This Week in CTE

March 25th, 2016

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

The National Career Pathways Network’s Career Pathways Partnership Excellence Award is accepting applications until May 25. The award focuses on career guidance and advising, professional development for both educators and employers, and work-based learning.

INFOGRAPHIC OF THE WEEK

An infographic produced by The Kresge Foundation explains the urban higher education ecosystem.

RESORUCE OF THE WEEK

LinkedIn, Burning Glass and Markle Foundation launched Skillful.com, a website middle-skills workers in Colorado, with plan to expand to Phoenix.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Salmon, Maryland’s Newest State CTE Director, Looks Towards Preparing Students for College and Career

March 25th, 2016

Dr. Karen Salmon, the newest State CTE Director in Maryland and the current interim Deputy State ksalmonSuperintendent, has deep roots in Career Technical Education (CTE). She spent most of her career in Maryland serving roles that span the education sector, including teacher, an evaluator and coordinator to support people with disabilities at a CTE center, administrator, and assistant superintendent. From working on the ground as an educator to serving as a superintendent in both New York and Maryland, Salmon has a breadth of expertise and knowledge about how CTE works from the classroom to the state level.

In taking over as the State CTE Director, Salmon is focused on fine tuning the programs in the state. This includes further developing programs of study in the STEM Career Cluster, which resulted in an almost $1 million grant to promote biomedical programs in Maryland.

Additionally, the state is honing in on what it means for their students to be college and career ready, in which CTE will play a large role. To that end, Salmon is working on an initiative in response to a Senate bill requiring all students to be college and career ready by their junior year. When looking to the future, Salmon believes there needs to be a shifting of priorities of students, parents and the education system. “What we need to tell our kids is that everyone needs to be preparing for a career,” said Salmon. “College is not a career. College is the most expensive career development program we could ever have. We have to confront this idea that everyone is going to go to college.”

Despite CTE’s strength in preparing students for both college and careers, like many states, Maryland is facing a perception challenge. “We have to change the mindsets of many parents, teachers, and counselors all the way up the line about what the goals of CTE programs of study are. While it remains difficult, we’re constantly working on how to market ourselves more strategically and positively,” said Salmon. One of the ways this is being accomplished is through stronger student organizations, which help communicate the value of CTE to not only students, but also their parents.

We look forward to Salmon’s leadership in promoting college and career readiness, and advocacy in CTE’s important across the state.
Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

This Week in CTE

March 18th, 2016

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Northwest Suburban High School District 214’s $1,000 Twitter-based scholarship contest asks seniors to record 30 second videos explaining how they are college or career ready. The scholarship goes hand in hand with the district’s Redefining Ready Initiative, which encourages looking beyond test scores to determine college an career readiness, looking at metrics from dual enrollment to industry certifications.

VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK

NOCTI announced the winners of their 2016 video contest with the theme, Be Your Own Hero! Students submitted videos highlighting the skills they’ve gained and the benefits of CTE.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

The Southwest Transportation Workforce Center and Advance CTE cosponsored the webinar, Innovative Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Partnerships featuring teachers, administrators and industry partners who presented best practices for delivering transportation curriculum to students grades 6-12.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

March 11th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

The Washington Post highlighted the Arlington Career Center’s proposed Arlington Tech program, which would put CTE at the center of the school’s curriculum. While students would take core academic classes, they would also participate in a multitude of project-based learning opportunities and potentially allowing students to earn postsecondary credit.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

The U.S. Department of Education launched the CTE Makeover Challenge providing $200,000 to high schools to create makerspaces, providing students with both the materials and environment they need to succeed.

RESEARCH OF THE WEEK

Results from the international large scale study of adult skills and life experience on education and employment, Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) was released in a report, Skills of U.S. Unemployed, Young and Older Adults in Sharper Focus, this week. Conducted in the U.S. and 23 other countries in 2012/2014, the U.S. did not perform well. Overall, the study found that adults ages 16-65 scored slightly lower than average in literacy, well lower than average in numeracy, and dead last of the 23 countries in problem solving in technology-rich environments.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

CTE Research Review Part II

March 11th, 2016

If you missed yesterday’s post, you can catch it here. And now a quick look at new papers exploring competency-based education, the value of credentials, and many others!

Competency-based Education

Competency-based education continues to garner the attention of policymakers, educators and the research community. Here are a few new pieces on competency-based education in both K-12 and higher education.

In Case You Missed It:

Advance CTE Legislative Update: Senate HELP Committee Moves Forward with John King Nomination as USDE Announces New Grant Opportunity

March 11th, 2016

United States CapitalOn Wednesday March 9th, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted to advance President Obama’s nomination of John King to be the next U.S. Secretary of Education. King has been in this position in an acting capacity since December 2015. As we shared earlier this week, King recently appeared before the committee to discuss the details of his nomination and make his case to members directly. The committee voted on a 16-6 margin to move forward with his nomination.

