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Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

This Week in CTE

April 17th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK
@JamesBSchultz #CTE Program Honored for Excellence http://hubs.ly/y0HRY00  via @educationweek @CTEWorks @WaltersState #CTEWorks #HealthScience #CareerTechEd
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ARTICLE OF THE WEEKblog-thumbnail-thiswek
Could Vocational Education be the Answer to Failing High Schools?
With a higher focus on college and career readiness, high-quality Career Technical Education programs in linking secondary, postsecondary and work-based learning to successfully prepare students to enter the workforce.
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RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Confused about Education Lingo? You’re Not Alone
This list of acronyms and abbreviations is incredibly helpful to students and parents when wading through educational jargon.
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RESEARCH OF THE WEEK
Crunched by the Numbers: The Digital Skills Gap in the Workforce
A study conducted by Burning Glass Technologies found that middle-skill jobs that require digital skills are increasing. Eight in 10 middle-0skilled jobs require digital skills like word processing and digitally intensive middle-skilled jobs typically pay more than middle-skilled jobs that do not require any digital knowledge.
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NASDCTEc RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Couldn’t make it to the 2015 Spring Meeting? Visit our Meeting Resource Page to find many of the resources presented.
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Spring Meeting Recap: Advancing Employer Engagement in Education

April 16th, 2015

Business-education collaboration is a “classic win-win,” says John Colborn, director of the Aspen Institute’s Skills for America’s Future initiative. Employer engagement was one of many critical issues featured during last week’s NASDCTEc Spring Meeting.

“It’s seems so obvious,” Colborn said. “So what is it so hard?”

Yet, there are ongoing challenges to breaking down decades-old silos, and there are no quick solutions. Challenges include the differences between national and local interests as well as views between the long-term perspectives of educators and the often short-term views of employers; finding the time necessary to nurture strong relationships; and developing a common language to create common understanding among all partners.

At Skills for America’s Future, Colborn said they are trying to operationalize the idea of effective employer-led partnerships. To do this, the initiative has been evaluating the grantees of the U.S. Department of Labor’s TAACCCT program, which provides community colleges with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that prepare workers for high-wage, high-skill occupations.

The evaluators have found that grantees did a number of things to build and develop employer partnerships, a key feature of the grant. Activities included curriculum alignment to the needs of employers as well as experiential learning, which Colborn said was critical to ensuring students graduated with the skills necessary to perform at full capacity from their first day on the job.

Another collaborative effort highlighted came from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“(The skills gap is) no longer a gathering storm on the horizon,” said Jason Tyszko, senior director of policy and programs at the Foundation.

With mounting evidence such as the recent Lumina/Gallup poll that showed dramatic differences between the views of chief academic officers and employers about college graduates’ career readiness, Tyszko said the recent work at the U.S. Chamber Foundation is seeking to close that gap by applying supply chain management strategies to the pipeline of skilled workers. Read more coverage about the Chamber’s “Managing the Talent Pipeline” initiative on our Research Review blog series.

Since the 2014 release of the Talent Pipeline research, the Chamber has been working to implement some of its recommendations including toolkits about how to better build employer capacity as the end consumer of education.

Tyszko said he often gets asked about how education can engage employers better, but he offered that the entire question needed to be turned around to put the employer in the driver’s seat. Among the many ways to do this, Tyszko said this might mean moving away from traditional CTE local advisory boards to working with an intermediary to connect all of the right partners in the conversation.

To make employer engagement meaningful, Colborn encouraged institutions to dedicate someone whose entire job is engage employers and to devise strategies to grow this work and further, how to measure it over time.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Spring Meeting Recap: Featuring Excellence in the Press

April 16th, 2015

Last week, NASDCTEc held its 2015 Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. bringing together leaders from across the country in Career Technical Education (CTE). As part of the meeting, NASDCTEc hosted a panel, Featuring Excellence in the Press, highlighting why the media is telling CTE’s story, and to offer insights into how CTE advocates can best and most effectively engage the media in support of CTE.

The panel began stressing how the CTE conversation has shifted over the years including rebranding from the more traditional vocational education programming. Along with the shift in moving from ‘vocational education’ to ‘career technical education,’ panelists noted a focus on the concept of college and career readiness and showing students early in schooling how their education is relevant to careers they can have in the future. In addition, speakers saw a noted shift in CTE’s inclusion of career-ready and employability skills as integral to today’s CTE.

