Advance CTE Releases Guide for Building and Scaling Statewide Work-based Learning Systems

October 14th, 2016

WBL_GuideIn a recent nationwide education poll, 90 percent of surveyed Americans said it is extremely or very important for schools to help students develop good work habits. In turn, state education agencies have begun to focus on both college and career readiness to help prepare students for their futures. One popular strategy is work-based learning, which allows students to reinforce and deepen their classroom learning, explore future career fields and demonstrate their skills in an authentic setting.

Today, Advance CTE released a comprehensive guide — building on the “Connecting the Classroom to Careers” policy series — to help policymakers develop and implement a statewide vision for work-based learning. The guide provides key considerations and guiding questions to walk state policymakers through the steps of building and scaling a high-quality work-based learning system, drawing on examples from states such as Tennessee and West Virginia to highlight innovative solutions to common challenges. The paper not only builds upon earlier briefs in the “Connecting the Classroom to Careers” series, but also ties them together into one comprehensive and easy-to-use guide.

To get started, states must develop a statewide vision for work-based learning and get buy-in from all relevant stakeholders. Tennessee, for example, embarked on a campaign to overhaul its work-based learning programs and establish a framework that would be more inclusive and relevant for students in the state. This resulted in a new, shared vision that prioritizes career exploration, career advisement and hands-on learning for all students — not just those enrolled in Career Technical Education (CTE) classes.

Yet setting a vision is only the first step. To ensure the vision is implemented successfully, states must create a policy environment that allows work-based learning programs to thrive. One of the biggest challenges that states face in expanding work-based learning opportunities is overcoming legal barriers, such as child labor laws and safety requirements, that make businesses reluctant to hire high school students. New Jersey demonstrates how state agencies can work together to develop a regulatory framework that supports, rather than inhibits, work-based learning opportunities. One product of inter-agency collaboration in the state is the New Jersey Safe Schools project, a comprehensive health and safety training for CTE teachers.

The guide further explores how states can expand work-based learning by partnering with intermediaries to facilitate partnerships between educators and employers for the ultimate benefit of a student’s career exploration and skill development. Intermediaries can be either independent organizations or, in the case of Georgia’s Youth Apprenticeship Program (YAP) Coordinators, individuals who are based within the school or district. Georgia’s YAP Coordinators are funded by a competitive state grant and help support the full range of work-based learning activities for local students.

WBL GraphicOnce a statewide vision is in place and early implementation has begun, state policymakers should consider how to measure and scale work-based learning. There are two common approaches states take to building a comprehensive measurement and data-collection system: a systems-level approach that examines and evaluates the quality of the program, and a student-level approach that measures student learning and skill attainment. Through its School to Career Connecting Activities Initiative, Massachusetts has built a system to collect pre- and post-evaluations of student skills to determine both the professional and technical skills that students gain over the course of their work-based learning experience. This allows the state to assess difficult-to-measure student outcomes such as accepting direction and constructive criticism or motivation and taking initiative.

Collecting and evaluating program data enables states to not only identify promising practices but also to scale them statewide so that all students can access high-quality work-based learning experiences. One example profiled in the guide is West Virginia’s Simulated Workplace program, which began in 2013 as a pilot program in 20 schools across the state. The Department of Education gradually scaled the program, spending time evaluating and refining processes and policies along the way, to reach 60 schools — and more than 500 classrooms — by 2015.

There is no single way to build and scale work-based learning programs, but Advance CTE’s latest publication, “Connecting the Classroom to Careers: A Comprehensive Guide to the State’s Role in Work-based Learning,” can help states get started. The guide identifies essential strategies in work-based learning programs across the states and provides key takeaways and guiding questions to help states tackle common barriers. While work-based learning is a proven strategy to help students build technical and professional skills, policymakers should draw on examples from other states to thoughtfully build and scale a high-quality work-based learning system.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate and Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Register Today: Upcoming Webinar on A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE

October 11th, 2016

In May, seven national organizations came together to support Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, establishing a bold vision for all of education. The vision calls for a systemic revitalization of the education system, and identifies Career Technical Education’s (CTE) strengths and role in this transformation, focusing on five key principles of change:

  • All CTE programs are held to the highest standards of excellence.
  • All learners are empowered to choose a meaningful education and career.
  • All learning is personalized and flexible.
  • All learning is facilitated by knowledgeable experts.
  • All systems work together to put learner success first.

