Posts Tagged ‘Coronavirus’

Navigating CTE During COVID-19: How Are States Addressing Industry-recognized Credential Attainment?

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

Industry-recognized credentials are an essential component of any high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) program. They indicate the entry-level competencies learners need in a given career field and signal to employers that an individual is prepared for work. But in the midst of a global pandemic, with nearly every state issuing, to varying degrees, stay at home orders that have resulted in school closures and limited access to testing facilities, how can learners continue to earn industry-recognized credentials? 

Over the last decade, there has been a groundswell around industry-recognized credentials. Driven by the Lumina Foundation’s campaign to ensure that 60 percent of U.S. adults hold a credential beyond high school by 2025, nearly every state has set its own postsecondary credential attainment goal. What’s more, many states are also counting industry-recognized credential attainment in their high school accountability systems or are promoting credential attainment through programs such as Virginia’s New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program. 

Challenges for Industry-recognized Credential Attainment

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) threatens to stall many of these policies and initiatives. The requirements for earning an industry-recognized credential vary by type and by provider, but are hard to deliver remotely. Industry-recognized credentials commonly require one or a combination of the following:  

As states have shut down one by one, credentialing opportunities have slowed to a trickle. School districts, institutions of higher education and training providers have been challenged to offer the learning and practical experiences learners need to be eligible for credential exams. Further, testing providers have had to shut their doors or limit access in order to comply with stay at home orders. 

The State Policy Response

The implications of this credentialing slowdown are myriad. For one, many states have baked credential attainment into high school graduation requirements, accountability systems and postsecondary performance-based funding structures. These requirements will need to be waived or loosened in a way that limits harm to learners. In Ohio, the Department of Education has already amended high school graduation requirements for learners pursuing industry-recognized credentials and is allowing learners to earn credentials as soon as it is safe to do so – even if they already have been awarded a diploma. 

Other states are exploring remote proctoring so learners can sit for an industry-recognized credential exam at home. Florida issued guidance for at-home testing for industry certifications, which will allow learners to access exams for credentials on the state-approved Career and Professional Education Act (CAPE) list as long as the credential providers meet certain conditions. However, while a number of credential providers are now offering online proctoring opportunities that are secure and monitored, the technology is expensive to scale and requires the learner to have access to a computer and reliable internet at home. 

The second implication is that credentialing is slowing down at a time when states hit hardest by the coronavirus are experiencing a critical shortage of licensed healthcare workers. In response, governors are issuing emergency licensing waivers in order to permit nursing and medical students as well as retired professionals or those with expired licenses to support the relief effort. In California, for example, the state Board of Registered Nursing has developed guidance on different roles nursing students can play in the field based on competencies developed through prior course taking. 

Finally, with economists already predicting a severe economic downturn as a result of the coronavirus, states will need to accelerate credentialing opportunities for learners transitioning back to work. Even as schools and testing facilities remain closed, states can start thinking now about their economic recovery plan and how to bolster industry-recognized credential attainment in the months and years ahead. 

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research

By Austin Estes in COVID-19 and CTE
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COVID-19 Resources from the U.S. Department of Education: Part Three

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

dThe U.S. Department of Education added a page to its website with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources and updates for elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. You can access this information at www.ed.gov/coronavirus. The page will be continuously updated by the Department. Below are brief overviews of what can be found in some of the newest materials. Advance CTE will continue to share posts with a breakdown of the resources, so keep checking the blog!

Education Stabilization Fund Implementation

The recent stimulus legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)  included more than $30 billion in funding to support K-12 and postsecondary programs and learners affected by Coronavirus. On Monday, the Department released a centralized page of resources related to administering these funds. 

Last week, the Department unveiled guidance on disbursement of the first set of funds to help support postsecondary learners that have been affected by Coronavirus. It is expected that in the coming days and weeks, guidance on other funding provisions of the CARES Act will become available.

Updated Guidance for Interruption of Postsecondary Programs of Study 

The Office of Postsecondary Education updated its COVID-19 FAQ and Guidance for interruption of study related to Coronavirus. This guidance, currently remaining in effect until June 30, 2020 “unless otherwise specified,” includes changes that are being implemented based on provisions in the CARES Act. Some of the new guidance includes:

Guidance on Donation or Loan of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Medical Supplies

On Tuesday, the Department released a memo that gives guidance on loaning or donating certain medical supplies or equipment, if that equipment was originally purchased using funds from a Department grant program. The memo indicates that donating PPE or medical supplies to health providers that have been purchased with funds provided by the Department are allowed. Some of the guidance also includes:

Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

By Samuel Dunietz in COVID-19 and CTE, Legislation, Uncategorized
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COVID-19 Resources from the U.S. Department of Education: Part Three

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

The U.S. Department of Education added a page to its website with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) dresources and updates for elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. You can access this information at www.ed.gov/coronavirus. The page will be continuously updated by the Department. Below are brief overviews of what can be found in some of the materials on postsecondary issues. Advance CTE will continue to share posts with a breakdown of the resources, so keep checking the blog!

 

Guidance for Interruptions of Study Related to CoronavirusThis memo from the Office Of Postsecondary Education gives guidance to institutions on adapting to a broad range of issues in the wake of Coronavirus. Specifically, this memo:

 

COVID-19 FAQs for Institutions of Higher Education and Postsecondary Systems
The Department issued a  fact sheet with frequently asked questions that expands on the guidance memo and goes into a little more detail regarding a few frequently encountered questions for institutions and systems including:

CDC Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education
The CDC guidance includes information about  the role of postsecondary institutions in the mitigation of transmitting  Coronavirus and lays out what steps institutions can take to minimize a spread. This interim guidance page will be updated as more information becomes available. The guidance provides specific instructions depending on if there is no community transmission, minimal to moderate community transmission and substantial community transmission.  

The Department will continue to publish and update resources on its Coronavirus page. Please check back regularly as new content may be added frequently.

Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

By Samuel Dunietz in Uncategorized
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