Posts Tagged ‘community college’

Guided Pathways Initiatives Require Major Overhaul of How Things are Done at Community Colleges

Friday, January 5th, 2018

A recent article from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) highlights efforts from CCRC and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to implement guided pathways reforms at community colleges. The goal of guided pathways reforms is to create college environments that learners can easily and confidently navigate to completion and successful employment upon completion, and includes four main practice areas:

Reforms in all four of these areas require major changes to program structure, advising, administrative policies and classroom practice, and therefore require buy-in across the institution and a several-year commitment to the reform process. CCRC and AACC have been working with 30 colleges to implement guided pathways through the Pathways Project, and shared some of their lessons learned from the project’s first year.

For example, Jackson College in Michigan quickly realized that its four advisors for more than 5,000 students were not adequate for helping all students learn about and choose program pathways. The college has now hired “student success navigators,” who call every single student before orientation and work with each student in person multiple times in their first semester to design a pathway that works for them. San Jacinto College in Texas reorganized its 144 degree and certificate programs into eight meta majors, allowing a student to choose one of the eight early on and begin introductory courses without being locked into a specific degree or certificate program. The college also worked on transfer-oriented programs by creating maps for the college’s five most common transfer destinations to help students choose the courses that will allow them to transfer non-elective college credit to the new institutions.

For Effective CTE, States Should Adopt Eight Non-Negotiables

ExcelinEd recently released a new playbook for state policymakers related to effective CTE. The report argues that while the importance of CTE has been recognized at the federal, state and local levels, not enough has been done to ensure that CTE programs are meeting workforce needs effectively. This is largely attributed to common challenges of the broad spectrum of programs available, the disconnect between K-12 and industry, and the negative legacy of “vocational education.” To address these challenges, the report recommends that states adopt eight “non-negotiables” related to their CTE policies:

  1. All promoted programs of study align with state and/or regional industry and labor market data;
  2. Programs of study incorporate experiential learning and capstone experiences valued by industry;
  3. Secondary programs of study vertically align with postsecondary programs;
  4. Courses are sequential and progressive in a given program of study;
  5. Secondary programs of study incorporate courses and exams eligible for postsecondary credit or hours where appropriate;
  6. Course standards are robust and accurately represent the academic, technical and employability skills learners must master;
  7. Educators receive ongoing, progressive training and professional development to ensure their instruction is reflective of course standards and current industry work environments; and
  8. Federal, state and local funding are utilized to leverage and drive programmatic changes leading to the implementation of vertically aligned education-to-career learning pathways.

 

The authors propose that these eight non-negotiables be implemented in a four-phase plan, to ensure thoughtful and sustainable changes are occurring. They provide examples of successful implementation of each of the eight non-negotiables in Delaware, Florida and Tennessee.

Odds and Ends

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently released a new report on the integration of education and workforce data. The report focuses on states who have created publicly available data tools in five areas:

Education Commission of the States recently released a 50-state comparison of policies related to Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs). PLAs allow learners and institutions to determine the level of previous of knowledge and experience before entering a postsecondary program, and can be used to incentivize re-entry for older learners.

A new report from the American Enterprise Institute examines the barriers community colleges face in providing high-quality CTE, including funding allocations, accreditation requirements and credit-transfer policies, among others. The report also makes recommendations for community colleges to make the most of their CTE offerings and reduce the proliferation of general studies programs at community colleges.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Research
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Election 2016: Where the National Parties Stand on CTE

Monday, August 1st, 2016

With the Democratic National Convention now over, both major parties have officially selected their nominees for the 2016 election. Coinciding with the nomination festivities, each party voted on and approved a party platform that outlines its priorities for the coming years. Once again, both Republicans and Democrats have affirmed commitments to Career Technical Education (CTE) through their respective platforms, demonstrating that CTE remains a solidly bipartisan issue.

Republican Party Platform Promotes CTE, Work-based Learning

The GOP’s position on education echoes much of what we’ve been hearing in Congress with regards to local-control over matters of education. Nevertheless, the platform promotes CTE as one of “the policies and methods that have actually made a difference in student advancement.” The platform further urges “school districts to make use of teaching talent in the business community, STEM fields, and the military,” to leverage non-traditional expertise in support of student learning. The party also promotes technical colleges and work-based learning, and advocates for public policies that “recognize that a four-year degree from a brick-and-mortar institution is not the only path toward a prosperous and fulfilling career.”

