National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Posts Tagged ‘career pathways’

New Tool Available for State Higher Education Leaders: Structured Pathways and Completion Policy Self-Assessment

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The Postsecondary State Policy Network, led by Jobs for the Future (JFF), has released a new tool to find out how well your state is implementing evidence-based policies to build structured pathways and encourage community college completion.
State higher education leaders can assess their state’s existing policies and compare them to those advocated by state and national reform leaders with the Structured Pathways and Completion Policy Self-Assessment Tool.

Since 2004, JFF and policy partners across 15 states have developed and codified policies that empower college leaders, enable useful data gathering and analysis, provide students with financial aid access and other non-academic supports, and reward institutions for student outcomes. This tool aims to help higher education leaders facilitate college completion discussions, prioritize needed policy changes, and track policy changes over time.

The Postsecondary State Policy Network is a multistate collaboration committed to advancing state policies that accelerate community college student success and completion.  Also available: you can also sign up to receive Achieving Success, the Network’s newsletter on postsecondary state policy.

For more information about the Structured Pathways and Completion Policy Self-Assessment Tool, please contact Lindsay Devilbiss, Project Associate, Jobs for the Future at

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in News, Research, Resources
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Fall Meeting Recap: State Policy Update

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Earlier this week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Fall Meeting, which had a strong focus on state policy. To lay out some of the major trends being led by legislatures, state agencies and state boards across the country impacting Career Technical Education (CTE), Amy Loyd, from the Pathways to Prosperity Network at Jobs for the Future, Jennifer Dounay Zinth, from the Education Commission of States, and Robin Utz, from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education participated in the State Policy Update session.

Dale Winkler, Associate Commissioner, Kentucky Office of Career and Technical Education, moderated the panel and opened by describing three major pieces of legislation passed over the last few years in Kentucky impacting CTE, strengthening the state’s CTE standards and accountability, pathways and governance. Jennifer Dounay Zinth provided an overview of cross-state legislation and governors’ agendas citing five overarching trends: career-ready performance indicators, governance structures to facilitate better CTE and industry alignment, finance through accountability and incentives, CTE pathways or industry-based credentials being embedded into high school graduation requirements, and greater coordination between K-12, postsecondary and workforce development/industry.

Amy Loyd shared some highlights from the eight states working within the Pathways to Prosperity Network to better connect their education and workforce development systems to support more seamless student transitions. An early takeaway from that work is the importance of cross-agency efforts. The most successful states are those that bring together the major state agencies – such as state departments of education, higher education commissions, workforce development boards, governors’ offices, and economic development commissions – to develop common language, common goals and metrics, and even common funding as possible.

Finally, Robin Utz discussed some of the work OVAE is supporting in states and trends emerging around career pathways and programs of study. Specifically, she mentioned performance-based funding, graduation requirements recognizing or even requiring programs of study, legislative support for Career Technical Student Organizations, and dual and concurrent enrollment as some of the major levers being pulled across states in support of CTE. She, along with the other panelists, all agreed that this widespread interest in CTE and improving career pathways is the result of the economic uncertainly and persistent skills gap, along with the broader support for the college- and career-ready agenda, which has led to CTE being “invited to the adults’ table.”

Among the common themes that emerged as policy areas that still need more attention were dual/concurrent enrollment, credit transfer and articulation agreements, career guidance and counseling, and structures and incentives for more work-based learning experiences.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren in NASDCTEc Fall Meeting
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Announcing Webinar on Building Strategic Partnerships at NCPN Conference October 14

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The first of the Youth and Adult Pathways (YAP) series, Building Strategic Partnerships webinar will focus on building partnerships to support your career pathways programs through structure, governance, and strategic planning.  Event themes include:  partnerships goals; identifying partners; structure & governance; roles & responsibilities; partnership operation and sustaining a partnership.  Debra Mills, Director of the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) will be the host.

