New PDK Poll Shows that Americans Overwhelmingly Support Career Preparation in High School

September 5th, 2017

The 49th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released recently, and once again showed the importance of career preparation in K-12 for American students. Respondents overwhelmingly supported the idea that students need classes devoted to preparing them for the real world, including training for specific careers and training on employability and interpersonal skills. Over 80 percent indicated that they would prefer career and jobs preparation courses even if it meant students spending less time in academic courses.

Fewer than half of public school parents (47 percent) expect their child to enroll in a four-year college full time. Other parents expected their child to enroll in two-year colleges or vocational programs, while others expect their students will enroll in postsecondary training part-time while also working. These findings indicate that parents are thinking deliberately and strategically about their students’ futures in the real world.

New Research Highlights Number of Jobs Available for Those without Bachelor’s Degree

A new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, in collaboration with JPMorgan Chase & Co. details the 30 million “good” jobs available in the US for workers without Bachelor’s degrees. These jobs pay a median wage of $55,000 annually, and are largely found in the manufacturing and skilled-services industries.

The research also points out that even though there is a wide public perception that there are no jobs available for those without Bachelor’s degrees, workers without them still comprise 64 percent of all workers. However, this does not mean that workers do not require any postsecondary training. Increasingly, jobs are requiring Associate’s degrees or other postsecondary credentials, so future job seekers should still plan on attaining some level of postsecondary experience.

Odds and Ends

The Education Commission of the States recently put together a comprehensive summary of state policy actions taken related to high-quality computer science education. These actions include adopting statewide computer science standards and creating banks of high quality resources for educators to use.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce also recently released a report detailing the effects of the current healthcare debate on the nursing profession. The report finds that a college education is increasingly important to be successful in nursing, and also finds that lack of diversity remains a challenge for the field.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Welcome to Dr. Colleen McCabe, Wisconsin’s New State CTE Director!

September 5th, 2017

Earlier this year, Colleen McCabe was visiting the Wisconsin state capitol to meet with legislators about funding for her local school district, or as she describes it, “happily minding my own business.”

That’s when she got a text from a close friend, Morna Foy, who also happens to be the president of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). Foy asked McCabe to consider joining her at WTCS as Provost and Vice President of Student Affairs.

McCabe knew this would require her to fill the very big shoes of Kathy Cullen, who was retiring after having served in that role for more than a decade. Ultimately, she accepted and was named to the position in early August.

As she settles into her new role, McCabe said she is looking forward to learning more about the shape and history of the technical college system, and using her well-honed skills of innovation and collaboration to look across the system to make sure WTCS is best serving their learners.

Starting from her time as a college athlete and later a coach, McCabe said she believes in understanding the individual gifts of each player or student, rather than trying to force them into a prescribed system. Her greatest coaching challenge came when she served as the coach for a high school boys’ basketball team.

“Working with 19 ninth grade boys, you learn a lot about how to get your message across and get people working together toward a common goal,” she said.

McCabe began her career in education teaching high school health and physical education in Wisconsin. She went on to get her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, from St. Mary’s, Winona, because she wanted to work to help integrate health skills and competencies across discipline areas in education. After 14 years of K-12 instruction, she joined the University of Wisconsin-Platteville as an assistant volleyball coach and lecturer. During her 17 years at the Platteville campus, she completed her doctorate in educational leadership, from Edgewood College and then entered into a faculty role, where she continued to teach and served as department chair of Health and Human Performance for 14 years.

McCabe also consulted with the state’s Department of Public Instruction on their health education initiative to help K-12 educators revamp their curricula to focus on the development of the health-related skills, through use of content activities and assessments. This “Skills are the Units” concept prompts developmental learning so that students know how to use health content effectively throughout life. Because of her work in both K-12 and teacher education training, the Wisconsin Health and Physical Education Association, honored her as the 2014 Health Educator of the Year.

Now at WTCS, she plans to leverage all of this experience to keep the technical college system on the cutting edge. She noted to support the vision, planning, and work needed to remain a leader in career and technical education requires the ability to adapt and make changes.

“Change is hard,” McCabe said. “No one welcomes it, even the minute changes. I believe my role at WTCS is about supporting people when they have to get out of their comfort zone when change is needed.”

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

This Week in CTE: Americans Want More Career Focused Education in Schools

September 1st, 2017

RESEARCH OF THE WEEK 

The Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released this week and had some excellent findings about CTE and career readiness including:

  • 82 percent of Americans support job or career skills classes even if that means they spend less time in academic classes,
  • 86 percent say schools should offer certificate or licensing programs,
  • 82 percent say it is very important for schools to help students develop interpersonal skills.

