Posts Tagged ‘career readiness’

Career Readiness Partners Gather in Washington, DC to Collaborate and Learn

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Career readiness can be achieved through statewide systems change — but it will take a unified effort from national partners working together to achieve that vision. That, at least, was my takeaway from Monday’s “Career Readiness in K-12 and Beyond” meeting hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) at the National Guard Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

The meeting brought together nearly forty partners representing non-profit organizations, foundations, government agencies, think tanks and companies to raise awareness about ongoing initiatives and to coalesce around a shared vision. With numerous efforts already underway at the national, state and local levels, I could feel the energy in the room around the subject of career readiness.

Former Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday kicked the meeting off by sharing the background of CCSSO’s Career Readiness Task Force. The task force launched in 2014 when Holliday was president of CCSSO, and in which Advance CTE’s Kimberly Green participated along with a number of State CTE Directors.  The task force released a report, titled “Opportunities and Options: Making Career Preparation Work for Students,” with recommendations for states to transform their career readiness systems. Currently, CCSSO — along with Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, with funding from JPMorgan Chase & Co. — is leading the  New Skills for Youth initiative to implement the task force’s recommendations in 24 states and D.C. We recently launched the Learning that Works Resource Center in support of the initiative, and if you haven’t visited the Resource Center yet, I highly recommend doing so.

The meeting quickly jumped from national to state and local efforts. For me, the most impactful part of the event was when Ghafoor Siddique, an Aerospace Instructor from Sno Isle Tech in Washington, spoke about developing an aerospace program for high school students. Siddique had been working for Boeing doing commercial flight tests when he was recruited by Sno Isle Tech. The program relies on the Core Plus curriculum, which was developed by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, the Boeing Company, the Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle and other companies. The curriculum uses industry-validated knowledge, skills and abilities to help students develop technical skills related to a particular career field.

Siddique also told us how, with support from his students, he launched an in-house aircraft maintenance company that services private planes, using profits to buy equipment for the class. This allows students to learn hands-on how to build and repair aircraft, while simultaneously allowing the school to sustain the aerospace program despite potentially prohibitive equipment costs. In the first few years since the program was launched, Siddique reported that several of his students had gone on to work for Boeing. The company, one of the largest global aircraft manufacturers, is based in Seattle, Washington.

Such programs are part of the reason why there is growing enthusiasm across the states for career readiness. That enthusiasm was clearly present among the attendees at Monday’s meeting. In between panels, we had the opportunity to share our own work and identify opportunities to collaborate with one another. We learned about efforts ranging from developing apprenticeship programs to encouraging adoption of industry credentials, each in support of the larger goal of improving career readiness for tomorrow’s workers.

Next month, states in the New Skills for Youth initiative will gather in Washington, DC to share their progress and outline their plans to transform career readiness systems back home. While only ten states will qualify for the next round of funding, many will follow through on their action plans, recognizing the need and importance of an educational system that prepares students for the workforce. Such aspirations are the reason why classes like Siddique’s can succeed.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Illinois Tackles Career Readiness with New Education Bill; Meanwhile North Carolina Creates Credential Incentive Program

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

With Half of Illinois Community College Students Required to Take Remedial Courses, New Law Aims to Improve College and Career Readiness in the State

IL Graduation RatesLast month Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois signed the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act into law, cementing a cross-sector effort to transform the educational system in Illinois and better prepare students for college and careers. According to Advance Illinois, an education nonprofit, half of high school students enrolling in community colleges in Illinois are required to take remedial education during their first year. The law aims to reduce the remedial education rates in the state and prepare students for future careers through four major strategies:

The law will be implemented over the course of several years. The competency-based education pilot program will be launched during the 2018-19 school year;  the pathways endorsement program will be launched in the 2019-20 school year; and transitional mathematics courses will also be available statewide by 2019-20. 

North Carolina to Offer Teacher Bonuses for Industry-Recognized Credentials in New Pilot Program

When North Carolina passed its budget for fiscal year 2016-17 last month, it launched a new pilot program to encourage student learning in high-demand industries. The program — which will start immediately, using data from the 2015-16 school year — will reward Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers with up to $50 for each student who goes on to obtain an industry-recognized credential.

The size of the reward will depend on the academic rigor and employment value of the earned credential. Academic rigor will be evaluated based on the instructional hours, work experience and postsecondary credit that are associated with the credential. The second value criteria, employment value, will consider the entry wage, growth rate and job opportunities for the occupational category.

Before the pilot program sunsets in June 2018, the State Board will report back to the legislature on the amount of awards provided, the number of industry credentials earned, and the effects of the program on teacher performance and retention.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in News, Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Major New Research Highlights Value of CTE (Part I)

Thursday, 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





By Andrea Zimmermann in Research, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

CTE Research Review: Career Readiness for All

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

PathleasttakenThe Center for Public Education has analyzed the National Center for Education Statistics’ Education Longitudinal Study to look at a student group that is often ignored in major research studies – the one in five students who do not immediately enroll in college after graduating from high school. Be sure to check out the first installment of this research series, which looked at the characteristics of this group.