Democrats Aim to Expand Access to Middle Class Jobs

In the Democratic camp, the party approved a progressive platform calling for increased access to high-quality education and more pathways to the middle class for students of all backgrounds. The platform targets high costs and “predatory for-profit schools” as barriers to achieving this vision. It proposes to “make community college free” and crack down on for-profit schools that don’t “enable students to complete their degrees and prepare them for work.” The party also commits to investing in “high-quality STEAM classes [and] computer science education” as well as expanding “linked learning models and career pathways” across the country.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

By Austin Estes in News, Public Policy
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Spring Meeting Recap: HEA and Other Postsecondary CTE Initiatives

Monday, April 20th, 2015

While a long-needed update to the federal law governing U.S. elementary and secondary education winds its way through Congress, advocates are hoping the next critical reauthorization on lawmakers’ agendas will be the Higher Education Act (HEA).

Or perhaps it should be said – advocates are hopeful but not optimistic about HEA’s chances of reauthorization during the 114th Congress. Advocates and an Obama Administration official shared their perspectives about postsecondary education with NASDCTEc members during the 2015 Spring Meeting.

David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and research at the American Association of Community Colleges, called the reauthorization of HEA “of critical importance to vocational and training programs.”

Baime said the law primarily focuses on student financial assistance, which includes the ever-important Pell grants. Baime said 20 percent of revenues for community colleges – roughly $11 billion a year – are tied to students who receive money through Pell grants. AACC’s HEA policy recommendations include a call to expand the list of institutions eligible to receive Pell funds, including some short-term postsecondary CTE programs.

In fact, HEA – a $130 billion program – is really more of a job training bill rather than a higher education law, as it has historically been considered, said Mary Alice McCarthy, senior policy analyst from the New America Foundation.

In a 2014 policy brief, “Beyond the Skills Gap,” McCarthy argues that five policy gaps within HEA “make it too easy for institutions to provide high-cost, low-quality CTE programs while also making it too difficult for institutions to build the partnerships and programs that will facilitate student transitions to jobs and careers.”

Of the five gaps, three are related to how institutions are accredited – an important marker for being eligible to receive Pell funds. Other gaps include a focus on enrollment rather than outcomes and paying for time rather than learning.

McCarthy argued that Congress can fix these issues five ways:

However, Congress’ minimal activity around HEA isn’t stopping the Obama Administration from putting forth bold proposals for postsecondary education. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges Mark Mitsui laid out the Administration’s proposals from the 2016 budget, which included:

Be sure to check out NASDCTEc’s previous coverage of these proposals to learn more!

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Advance CTE Spring Meeting
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CTE Research Review

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013In this week’s Research Review, we dive into unemployment rates for community college graduates and a new report on the manufacturing sector from the Milstein Center.

Community college graduates vs. unemployment rates

The New York Times has tapped into data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics linking unemployment rates to educational attainment. Most strikingly among community college graduates, those who finished with an occupational degree had a substantially lower unemployment rate than their academic-degree counterparts at 4.0 and 4.8 percent, respectively.

The data also suggest that occupationally focused associate’s degrees (which encompass most CTE fields of study) “are healthy and growing,” according to additional analysis from the Economic Modeling Specialists International.

Six proposals to expand manufacturing’s innovative capacity

The recently released inaugural report from The Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing, which is part of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, explores challenges facing the future of small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises and their ability to innovate as technologies advance and global demand shifts over the next decade.

Among the six ideas proposed, the commission advocates for “upside-down degrees” to encourage alignment between work experience and college education, a “skills census” to better understand the skills gap and a renewed focus on technology and engineering skills for high school students as a means to stimulate the rise of new manufacturing in the United States.

According to the report, the country’s 258,000 small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises represent more than 98 percent of all U.S. manufacturing firms and now share 45 percent of the sector’s jobs. The report identified a serious and comprehensive cultural change as necessary to create a pipeline of skilled workers from K-12 and workforce training programs. However, those challenges notwithstanding, small and medium firms often lack the required capital to invest in their employees or the on-the-job training needed to keep their existing workforce current.

Check out the entire report to learn more about the six proposals.

NASDCTEc’s state pages updated

Our state profile pages have been updated to include state allocations of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. We’ve also recently added new functionality for members only that allows users to compare multiple states, and have begun identifying and sharing CTE success stories from across the country. We’ll list other new additions here as they become available.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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