Emily Hanford, Education Corresponded at American RadioWorks and correspondent and producer of Ready to Work highlighted how her year working on the documentary greatly influenced her perspective on CTE. “CTE is really exciting and refreshing,” said Hanford. “I came away from filming this documentary with a sense of envy. No one had challenged me to see what I wanted to do.”

Panelists also offered up tips to the audience on how to best tell their CTE story. Emily Ann Brown, K-12 Education Policy Reporter at Education Daily stressed the importance of introducing high-quality data, along with providing access to a variety of stakeholders when pitching a story to the press. Caralee Adams, Contributing Writer at Education Week emphasized showing the press that your story is backed up by local and national trends, but also showing how those trends translate into real-life successes by including the voice of teachers, administrators and students. Hanford, on the other hand, suggested a missing voice in the CTE narrative is alumni of CTE reflecting on how their education successfully prepared them for their career.

Check on a wide array of materials and resources shared by the speakers on our Spring meeting resource page.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Nine CTE Programs of Study Receive the Excellence in Action Award

April 16th, 2015

Last week we recognized our 2015 “Excellence in Action” award winners, representing the best Career Technical Education (CTE) has to offer. These programs of study were selected based on their uniquely inventive and effective approaches to award-blogstimulating student learning, offering extensive work-based learning experiences, maintaining strong partnerships with industry and community organizations, and preparing students for postsecondary and career success. Nine award winners from across the country were honored during a luncheon and reception at the NASDCTEc 2015 Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The winners are:

  • Agriculture, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Illinois (Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career Cluster)
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Upper Valley Career Center, Ohio (Architecture & Construction Career Cluster)
  • Academy for Business and Finance, Bergen County Technical Schools – Bergen County Academies, New Jersey (Business Management & Administration Career Cluster)
  • Emergency Medical Services, Walters State Community College, Tennessee (Health Science Career Cluster)
  • Culinary Arts Academy, Lorain County Joint Vocational School, Ohio (Hospitality & Tourism Career Cluster)
  • Early Childhood Education, Henderson County High School, Kentucky (Human Services Career Cluster)
  • Welding Technology Program, Butte-Glenn Community College, California (Manufacturing Career Cluster)
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography, Marine Academy of Science and Technology, New Jersey (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Career Cluster)
  • Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Academy, Omaha Bryan High School, Nebraska (Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Career Cluster)

blog-2In addition to the award ceremony, winners will invited to present their programs of study to meeting attendees. “These Excellence in Action award winners exemplify everything that high-quality CTE programs can and should be,” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director of NASDCTEc. “These programs have students graduating at above average rates, are aligned with employer and industry needs and certification standards, and build meaningful partnerships, all to prepare students to succeed in their careers.”

Two-page profiles of each winner, detailing their unique strengths and opportunities are available here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Spring Meeting Recap: Certified to Work: Private Sector Credentialing and Certification Efforts

April 15th, 2015

Spring meetingIn a very spirited panel discussion, three leading experts in credentials shared some challenges and opportunities in building, validating and scaling industry-recognized credentials and certifications at NASDCTEc’s annual Spring Meeting last week.

The session kicked off with moderator Tamar Jacoby of Opportunity America describing credentialing as “one of the sexiest topics in CTE” and a “key to change” because of their capacity to validate the mastery of knowledge and skills, send signals to employers, and prepare individuals for a full range of careers that fall between low skilled jobs and those requiring a full four-year degree.

Jennifer McNelly, President of the Manufacturing Institute, shared her organization’s efforts to bring “market sanity” to the large universe of industry-recognized credentials in manufacturing. The Institute sees credentials as potential “translators between education and employers” because they can give employers confidence that incoming employees with credentials are qualified. This is particularly urgent as the manufacturing industry is projecting a skills gap of up to two million jobs going unfilled in the next ten years. They started the process by reviewing 450 credentials and ultimately endorsed five in the first pass, a number that has grown slightly in the past few years.

Jacey Cavanagh, Project Manager, National Network of Business and Industry Associations, spoke about the role industry-based credentials can play in validating individuals’ foundational employability skills that apply across all industries. The ability to measure and validate these foundational skills are especially important with millennials expected to change jobs and careers more often than previous generations, placing more value on those transferable skills.