Since the release of this vision, support has continued to grow – with four additional national partners signing on, leaders sharing the vision in all 50 states, and a wide array of activities and efforts underway or planned aligned with the vision’s principles and actions.

On Tuesday November 15 at 2:30-3:30 pm ET, join us for an update on Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE and learn about ways in which you can help support this vision of career success for all learners. Register today!

Speakers:

  • Stephen DeWitt, Deputy Executive Director, Association for Career and Technical Education
  • Erica Kashiri, Director of Policy and Programs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director, Advance CTE
  • Rich McKeon, Director of the Career Readiness Initiative, Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Bryan Wilson, State Policy Director, National Skills Coalition

What’s the ROI on Industry Certifications?: How industry certifications yield a high return on investment for employers, schools, and students

October 10th, 2016

There’s no such thing as a risk-free investment.Certiport-Pearson-Logo-Final (1)

Or is there?

As employers, schools, and students contemplate how to invest their dollars to yield the greatest return, they may want to consider recent studies on the benefits of earning professional industry certifications.

While it’s true that there’s no such thing as an entirely risk-free investment, the numbers don’t fib: earning professional software certifications yields a high return on investment (ROI) for the workforce, schools, and students.

ROI for the Workforce

The findings of a Burning Glass study drew the attention of The Wall Street Journal in an article titled, “The Key to a Good-Paying Job Is…Microsoft Excel?”

Study highlights show that it’s practically imperative for workers entering the workforce to possess Microsoft Office skills. “The most commonly required skills are also the most basic ones,” the report states. “Spreadsheet and word-processing software such as Microsoft Corp.’s Excel and Word.”

The Burning Glass study also found that:

  • Spreadsheet and word processing proficiencies have become a baseline requirement for the majority of middle-skill opportunities (78%)
  • Digitally intensive middle-skill occupations offer 18% higher wages on average
  • Digitally intensive jobs have grown 2.5 times more rapidly than middle-skill jobs that do not require spreadsheets, word processing, or other digital skills (between 2003 and 2013, 4.7% growth for digitally intensive jobs compared to 1.9% growth for other positions)

Despite these benefits, workers entering workforce often come without the needed baseline digital skills. “Effectively, entire segments of the U.S. economy are off-limits to people who don’t have basic digital skills,” the report notes, suggesting that schools and other training sites should go back to the basics.

Supply and demand dictates that employers will seek and pay for those who have these proficiencies. Industry certifications, such as Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), teach and test Microsoft software skills. Further, they provide recognized stamps of approval to those who earn their certification. For employers, the ROI on a digitally skilled employee will be greater than on one who enters the job at a remedial level.

ROI for the Education System

School systems have limited budget to invest in programs that will help prepare their students for higher learning and for pursuing a career.

As it turns out, the ROI is demonstrably high for school systems that invest in programs to train and certify students in Microsoft Office software.

The Florida Case

Florida schools have a CAPE program (Career & Professional Education Act). CAPE focuses on teaching professional-level skills that translate to workforce success. At Dunbar High School, for example, CAPE Academy students perform better than non-academy students. The school invested in a program to train CAPE students and help them earn industry-recognized certifications for Microsoft Office software.