The poll finds that increasingly, people expect school to not only prepare students for postsecondary, but also their life after their education. Read more about the results.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 

Job Centered Learning, the documentary exploring CTE courses and the role they play in preparing students for life after school, airs in Mississippi, Alabama and the greater Los Angeles area this weekend. Find out when it’s playing in your state by checking your local PBS network.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Check out six new modules with lesson plans and activities to teach middle and high school students about advanced transportation systems, and introduce the array of careers available in the field.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Excellence in Action Spotlight: Millard Education Career Academy gives students leg up on careers

August 29th, 2017

As teachers around the nation arrive back at their schools this month to set up their classrooms, finalize lesson plans, and take in the calm before the storm, several new members will be among their ranks. To honor the ground work done to prepare them, we’d like to highlight our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Education & Training Career Cluster, the Millard Public Schools Education Career Academy, located at Millard West High School in Omaha, NE.

At Advance CTE, we believe that in order to provide the best Career Technical Education (CTE), programs of study must give all learners authentic, real-world experiences linked to the career interest of their choice. At the Education Career Academy, real-world experiences are the bedrock of the curriculum. In partnership with the school district, students participate in extensive work-based learning internships to put what they’re learning into practice and build connections with educators in their communities.

During their junior year, students enter the workplace for part of the school day one day a week for two, nine-week placements. The first placement pairs education students with a student in a special needs classroom. While education students do not have access to Individualized Education Plan (IEPs), the special education teacher gives them all the goals they are working toward with these students. On the last day of this placement, Academy students present a specialized academic and social lesson plan they’ve designed for their partnered student.

The second nine-week classroom placement is through partnerships with five elementary and three middle schools. These offer a variety of practical experiences – ranging from Montessori classrooms to IB classrooms, schools with high proportions of English language learners to schools with high proportions of low-income students. These experiences include observation and shadowing, as well as mentoring and tutoring a general education student. This array of site placements and multitude of approaches and types of teaching the students get to experience allows them to see what age group and setting they are most suited to teach, and plan their postsecondary education and career pathway accordingly.

For the last nine weeks of their senior year, students are placed for four half days per week in a classroom for an education practicum totaling 108 contact hours. This experience includes collaborating with teachers and parents, lesson design and delivery, and reflection activities throughout. Graduates of the program are armed with a portfolio of lesson plans they’ve designed and implemented and educator feedback, giving them a tremendous leg up in postsecondary and beyond.

Learn more about the Education Career Academy at Millard West High School and our 2017 award winners.

In Ohio, Policymakers Modify Graduation Requirements, Expand Credential Options

August 29th, 2017

When Ohio state legislators passed HB487 in 2014, their intention was to increase flexibility, strengthen the rigor of high school examinations and provide more opportunities for learners to graduate ready for careers. Among other reforms, the bill formalized three pathways to graduation that would go into effect for the graduating class of 2018 (those students starting grade 12 this fall). These pathways include earning a remediation-free score on a college entrance examination, earning a cumulative passing score on seven end-of-course exams, or earning certain state-approved industry-recognized credentials.

But when local superintendents raised concerns about the policy earlier this year, state policymakers made critical last-minute changes and adopted additional graduation options. The concern was largely rooted in the idea that new end-of-course examinations were more difficult than previous versions and that many students would fall short of the full points needed to earn a diploma. Local leaders worried that the state graduation rate would fall by as much as a third under the new requirements.

In responses to this concern, Superintendent Paolo DeMaria and the State Board of Education identified a temporary solution that would provide additional flexibility and delay full implementation for a year. That modification was officially adopted and authorized by the legislature in the fiscal year 2018-19 operating budget, passed in June. Under the policy change, students in the class of 2018 will have two additional opportunities to earn a high school diploma. Under one pathway, students will still have to earn 20 course credits and take end-of-course exams, but they can also graduate by meeting at least two of the following:

  • 93 percent attendance during senior year;
  • a 2.5 GPA in at least four full-year senior-year courses;
  • a senior-year capstone project;
  • 120 hours of senior-year work or community service;
  • three credit hours via college credit plus;
  • passage of an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate class and exam;
  • a level three score on each of the three components of the WorkKeys test;
  • industry-recognized credentials totaling at least three points in Ohio’s system; and
  • receipt of an Ohio Means Jobs readiness seal.

An additional pathway allows students to earn a diploma by completing end-of-course examinations, finishing at least four courses in a state approved CTE program of study, and either earning a proficient score on technical skill assessments, earning an industry-recognized credential or completing 250 hours of work-based learning. While these changes only apply to the graduation class of 2018, the state hopes to develop a long-term solution soon.

Ohio Students Now Have More Options to Earn Industry-Recognized Credentials

Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Education expanded options for students on the credential graduation pathway by adopting 49 new industry-recognized credentials. The current list spans 13 career fields ranging from health to hospitality and tourism. To be added to the list, credentials must either be aligned with in-demand occupations in Ohio or be submitted for consideration by members of the public.

