CTE Research Review: Youth Employment, Reverse Transfers and More

June 13th, 2016

We are back with another CTE Research Review. In this edition we explore business-facing intermediaries and a new study on reverse transfer students. And below the fold, we feature some studies and stories you may have missed in the last month.

How Intermediaries Create Shared Value by Connecting Youth with Jobs

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is out with a new report in its Youth Employment Series titled Talent Orchestrators: Scaling Youth Employment through Business-Facing Intermediaries. The report challenges the notion that employer engagement is only a civic or philanthropic venture and outlines how business-facing intermediaries can create shared value by matching businesses with skilled youth. Already, intermediaries around the country are stepping up to the plate by managing employer demand, equipping youth with professional skills and job-specific training, and facilitating the onboarding process to connect youth with employment opportunities.

Consider STEP-UP Achieve, a career-track youth employment program started by Minneapolis-based intermediary AchieveMpls. The program partnered with the Minneapolis Regional Chamber to develop a curriculum and establish a certification endorsement for youth participants who successfully complete a pre-employment work-readiness program. This program, and others like it, created shared value by both preparing youth for the workplace and providing employers with a signal of job readiness. STEP-UP Achieve has provided more than 8,000 internship opportunities since 2004.

For Reverse Transfer Students, Going Backward Could Be the Best Path Forward

Speaking of alternative pathways to employment, a new research study from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) examines academic and labor outcomes for struggling students who transfer from a four-year to a two-year postsecondary institution (aka “4-2 transfer students”). The study, Do Students Benefit from Going Backward? The Academic and Labor Market Consequences of Four-to Two-Year College Transfer, finds that struggling 4-2 transfer students are more likely to earn a postsecondary credential than similar students who do not transfer. What’s more, these students were no less likely than similar students to earn a bachelor’s degree and had similar earnings and employment rates. The outcomes of the study are promising because they suggest that struggling students can benefit from the flexibility and affordability of transferring to a two-year college without putting degree completion or future employment at risk.

ICYMI

And in case you missed it, here are some other studies and stories making a splash this month:

  • The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) released a series of 11 policy papers about state and federal data policy. The series, Envisioning the National Postsecondary Infrastructure in the 21st Century, highlights recommendations for improving the national postsecondary data infrastructure from a working group of policy experts.
  • A two-page brief from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) examines how states and LEAs can leverage policy opportunities to integrate Career Technical Education (CTE) into their college and career readiness strategies post-NCLB.  
  • Two months after the Lumina Foundation released its April update on college degree attainment, Inside Higher Ed examines how the Foundation’s new method of calculating postsecondary degree attainment, which now factors credential attainment into the total, affects Louisiana’s college completion goal.
  • And if you haven’t already, you should check out The Journal of School & Society’s special issue on The Future of Vocational Education, which shares voices from educators and academics.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

CTE Research Review: Work-Based Learning, Teacher Shortages and Longitudinal Data

May 11th, 2016

In this week’s Research Review, we take a deep dive into New York City’s CTE movement, examine state teacher shortages, and explore strategies and challenges to building longitudinal data systems.

Work-based Learning and Industry Credentials in New York City

The Manhattan Institute released a new report looking at the state of Career Technical Education (CTE) in New York City, titled “The New CTE: New York City as a Laboratory for America.” While the authors largely praise the success of New York City’s instructional CTE programs — which have demonstrated less variable attendance and higher graduation rates — they offer two policy recommendations to further improve the quality and effectiveness of the system:

  • Mandate and fund schools to secure work-based learning opportunities for students. To do this, schools must engage industry partners that continue to treat CTE like a philanthropic endeavor rather than a strategic investment.
  • Improve state processes for certifying CTE teachers and approving industry-recognized credentials to be more flexible and responsive to industry advances and emerging occupations.

How are states responding to teacher shortages?

The Education Commission of the States’ (ECS) new series on staffing policies, “Mitigating Teacher Shortages,” provides an optimistic outlook on the national staffing crisis. The number of schools reporting a vacancy is down 15 percentage points overall since 2000. However, ECS finds there is a struggle to fill positions in hard-to-staff subject areas and in high-poverty, low-achieving, rural, and urban schools. This five-part series examines research on teacher shortages and recommendations from state task forces, finding five common policy interventions to address staffing shortages: alternative certification, financial incentives, induction and mentorship, evaluation and feedback, and teacher leadership. Each brief explores extant research in each focus area and provides state examples and policy recommendations.

Stitching together Longitudinal Data Systems

Two new reports — one from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC) and the other from New America — explore how states can align data systems to better track student outcomes after high school.