Now, CPE has released its second installment – this time attempting to gain insight into “career readiness” for high school graduates by looking at various job-related and social outcomes of this same group of non-college goers by the time they reached age 26. In fact, the data showed that “credentials” and being well prepared in high school matter, particularly for non-college goers who:

Specifically, researchers found that advanced courses, such as Algebra 2 and advanced biology, and an CTE focus can have an impact on non-college going students’ likelihood to have a good job and engage in society. If those same students earn a professional credential, then the scale shifts in favor of the non-college goer, meaning they are actually more likely to be employed, earn good wages and vote than their peers who attended college. Further, better preparation also had a greater impact on black graduates than their white and Hispanic peers, showing that higher credentials can be the key to closing the employment and wage gap.

Rising to the Challenge?

A new survey from Achieve asked college faculty and employers who teach or hire recent high school graduates about their preparedness for college and careers. This is the second release of Achieve’s Rising to the Challenge survey. The first release, from late 2014, examined recent high school graduates’ views on their own preparedness. The full survey is an update to a similar survey Achieve conducted in 2004.

The results reveal many parallels to the students’ own responses – in short, that there is a pervasive opinion that public high schools are not doing enough to prepare students for the expectations they will face in college and the workplace. Contrast those responses with those from the 2004 survey, and the picture becomes even bleaker.

All three groups – college faculty, employers and students – all agreed that to improve preparedness:

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
Tags: , , ,

Adobe’s Hiring for the Future Report Carries Implications for CTE

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Last month, Adobe surveyed 1,068 American hiring managers seeking insight into what the gatekeepers of tomorrow’s careers believe are the most critical skills, habits and credentials for job-seekers in the 21st century labor market.

The result? An overwhelming number of responses emphasizing the importance of digital literacy, creative thinking, problem-solving and flexibility. Hiring managers rejected the notion that students in technical fields fundamentally lack the creativity succeed (only 36% agree), but even more believe that positions requiring technical skills also benefit from creative thinking (81% agree).

Technical skills are still viewed as one of the top three factors identified as having gained the most value over the last five years (46% identified as one of top three skills gaining value), suggesting that competency remains crucial to employer hiring decisions. Also in the top three, however, were problem solving/critical thinking (51%) and creativity/innovation (47%).

Taken as a whole supports the need for more high-quality CTE, with its emphasis on skill building through career pathways and comprehensive, integrated programs of study. modern approach

Unsurprisingly, many policies prioritized by CTE programs of study, including internships, mentors and courses specifically designed to prepare students for the world of work by teaching both broad and specific skills, ranked high on the list of proposed solutions to boost preparedness (see chart, at right).

Other findings concur with similar past surveys of employer needs, including the impression that students are underprepared for jobs when entering the workforce, with 69% of hiring managers agreeing that new job seekers lack the necessary skills for success and 61% calling lack of communications skills as a top factor in underpreparedness.

Read the full report here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

By Evan Williamson in CTE: Learning that works for America, Research
Tags: ,

Poll finds overwhelming support for more CTE, internships in high school

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013A new PDK/Gallup poll released Tuesday showed 87 percent of Americans believe high school students should receive “more education about possible career choices.” Further, a majority of Americans agreed that the factors that help students get a good job include working on a real-world project, possessing employability skills such as teamwork and dependability, and having a mentor or advisor.

These results came from the second installment of the 46th annual PDK/Gallup poll. Be sure to check out our coverage of the first data release here, which primarily focused on the Common Core State Standards.

The findings add to a growing cadre of support for CTE in preparing students for success in both college and careers. The disaggregated survey results were filtered into the following categories: national total, public school parents and political affiliation.

Public school parents strongly agreed that high school students should be required to participate in at least one paid or unpaid internship and should be allowed to earn credits toward graduation from instruction they receive outside of school or online. However, results were mixed about whether students should specialize in a career area of their choice during high school.

Given the enthusiasm shown here for exposing students to more career opportunities, there are clear opportunities to continue educating parents and the public about the benefits of CTE and further breakdown the mentality of CTE as an either/or decision for students — particularly when it comes to preparation for college and careers.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
Tags: , , , ,

PARCC Sets Benchmark to Define Academic Preparation Necessary for College and Career Readiness

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Governing Board and the PARCC Advisory Committee on College Readiness (ACCR) have established a common benchmark to define the academic preparation necessary for college and career readiness.

Recently, the groups voted unanimously to adopt a College- and Career-Ready Determination (CCRD) policy and Policy-Level Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs). Agreement on a CCRD policy and the PLDs in mathematics and English language arts/literacy is a significant milestone in the development of the next generation assessments, according to a recent PARCC announcement.

The CCRD policy defines the level of academic preparation in English language arts/literacy and mathematics students need to be successful in entry-level, credit-bearing courses in two- and four-year public institutions of higher education. Such institutions include technical colleges that award degrees or credentials aligned to entry requirements of middle- or high-skilled jobs.