To help learners take full advantage of the industry-recognized credential pathway and cross the finish line with credentials in hand, Ohio is also implementing a senior only credential program. The program is designed to help high school seniors who have met most of their graduation requirements round out their senior year and graduate career ready. Participating students can choose from several credentials — such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America Approved Veterinary Assistant credential or the American Medical Certification Association Phlebotomy Technician Certification — that can be earned within a year or less. The senior year credential program is a key piece of Ohio’s career readiness strategy under the New Skills for Youth initiative.

Elsewhere, States Authorize New Grants, Modify Course Requirements and Finalize ESSA Plans

  • To address a growing skills gap and equip learners with credentials to meet the demand of tomorrow’s workforce, Indiana Gov. Holcomb announced the Next Level Jobs Initiative. The initiative includes the Workforce Ready Grant — authorized by the legislature earlier this year — and the Employer Training Grant program, totalling more than $20 million over the next two years.
  • The Utah State Board of Education removed a requirement that middle school students take classes in physical education, health, the arts, and college and career readiness. The decision was designed to provide local education agencies more flexibility to set their own course requirements. While all classes must be offered, districts can choose to integrate courses as long as the core standards in each course are taught.
  • Meanwhile, several states have released updated or final versions of their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation plans for public comment — including Wyoming, which submitted a plan to the U.S. Department of Education one month early. Read Advance CTE’s latest commentary on ESSA implementation here.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Congress Plans Appropriations Action in September & New WIOA Resources

August 23rd, 2017

While Congress is in recess until September 5, they’re likely to move quickly on the appropriations process for the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) when they return. Read below to find out more about what’s on the agenda for Congress in September and new resources on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), including a report and three short videos.

House to Consider Omnibus Spending Bill After Recess

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider an eight bill omnibus appropriations bill when they return from recess the week of September 4. The bill will include the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies spending bill, which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. It will be bundled with seven other appropriations bills in H.R. 3354, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, when it goes to the House floor. In addition, the appropriations process in the Senate is likely to pick up again in early September –  now is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress (thanks to our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) for sharing their resources with the entire CTE community) to let them know that you support a strong federal investment in Career Technical Education (CTE)!

New Report on Importance of Partnership Between States and the Federal Government on Workforce Development 

The National Governors Association and the National Associations of State Workforce Liaisons and State Workforce Board Chairs just released a report, The Promise of the State-Federal Partnership on Workforce Development & Training, that outlines three cornerstones of successful state workforce development systems. One of these cornerstones is “Education Partnerships Align Education and Training with Skill Needs,” which calls for supporting and expanding opportunities for work-based learning and CTE (page 3). The report also highlights how WIOA and a continued federal investment in state workforce programs are key to growing state economies and provides seven recommendations for the Trump Administration.

Looking for Videos about WIOA Implementation?

Check out three new videos from WorkforceGPS, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, that were filmed during the 2017 WIOA National Convenings. In these short videos, attendees answered the following questions: “What is Innovation?“, “How Has WIOA Changed the Work You Do?” and “What WIOA Work Has You Excited?” and shared stories about their efforts to implement WIOA.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Latest Advance CTE Brief Examines Rural CTE Program Quality

August 22nd, 2017

When Todd County School District received a $103,000 grant in 2014 under Governor Dennis Daugaard’s South Dakota Future Fund, the rural South Dakota district put the money to use, administering a survey of local business leaders to identify the career pathways that were most in need in the community. With the information collected through the survey, Todd County School District updated and aligned Career Technical Education (CTE) curriculum to better reflect employer needs.

Targeted investments like Gov. Daugaard’s fund, which has since evolved into South Dakota’s Workforce Education Grant program, provide a catalyst for rural districts and institutions to improve CTE program quality and ensure career pathways are aligned with labor market needs and student interest.

Improving CTE quality in rural communities is an imperative for all states, yet rural CTE programs often face unique challenges that are not present in more densely populated areas. For example, decentralization, lack of resources and more limited employer relationships in rural communities can result in the preservation of legacy programs over more industry-relevant career pathways. Decisions about what programs to offer are too often driven by the availability of equipment or facilities, teacher supply and even tradition.

