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Sec. Duncan, Experts Talk WIA and Jobs for Youth

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

As the country still struggles with the effects of the Great Recession, employment opportunities for less-seasoned workers are the hardest to find. Without prior job experience, teenagers face particularly bleak prospects. The current level of unemployment for teenagers is at an all-time high. Yesterday, Jobs for America’s Graduates, a non-profit organization, convened several governors, corporate executives and organization leaders to brainstorm ways to boost academic and economic outcomes for high-risk youth in the midst of the unemployment crisis.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan kicked off the event by reiterating a point that he frequently makes: successful local programs need to be taken to scale. When an attendee asked how to prepare high school students beyond academia, Duncan pointed to “great” Career Technical Education (CTE) and early college programs as ways to make school more relevant to students. Though the Secretary acknowledges the benefits of CTE, states and localities scramble to prepare for major funding cuts to CTE effective later this year.

A staffer from Senator Harkin’s office commented that Senators are now working on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to better leverage government resources and increase alignment between programs. He noted that many Senators were struck by the results of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that identified many areas of wasteful spending due to program overlap.

Speaker Boehner’s Assistant on Policy echoed that Republican Members feel justified in making cuts to job training programs because of the GAO report. She also stated that Perkins is not on the schedule for review in the near future.

Panelists and participants agreed that skilled positions must be presented as respectable career options for students. Many followed Duncan’s suggestions to replicate best practices, and some suggested that states make high-impact practices mandatory. Other ideas included: increasing service learning opportunities, raising the compulsory age for dropping out from age 16, and including graduation rates as an accountability measure. Though CTE was not a central part of the conversation, most participants agreed that job training and education, key aspects of CTE, must be further integrated.

By Kara in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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New Report Says Expand and Promote CTE

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Career Technical Education (CTE) should be expanded and promoted to address the skills gap and to staff the American workforce, according to a new report.

The HR Policy Association, an organization representing the chief human resource officers of major employers, produced the report to lay out specific changes to ensure the competitiveness of the American workforce and fulfilling careers for job seekers.

The organization’s members recommend the following changes that can be addressed through CTE:

The report states that “Americans are not being educated in sufficient numbers to meet the demands of today’s highly technical work processes and products.” Our country increasingly relies upon ever-changing technology, and workers need skills to develop, repair, and maintain it.

CTE provides a solution. Comprehensive CTE programs prepare students to be college and career ready and to effectively fill vacancies for skilled jobs.

By Kara in News, Resources
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Survey Finds College and Career Readiness a Priority

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

A recent survey indicates that parents, teachers, and business executives broadly agree that all high school graduates should be college and career ready. However, responses vary when participants were asked to describe the priority of preparing college- and career-ready students.

The survey, MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Preparing Students for College and Careers, was completed by 1,000 public school teachers (grades 6 to 12), 2,002 public school students (grades 6-12), 580 parents of public school students (grades 6 to 12), and 301 business executives from Fortune 1000 companies.

College- and Career-Ready Students:

Most parents, teachers, and business leaders report that preparing college- and career-ready high school graduates should be a priority. About half of teachers and half of business executives consider this the highest priority, while a much larger percentage of parents (73 percent) rate producing college- and career-ready graduates as the highest priority in education.

Further, 84 percent of students and 77 percent of business executives state that attaining some level of postsecondary education is a necessary step to provide students with future career opportunities.

Skills for Future Success:

The majority of English and math teachers surveyed believe that clear and persuasive writing skills benefit students more than advanced knowledge of math or science. Almost all of the business executives agree that critical thinking, problem-solving and writing skills are the most essential skills for high school graduates.

About 64 percent of teachers, parents, and executives find international issues and knowledge about other cultures to be absolutely essential knowledge for college- and career-ready students.

The survey also included questions about attending college, paying for college, and education reform efforts. MetLife’s report concluded that preparing college- and career-ready students appears to be a priority for various stakeholders, but opinions vary on how to attain this goal and whether or not it should be an expectation for all students.

By Kara in Research
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Ask Business and Industry Leaders in Your State to Sign Letter in Support of CTE Funding

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) strongly urge you to join in the fight to protect career and technical education (CTE) funded by the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

The legislation proposes to cut the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act by eliminating its Tech Prep program. This elimination results in a significant loss of career and technical education funding to all states and districts and will impact the ability of education institutions to provide students the skills needed in today’s workplace. You can view a chart with projected state loses on ACTE’s Web site.

