CTE Remained a Priority for State Policymakers in 2016

January 25th, 2017

Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Release Annual State Policies Impacting CTE: Year in Review, Highlighting State Policy Trends from 2016

Supporting and strengthening high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) remains a priority for state policymakers, according to a new report from Advance CTE and ACTE. The report, State Policies Impacting CTE: 2016 Year in Review, is the fourth annual policy scan highlighting state activity. Below are some key takeaways from the report.

More States Passed CTE-Related Policies in 2016 than the Year Before

In recent years, both state and national policymakers have demonstrated a growing interest in strengthening career readiness systems through legislation, executive orders, rulemaking, budget provisions and ballot initiatives. In 2016, states continued that trend, completing a total of 139 policy actions across 42 states. This is a slight increase over 2015, when 39 states passed a total of 125 policies.

This activity reflects that states are increasingly buying into the notion that alternative pathways such as two-year degrees, apprenticeships and industry-recognized credentials can lead to high-wage, high-demand careers. This is fueled in part by national initiatives such as the New Skills for Youth initiative, Pathways to Prosperity and the National Governors Association’s Talent Pipeline Policy academy, which each aim to catalyze the transformation of career preparation in states.

Funding Remains the Most Popular Policy Category for the Fourth Year

Funding was the leading category of policies passed in 2016, consistent with the past four years. Related policies this year include new grant initiatives such as the Strong Workforce Grant in California, which provides $200 million in noncompetitive funding to strengthen workforce development programs in California community colleges, and Massachusetts’ Workforce Skills Capital Grant Program. Last year also saw the restoration of funding for the Arizona Joint Technical Education Districts after a $29 million cut in 2015.

Other extant trends from the past year include policies related to industry partnerships and work-based learning; dual and concurrent enrollment, articulation and early college; and industry-recognized credentials.

States Are Gearing up for ESSA Implementation

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, was signed into law in December, 2015 and includes numerous opportunities for states to accelerate work around CTE and career readiness. While most states spent 2016 engaging various stakeholder groups and developing draft plans to implement the law, some states took initial steps to pass policies in support of implementation. West Virginia and Oklahoma, for example, each adopted accountability systems that recognize and value career preparation. West Virginia’s accountability system includes an indicator that recognizes the percentage of 12th grade CTE concentrators, while Oklahoma adopted a “Postsecondary Opportunity” indicator that includes dual credit coursework, internships, apprenticeships and industry certifications.

Successful Ballot Initiatives Demonstrate Voter Support for CTE

Several states saw and passed initiatives related to CTE on the November ballot. In Oregon, voters approved Measure 98, which establishes the College and Career Readiness Fund and directs the legislature to allocate $800 per pupil to establish and expand new programs, including CTE. Meanwhile, Arkansas voted to legalize medical marijuana and subject sale of the drug to state and local sales tax. Under the approved amendment, 60 percent of the revenue generated through the sale of medical marijuana will go to support skills development and training. South Dakota voters also approved a measure that directs the legislature to restructure the way the state technical colleges are governed and remove authority from the Board of Regents.

2016 saw growing momentum in support of CTE at the state level, and this year’s activity tees 2017 up to be an important year for CTE and career readiness in the U.S. We anticipate states will continue the work started in 2016 by picking up legislation introduced in 2016, adopting new strategies to implement federal legislation and beginning the work of implementing policies passed in 2016.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Welcome to Quentin Suffren, Texas’ New State CTE Director!

January 24th, 2017

Quentin Suffren admits he’s not your usual State Director for Career Technical Education (CTE).

For more than 16 years, Suffren worked in both the nonprofit and private sectors, leading large-scale education projects such as managing data and reporting systems with the New York-based Amplify Education, implementing a teacher evaluation system with The New Teacher Project in Houston, Texas, and serving as the chief academic officer for The Learning Institute.

In August 2016, he joined the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to serve as the Executive Director for College, Career and Military Prep, which includes the state’s CTE office.

The TEA reorganized last year, and as a result, CTE gained a higher profile within the department when the state joined the Pathways to Prosperity Network, which is a group of states working to build seamless career pathway systems that link high school, work and postsecondary education. The career pathways initiative is what brought Suffren to the agency, and since joining in August, has been working to coordinate the state’s efforts.

“What became really clear as I joined TEA, a lot of those pathways run directly through CTE,” Suffren said. “This puts CTE in the limelight and acknowledges that it is direct preparatory pathway to college and careers.”

In his new role, Suffren said he is looking forward to finding new and better ways to increase students’ access to high quality career pathways, expanding college and career counseling for all students and their parents, and removing barriers to work-based learning.

“It’s not college or career anymore. It’s both, and CTE is a huge part of that,” Suffren said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate of Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Betsy DeVos on CTE: Students Need to Have a Full Menu of Options

January 18th, 2017

On Friday, Donald Trump is scheduled to be sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States. While the Senate has yet to hold a floor vote to confirm any of the President-elect’s cabinet nominees, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) held a hearing Tuesday evening for Mrs. Betsy DeVos, President-Elect Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Department of Education.

While much remains unknown about President-Elect Trump’s education agenda and his priorities for the coming year, during her opening statement DeVos stated that we need to “embrace new pathways of learning,” by “support[ing] all postsecondary avenues, including trade and vocational schools and community colleges.”

Later in the hearing, Sen. Tim Scott (R-NC) pressed her again on increasing flexibility for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. A lifelong advocate for student choice, DeVos responded that “students really need to have a full menu of options,” including “technical schools, community colleges [and] apprenticeships.”

