening career-focused education.
As part of this initiative, JPMorgan Chase, Advance CTE, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Education Strategy Group have partnered on a multi-year state competition to increase the number of students in the U.S. who successfully complete career pathways and catalyze approaches to the design and implementation of programs and policies to increase students’ career readiness. This year, 24 states and Washington, D.C. received planning and implementation grants to jump start this work.
We launched the Learning that Works Resource Center, a curated database of research, reports, tools, guides and policies focused on CTE and career-readiness. The Resource Center has been visited over 36,000 times, and continues to be updated with new resources and information regularly. Check out the most popular resource in the Resource Center here.
We celebrated our Excellence in Action award recipients, awarded to 11 programs across as many Career Clusters in nine states.

To dig deep on topics ranging from federal policy to industry recognized credentials, we released 10 reports or briefs and published 141 blog posts.
Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

This Week in CTE: The State of CTE report is released!

December 16th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Today, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at AIR, we published The State of Career Technical Education: Increasing Access to Industry Experts in High School, examining the shortage of industry experts in secondary classrooms and how to address it. Save the date for a webinar on January 9th that will explore major themes from this report.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

An article by Hechinger Report takes a dive into the recent poll by Gallup-Purdue indicates more than half of college graduates find their alma maters provided inadequate career guidance services, while hailing a notable exception, Wake Forest, which offers college-to-career courses for students to better help them plan for their future.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Alternative Certification Alone Will Not Solve CTE Expert Shortage

December 16th, 2016

New Report Describes State Efforts to Increase Access to Industry Experts in High Schools

state of cte industry expertsAs interest in Career Technical Education (CTE) continues to increase, the need for experts qualified to help ensure students gain the real-world experiences they need for success increases as well. Individuals with industry expertise provide a perspective to students that traditional academic teachers may be unable to offer, and can also help students explore and connect with particular career opportunities. Unfortunately, there is a national shortage of these experts working in schools.   

Today Advance CTE released a report examining the shortage of industry experts in secondary classrooms and how to address it. This report was 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. Advance CTE, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at American Institutes for Research, carried out two surveys: one of 47 State CTE Directors and one of 260 local CTE teachers and administrators from 26 states.

The surveys revealed that, while many states use alternative certification policies to bring industry experts into schools as full-time teachers, those policies do not fully address the problem. Alternative certification policies may work well for industry experts who are already willing to change careers and go into the classroom full-time, but there are other options that better meet the available capacity of industry experts still working in their field. These strategies include allowing experts to teach part-time or co-teach with a fully certified teacher of record, which gives students the benefit of their industry-specific knowledge without requiring the expert to give up their job in industry or go through the same rigorous and time-consuming preparation of a fully certified teacher.

alt cert state of cteOther states have policies that encourage experts to give their time in non-instructional roles, such as through career coaching and mentorships. Many states have articulation agreements with postsecondary institutions and use those to share faculty, which can include industry experts. Fewer states use incentives to attract experts to the teaching profession.

Using the data collected from the surveys, Advance CTE developed several recommendations for state leaders to consider. First, states should develop policies and initiatives that go beyond full-time alternative certification policies to allow for a broad range of options for industry expert involvement. States can do more to leverage their articulation agreements with postsecondary institutions to give secondary students access to industry experts teaching at the postsecondary level. Importantly, states must work to increase awareness of all of these opportunities within industry. Finally, states should consider how to deliberately coordinate and streamline disparate recruitment strategies so as to maximize their collective impact.

For more information, look out for an invitation to a webinar discussing this paper, which will take place on January 9 at 3 pm ET and feature an in-depth look at Nebraska’s strategies for increasing access to industry experts.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

114th Congressional Wrap-Up and Perkins Outlook

December 13th, 2016

United States CapitalFollowing the November elections, lawmakers have been on Capitol Hill for the final phase of the 114th Congress. This lame duck session was formally scheduled to come to an end this upcoming Friday, but the last-minute passage of a continuing resolution (CR) last week allowed lawmakers to adjourn the 114th Congress a week early after the bill cleared the Senate.

With policymakers digesting the results of the elections and planning ahead for 2017, there were not too many education or workforce-related highlights from this final session of Congress to speak of. The dearth of legislative activity did make room for the composition of the respective House (HEW) and Senate (HELP) education committees to become clearer.