CAPE Academy students who earned professional-level certifications—

  • Outperformed their peers in average GPA (see chart 2)
  • Showed lower dropout rates
  • Showed higher rates of graduation
  • Outperformed non-academy peers on Florida standardized testing (FCAT)

The conclusion? Industry-recognized certification works in academia to boost student performance and longevity. (Note: The study is not just for Microsoft certification, as CAPE Academy cuts across data for students studying in multiple industry segments and technology areas.)

CHART 2

Chart 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROI for the Student

The numbers show that student market value (salary) with industry certification is greater than without it (see chart 3).

CHART 3

Chart 3

 

What do industry certifications mean to me?

That’s the question asked by students, schools, and employers as they consider investing time and money into certification programs. While there’s no such thing as a risk-free investment, the numbers show that investing in such programs is about as close to a risk-free investment as one can get.

Would you like more discussion about this issue and how it affects you? If you happen to be attending the Advance CTE Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, on Monday, October 17, stop by our hospitality suite from 8:00-10:00 p.m. We’ll be in Suite 1026 of the BWI Airport Marriott. We look forward to seeing you!

Contact: Mike Maddock
Director of Strategic Accounts
Mike.Maddock@pearson.com
801-847-3172

This post was written by Certiport, a Pearson VUE Business, is the sole provider of industry certifications such as Microsoft Office Specialist, Adobe Certified Associate, Autodesk Certified User, IC3 Digital Literacy Certification, and others. Certiport is a sponsor of the 2016 Advance CTE Fall Meeting. Thank you Certiport! 

This Week in CTE: Happy Manufacturing Day!

October 7th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals makes the case as to why CTE, STEM education and apprenticeships are key to the American workforce, economy and manufacturing industry. Read more in their piece, The Economy of Manufacturing and Community.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Visit our Learning that Works Resource Center for the latest research, policies and reports on CTE and career readiness, including the Manufacturing Institute, SkillsUSA and the Education Research Center of America’s report, Attracting the Next Generation Workforce: The Role of CTE, which found that personal industry experience — through involvement with Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), internships, summer jobs and co-op study programs — can impact students’ future career interests.

PROGRAM OF THE WEEK

Desert View High School’s precision machining and mechanical drafting program of study is a model program in the Manufacturing Career Cluster, demonstrating the incredible impact a strong employer and educational partnership can have on the community. A 2016 Excellence in Action award winner, this program of study was developed in partnership with the Tucson, Arizona business community to build a pipeline of skilled and qualified employees.

“When an industry comes forward and tells a district or administration, ‘our community needs this program, and we will support you,’ this becomes the leverage for change that enables the school to make those difficult decisions, to prioritize your program. Companies are moving to Tucson because they see a pipeline and workforce being built. This program has created an economic development change for our community,” said Kathy Prather, Director of CTE at Sunnyside Unified School District.

p.s. If you haven’t already, join 4,000 of your peers and cast your vote to include CTE in the next presidential debate on Sunday, October 9th!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

 

How Do States Identify and Endorse Industry-Recognized Credentials?

October 7th, 2016

Credentials_of_Value_2016Latest Advance CTE Brief Explores Promising Strategies

One of the core components of a high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) program is that it culminates in a credential of value. But with more than 4,000 credentialing organizations in the United States today, states are grappling with the challenge of narrowing down the field.

Advance CTE today released a policy brief to help states get started in this work. The paper, titled “Credentials of Value: State Strategies for Identifying and Endorsing Industry-Recognized Credentials,” highlights promising practices from Florida, Kansas and Louisiana, which have each made considerable progress developing a system for students and employers to navigate the tangled universe of credentials. The brief further describes how each state tackles the challenge in a different way, building a system that suits their local economy and context, and highlights a few common strategies.

For one, these states engage business and industry leaders early on in the process to verify that credentials are recognized and accepted in the labor market. This helps ensure that students are only pursuing — and states are only incentivizing — those credentials that have value. One example that the brief explores is in Louisiana, where regional teams are required to submit letters of endorsement from businesses in the state whenever they propose a new credential for the statewide list.