DeVos is not new to CTE. She and her husband Richard “Dick” DeVos Jr., billionaire entrepreneur and heir to the Amway enterprise, co-founded an aviation-themed charter school in Grand Rapids, MI. West Michigan Aviation Academy opened in 2010 and includes a rigorous curriculum that integrates both academic and technical education. According to the school’s website, Aviation Academy also hosts regular job shadowing events, during which industry professionals come to campus to speak with and mentor students.

The hearing was not without disagreements, however. While Republicans on the HELP Committee largely praised DeVos’s philanthropic background and advocacy for school choice, Senate Democrats pressed her on outstanding conflicts of interest (DeVos has yet to disclose all of her financial engagements to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics) and her position on issues such as accountability, campus sexual assault and guns in schools.  

A confirmation vote is tentatively scheduled for next Tuesday, though Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) assured concerned Democrats on the Committee that they will have an opportunity to submit additional questions to DeVos prior to that date. He also said he would delay the vote if DeVos’s ethics review letter is not available from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics by that time.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Registration Now Open for 2017 Spring Meeting

January 17th, 2017

Registration for the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting is now open! We hope you will join us May 2-4, 2017, in Washington, DC, to explore the major issues impacting and influencing Career Technical Education (CTE) today.

The annual Advance CTE Spring Meeting draws CTE leaders from nearly every state. This year, you can expect to:

  • Network with your peers from across the country and share best practices
  • Celebrate the one-year anniversary of Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE
  • Engage national experts about the prospects for reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act
  • Learn about how other states are implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Workforce and Innovation and Opportunity Act to advance high-quality CTE
  • Honor high-quality CTE programs of study during our annual Excellence in Action Awards ceremony

Early bird rates end on February 28.  Not yet a member of Advance CTE? Join today and enjoy even greater savings on your meeting registration!

Register today!

This Week in CTE: $20M in grants support 10 states in career readiness system transformation

January 13th, 2017

TWEET(S) OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Earlier this week, 10 states received $2 million each to strengthen career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with high-skill jobs in their state as part of the New Skills for Youth initiative. All states were selected from a cohort of 24 that received $100,000 grants to plan long-term career readiness education programs in March, and will now put those plans into action. Want to learn more about what the 10 states have accomplished so far? Read our 10 state snapshots.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is spearheading this $75 million effort, and CEO Jamie Dimon discussed the importance of providing career opportunities to youth around the country stating, “It is a moral imperative that we get jobs for kids.” Hear more about why JPMorgan Chase is leading this important work.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

$20 Million Grants Awarded to 10 States to Improve Career Pathways for all Students

January 11th, 2017

JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced nearly $20 million in grants to ten states to dramatically increase the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for careers. These state grants are one part of the $75 million, five-year New Skills for Youth initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase & Co., in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, aimed at strengthening career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with high-skill jobs.

Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin will each receive $2 million over three years to expand and improve career pathways for all high school students.

In March 2016, 24 states and the District of Columbia were awarded $100,000 grants for planning and early implementation of long-term career readiness education programs that align with the needs of area employers. The grants awarded today represent the second phase of the New Skills for Youth initiative. All of today’s recipients were selected from the original 25 grantees. These states will now leverage the additional grant funding to execute the career readiness plans they developed during phase one of the initiative.

“Providing opportunities for all students to participate in high-quality career readiness programs is critical to their future success and the future of our country,” said Advance CTE Executive Director Kimberly Green. “I am thrilled at the progress made by these states and excited at the prospects this initiative offers for all learners and all states.”

As part of this work, Advance CTE, CCSSO and Education Strategy Group have released 10 snapshots highlighting each of the grantees’ accomplishments in the first phase of the initiative, which be read here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Welcome to Lynne Gilli, Maryland’s New State CTE Director!

January 10th, 2017

In 1972, Lynne Gilli was a high school senior, an honors student and on track to attend university the following year. But when she requested to take cosmetology classes at her district’s career center, her high school counselor was shocked and actively discouraged the idea.

Because all of her graduation requirements were met, Gilli defied the counselor and took the cosmetology classes, hoping that she could use those skills to help pay her way through college.

Though few may have predicted the impact of that decision, it ultimately led Gilli to being named the Assistant State Superintendent for the Division of Career and College Readiness by the Maryland State Board of Education in October 2016.

Gilli is no stranger to the state’s office for Career Technical Education (CTE) – or career and technology education as it is known in Maryland. In fact, she landed her first job there in 1982 after receiving her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Over 34 years, she has worked in various positions in the state CTE office, including coordinating two Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), managing  CTE state planning and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reporting, and then leading the office’s CTE instructional branch.

“This is a great learning organization,” Gilli said. “I’ve learned a lot from working here.”

During more than three decades as a state CTE leader, Gilli has seen CTE evolve from the narrowly focused, terminal vocational education. Today, CTE students are expected to have the same academic preparation, and now have greater opportunities to explore high-skill, high-wage professional career fields such as engineering, bio-medical studies and computer science. The “new” CTE enables students to earn early college credit and industry-recognized credentials before leaving high school.

“It’s exploded into a much more appealing way to learn. Students aren’t just memorizing procedures anymore. They’re working in teams, learning to communicate and making presentations,” Gilli said. “Through participation in CTSOs – these students are at the top of their game and earning national recognition for their skills.”

Under her leadership, Gilli plans to expand students’ access to high-quality CTE programs of study at secondary and postsecondary levels to better prepare graduates for lifelong learning and success.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

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.

 

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