We need your help to show Congress the negative impact these cuts will have on businesses and the economy! Please join ACTE, NASDCTEc and AACC in a fight to save Perkins funding by signing your organization or business on to this letter. Contact Nancy Conneely at nconneely@careertech.org by noon on Friday, February 25.  We will send the final version to the Senate.

By Nancy in Legislation
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ACTION ALERT: House Proposes Cutting Tech Prep!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

On Friday evening, the House Appropriations Committee released its updated continuing resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year (FY) 11. The bill, H.R. 1, proposes to cut $100 billion from non-security discretionary funding from a variety of federal programs. Department of Education programs would be cut by $4.899 billion compared to FY10. This includes cutting Title II of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act in its entirety, or $103 million in Tech Prep funding for CTE. This affects ALL states, even those that chose to merge Tech Prep because that portion of funding will be taken from their Basic State Grant.

The House is expected to debate and vote on the CR this week, allowing for amendments that could mean deeper cuts than those in the bill. The Senate will take up the House bill when they return from recess on February 28 and try to work out a compromise before the current CR expires on March 4.

While the President released his FY12 budget today that proposes deeper cuts to Perkins, we are focusing our efforts on the FY11 CR because of the very short timeline to affect change. We will take up the fight on FY12 cuts after this is resolved.

CALL YOUR SENATOR

It is crucial that you contact your Member of Congress (especially your Senator) this week to urge them to preserve Tech Prep funding for FY11!

SEND US BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY CONTACTS

NASDCTEc is working with ACTE on a sign-on letter to send to business and industry that will show Congress the number and variety of businesses that support Perkins funding and how many of them will be impacted. If you have any contacts in your state, please send them to us, so that we can ask them to sign on to the letter.

RESOURCES

Talking points

  1. Any cut to Perkins funding will hurt CTE students in every state. Insert concrete examples and data from your state about how students and programs will be impacted by losing this money. Make the case, where appropriate, that cutting Tech Prep will hurt the state’s economy.
  2. Some states have chosen not merge Tech Prep with the Basic State Grant so that they can ensure that the full amount of funding is used for these activities. Losing this money will eliminate these programs, as their Basic State Grant funding is being used for other things.
  3. In the states that have merged, the funding may be used for other programs and activities, thus eliminating Tech Prep funding will actually impact non-Tech Prep activities.

State funding chart

Key Members to contact are those on the:

If you have any questions or to update NASDCTEc on your contact with Congress, please call Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager at 301-588-9630 or email her at nconneely@careertech.org

By Nancy in Legislation
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White House Launches “Skills for America’s Future”

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

At a meeting before the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) yesterday, President Obama announced a new initiative, Skills for America’s Future, which focuses on improving industry partnerships with community colleges to ensure that students obtain the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the workforce.

President Obama said, “We want to make it easier to join students looking for jobs with businesses looking to hire. We want to put community colleges and employers together to create programs that match curricula in the classroom with the needs of the boardroom. Skills for America’s Future would help connect more employers, schools, and other job training providers, and help them share knowledge about what practices work best. The goal is to ensure there are strong partnerships between growing industries and community college or training programs in every state in the country.”

To reach these goals, the President has asked members of PERAB to reach out to business and industry and ask them to partner with their local community colleges. The following businesses have already committed to being partners:

The goals of this initiative will help make the United States number one in terms of college graduates by 2020, by ensuring that 5 million community college students graduate and earn certificates by the end of the decade. Skills for America’s Future will be housed at the Aspen Institute, and more information can be found at www.skillsforamerica.org.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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White House to Host Community College Summit

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

jillbiden_portrait_full (2)

On October 5, 2010 Dr. Jill Biden will host a White House Summit on Community Colleges. The summit will bring together community colleges, business, philanthropy, federal and state policy leaders, and students to discuss how community colleges can help meet the job training and education needs of the nation’s workforce, as well as the critical role community colleges play in achieving the President’s goal to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.