From there, the process of vetting high-quality credentials often involves a concerted effort from a variety of different institutions. The brief describes how, in Florida, the state-approved credential list at the secondary level is developed with input from the Department of Economic Opportunity, the Agency for Workforce Innovation, the state’s workforce development board (an independent non-profit called CareerSource Florida) and the Department of Education. This ensures that the state can leverage the expertise of each agency to approve only those credentials that are valuable to students and to the economy.

Another challenge the brief explores is that credentials available on the market today range in value, quality and the effort required to earn them. Thus, states have begun to recognize this difference and classify credentials based on their rigor and utility in the labor market. Kansas, for example, is examining a framework that categorizes credentials into three tiers: those required by law or regulation, those mandated by industry, and those preferred by industry.

Even then, states should be prepared to adapt to fluctuations in the labor market or unforeseen problems with the credential review process. Take Florida’s Career and Professional Education Act (CAPE) for example. CAPE provided additional funding for teachers and school districts whose students earn state-approved credentials, but the state soon realized that the program was not structured appropriately to eliminate some gaming of the funding incentive. Over the years, Florida has gradually adjusted the funding formula to address these concerns and align incentives to encourage more students to earn high-quality credentials.

With two-thirds of all new jobs projected to require some postsecondary education and training by 2020, there is a growing need for states to play a larger role in identifying and endorsing credentials of value.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

New Resources and Supporters for Putting Learner Success First

October 4th, 2016

 

8As we move into our fifth month since the launch of Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, we have much to update you on! We’re excited to update you on how Putting Learner Success First is being shared far and wide.

VISION RESOURCES

We’ve developed a variety of new resources to help states share and implement the vision including discussion questions to assist in unpacking the vision’s principles and actions. The questions aim to support states as they reflect on the policies they have, and the progress made, as well as determine next steps. The document, which is in Word format to make it user-friendly, can also be used internally or to facilitate cross-sector and multi-stakeholder discussions.

Additionally, we have new two-pagers that demonstrate the importance of this vision to two stakeholder types. First, we discuss how critical this vision is to state CTE leaders, and how they can carry out the work of this vision. Secondly, this vision couldn’t be enacted without the support from CTE educators. The Association for Career and Technical Education provided an overview of why CTE educators need to be involved, and how they can carry out the vision in their own work.

Which leads me to our last resource, a chart that demonstrates how this vision is truly shared, and the work each supporter is doing to carry out the principles in their work.

VISION SUPPORTERS

In addition to new resources, our vision supporters are growing steadily. We have four new national supporters including Asia Society, FCCLA, Goodwill and SkillsUSA and we are thrilled to have this support from organizations that represent the cross section of education, workforce, policy, employers, and students, who all are necessary if we are going to transform education into a system that truly works for all learners.

Individuals from 32 states have also signed onto our Putting Learner Success First campaign, and let us know how they plan to use the vision. Here are what a few are saying:

“Throughout all the work we do training, managing, operating and advocating for education, CTE and CTSOs, we’ll be keeping this at the forefront of our work and support for learners and leaders.”

“The vision of Putting Learner Success First will become the linchpin of our state’s professional development campaign for our CTE leadership teams.”

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

Be sure to let us know how you plan to use the vision, and if you don’t see all the resources you need here, email us to let us know what we can do to help you share and implement Putting Learner Success First.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

 

NOCTI: Supporting Teacher Quality and Retention

October 3rd, 2016

As a longstanding member—50 years to be precise—of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, NOCTI has watched many NOCTI--Navy--Med--Web-Usechanges in both perception and reality as it relates to CTE in popular media and public policy. Sometimes the changes are favorable and currently CTE is experiencing some significant support. Although it appears that federal legislation regarding CTE will be stalled until after the presidential election, the reauthorization did receive almost unanimous support in the House of Representatives for the “Strengthening CTE for the 21st Century” Act at 405-5. Yet, there is a looming issue that affects us all—an issue that has a significant impact on the success or failure of all CTE programs. That issue relates to finding quality CTE teachers and ensuring resources are available to support and retain them. Primarily, this applies to CTE teachers who enter the classrooms directly from industry—something typically referred to as an “alternative certification.”