From the perspective of Dr. Roy Swift, Executive Director, Workcred, the proliferation of credentials and certificates requires a form of “protection for students and the public.” With over 4,000 agencies and organizations certifying skills, and a lack of transparency around the development, scoring and value of those credentials, he warned “buyers beware.” Questions he raised include – are credentials validated by third-party organizations? How often is re-certification required? What process do states have for phasing out meaningless credentials? Workcred currently is working with Kansas to create criteria for evaluating the true value of credentials to students and employers alike.

Check on a wide array of materials and resources shared by the speakers on our Spring meeting resource page.

Kate Blosveren Kreamer, Associate Executive Director

Finding Clarity in Career Readiness through Partnerships

April 6th, 2015

Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director, recently wrote a blog post for Pearson on how Career Technical Education (CTE) impacts college and career readiness. Read an excerpt of the blog post below.

The phrase college and career readiness is used constantly, along with an assumption that there is a common understanding of what this term means or aspires to achieve for students, employers and our nation. Yet, when you start to unpack the term, what becomes crystal clear is that there is no clarity.  While there is some agreement that college readiness means preparation for credit-bearing, college-level coursework without the need for remediation, such agreement doesn’t exist when defining career readiness. And it all gets even less clear if you ask people to explain college and career readiness as one term, not two.

Having worked as an advocate for Career Technical Education (CTE) for more than 20 years I know that for the CTE community, college and career readiness isn’t a new term or initiative – it’s what CTE is and has been all about. High-quality CTE has always prepared students with the academic, technical and employability skills and knowledge to succeed not only in one’s first job, but for the lifetime of a career.  College isn’t the goal. College of any form – two-year, four-year, apprenticeship, etc. – is a pathway to a career– a career that aligns to an individual’s skills, talents and aspirations; a career that can support one’s family and fuel one’s passion; a career that drives our nation’s economy and ensures our country’s global competitiveness.

Read the rest of this blog post here.

STEMSuccess for Women: Empowering Educators to Recruit and Retain More Women in STEM

April 6th, 2015

We are excited to invite you to an upcoming virtual conference,STEMSuccess for Womewomeninstemn: Empowering Educators to Recruit and Retain More Women in STEM, where you’ll learn from leaders across the country who are engaging more women in the STEM fields.  One example: Professor Barbara DuFrain of Del Mar College who was able to increase female enrollment in her intro to computer programming classes by 62 percent, and improve overall retention by 45 percent.

Some of the other case studies you will hear over the course of the 12 sessions from April 13 – April 16 include…

  • How one department chairperson was able to increase female enrollment in her college’s STEM programs by 95 percent;
  • How a professor improved retention of female engineering students by 42 percent in one semester in only 12 teaching contact hours; and
  • How another professor increased the number of women who declared a computer science major from 11 percent to 46 percent by changing the introductory computer science course.

This free event is completely online, and you can participate via phone or computer. STEMSuccess for Women is hosted by Donna Milgram, Executive Director of the Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science

Learn more about this National Science Foundation funded virtual event here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Why is Credentialing Important?

March 26th, 2015

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in Washington, D.C. in April. 

It is crucial, now more than ever, that students are preparing for the workforce along with the prospect of a college education simultaneously. The ever-developing and changing job market united with a flexible and adaptive education system is closing the significant skills gap between employers and qualified workers. There is concern that students are not entering the workforce with an adequate skills set that prepares them for success. According to a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2020, 65% of all jobs will require postsecondary education and training. This skills gap between education and the workforce has caused a shift toward the importance of credentialing and additional training that is more comprehensive in order to meet the needs of employers and the U.S. work industry as a whole.

Career and technical education (CTE) programs are at the front of the initiative to create students that are career ready. CTE programs provide a basis for students to acquire technical and academic skills that are necessary for successful and long-term employment. Classroom education with hands-on training prepares students for the real work they will be completing in their career fields or as they work through and continue their educations at the collegiate level. Applying concepts and skills in lab, workshop, or actual work settings provides tangible learning experiences for students to build their knowledge base. As a result, students are better able to align their educations, and subsequently their skills, with their preferred career pathways. Successful CTE programs are complemented by the opportunity for students to obtain industry recognized credentials that are beneficial for students as they build resumes and portfolios for the future. Credentials provide proof of knowledge and verify a student’s capability to perform a particular trade, skill, or occupation. Credentialing opportunities bring value to CTE programs because they validate the education and training these programs provide as well as give students incentive for further achievement.