To help states improve the quality of rural CTE, Advance CTE today released the first in a series of briefs titled CTE on the Frontier: Catalyzing Local Efforts to Improve Program Quality. The brief explores state strategies to improve the quality of local CTE programs to ensure they meet industry needs and expand opportunities for rural learners, drawing on promising practices from the states:

  • In Nebraska, the reVISION initiative has helped bring together education and business leaders in 87 districts since 2012. Through the initiative, state officials provide local leaders with labor market information to help develop strategic action plans and design CTE programs that are aligned to regional labor market needs.
  • South Dakota’s Workforce Education Grant program distributes competitive funds to support CTE programs in rural districts. Through the 18-month grant period, the South Dakota Department of Education provides technical assistance and coaching to help local grant recipients maximize the use of funds.
  • A program alignment initiative in Idaho has helped link secondary and postsecondary programs through statewide articulation agreements and technical skills assessments. Officials from the Division of Career & Technical Education regularly convene secondary and postsecondary educators to examine student learning expectations and ensure learners are set up for success when they transition to college, no matter where they come from
  • Meanwhile, Mississippi’s Community College Board employs a program approval process that requires all postsecondary programs to justify employer need and student demand before they are approved. Further, postsecondary CTE curricula are developed by the Board, ensuring that all learners, particularly those in rural communities, can access the same high quality, industry-aligned content.

These examples demonstrate different approaches state leaders can take to empower local leaders and support program improvement in rural areas. Future briefs in the CTE on the Frontier series will tackle other common challenges, including learner access to the world of work, employing strategic partnerships to increase program offerings and strengthening the rural CTE teacher pipeline.

CTE on the Frontier: Catalyzing Local Efforts to Improve Program Quality was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

How to Sell CTE to Parents & Students: States Share Lessons Learned

August 15th, 2017

In the spring, Advance CTE conducted focus groups and a national survey with parents and students to explore their attitudes towards Career Technical Education (CTE). Detailed in the recent report,  “The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education: Results from a National Survey of Parents and Students,”  Advance CTE found that students involved in CTE, and their parents, are extremely satisfied with their education experience – from the quality of their courses to the opportunity for work-based learning. Additionally, those not involved in CTE want more of these same opportunities, which we know CTE can provide.

Four states piloted the messages developed through the research in a series of onsite and online events with the goal of increasing enrollment into CTE programs of study. On September 7, join us from 3 – 4 p.m. ET for a webinar to hear how two states, Maryland and New Jersey, developed their recruitment strategies and activities, utilized the messages and research, and empowered educators, employers, administrators and even students to carry out the messages to middle and high school students and their parents.
Speakers: 
  • Marquita Friday, Program Manager, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Lori Howard, Communications Officer, Office of Career Readiness, New Jersey Department of Education
  • Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications, Advance CTE
Space is limited to be sure to register now! 
Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Welcome to Chad Maclin, DC’s new State CTE Director!

August 15th, 2017

Chad Maclin grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, in a family full of educators. He knew from a young age that he also wanted to become a teacher, but it wasn’t until a high school drafting class that he realized he wanted to teach Career Technical Education (CTE).

“CTE is where I felt most comfortable in school. It was my favorite class,” Maclin said.

Maclin also recognized that it wasn’t just the drafting class that made an impact, it was the teacher.

“He made geometry make sense to me through drafting,” he said. “This course was offering me more than content. It was the through-lines to understand how these other classes mattered.”

Maclin went on to receive his CTE teaching degree from Old Dominion University, and began his teaching career in Tampa, Florida.  A few years later, he returned to his hometown of Fairfax to teach technology education courses.

“I wanted to make my class the favorite class where students could go to make sense of their core academics,” he said.

Over the next two decades, Maclin served as a CTE teacher and administrator for Fairfax County Public Schools. He earned his Master’s Degree from George Mason University and he also served as president for the Virginia Association of Career and Technical Education.

In July, he moved into a new role when he was chosen to be the State CTE Director for the District of Columbia. Maclin said he was excited about this incredible opportunity, and is looking to increase CTE dual enrollment participation, engage with local and regional business leaders to determine which industry certifications that are meaningful and recognized, and bolster student engagement and learning through Career Technical Student Organizations.

Maclin said he also wants to make sure CTE programs are promoted far and wide so students and parents can make the most informed choices.

“So many times we hear, ‘I didn’t know schools offered that,’” Maclin said. “I’ve heard it for 20 years. I want to help students and parents know those options are out there.”

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Early Bird Registration Ends Friday

August 14th, 2017

Early bird registration closes on Friday for the Advance CTE Fall Meeting! We invite you to join us October 16-18, in Baltimore, Maryland, for two days of informative, thought-provoking sessions and networking with your peers across the country.

Register today to save $100!

Check out the newly released agenda to get a peek into the critical professional development you will gain by attending. We’ve crafted programming designed to help state leaders build the buy-in necessary to affect systemic change and ensure quality and excellence in CTE.

We’re also bringing back our popular workshop format, where you can:

  • Try your hand at setting ambitious performance targets;
  • Learn how to benchmark your state CTE system to identify areas for improvement; and
  • Explore best practices for state policies that ensure learners are able to move seamlessly throughout their educational journey with the credit they’ve earned.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

 

Series

Archives

1