Over the last few years, the CTE community has experienced increased interest which has fueled the need—or the demand—side of the equation. Yet, at the same time many states have struggled to keep supply channels open. NOCTI is aware of the issue because we are part of the certification process for CTE teacher candidates in approximately 25 states. An additional number of states use NOCTI resources to determine if candidates are competent in all aspects of their technical fields. In just the last three years, the number of assessments used for teacher credentialing has jumped an average of 40% in approximately ten states. In addition, five other states have requested to establish NOCTI teacher candidate testing centers in their states. Lastly, if one looks at the Advance CTE two-minute roundup report from 2015, the biggest struggle at that time was recruiting, retaining, and supporting quality CTE teachers.

It is common knowledge that CTE teachers are a “special breed” of teacher; they bring workforce experiences to the classroom, are passionate about what they do and why they are working in education, and have a “whatever-it-takes-to-accomplish-the-goal” attitude. These individuals make up 14% of our nation’s teaching force—it is critical that they have a strong and useful support system.

As a non-profit entity lead by a Board of Trustees elected by the 56 state directors of CTE across the country and in US territories, NOCTI is determined to stay ahead of the needs of the field it serves. Since NOCTI’s primary focus is in serving the CTE community, we’d like identify a few resources which may be helpful for your state.

  1. Teacher Certification and Competence Resources: NOCTI’s initial goal was to help states secure competent CTE teachers and, as mentioned above, our resources are used in a number of state teacher certification systems. Remember, however, that even if your state does not have a formal process for alternatively-certified CTE teachers, NOCTI’s resources are available for you to provide an objective third-party assessment of a candidate’s competence. Learn more!
  2. Awareness of Resources for New CTE teachers: NOCTI works in every state in the nation and because we have a strong focus on accountability, professional improvement, and credentialing, we have encountered numerous examples from several states. As a brief example, the work underway in California’s “CTE TEACH” program utilizes the development of a support structure for CTE teachers during their “formative” years. Learn more!
  3. Partnerships: NOCTI’s focus on assisting CTE teachers in experiencing success has led to partnerships with like-minded associations like ACTE. There are currently two publications available that focus on new CTE teachers with a third installment on the way. NOCTI and ACTE also collaborated on a publication focused on instructional improvement. Learn more!

Since we’ve mentioned ACTE, it is important to note that they also offer resources through their online Core Community which focuses on different aspects of CTE teacher skills. NOCTI has collaborated with ACTE to provide individuals taking advantage of this resource with a digital badge.

We hope this blog serves two purposes: 1) that it highlights the importance of the CTE teacher shortage, and 2) that it identifies some helpful resources to use. If NOCTI can be of service, please contact us at nocti@nocti.org to see how we can help you. NOCTI is excited to be a GOLD sponsor of the Advance CTE fall meeting; be sure to seek us out and say hello!

This post was written by NOCTI, a sponsor of the Advance CTE 2016 Fall Meeting. Thank you NOCTI! 

This Week in CTE: Students tell their CTE stories

September 30th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

It’s Time for Vocational Schools to Get Some Respect explores Career Technical Education in Massachusetts citing schools that have provided students with a pathway to a successful career. One student said, “Madison taught me how great it is to have an education and about being a professional in life. I just can’t ask for anything better. Madison Park saved my life.”