For entry-level employment, credentials are a good predictor of success and achievement for students who are seeking their first time jobs, apprenticeships or internships. Employers are able to easily identify what degree of competence potential employees possess. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment for workers ages 16 to 24 rests at nearly 12%, and with nearly 18.1 million people entering the workforce under the age of 24, students require a way to show they have the desired technical and employability skills in a competitive job market. Industry recognized credentials and other certifications are a good way for students to make themselves more marketable to employers who are looking to invest in long-term, qualified workers. Leaving high school with more than a high school diploma is now a valuable means toward success upon entering a career field or continuing on to a two-year or four-year college or university.

Specific industry recognized credentials can give students better understanding of associated career pathways and college programs while other credentials provide general training essential to all 16 Career Clusters and beyond. Industry recognized credentials like ones offered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) play a critical role in preparing students for the hazards and risks associated with various career fields and pathways. Through a partnership with OSHA, the CareerSafe Online program is committed to providing workplace safety training for students prior to their first jobs. The safety curriculum aligns with all 16 Career Clusters and can be easily implemented into any CTE program. It gives students an advantage moving forward toward post-secondary schooling or employment opportunities. With completion of CareerSafe OSHA 10-Hour safety training, students receive an industry recognized credential verifying that they have received workplace safety training. Students that have completed the CareerSafe program have experienced increased economic flexibility and employment opportunities over their peers that do not hold credentials. Feedback from educators across the country proves that industry recognized credentialing, like OSHA credentialing, makes a difference in the employment opportunities and wages of their students. Many CTE educators reveal that their students have been guaranteed jobs immediately upon their high school graduation and therefore have the ability to establish careers or have an opportunity to pay for further education without creating a large amount of student debt.

Credentialing opportunities can and should be easily accessible because of their added value to students as they complete their high school educations. The use of credentials will increase the likelihood of skilled, competent, and knowledgeable students entering the workforce. With career readiness as an integral part of education, students will be confident in their abilities to be successful.

If you would like to offer your students credentialing opportunities with CareerSafe or learn more about implementing a safety curriculum in your classroom, please visit, www.careersafeonline.com.

Written by Stacy Riley, CareerSafe Online

Thank you to CareerSafe for sponsoring the 2015 NASDCTEc Spring Meeting!

Sources: 

Foster, C. John & Sandra G. Pritz (2006). “The Certification Advantage.” Techniques. January, 14-20.
Hyslop, Alisha (2008). “CTE’s Role in Workforce Readiness Credentialing.” Techniques. September, 40-43.
Molnar, Michele (2014). “Career and Technical Education Gains Ground in Many States.” Education Week. April.
Muller, D. Robert & Alexandra Beatty. “Work Readiness Certification and Industry Credentials: What do State High School Policy Makers Need To Know?” Measures That Matter, 1-16.

Inside International CTE: Switzerland Part Two

March 26th, 2015
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A Swiss manufacturing apprentice demonstrates his work. Photo courtesy of Heather Singmaster.

Today Heather Singmaster continues her interview with Ursula Renold, head of the Education Systems field of research in the KOF Swiss Economic Institute on the Swiss vocational education and training system (VET or career and technical education system as we call it here in the U.S.). This is presented in partnership with Asia Society’s Global Learning blog on Ed Week .

Many consider the Swiss system one of the best in the world. But every system has its challenges – what are yours? What are some solutions you are looking to implement?

There are specific areas we have identified as challenges and solutions we are pursuing:

Demographic changes: We have an aging workforce and not enough students to replace them in the VET system. Therefore, we are looking at ways to “re-tool” all employees and raise their productivity with further education.

Potential perception issues: We continue to fear that too many parents will insist their children pursue a university pathway instead of the VET pathway, thereby weakening the economy (something experienced by Denmark, which also had a strong apprenticeship program). An international dialog and exchange of knowledge on the importance of VET competences to close the 21st century middle skills gap is one of the solutions to this problem. Another route is to connect the worldwide community of scholars and experts, which could provide the evidence and the rationale for well-balanced educational diversity.