In the Senate, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will retain his leadership role of the HELP Committee. Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) will also keep her slot going into next year. This year this duo, along with Senators Enzi (R-WY) and Casey (D-PA), came close to passing a comprehensive reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act, but unfortunately these efforts stalled as the year wore on. The root cause of this delay were continued disagreements related to the oversight authority of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

With the retirement of Chairman John Kline (R-MN), the House education committee recently named a new Chairwoman—Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)— to lead HEW in the 115th Congress. Rep. Foxx recently won her seventh term in Congress, and has been the Chairwoman for HEW’s subcommittee on higher education since 2010. Prior to her tenure in Congress, she was a professor and administrator at several postsecondary institutions in North Carolina. On the Democratic side of the aisle Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) will retain his leadership position on the committee.

Earlier this year the full House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5587—comprehensive legislation that would reauthorize the Perkins Act. While there were some remaining items that needed to be addressed as the bill made its way over to the Senate (primarily a fix for the proposed definition for a secondary CTE concentrator), Advance CTE endorsed and supported this legislation’s passage. Unfortunately due to the reasons cited above, the bill lost momentum when it arrived in the Senate.

As we look ahead to the next Congress, lawmakers in both chambers have expressed interest in taking up Perkins reauthorization. However, a specific timeline for the law’s consideration is still unclear and it will be competing with other education priorities such as a renewal of the Higher Education Act (HEA). In the coming year, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a thoughtful reauthorization process for Perkins in this new environment and will urge lawmakers to build upon the strong foundation laid with H.R. 5587 to support high-quality CTE for years to come.

Be sure to check back here for an in-depth look at what else is in store in the 115th Congress in coming week.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

Congress Averts Government Shutdown with Stopgap Funding Legislation

December 12th, 2016

United States CapitalOn Friday the House and Senate successfully passed a second “continuing resolution” (CR)— short-term stopgap funding legislation that temporarily extends current Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 spending levels through April 28th, 2017. The legislation provides funding for the federal government until this date or until a separate full-year appropriations bill is enacted into law. The current 2016 fiscal year began this past October and the federal government has been operating under the auspices of an earlier CR passed by Congress just before this deadline.

While it had seemed likely that Congress would pass comprehensive spending legislation for the full fiscal year during the current lame duck session of Congress, as they have several times in years past, incoming President-Elect Donald Trump requested that these critical funding decisions be further delayed until next spring.

This decision leaves the outlook for funding for important federal programs, like the Carl D. Perkins Act, uncertain in the interim. This year’s earlier CR required a 0.496 percent across-the-board cut to all discretionary federal programs, including the Perkins Act’s basic state grant program. Due to the Budget Control Act’s (BCA) sequester caps, which significantly restrict the amount of funding available for programs like Perkins each year through the next decade, this reduction translated into $5.5 million in fewer funding for Perkins, students, and the CTE programs the law supports.

At that time, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) revised states’ Perkins allocations in October and 30 states received reduced grants amounts due to the passage of this temporary legislation.

This most recent CR re-adjusts this half percent reduction somewhat to 0.19 percent to stay within the BCA caps. However, USDE is not likely to reimburse states for the difference between these two spending cuts until a full-year spending bill is successfully enacted.

The ongoing uncertainty caused by the current series of stopgap funding measures from Congress is already creating uncertainty for states and local school districts who need to prepare budgets for the upcoming academic year. Moreover, the budget process for the next federal fiscal year (2018) will begin in late winter of 2017 further complicating matters as efforts to fund federal programs like Perkins increasingly overlap.

Advance CTE encourages the CTE community to let their members of Congress know how important it is to restore cuts to Perkins in the coming months and pass comprehensive legislation that replaces these counterproductive CRs moving forward. To do so click here. Be sure to check back as the outlook for Perkins funding continues to evolve.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

This Week in CTE

December 9th, 2016

 

 

EXCELLENCE IN ACTION AWARD APPLICATIONS DUE NEXT WEEK!

The 2017 Excellence in Action award applications are due next week! Be sure to submit your program of study by Wednesday to lift up the innovative and exciting ways you’re providing students with high-quality CTE. Apply today!