  • WDQC’s report, “Making the Most of Workforce Data,” highlights best practices from Kentucky, Minnesota and New York, each of which has established linked systems that facilitate data sharing and evaluation to varying degrees. In Kentucky, for example, interagency data-sharing agreements allowed the state to evaluate outcomes for students taking college-level coursework through AdvanceKentucky, providing evidence to increase funding for the program.
  • In “Is Stitching State Data Systems the Solution to the College Blackout?,” Iris Palmer at New America proposes a different solution to the nation’s data sharing woes — a state-based federal data system. She argues that this system, which would be operated by a third party and would only share anonymized data, could build on existing data infrastructure and allow states to examine cross-state student outcomes for more detailed analysis. A pilot project between Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington helped close gaps, uncovering outcomes data for more than nine percent of individuals missing from the labor records in Washington alone.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Major New Research Highlights Value of CTE (Part II)

April 7th, 2016

In Part II, we dive into the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s newest report, “Career and Technical Education in High School: Does It Improve Student Outcomes?” Provocative title notwithstanding, the report’s short answer is: Yes.

The report opens with a caveat that CTE is not a meaningful prat of students’ high school experience, and unlike most industrialized countries, it has been chronically neglected by leaders and policymakers.

“American students face a double-whammy: Not only do they lack access to high-quality secondary CTE, but then they are subject to a ‘bachelor’s degree or bust’ mentality,” the report states. “And many do bust, dropping out of college with no degree, no work skills, no work experience and a fair amount of debt.”

But according to data examined by University of Connecticut’s Shaun M. Dougherty, students do benefit from CTE coursework, in particular those course sequences aligned to certain industries. Based on the report’s findings, it calls for policymakers and education leaders across the country to invest more heavily – and strategically – in high school CTE, and to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins CTE Act and increase federal support for high-quality, labor market-aligned programs that are available and appealing to all students.

The report’s findings will be discussed on April 14 in Washington, DC, and will also be streamed. Register here to hear from the report’s author and Arkansas State CTE Director Charisse Childers, among others.  The study uses the wealth of secondary, postsecondary and labor market data from the Arkansas Research Center to better understand the state of CTE, both of those students who take CTE courses and those who take three or more CTE courses within a career field.

Key findings include:

  • Students with greater CTE exposure are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in a two-year college, be employed and earn higher wages.
  • CTE students are just as likely to pursue a four-year degree as their peers. There was little evidence of “tracking.”
  • The more CTE courses students take, the better their education and labor market outcomes. Among other positive outcomes, CTE concentrators are more likely to graduate high school by 21 percentage points when compared to otherwise similar students.
  • Though white and female students are more likely to concentrate, CTE provides the greatest boost to students who need it most – males and students from low-income families.

The report offers recommendations similar to what has taken place in Arkansas:

  • Examine state labor market projections to identify high-growth industries
  • Offer CTE courses aligned to skills and industry-recognized credentials in these fields and encourage (or require) high school students to take them)
  • Encourage (or require) students take a concentration of CTE courses
  • Support and encourage dual enrollment and make credits “stackable” from high school into college, so that high school CTE courses count toward specific postsecondary credentials

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

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Major New Research Highlights Value of CTE (Part I)

April 7th, 2016

This week, two leading education organizations – the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Education Trust – have published new research that illustrates how K-12 CTE can and should be used to create meaningful education experiences that prepares students for future success in college and careers. First up, an analysis of high school transcripts to pull back the curtain on college and career readiness.

Meandering toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates

In “Meandering toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates,” Ed Trust finds that while students may graduate high school, too many are leaving with no clear path forward.

For nearly a decade, college and career-readiness for all students has been the foundational rhetoric of U.S. education, but high school transcripts show that this rhetoric didn’t bear out in reality for most graduates in 2013. In fact, fewer than one in 10 recent graduates had taken a foundational set of courses necessary to be both college- and career-ready. Additionally, the data shows that 47 percent of graduates completed neither a college- nor career-ready course of study. The study defined college- and career-courses of study as the standard 15-course sequence required for entry at many public colleges, as well as three or more credits in a career-focused area such as health science or business.

Of those who had completed a course of study, only eight percent in those graduates completed a full college- and career-prep curriculum. Further, less than one-third of graduates completed a college-ready course of study and just 13 percent finished a career-ready course sequence. Because seat-time is not a sufficient indicator of readiness, the report also looks at who in the college- and career-ready cohort, particularly students of color or disadvantaged backgrounds, had also demonstrated mastery of the curriculum. When looking at mastery, an additional 14 percent of graduates fail to meet this benchmark.

Rather than aligning high school coursework with students’ future goals, the report found that high schools are continuing to prioritize credit accrual, which reinforces the idea that high school graduate is the end goal in a student’s educational journey. The report identifies state-, district-, and school-level levers including transcript analysis, master schedule, credit policies and graduation requirements.

To truly prepare students, school structures, culture and instruction must shift to prepare students for postsecondary studies aligned to their career interests, and this can be done without risk of recreating a system of tracking students into prescribed pathways.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

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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:

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

Preparing Students for Careers in the Global Economy

January 6th, 2016

Today, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), Asia Society, Longview Foundation and Association for Career and Technical Educators (ACTE) jointly released a new white paper: Preparing a Globally Competent Workforce Through High-Quality Career Technical EducationThis paper explores why it is so critical that global competencies are embedded throughout CTE programs of study to ensure students are fully prepared for the competitive economy, and offers examples of local CTE programs successfully integrating global concepts through partnerships, projects and other student experiences.