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Idaho CTE launched a new website with some fantastic student stories about their journey through programs of study that lead to their chosen career.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

500 SkillsUSA student leaders came together in Washington, D.C. to take part in a leadership training and to advocate for CTE. Check out this video about their experience.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Career Readiness Partners Gather in Washington, DC to Collaborate and Learn

September 30th, 2016

Career readiness can be achieved through statewide systems change — but it will take a unified effort from national partners working together to achieve that vision. That, at least, was my takeaway from Monday’s “Career Readiness in K-12 and Beyond” meeting hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) at the National Guard Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

The meeting brought together nearly forty partners representing non-profit organizations, foundations, government agencies, think tanks and companies to raise awareness about ongoing initiatives and to coalesce around a shared vision. With numerous efforts already underway at the national, state and local levels, I could feel the energy in the room around the subject of career readiness.

Former Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday kicked the meeting off by sharing the background of CCSSO’s Career Readiness Task Force. The task force launched in 2014 when Holliday was president of CCSSO, and in which Advance CTE’s Kimberly Green participated along with a number of State CTE Directors.  The task force released a report, titled “Opportunities and Options: Making Career Preparation Work for Students,” with recommendations for states to transform their career readiness systems. Currently, CCSSO — along with Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, with funding from JPMorgan Chase & Co. — is leading the  New Skills for Youth initiative to implement the task force’s recommendations in 24 states and D.C. We recently launched the Learning that Works Resource Center in support of the initiative, and if you haven’t visited the Resource Center yet, I highly recommend doing so.

The meeting quickly jumped from national to state and local efforts. For me, the most impactful part of the event was when Ghafoor Siddique, an Aerospace Instructor from Sno Isle Tech in Washington, spoke about developing an aerospace program for high school students. Siddique had been working for Boeing doing commercial flight tests when he was recruited by Sno Isle Tech. The program relies on the Core Plus curriculum, which was developed by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, the Boeing Company, the Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle and other companies. The curriculum uses industry-validated knowledge, skills and abilities to help students develop technical skills related to a particular career field.

Siddique also told us how, with support from his students, he launched an in-house aircraft maintenance company that services private planes, using profits to buy equipment for the class. This allows students to learn hands-on how to build and repair aircraft, while simultaneously allowing the school to sustain the aerospace program despite potentially prohibitive equipment costs. In the first few years since the program was launched, Siddique reported that several of his students had gone on to work for Boeing. The company, one of the largest global aircraft manufacturers, is based in Seattle, Washington.

Such programs are part of the reason why there is growing enthusiasm across the states for career readiness. That enthusiasm was clearly present among the attendees at Monday’s meeting. In between panels, we had the opportunity to share our own work and identify opportunities to collaborate with one another. We learned about efforts ranging from developing apprenticeship programs to encouraging adoption of industry credentials, each in support of the larger goal of improving career readiness for tomorrow’s workers.

Next month, states in the New Skills for Youth initiative will gather in Washington, DC to share their progress and outline their plans to transform career readiness systems back home. While only ten states will qualify for the next round of funding, many will follow through on their action plans, recognizing the need and importance of an educational system that prepares students for the workforce. Such aspirations are the reason why classes like Siddique’s can succeed.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Change is Necessary; Change is Possible

September 29th, 2016

How do we lead an effective Change effort? John Kotter, author of the renowned book called “Leading Change” explained eight steps for leading change. The first step is to create a sense of urgency. Without an understanding of the true challenges facing an organization, a business, or a community, it is difficult to garner the energy for sustained work around change.

Also of note is his third step: To “create a vision for change and key strategies.” One aspect of creating this vision is not only to articulate a positive future, but to convince people that change is possible and beneficial.

As leaders in Career Technical Education (CTE) and the broader Pathways Movement, these two ideas – Change is Necessary, and Change is Possible – go hand-in-hand.