Later that same day, King visited the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center in Baltimore, Maryland to formally announce the U.S. Department of Education’ (USDE) new “Career and Technical Education (CTE) Makeover Challenge”. This competition will be administered by USDE to support the creation of “maker spaces”— dedicated space in high schools where students “have access to the tools to design, build, and innovate.” The competition is offering $200,000 in total prize money to 10 award recipients for this purpose and is being funded by USDE’s national programs funding via the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins).

The deadline for applications is April 1, 2016 and more information on how to apply can be found here.

During this announcement, Acting Secretary King also called on Congress to renew the Perkins Act saying, “It’s time for Congress to reauthorize the Perkins Act so that every student, in every community has access to rigorous, relevant, and results-driven CTE programs.”

Gainful Employment Regulations Survive Second Challenge

On Tuesday March 8th, a federal appeals court upheld USDE’s gainful employment regulations— rules that seek to hold career education programs accountable for students’ levels of debt and earnings.

The court rejected a second challenge from the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, ruling that USDE has the necessary legal authority to promulgate rules that measure students’ debt-to-earnings ratios and hold colleges accountable for those levels of student earnings and debt.

A previous iteration of this rule was struck down in federal court in 2012, forcing USDE to recraft them into their current version. Gainful employment regulations have been in effect since July 1, 2015 and this most recent decision by the courts makes it much more likely that the rules will stay in effect for the foreseeable future.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager  

CTE Research Review Part I

March 10th, 2016

It’s been a while since we’ve brought you an update on relevant research from the field. There’s so much to cover we’ve broken it into two parts.

A Look at Postsecondary Education

From the New America Foundation, researcher Mary Alice McCarthy challenges the artificial distinction between education and training and calls for “upside-down degrees” to reinvent the outdated concept of what the postsecondary education experience can be.

McCarthy offers reforms to state and federal education policies to create this flipped paradigm. She also points to states and institutions that are building pathways to four-year degrees that start with a career-training program. Others are developing “applied” bachelor’s degrees to help students build on and extend their technical expertise.

Other postsecondary-focused research:

  • The New York Federal Reserve has a report taking a closer look at unemployed college graduates and found that those who major in more technically oriented, occupation-specific fields have much lower underemployment rates than their peers in more general fields.
  • Columbia University’s Community College Research Center looks at institutional and state effectiveness in helping students transfer from community college.

Research from the Center for Education and the Workforce

New from Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce (CEW), you can take advantage of their new State Initiative, which is a portal to help states use data more effectively to inform policy and planning around education and careers.

Don’t miss CEW’s other new reports:

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Advance CTE Legislative Update: Acting U.S. Education Secretary Visits Capitol Hill as Perkins Funding Requests Begin to Circulate

March 8th, 2016

United States CapitalLast week, Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King participated in multiple congressional hearings to discuss the potential of the Senate formally confirming his position as Secretary (he has been “Acting” since December 2015), the ongoing implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and the Administration’s most recent budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.

King first appeared before the House Education and the Workforce Committee (HEW) to highlight his department’s education priorities outlined in the President’s final budget request to Congress. As we shared earlier, the President proposed to fund the Carl D. Perkins Act’s (Perkins) basic state grant program at approximately $1.118 billion in the upcoming fiscal year— the same amount the program has received since FY 2014 or about $5.4 million below “pre-sequester” levels. Instead the Administration renewed its proposal for an “American Technical Training Fund” (ATTF), a competitive grant program that would focus limited investments in shorter-term job training initiatives in high-demand sectors.

This type of proposal has been an enduring theme in the President’s past budgets and was one that could be found throughout the budget request this year— proposals for a series of many new or competitive programs at the expense of existing ones. Chairman John Kline (R-MN) expressed significant concerns about this at the outset of the hearing, arguing that these proposals were untested and would lead to “chronically underfunding” existing investments in education.

House CTE Caucus co-Chair Rep. Glen Thompson (R-PA) reiterated these concerns further into the hearing. Specifically he pressed the Acting Secretary to explain why the Administration had proposed the ATTF— which would only support 5-25 programs in the country according the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDE) own estimation— when it had reported the same week that many Career Technical Education programs throughout the country had waiting lists due to lack of capacity. King responded by highlighting the Admisntration’s “Next Generation High School” efforts, a separate proposal from ATTF.  Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) also expressed similar concerns about the ATTF proposal, particularly related to the challenges low-income communities would face when trying to compete for these grants.

Further in the week, King returned to HEW to talk about the ongoing implementation of ESSA. Here he focused his remarks on USDE’s plans for the law’s implementation over the coming few years and the specific resources his department was developing for these purposes. A new ESSA FAQ resource was published by USDE shortly after this hearing.

