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Posts Tagged ‘community colleges’

Legislative Update: CTE Floor Speech, ESEA

Friday, February 17th, 2012

House Member Highlights CTE in Floor Speech

Rep. Jim Langevin (RI), co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, took to the floor of the House yesterday morning to shine a spotlight on CTE and its effectiveness in his state of Rhode Island. National Grid, the primary utility in his state, and the Community College of Rhode Island have come together to offer a program that allows students to earn a certificate in energy utility technology and gives them the opportunity to become new employees.

Mr. Langevin also called on his fellow members of Congress to support the President’s Community College to Career Fund, which would invest $8 billion over three years to advance partnerships between community colleges and businesses, such as National Grid.

NASDCTEc was pleased this week to have Mr. Langevin author a guest blog on the importance of CTE.

House Holds ESEA Hearing

Yesterday the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on two recently introduced pieces of ESEA reauthorization legislation, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act. Chairman John Kline (MN) stated in his opening remarks that these bills provide flexibility to States and districts around teacher evaluation systems, standards, and assessments. Ranking Member George Miller (CA), however, warned that Congress should not promote flexibility at the expense of accountability and that legislation must lead to better outcomes for students.

Rep. Tom Petri (WI) remarked that there are many unemployed individuals in Wisconsin, but that there are also many employers looking to fill jobs – good paying, middle class jobs – due to the mismatch between preparation students are getting and the changing job market. He warned that we need address this skills gap or “we are going to be in a world of trouble.” Mr. Petri wanted to know whether these two pieces of legislation would advance the collaborative efforts being made by states and businesses, such as through the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, to prepare young people for the modern world of work, or whether they would create barriers to these efforts. Tom Luna, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction, said that while the federal government’s role is be to hold states accountable, there needs to be sufficient flexibility because while the problems like those described by Mr. Petri are the same in many states, the solutions are not the same.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Budget Level Funds Perkins; Invests in Career Academies and Community Colleges

Monday, February 13th, 2012

President Obama released his FY13 budget today, and there is good news for CTE! The President proposed level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grants, and plans to release a reauthorization proposal that “would restructure CTE to align what students learn in school with the demands of 21st Century jobs.” While the budget does not include specifics about what this proposal will look like, a budget summary released by the Department of Education states that their proposal would increase the rigor and relevance of CTE and strengthen connections between secondary and postsecondary education. In addition to Perkins Act funding, the budget proposes an investment of $1 billion over three years to scale up career academies.

Some other highlights of the budget that may be of interest:

We are continuing to analyze the budget, and will update you on any additional information that could impact CTE.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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CTE in the News: Maine Governor Proposes Expansion of CTE, Education Reform

Friday, February 10th, 2012

As part of a string of education proposals intended to provide the broadest scope of opportunities for students, Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s is pitching a plan to enhance Career Technical Education (CTE), according to a recent Morning Sentinel article.

The governor’s proposed legislation calls for better articulation between CTE Centers, and high schools and community colleges, to ensure that students earn academic credits and workforce credentials that are transferable. His CTE proposal is outlined as follows:

An Act to Enhance Career and Technical Education

The legislation suggests that the governor recognizes how CTE can serve as a pipeline for high school students as they enter college and for college students as they step into the workforce, which has heightened standards for higher education and nationally portable credential.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News, Public Policy
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Center for American Progress Proposal Targets Perkins Funding

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently issued a brief, Building a Technically Skilled Workforce, which reminds us that in order for the United States to remain a leader in the global economy, we must ensure that workers have the education and skills to be successful in emerging and high-growth industries.

We agree, and we believe that CTE will play a vital role in preparing our workforce for the future. However, we do not agree with CAP’s proposed use of Perkins Act funding to meet this goal.

In the brief, CAP recommends that a “Community College and Industry Partnership Grant” program should be established to encourage partnerships between community colleges, and business and industry. These partnerships would in turn result in programs that provide credentials which are directly linked to current job requirements and respond to future job openings. CAP proposes that the grants be paid for with postsecondary Perkins Act funding. NASDCTEc believes that, among other things, doing so would hinder the progress the CTE community has made in linking secondary and postsecondary education, a goal reinforced by the Perkins Act.

This proposal is just that – a proposal, and holds no weight in terms of actual legislative authority. However, as reauthorization draws near, we will likely have to fend off proposals like this one that targets the use of Perkins funds

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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ED Releases Reports and Feedback from Community College Summits

Monday, January 30th, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education hosted last year regional community college summits, following a White House Summit on Community Colleges in 2010, to provide research and receive input on community college issues. Panelists presented preliminary research related to secondary-postsecondary alignment, partnerships with employers, and other issues. This month, the Department has released the results of this research and a report summarizing the conversations that took place during the summits.