The webinar will be recorded live at the NCPN Conference in San Antonio on Monday, October 14th.  If you miss the live webinar, all materials and webinar records will be available for download at:

The YAP Event Series is designed to bring together professionals with a shared interest in connecting youth and adult learners with career pathways.  Presenters are experts in their fields, and events are designed to enhance your knowledge and give you usable information in each area.  While the live webinar is the central event, each topic is presented as a month-long “microgroup” within the Career Pathways community on the LINCS site and will include ongoing engagement and discussion before and after the live events.  For more information sign up for the LINCS mailing list  or request more information by emailing:

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Meetings and Events, Webinars

Webinar Announcement – Making Pathways Work: Curriculum Design and Instructional Practice – September 20

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

NCICTE is pleased to announce its second on-line training, to be held on Friday, September 20th from Noon–1:30 p.m. EDT.

The presentation, entitled Making Pathways Work: Curriculum Design and Instructional Practice, is being produced by ConnectED: The California Center for College and Career. It will be a live, 1.5-hour webinar that will be followed by the release of a set of pre-recorded modules that follow-up and expand upon the initial training.

You can learn more about the training at

logoRCThe National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education (NCICTE) performs scientifically based research and evaluation to expand the understanding, increase the effectiveness, and improve the delivery of career and technical education (CTE). Center work is directed toward exploring the contribution that CTE can make to raising student engagement and achievement, and improving student transitions from secondary to postsecondary education and work.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Webinars

EdWeek Article: States Expand High-Quality Career Pathways

Friday, May 10th, 2013

More states are embracing career pathways to increase the relevance of education for students and provide more opportunities for postsecondary credential and degree attainment. A recent article from Education Week highlights states’ work in this area and Tennessee Career Technical Education (CTE) State Director Danielle Mezera’s approach to funding career pathways.

Many states implement career pathways but the strategy recently received a greater push due to the release of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Pathways to Prosperity report and initiative. With the assistance of Harvard and Jobs for the Future, eight states are creating higher-quality pathways that link to labor market demands. For example:

The article also highlights the necessity of strong business partnerships to implementing successful career pathways. Of note, several state partners are looking into the Swiss model that relies on professional associations to help identify student competencies, which would provide more consistency in student preparedness across the state.

Access the article here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in News

Spring Meeting Recap: Federal Career Pathways Initiatives

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Earlier this week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Spring Meeting where during one  session, participants heard updates on three national programs that are aiming to better coordinate and strengthen career pathways systems across states. Importantly, all of the presenters expressed an appreciation for each other’s efforts and noted that there was a lot of coordination across the projects.

Mary Clagett of Jobs for the Future discussed Advancing Career and Technical Education (CTE) in State and Local Career Pathways Systems, which is a federally-funded program working with a cohort of states to support, coordinate, and develop non-duplicative education and training programs that will help build skills among low skilled adults. The focus of the initial research and ongoing technical assistance in states is on identifying the most impactful programmatic and policy solutions to building and maintaining a strong career pathway system.

Similarly, the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, coordinated by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), is focused on supporting pathways for adults and disconnected youths. As described by Vickie Choitz of CLASP, the primary focus of the Alliance is developing a framework of quality criteria and indicators and a shared set of performance metrics to help align CTE programs of study, high school to college transitions, and adult career pathway across state. The framework will be customizable for states and include a self-assessment tool to ensure the framework is best meeting states’ needs. Ten states are currently participating in the Alliance.

Finally, participants learned more about CORD’s professional development and curriculum support for Adult Career Pathways. Hope Cotner of CORD talked about efforts of states, districts and institutions of higher education to design instruction to support career pathways and learning for students of all ages. You can download her presentation here.

During the discussion and Q&A period, participants again raised the issue of ensuring the federal government, national initiatives, states, and localities in using common definitions and language when using some common phrases as “career pathways” and “programs of study.”

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director


By Kate Blosveren in NASDCTEc Spring Meeting
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Mosquero Municipal Schools Dedicates new Media Center

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Mosquero Municipal Schools will be holding a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony April 7 to announce their new Media Center. The school district serves a rural and sparsely populated area in Harding County, New Mexico.