Learn more about the paper and this key issue in a blog co-authored by NASDCTEc, Asia Society, Longview Foundation and ACTE at Education Week.

This paper is intended to spark  conversations at the national, state and local levels about ways in which CTE and global competencies can be integrated. To be part of these conversations, please join us for a special #GlobalEdChat on Twitter on Thursday, GlobalPaperJanuary 7 at 8 pm ET as well as an interactive webinar on January 13, 2016 at 3:00 pm ET.

 

CTE Research Review: How Did England Triple Its Apprenticeships?

November 4th, 2015

Apprenticeship_Header_2It’s National Apprenticeship Week! The Obama Administration has been raising the profile of (and funding for) apprenticeships through several initiatives. The most recent effort comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, which unveiled its ApprenticeshipUSA Toolkit last week.

The toolkit includes resources to learn about apprenticeships and their benefits, tools to build strong partnerships and apprenticeship strategies, and ways to help implement a fully integrated program into a state or local workforce system. It also features case studies and videos from Iowa, Michigan and Vermont. You can also check out last week’s webinar for a helpful overview of toolkit.

How Did England Generate Two Million Apprenticeships?

The Urban Institute, a Washington-based think tank, hosted the first Transatlantic Apprenticeship Exchange Forum to learn more about how England tripled its apprenticeship offerings. The Exchange featured nearly 20 U.S., British and Australian experts and apprenticeship leaders that explored methods for scaling successful and innovative programs including how to recruit employers and support apprentices.

Be sure to check out the full slate of presentations and a video of the event to learn more about the British and Australian approaches to expanding apprenticeships. For the U.S. perspective, here’s a refresher on a 2014 thought piece from the leading U.S. expert on apprenticeships, Robert Lerman.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

CTE Research Review: The Workforce Edition

October 29th, 2015

Transforming Workforce Development Policies

A new book from the Kansas City Federal Reserve calls for a comprehensive restructuring of the nation’s workforce development policies and programs to better meet the human capital demands of employers. This compilation of submissions from some of the most prominent thought leaders in workforce development policy today, the Federal Reserve is wading into a relatively new area of research but one where it plans to continue being actively involved.

Transforming U.S. Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century,” provides thoughtful perspectives on the system itself as well as how to redesign these strategies and evidence-based policies and practices.

The Role of CTERoleCTE

What and who has the greatest impact on students and their career choices? This is the central question of a new report, “Attracting the Next
Generation Workforce: The Role of Career and Technical Education,” from The Manufacturing Institute, SkillsUSA and Educational Research Center of America. The study, which surveyed more than 20,000 high school students enrolled in CTE programs of study, also aims to provide insight into students’ perceptions of the value of CTE preparation.

Overwhelmingly (64 percent), students cited their own interests and experiences as the greatest influence on their future careers. The second and third greatest influences were a student’s father (22 percent) and mother (19 percent). Perhaps surprisingly, guidance counselors accounted for 3 percent –the least important influence on a student’s career choice.

So how did students perceive the value of CTE preparation for the future careers? While 47 percent of all CTE students surveyed said that CTE has helped make their career choices clearer, that number rises significantly for CTE students who also participate in a CTSO or are members of SkillsUSA. Also, those students engaged in CTSOs are nearly 50 percent more likely to pursue a technical career in the field they are studying, according to the survey.

Check out the report to learn about how students are exposed to future employers as well as educators’ perceptions of CTE.

Also new from The Manufacturing Institute is a tool that can help educators make the case for work-based learning and employer partnerships. The tool – a return on investment calculator – is designed to help manufacturers calculate the cost of open positions within a company by factoring in costs across several categories including training, recruiting, human resources and operations.

Also Worth the Read:

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

CTE Research Review: Making Sense of Credentials

September 16th, 2015

The number of high-demand jobs requiring an occupational license has grown over the past several years. This shift requires changes from the education community when considering the requisite training and preparation that students will need to enter these careers.

A new report from the White House offers policymakers a framework for the growing field of occupational licensing as well some best practices to consider.

Some interesting facts:

  • More than one-quarter of U.S. workers now require a license to do their jobs, and most are licensed by their state – which represents a five-fold increase since the 1950s.
  • The share of licensed workers varies widely across the states from 12 percent in South Carolina to 33 percent in Iowa. Differences are largely due to state policies not occupational differences across the states.

Also, licenses are just one type of credential that students can obtain in their educational journey, and with states working to meet the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), understanding the different types is more important than ever.

The Association of Career and Technical Education recently published a primer on credentials, in particular the postsecondary space between high school and a two-year degree. Check out the full brief here.

Finally, the two-year degree attracts students of all ages, but which of those age groups are most likely to continue on to earn their bachelor’s degree? A quick fact sheet from the American Association of Community Colleges’ “Data Points” series has the answer.

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Source: Association of Career and Technical Education

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

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