The summary report, Scaling the Community College Summits, provides comments and suggestions from the combined 800 attendees of the summits. Recommendations from participants include:

Researchers also presented draft papers at the summits on strategies to increase student retention and college completion. The final reports are now available, and they include additions made after the summits. The reports include:

The Department will convene several webinars in the upcoming months to highlight each report in greater detail, and we will provide this schedule when it becomes available. To provide feedback, please e-mail [email protected]

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Public Policy, Research, Resources
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President Focuses on Education and Skills Training in State of the Union

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

In his State of the Union address last night President Obama called keeping the middle class alive “the defining issue of our time.” Throughout his speech, he set out proposals to foster an economy “built to last” predicated on education, a skilled workforce, high-paying jobs, energy independence and fairness that would help bolster the middle class.

The President highlighted the skills gap that exists in industries such as manufacturing, information technology and clean energy: “Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job.” In an effort to solve this problem, he called for a national commitment to train two million individuals with the skills they need to land a job, with a focus on partnerships between businesses and community colleges. The President is scheduled to release his FY13 budget on February 13. We hope that his commitment to address the skills gap and provide resources for unemployed individuals will be reflected in his proposal for Perkins Act funding.

President Obama also focused on the current job training system, saying that he wants “to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people…have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need.” His hope is that streamlining the system will get people back to work more quickly in the jobs that exist today, and better prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. While he does not mention the Workforce Investment Act specifically, the program has been due for reauthorization since 2003 and has been top priority for the both the House and the Senate this session. Given the President’s mention of the workforce system, we are hopeful that this signals a desire to reauthorize WIA in the coming year.

The President also touched on other education issues such as high school dropouts, calling on states to require students to stay in school until graduation or until they turn 18. In terms of college access and affordability, the President urged Congress to keep student interest rates low and extend the tuition tax credit. He also asked institutions of higher education to keep costs down and was blunt in his commitment to making postsecondary education more affordable, saying, “If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.”

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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CTE in the News: HISD looking to help graduates land jobs

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Houston Independent School District unveiled a $4 million proposal aimed at helping secondary students land jobs in the refining and global transportation industries, which are experiencing growth in the city, according to a recent Houston Chronicle article.

HISD plans to launch “intensive career training programs” at five high schools next year. Those programs would put students on a path to earn an industry certification in a trade and an associate’s degree from Houston Community College.

“Nationally there’s a lot of talk about college and career readiness, but college is what’s emphasized,” said Alisha Hyslop, an assistant director at the Association for Career and Technical Education, in the article. “This effort really seems to blend both in a seamless manner.”

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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December “CTE Monthly” Newsletter: New CTE Reports, Finance Career Spotlight

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

CTE Monthly, a collaborative publication from the Association for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, features the latest news on Career Technical Education (CTE) from across the nation for CTE stakeholders and Members of Congress.

The latest edition highlights two recent reports: the first focuses on Career Clusters™ and the labor market, and the second argues for greater collaboration between education and workforce agencies.

The newsletter’s “Career Spotlight” section features the Finance Career Cluster™ and describes a high school in Alabama that prepares its CTE students through a partnership with a local bank.

Lastly, learn more about a community college that the Aspen Institute calls “the nation’s best.”

Access the December 2011 CTE Monthly here. To view past newsletters, visit our advocacy tools Web page.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Publications, Resources
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Valencia College Named Top Community College

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Last month the Aspen Institute awarded Valencia College in Orlando, Florida the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. As the winner, Valencia was recognized as the top community college in the nation and will receive $600,000 to support its programs. To determine a winner, the Aspen Institute reviewed data on community colleges and other elements of student success, including: student learning, degree completion and transfer, equity, and employment/earnings after college. At Valencia close to fifty percent of students are under-represented minorities, and many are low-income, yet more than half graduate or transfer within three years, versus less than forty percent for community colleges nationally.

The four finalists with distinction included Miami Dade College, West Kentucky Community and Technical College, Lake Area Technical Institute (South Dakota), and Walla Walla Community College (Washington). Each will receive $100,000.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in News
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New Accountability Measures Released for Community Colleges

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) last week launched the Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA), a custom framework that allows 2-year colleges to measure student performance in areas such as college readiness, academic progress, and job placement. Community colleges have typically been assessed on the same measures as 4-year colleges and universities, which, according to AACC, do not always match the mission or characteristics of students at community colleges. The VFA will give community colleges specific metrics that will assess student progress and achievement, implementation of CTE programs and transparency in reporting outcomes.

AACC is asking its members to adopt the framework and is seeking endorsement from accrediting bodies and adoption by states and community-college systems. The framework will be available to all community colleges in 2012.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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