The White House is inviting the public to submit their thoughts, questions and challenges for discussion as part of the summit dialogue:

By Nancy in News, Public Policy
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Education is Critical to Economic Development, IBM Director Says

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Even in tough economic times, education remains the best way for students to ensure a prosperous future and steer away from lower-skilled, lower-wage jobs, said the Director of IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs in a recent Huffington Post editorial.

At a minimum, Diane Melley of IBM said that students should strive to develop basic and vital skills that will be of value in all industries: creative thinking, the ability to think analytically, entrepreneurial and leadership. For those with advanced skills, a range of new opportunities are opening.  Individuals who have the skills to work with “intelligent technologies” such as those used to efficiently manage water and power resources; or can create modern systems to conserve resources for a sustainable future, are ripe for employment opportunities today and in the future.

Overall, helping students stay in school, attain college education and develop employment skills they will help to assure a successful future for them and their community, she said.

“Preparing our young people for the jobs of the future is the first and most important step in our economic development.”

By Erin in News
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A Model for Transforming Technical Education

Friday, July 9th, 2010

An automotive manufacturing technical program that joined governors, industry and community colleges to develop comprehensive education training could serve as a scalable model for other sectors to answer the high-demand for technical workers in the global economy.

The Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative (AMTEC) program demonstrates how governors, industry and community colleges can work together to transform America’s workforce with better technical skills, according to a recent National Governors Association Center for Best Practices report. Through this model AMTEC has brought together automotive manufacturers and community colleges to identify and implement potential improvements within technical education, noted in the report, A Sharper Focus on Technical Workers: How to Educate and Train for the Global Economy.

AMTEC is a collaboration of community colleges and industry partners working to align automotive manufacturing programs to the growing needs within the automotive manufacturing technology field.

Some of the major lessons within this case study include:

An example within this report highlights the collaboration efforts between Toyota, located in Kentucky, and the Kentucky Community & Technical College System. Toyota partnered with the Kentucky Community College system because other schools were not providing the training Toyota was looking for. They challenged the school system to create a rigorous curriculum that would reflect the needs of their company, and the needs of the economy, so that students were better prepared for the workplace.

AMTEC’s model can transferred to other sectors of technical education because it focuses on meeting the needs of industry, employers and students by creating a standard for technical education, within each specific sector, where student performance can be assessed.

As the United States continues to advance with our global economy it is imperative that we recognize the importance of producing skilled workers. These kinds of partnerships are vital to the success of CTE, and America’s future workforce, as they demonstrate the value of CTE and how these programs will ensure the United States a place in this competitive global economy.

By Nancy in Public Policy, Resources
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Institute Report Out: Closing General Session Highlights Employer Needs

Thursday, July 1st, 2010
TimTaylor

Tim Taylor, Colorado Succeeds

We closed out the 8th annual Career Clusters Institute with a panel discussion lead by Tim Taylor, President of Colorado Succeeds, a coalition of business leaders who focus on education and workforce policy. He explained to the audience that the business community is excited about career pathways because they provide the “why” to students who question the relevance and importance of high school and postsecondary. The panel included Gary Barbosa, Lockheed Martin; Elaine Gantz Berman, Colorado State Board of Education; and Tom Currigan, Kaiser Permanente. Expanding on Mr. Taylor’s point about relevancy, Mr. Barbosa of Lockheed Martin stated that businesses should be part of enticing students to their industries and should be developing talent rather than just being the consumer of talent. He suggested that businesses should offer programs such as internships for teachers as a way to help them teach relevant skills in the classroom.

Ms. Gantz Berman said that Colorado just revised their state education standards to focus more on workforce readiness and 21st century skills, with a big emphasis on CTE.  They are also working on assessments that will be able to test these areas. She was also passionate about the need to get Career Clusters into all of our high schools – to “mainstream it” as she said. But she was not sure how to accomplish this.

Finally, Mr. Currigan of Kaiser Permanente emphasized the need for a skilled workforce. When a company considers moving to region, the first thing they look at is whether there are skilled workers there. In order to keep the workforce in tune with the times, he said each Career Cluster must be continually refreshed to keep up with the changes and new demands from industry. But more important than the specific technical skills required by the job, employers want workers who are able to navigate complexity and who understand connections – skills that the foundational Career Clusters Knowledge and Skills statements help students master.

By Nancy in Career Clusters®
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