CTE MONTH IS AROUND THE CORNER!

CTE Month is right around the corner and we’re getting geared up to celebrate around the theme, “Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!” This is our community’s chance to showcase the vast importance of CTE, and celebrate the successes of our state leaders, educators, administrators, partners, and students. This year, the Association for Career and Technical Education is hosting a Thunderclap, which will amplify the importance of CTE Month on social media. Be sure to join your fellow CTE advocates here!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

American Students Demonstrate Lackluster Performance on International PISA Exam, but Signal Interest in Science-Related Careers

December 9th, 2016

Earlier this week, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) released results from the 2015 international PISA examination. The examination, which is administered every three years by the OECD, is designed to measure science, reading and math literacy for 15-year-olds in 35 OECD member countries in order to identify trends in student achievement and provide recommendations for international education policy. Each administration of the exam focuses on a different content area, and the emphasis for the 2015 exam was science literacy.

Performance in the United States was lackluster at best, with students placing 19th in science, 20th in reading and 31st in math compared to 34 other OECD countries. While there has been relatively no change in performance for science and reading over the past two iterations of the exam, math scores have fallen 11 points since 2012.

In response to this year’s assessment results, the OECD released five recommendations for policymakers in the U.S. to improve teaching and learning and promote equity:

  1. A clear education strategy to improve performance and equity should be implemented.
  2. Rigorous and consistent standards should be applied across all classrooms.
  3. Teacher and school leader capacity should be improved.
  4. Resources should be distributed equitably across schools – preferentially to those schools and students that need them most.
  5. At-risk students and schools should be proactively targeted.

 

These results are sobering, but they also spark a renewed urgency to improve the quality of education and leverage opportunities such as Career Technical Education (CTE) to equip students with academic and workforce-relevant skills and set the national economy on track for future growth.

Student Performance and Economic Growth

Performance on the PISA exam serves not only as a signal of student academic achievement, but also of career readiness. This is a research focus of Eric Hanushek’s, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In a recent panel discussion with the Alliance for Excellent Education, he argued that academic performance is tightly related to a country’s future economic health. Using PISA performance as a proxy for educational quality, Hanushek finds a positive correlation between international performance and future GDP growth. In other words, the more students learn, the stronger the economy is likely to be in the future. He also uses scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a U.S.-administered assessment, to find a similar relationship across individual states.

However, Hanushek makes sure not to conflate educational quality with quantity. He runs the same analysis using years of educational attainment instead of PISA scores and finds almost no relationship with economic growth. He draws the conclusion that “if you have more education without developing the skills, it doesn’t count.” This conclusion echoes a finding from this year’s PISA that, in terms of science literacy performance, how science is taught is a more important factor than investments in equipment and highly-qualified instructional staff. In the intersection between education and economic growth, it is not the inputs that matter as much as the skills, knowledge and abilities students develop along the way.

Students Signal High Interest in Science-Related Careers

In addition to testing subject literacy, the PISA examination surveys student attitudes and career preferences. Interestingly, the 2015 survey found that 38 percent of American 15-year-olds expect to work in a science-related career field by the age of 30, with health and science and engineering the two most prominent industries of interest, demonstrating that high school students are putting consideration into their future career goals. 

One strategy to prepare students for future careers in science is to increase participation in related programs of study. Programs of study guide learners through a sequence of aligned, non-duplicative courses that integrate academic and technical learning, span secondary and postsecondary systems and culminate in a credential of value. Participating in a program of study enables students to focus in a Career ClusterⓇ of interest and develop the skills and experiences they need to be successful in that industry. Rather than sampling a basket of different electives without developing depth of experience in any, program of study concentrators go deep in their learning. And research indicates that this could lead to positive student outcomes. According to a recent study, participating in a program of study increases the likelihood of graduation, overall grade point average and CTE grade point average. At scale, increased participation in programs of study may lead to increased academic performance and career readiness, spurring future economic growth.

With the release of the 2015 international PISA exam scores, there is newfound urgency to improve the quality of learning and increase opportunities for students to learn workforce-relevant skills, particularly in science-related fields. By leveraging high-quality programs of study, education policymakers can prepare students for future careers and spur national economic growth.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

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