Later that same day, King appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee as members there considered his nomination to formally serve as U.S. Secretary of Education for the remainder of President Obama’s time in office. During his remarks the Acting Secretary highlighted his experience as Commissioner of Education in New York and his efforts to expand CTE offerings in the state through a partnership with IBM and the expansion of their P-TECH program.

King also emphasized the need to reauthorize the Perkins Act saying, “Let’s make 2016 the year we transform career and technical education for the 21st century by driving innovation and quality.” The HELP committee is set to vote on his nomination in the coming weeks and it is widely expected that the full Senate will take his nomination up sometime following that.

Ask Your Members of Congress to Support Perkins Funding!

This month, Members of Congress in both Chambers will have the opportunity to voice their support for additional Perkins funding in the upcoming FY 2017 budget and appropriations process.

CTE Caucus co-Chairs Rep. Thompson (R-PA) and Langevin (D-RI) are currently circulating a letter in the House that calls for “pre-sequester” funding levels for Perkins in FY 2017— about $5.4m over what is currently being invested in the law’s basic state grant program. Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) is circulating a similar letter in the Senate with the same ask of Congressional appropriators in that chamber.

Perkins is the sole federal investment in CTE and provides foundational support for high-quality CTE programs found in every State and congressional district. However due to difficult decisions made over the past few years, Perkins funding has declined by 13 percent since FY 2007— approximately $170 million less now goes to support high schools, tech centers, and community colleges via the Perkins Act.

Advance CTE encourages you to reach your to your Members of Congress to urge them to sign-on in support of these letters. To do so, please visit the Association for Career and Technical Education’s (ACTE) CTE Action Center to email your Representative and / or Senator and voice your support!

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

This Week in CTE

March 4th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

John King, Acting Secretary of Education, published an article celebrating Career Technical Education during CTE Month. “… CTE matters more than ever to the success of learners of all ages: because CTE is a way to open up real, clear, rewarding career pathways for all students.  As an instructional approach, it offers quality, rigor, and relevance,” said King.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning released a new resource this week, Innovation Zones: Creating Policy Flexibility for Personalized Learning. The issue brief provides background information on innovation zones and how they spur the development of innovative learning models.

INFOGRAPHIC OF THE WEEK

Education Policy developed an infographic based on the National Career Clusters framework.

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Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Education and Business Partnerships Necessary to Prepare a Skilled Workforce

March 3rd, 2016

This post was written by Becky Hoelscher, Director of AC Aftermarket, Emerson Climate Technologies Air Conditioning Business for our Friends of CTE series. 

While I was in high school, I was enrolled in a Career Technical Education (CTE) program where I was introduced to hands-on learning tactics that taught me valuable career competencies. After completion of this program, my classmates and I were prepared to enter into a workforce that was not only high in demand, but also required a high level of academic knowledge and technical skills. I am believer in and advocate for CTE because as a graduate myself, I understand just how important hands-on learning is for students preparing to enter into the workforce.

Need Recognition for HVAC Professionals
At Emerson Climate Technologies, we are working to recruit heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals to meet the growth predicted for our industry. In fact, in less than ten years, there will be 55,900 HVAC jobs1 added to the U.S. economy without the skilled workforce to fill the positions.
As skilled trade workers retire at a rapid speed, there are simply not enough trained individuals entering the workforce to replace them. Additionally, as older HVAC equipment becomes outdated and inefficient, current professionals will need to upskill and become familiar with new technologies, while future workers will need to be trained in both old and new technologies. At Emerson, we see HVAC jobs left unfilled every day. This is why supporting HVAC education and training has become a top priority for us.

Supporting the Future of HVAC Professionals
One of our strongest partnerships is with Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC), a nationally recognized CTE center located near our headquarters in Sidney, Ohio, where students develop valuable academic, employability and technical HVAC skills by learning how to design, install and maintain controlled environments.

Emerson has representatives on UVCC’s Advisory Council, where we contribute curriculum development expertise for students and faculty regularly. We have also provided grants, donated equipment and conducted professional development for instructors to keep them up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field. Over the years, we have consistently hired current UVCC students as interns, as well as recent graduates because we know they so well qualified.

Additionally, Emerson has provided marketing support for UVCC – helping develop the “Cool School, Hot Career” 11194628_10152906910723196_5261498197260186941_omarketing campaign – to generate interest in the HVAC field and recruit students to the program. As part of the campaign, we host career days where employees teach students about the variety of careers available across the HVAC industry.

This year, Emerson Climate Technologies was announced as the Association for Career and Technical Education’s Business of the Year for our commitment to CTE through our 17-year partnership and support of CTE professionals.
By partnering with local CTE programs, we are able to benefit the students, the local community, our wholesalers, contractors and the company itself. Seeing the benefit of this hands-on training, we will continue to support CTE by collaborating with local schools to create high-quality programs such as the program at UVCC. We encourage businesses in not only HVAC, but across all sectors, to provide support to CTE programs.

1. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm

Learn more about our Friends of CTE Series.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

 

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