Globalization: The increase of international companies working in Switzerland threatens the VET system. These companies do not have a tradition of VET and are therefore less supportive of the system. It is very important to launch an information campaign for multi-national companies and newcomers to Switzerland who are not familiar with the VET system so that they can understand the comparatively outstanding outcomes of our VET system.

What do you think the future of VET/CTE in your country looks like?

I am confident our VET system will evolve in line with the changes in the world of work because of the role industry associations play in defining curriculum content and educational standards. These partners will continue to adapt those frameworks to meet the future needs of their industries every three to five years. Due to the fact that technology-forward companies often advance such revisions, small to medium size companies will continue to profit from spillover effects because they too will have to apply the best available technology if they would like to offer an apprenticeship. We also anticipate apprenticeships forming in new and additional industries if there is a need due to the high flexibility of our system.

What advice do you have for other systems attempting to reform their VET/CTE systems? What are some of the policies in Switzerland that could assist others in overcoming the challenges they face in VET/CTE?

That’s maybe the most difficult question. There is no simple solution for other countries. One has to take into consideration the context and ecosystem of a country. But there is one crucial aspect, which should be carefully analyzed: What is the link between education and employment systems – e.g. governance, curriculum design and curriculum application? According to my experience, most countries that are trying to reform their CTE/VET system are struggling with this issue and do not know how to bridge education and employment systems in an effective way. Therefore, our Swiss Economic Institute (ETHZ) is launching a policy development program for education policy leaders that includes a summer policy seminar to help participants to tackle these problems and to assist them in building capacity in their own region. For more information please contact me: [email protected]

Follow NASDCTEc, Heather, and Asia Society on Twitter.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Getting to Know … Florida

March 25th, 2015

Note: NASDCTEc is introducing a new blog series called, “Getting to Know …” We will be using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, our partners and more.

State Name: Floridacte-logo-florida

State CTE Director: Rod Duckworth, Chancellor, Division of Career & Adult Education, Florida Department of Education

Postsecondary Counterpart: Chancellor of the Florida College System

About Florida CTE: Florida uses 17 Career Clusters — the original 16 Career Clusters® as well as one for energy. The Career Cluster with the highest enrollment is business management and administration. The state has 67 counties, each with its own school district. In addition, there are two university lab schools, the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, and the Florida Virtual School, which also offer secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.

About the State CTE Office: Mr. Duckworth’s office is responsible for the administration of CTE (secondary and postsecondary clock-hour certificate), adult education, apprenticeship, the farmworker career development program, among others. The Division of Career & Adult Education is responsible for distributing the roughly $61 million in federal funding from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).  In addition, the office is responsible for state funding of more than $200 million for district postsecondary CTE programs.

Programs of Study (POS): In Florida, POS are primarily delivered through the state’s career academies, a structure codified in the 2007 law, the Florida Career and Professional Education Act (CAPE).  Florida has leveraged its Perkins State Plan to develop additional requirements, which must be met by eligible secondary and postsecondary recipients.  Those requirements include the following:

  • A written articulation agreement for each Program of Study (POS).
  • Articulation agreements signed and approved by the agency head of each participating secondary and postsecondary entity.
  • Must include a locally endorsed sequence of core academic and CTE courses (Grade 9 through postsecondary).
  • Must lead to a postsecondary credential, which may include a certificate, diploma, associate or baccalaureate degree, an industry certification, or a licensure.
  • Each POS is expected to be guided by the workforce and economic development needs of business/industry, the community and employment opportunities for students.

Every secondary and postsecondary recipient of Perkins funds offers at least one CTE POS and documents that through the annual Perkins application process.

 Issue in Focus: Industry-recognized credentials (IRCs) have long been an area of focus for Florida, due in part to the CAPE Act, which created statewide planning partnerships between business and education communities to expand and retain high-value industries and support the state economy. During the 2013-2014 school year, more than 60,000 high school students participating in registered CAPE career academies earned a total of 66,167 IRCs.

In recent years, Florida has put in place a number of incentives to support student attainment of IRCs, including incentives in the K-12 funding model and inclusion in high school and middle school grading formulas.  More recently, legislation has addressed counting IRCs in a student’s weighted grade point average and awarding teacher bonuses for certain high-value credentials.

The approval process for IRCs requires that industry certifications for non-farm occupations are recommended by the state’s workforce board (CareerSource Florida), which is comprised of business, industry, and education representatives.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

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