In my new book, The Power and Promise of Pathways, I devote two chapters to organizing and communicating the most credible research and data available around these topics. The second chapter focuses on findings related to big economic and workforce trends of which everyone should be aware. I call these the Visible Challenges. They are:

1. The Skills Gap: There are Too Few Skilled Workers NC3T logo
2. There is an Entrepreneurship Gap
3. Too Many Are Opting Out of the Workforce
4. Too Many Youth Are Not Working and Not Going to School
5. Too Few Youth and Young Adults Are Completing Postsecondary Education
6. The U.S. Workforce is Slipping in Competitiveness
7. Too Many Young Adults are Facing Economic Set-Backs

Next, I identified a number of Root Causes that find their home in our education and workforce systems. These Root Causes start to point the way to a Pathways System initiative as the solution. They are:

1. Many Youth Don’t Experience Impactful Career Development
2. U.S. Culture is Dominated by “University-for-All” Message
3. Most Schools Don’t Embrace Employer Perspectives on Career Readiness
4. Too Many Youth Are Disengaged From Learning
5. Too Many Youth Have Weak Academic Skills and Lack College Readiness
6. Too Many Students Still Drop Out of High School
7. Very Few High School Graduates Have Well-Developed Career and Technical Knowledge
8. Our Student Population is Becoming More Diverse But Large Achievement Gaps Persist

In the next chapter, I organized research findings that suggest the effectiveness of Pathways System initiatives, as well as discreet education reform strategies that can be incorporated into a Pathways system. The positive evidence includes:

1. Pathways Initiatives Help Improve Academic Achievement
2. Pathways Initiatives Help Increase Rigorous Academic Course Taking
3. Pathways Initiatives Help Improve High School Graduation
4. Pathways Initiatives Help Develop Career Readiness Skills
5. Pathways Initiatives Help Increase Long-term Earnings

Specifically, Pathways-related reforms point to the following benefits:

1. Career Exploration

  • Career Exploration Helps Students Make Better College Choices
  • Career Exploration Leads to Better Postsecondary Achievement
  • Career Exploration Helps Students Make More Intentional Choices
  • Career Courses Help Improve Academic Achievement

2. Career and Technical Education

  • CTE Strengthens Student Achievement
  • CTE Credentials Boost Earnings
  • CTE Course-taking Reduces High School Dropouts
  • Career Technical Student Organizations Enhance Student Engagement
  • CTE Students Develop Workplace-relevant Competencies
  • Arkansas CTE Provides Achievement and Graduation Outcomes
  • Massachusetts CTE Elevates Achievement

3. Employer and Community Engagement

  • Employer Engagement Enhances the Student Learning Experience
  • Employer Engagement Improves Student Motivation for School Achievement
  • Employer Engagement Helps Students Makes Better Career Decisions
  • Community Volunteerism Strengthens Student Motivation and Achievement

4. Structured Student Supports

  • High School Support Strategies Help Prevent and Reduce Student Dropouts
  • High School Supports (AVID) Strengthen College Retention and Persistence
  • College Support (ASAP) Improves College Retention and Completion
  • Supports and Guidance Help Improve College Completion

5. Structured Programming

  • Structure Programs Improve College Enrollments and Completion (Early-College Initiative)
  • Guided Pathways in Community Colleges Strengthen Student Retention and Completion

6. Dynamic Teaching and Learning

  • Active Learning Strategies Help Improve Student Learning
  • Integrated Math-in-CTE Improves Student Achievement
  • Integrated Literacy-in-CTE Improve Student Achievement
  • Integration of Academic and CTE Content Promotes Postsecondary Success
  • Accelerated Developmental Education Increases Postsecondary Success

Of course, in this blog, we don’t have the space to explore the specifics behind each of these findings. But for those promoting Career Technical Education and Pathways Systems, rest assured that the data is compelling, and every day and every year, the body of knowledge is growing.

At the upcoming Advance CTE meeting, we are excited to offer a complimentary copy of The Power and Promise of Pathways to each meeting participant. I hope the way this information is organized will help you and your fellow leaders have more confidence in making the case for CTE and Pathways. Change is Necessary; Change is Possible!

This post was written by NC3T, a sponsor of the 2016 Advance CTE Fall Meeting. Thank you NC3T!

 

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