Further, students who achieve at the CCR level on the secondary assessments will be able to enter directly into certain entry-level, credit-bearing courses in those subject areas without needing to take placement tests.

The CCRD policy recognizes the importance of academic preparation, but also notes that a focus on that area alone does not encompass the full range of knowledge, skills, and characteristics that students need to be successful. Skills and traits such as persistence, motivation, time management, employability skills and technical skills also are essential. The CCRDs aims to serve as one among many tactics to support students as they work to be college and career ready.

Learn more at

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
Tags: , , , ,

NASDCTEc Joins Broad Coalition, Releases United Statement on Career Readiness

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

NASDCTEc is among a remarkably broad coalition of 27 education, business, philanthropic and policy groups that have come together to create a clear, unified and focused vision for what it means to be career ready.

The Career Readiness Partner Council is aiming to enhance reform efforts around college and career readiness to include a more comprehensive understanding of what it means to be career ready. The Council’s statement, Building Blocks For Change: What it Means to be Career Ready, makes clear that career readiness is a process of connecting “education and employment to achieve a fulfilling, financially-secure and successful career.” Further, it establishes that career readiness must foster “adaptability and a commitment to lifelong learning, along with a mastery of key knowledge, skills and dispositions that vary from one career to another and change over time.”

“The notion of college and career readiness must be broadened, shifting from its primary focus on college entrance and completion to include a mastery of key knowledge, skills and dispositions that students must foster throughout the life of their careers,” said Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director.

“The vision laid out by the Career Readiness Partner Council brings the nation closer to developing programs that truly prepare students to compete in the global economy.”

This Council’s definition will help inform policy in states and communities across the country. It offers clear guidance, and lays out next steps for groups from policymakers to educators.  The coalition consulted leading researchers and practitioners during the development, and drew heavily from the rich body of work from many of the participating organizations.

Organizations represented in the Council include the Association for Career and Technical Education, Achieve, American Association of Community Colleges, Council of Chief State School Officers, Ford, National Academy Foundation and the National Governors Association.

“We hope,” the document says, “this definition spurs conversation and action in communities across the nation. The inextricable link between education and the economy has never been more apparent, the urgency for change unparalleled.”

The full report and a complete list of the participating organizations can be found at

By Erin in News
Tags: , ,

Forty-One States and DC Declare Support for Development of Shared Set of CTE Standards

Monday, March 26th, 2012

NASDCTEc announced today that state leaders from across the nation are uniting to spearhead an initiative to develop a Common Career Technical Core (CCTC), a set of shared state standards for Career Technical Education (CTE).

NASDCTEc  is coordinating the state-led effort, which will complement and support comprehensive college and career ready standards, such as the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSI) in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The CCTC will build a common connection among states to help prepare CTE students for high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand jobs. Forty-one states; Washington, DC and Palau have signed a declaration of support for the CCTC initiative, pledging their involvement in the development stage.

A range of stakeholders from business and industry to educators will be involved in the multi-step process to develop the CCTC. The development of the standards will be led by working groups made up of state-nominated experts from a variety of sectors. Their involvement will help ensure that the CCTC reflects the timely education and workforce needs of today’s global economy.

The working groups convened for the first time this week. Later in the spring, NASDCTEc will seek public comment on the draft standards. Final standards are scheduled for public release in June 2012, at which point states will move individually to adopt and implement the CCTC.

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By Erin in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE State Director, News
Tags: , , , ,

ACT scores increase, but college and career readiness needs improvement

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Students’ performance in the ACT’s 2009 college-ready assessment made a slight increase from previous years across all subject areas. However, education stakeholders say the modest upticks have yet to meet the growing need of the nation to prepare students for postsecondary education and their careers.

“The recent increase in college preparedness on the ACT is good news. But our students need to do dramatically better to guarantee their future economic success,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in an ACT-published statement.

The percentage of graduates ready to earn at least a “C” or higher in first-year college courses in all four ACT subject areas —English, math, reading and science—increased from 22 percent in 2008 to 23 percent in 2009. Student’s potential to earn that “C” is ACT’s measure of college readiness. The recent test outcomes were higher than in 2005 and 2006 and are the same as in 2007, when the pool of test-takers was likely less diverse in terms of academic preparation, according to ACT.

Further, ACT considers those same students career ready. By measure of ACT, students who are ready to earn at least a “C” or higher in first-year college are also prepared for success in their first year of most workforce training programs of fields in which they may earn a wage sufficient to support a family and have potential for career advancement.

ACT has issued the following recommendations on steps that states and school districts can take to better prepare students for college and career:
• Adopt fewer—but essential—college and career readiness standards as their new high school graduation standards.
• Adopt a rigorous core curriculum for all high school graduates, whether they are bound for college or work.
• Define “how good is good enough” for college and career readiness.
• Strengthen the rigor of their courses.
• Begin monitoring academic achievement early to make sure younger students are on target to be ready for
college and career.
• Establish longitudinal P-16 (preschool through college) data systems.

By Erin in Research
Tags: , ,