Mosquero schools stand as a testament to small rural schools overcoming capacity issues to reinvent their education system, with the visionary leadership of parents, current and past school board members, educators, city council members, and long-time community residents. In a guide for school leaders, “Redesigning the High School Experience for College and Career Readiness,” a publication jointly produced by the National Career Technical Education Foundation (NCTEF) and Microsoft Corporation’s U.S. Partners in Learning, the story of Mosquero’s success is showcased, sharing how this school created a different kind of learning experience using innovative initiatives.

With the goal of “Fostering an Entrepreneurial Spirit in Arts, Audio/Visual Technology and Communications,” Mosquero developed a Digital Media Entrepreneur Curriculum, a unique program that uses best practices for encouraging 21st century skill development with a focus on transferrable, rather than occupation skills, keeping the program relevant to a broad base of students. This program uses the Career Clusters® Framework as a model.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

CLASP Releases Federal Funding Toolkit for Career Pathways Initiatives

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

CLASP, an organization aiming to improve the lives of low-income individuals, has recently released a comprehensive resource to help state teams identify and use federal resources to support career pathways models.

The Federal Funding Toolkit is comprised of four parts:

Introduction: This introductory document describes the importance of career pathways, defines the term, and explains the relevance of the toolkit.

Using the Toolkit: This document describes who should use the toolkit, how to use it, and an overview of 10 federal programs that could potentially support career pathways.

Funding Options Worksheet: These customizable worksheets list sample tasks to design, implement, and sustain career pathways.

Summary of Federal Programs: Each summary identifies federal programs that relate to career pathways and can be used to support these initiatives. The summaries include information on: type of program, eligibility requirements, type of services or support provided, and an analysis of how the program can support career pathways. Federal program summaries with relevance to Career Technical Education (CTE) include:

View the entire toolkit here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Register Now for Upcoming NASDCTEc Webinar Featuring Area CTE Centers: Conquering the Skills Gap through Business-Industry Collaboration

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Area CTE Centers operate in a variety of ways – from shared-time centers offering primarily technical training to full-time centers that provide students with both academic instruction and technical training – but all provide opportunities for students to receive relevant, rigorous CTE. And at a time when employers say that they are unable to find workers who have the right skills to fill job vacancies, area CTE centers provide a crucial link between the knowledge and skills that students learn and those demanded by local businesses.

Join us for a webinar that features state and local leaders who will discuss area CTE centers in their states and how they are making connections to the needs of business and industry and their communities.

The webinar will be held on Thursday, April 25th at 3 p.m. ET. Speakers include:

Steve Gratz, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Career-Technical Education, Ohio Department of Education
Harold Niehaus
Director of Instructional Development, Miami Valley Career Technology Center
Paula Bowles
Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education
Bill Kramer
Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Canadian Valley Technology Center, El Reno, OK

Link to register

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

IN Governor Delivers on State of the State Promise, Passes Law that Expands CTE

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

In his January state of the state address, Indiana Governor Mike Pence clearly prioritized expanding Career Technical Education (CTE) and aligning CTE programs with the needs of the workforce. Just two months later, a bill supporting this expansion has been passed unanimously in the Indiana General Assembly, and will soon be signed into law by Governor Pence.

The Indiana Works Councils bill will use state and local resources to create Indiana Works Councils (IWC) that help bridge the barriers between education and businesses. Each IWC will identify opportunities and demands for CTE and partnerships with business and industry in each region. Using this information, the IWC will develop more relevant CTE curriculum and identify work-based learning opportunities to increase the alignment of career pathways to in-demand jobs.

Governor Pence stated that, “The passage of this legislation with unanimous and bipartisan support demonstrates the commitment of the people of our state to make career and vocational education a priority in every high school in Indiana again. Today, the Indiana General Assembly took an important step toward making certain that our schools work for all our students, whether they’re college- or career-bound.”

Governors and other policy makers across the nation continue to express support for CTE. Laws such as the IWC legislation will help increase the quality and relevance of CTE programs, and improve opportunities for students to land well-paying, in-demand jobs.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager