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

Posts Tagged ‘credentials’

CTE Research Review: Making Sense of Credentials

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

The number of high-demand jobs requiring an occupational license has grown over the past several years. This shift requires changes from the education community when considering the requisite training and preparation that students will need to enter these careers.

A new report from the White House offers policymakers a framework for the growing field of occupational licensing as well some best practices to consider.

Some interesting facts:

Also, licenses are just one type of credential that students can obtain in their educational journey, and with states working to meet the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), understanding the different types is more important than ever.

The Association of Career and Technical Education recently published a primer on credentials, in particular the postsecondary space between high school and a two-year degree. Check out the full brief here.

Finally, the two-year degree attracts students of all ages, but which of those age groups are most likely to continue on to earn their bachelor’s degree? A quick fact sheet from the American Association of Community Colleges’ “Data Points” series has the answer.


Source: Association of Career and Technical Education

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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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
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CTE Research Review: Demystifying Work-based Learning

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Jobs for the Future’s Pathways to Prosperity Network recently released a toolkit to help demystify work-based learning for employers. In the report, “Not as Hard as You Think: Engaging High School Students in Work-based Learning,” JFF acknowledges that addressing employers’ concerns about liability and labor law issues are critical to scaling up work-based learning (WBL) opportunities.

The brief’s primary goal is to alleviate employers’ concerns about perceived barriers to allowing high school students into the workplace, and also offers three case studies of employers in manufacturing and health care that have successfully launched such experiential opportunities.

First, the report offers the greatest benefits of WBL for employers:

To create these opportunities, most employers need “to make only minimal changes, if any, to existing workplace policies and procedures in order to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and policies,” according to the report. The greatest restriction for youth under 18 is the 17 hazardous occupations identified by the U.S. Department of Labor, but just one of these occupations – operating a forklift — is actually in use in most workplaces, the report states. Within the manufacturing industry, most federal restrictions apply only to 14- and 15-year-olds. Other restrictions regarding work hours, minimum wages, permits and required rest or meal periods are typically a matter of state law.

Employers’ insurance policies are a more likely source of barriers to the workplace than state or federal regulations. Yet, the report found that liability issues for paid student interns are often covered under existing workers’ compensation policies. Some employers have been able to work with their insurers to clarify and address WBL restrictions and others take additional steps to limit their liability by having students and families sign liability waivers and working with intermediary organizations.

The report offered three ways to encourage and support employers’ WBL efforts:


Credentials for All

The Southern Regional Education Board’s Commission on Career and Technical Education released its final report earlier this month, and described the bridge from high school to postsecondary and the workforce as broken and in desperate need of fixing.

To repair this bridge, the Commission offers eight actions that states can take to reach the goal of doubling the number of young people completing some form of a college credential by the age of 25. Be sure to check out the full report for all eight action steps.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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Spring Meeting Recap: Certified to Work: Private Sector Credentialing and Certification Efforts

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Spring meetingIn a very spirited panel discussion, three leading experts in credentials shared some challenges and opportunities in building, validating and scaling industry-recognized credentials and certifications at NASDCTEc’s annual Spring Meeting last week.

The session kicked off with moderator Tamar Jacoby of Opportunity America describing credentialing as “one of the sexiest topics in CTE” and a “key to change” because of their capacity to validate the mastery of knowledge and skills, send signals to employers, and prepare individuals for a full range of careers that fall between low skilled jobs and those requiring a full four-year degree.

Jennifer McNelly, President of the Manufacturing Institute, shared her organization’s efforts to bring “market sanity” to the large universe of industry-recognized credentials in manufacturing. The Institute sees credentials as potential “translators between education and employers” because they can give employers confidence that incoming employees with credentials are qualified. This is particularly urgent as the manufacturing industry is projecting a skills gap of up to two million jobs going unfilled in the next ten years. They started the process by reviewing 450 credentials and ultimately endorsed five in the first pass, a number that has grown slightly in the past few years.

Jacey Cavanagh, Project Manager, National Network of Business and Industry Associations, spoke about the role industry-based credentials can play in validating individuals’ foundational employability skills that apply across all industries. The ability to measure and validate these foundational skills are especially important with millennials expected to change jobs and careers more often than previous generations, placing more value on those transferable skills.

From the perspective of Dr. Roy Swift, Executive Director, Workcred, the proliferation of credentials and certificates requires a form of “protection for students and the public.” With over 4,000 agencies and organizations certifying skills, and a lack of transparency around the development, scoring and value of those credentials, he warned “buyers beware.” Questions he raised include – are credentials validated by third-party organizations? How often is re-certification required? What process do states have for phasing out meaningless credentials? Workcred currently is working with Kansas to create criteria for evaluating the true value of credentials to students and employers alike.

Check on a wide array of materials and resources shared by the speakers on our Spring meeting resource page.

Kate Blosveren Kreamer, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren in NASDCTEc Spring Meeting
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CTE Research Review

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Research Image_6.2013In case you missed it, the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, CAPSEE, has a slew of new reports focused on labor market outcomes for postsecondary education and certificates. Three of particular interest are:

New Briefs from ECS

Education Commission of the States has released a series of new briefs that may be of interest to the CTE community such as college guidance and student transitions. Be sure to explore the research database for new studies including a new examination of career professionals-turned-teachers.

O*NET Database Updated

The National O*NET Center has completed its annual update to their Tools and Technology database, which includes more than 60,000 tools and technologies and covers the 900+ occupations in its current taxonomy. Check it out today!

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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CTE Research Review

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

GAO Study on State Funding of Public Collegeschart

In a report for the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a new study examining how state funding and policies have affected college affordability.

Between 2003 and 2012, the report found that state funding across all public colleges decreased by 12 percent, citing the recession’s impact on state budgets as a likely reason. At the same time, median tuition rose 55 percent, and as of fiscal year 2012, became a greater source of revenue for public colleges than state funding.

The GAO provided recommendations in particular about how the federal government could incentivize state action from Federal Student Aid changes, new federal grant programs, and providing consumer information on college affordability.

iNACOL State Policy Framework for Competency-based Education

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), which advocates and supports quality blended, online and competency-based learning opportunities, has released a five-point state policy framework to support competency-based education.

According to the report, 36 states have adopted policies to enable competency based education such as allowing for proficiency-based diplomas, waiving seat time requirements or creating credit flexibility. As the impetus behind its policy framework, iNACOL predicts that the move toward mastery and competency will only increase moving forward.

To reach sustainable systemic change, iNACOL recommends the following:

Nanodegrees and Stackable Credentials

On Tuesday, the Center for American Progress convened a discussion about reimagining the path to the workforce through nanodegrees and stackable credentials. The panel featured Eugene Giovannini of Maricopa Corporate College, Clarissa Shen of Udacity, and Anne Wintroub of AT&T. The event also focused on the think tank’s 2013 report, “A Path Forward.”

You can watch the discussion here.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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Reminder: Webinar next Tuesday on Open Badging!

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Next Tuesday October 7 @ 1 pm ET, NASDCTEc and NOCTI will be hosting a webinar on  Badging 101: The What, The Why & The How. This webinar will explore what badges are, why they are emerging as a major innovation in education (both in and outside the classroom) and how they are being implemented in a variety of settings, including through a recent multi-site pilot. There will be a wealth of knowledge shared so this webinar is not to be missed!

Speakers include:

Register here today!

By Kate Blosveren in NASDCTEc Announcements, Webinars
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Upcoming Webinar: Badging 101

Monday, August 25th, 2014

badge1Sometimes called “the next disrupter” in education, open badges offer an innovative platform for recognizing and displaying a students’ competency demonstrated either inside or outside the traditional classroom. Yet questions remain about how badges work at the institution and state level, how they can be folded into existing education systems, and what it takes to ensure their quality, reliability and validity.

On Tuesday October 7 @ 1 pm ET, join NASDCTEc and NOCTI for Badging 101: The What, The Why & The How, which will dig into some of these tough questions and explore open badges from national, state and local perspectives.

Speakers include:

Register here today!

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren in NASDCTEc Announcements, Webinars
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Catching Up With … State Legislatures (Part 5)

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Catching Up SeriesEditor’s Note: This is part of a series that will highlight some of this year’s major state legislative activity as it relates to Career Technical Education (CTE). Further explanation of the series can be found here andthepreviousinstallments. For a comprehensive look-back at the 2013 legislative sessions, check out the “2013 CTE Year in Review,” which was published jointly by NASDCTEc and the Association for Career and Technical Education in March.


Florida lawmakers added a few more provisions to the state’s Career and Professional Education Act (CAPE), adding to the major changes from last year’s session. The law now requires school boards to inform parents of the projected return on investment should their child complete an industry-recognized certification during high school versus completing one after graduation. It also directs the state Department of Education and Workforce Florida, Inc. to begin collecting return-on-investment information for industry-certified CTE programs and career-themed courses as part of its broader collection of student achievement and performance data. The law creates two new features as well – CAPE Acceleration and CAPE Innovation – which will take effect in the 2015-2016 school year, and further incentivizes school districts to offer industry-recognized credentials for articulated college credit.

In a separate bill, the legislature also permitted computer science courses to count for one high school graduation requirement in math or science if the course is deemed of sufficient rigor and a related industry certification is earned. Similarly, a computer technology course in 3D rapid prototype printing with a related industry certification may satisfy up to two math requirements.

In an effort to support and integrate technology in the classroom, the same legislation also provided that grades K-12 will give students the opportunity to earn digital tool certificates and grade-appropriate, technology-related industry certifications.

Military experience for academic credit

Washington and Utah joined a growing number of states that will now offer academic credit for veterans’ military experience as well as in-state tuition. The Connecticut General Assembly directed the state’s licensing authorities to certify, waive, or award certain licenses, examinations or credit to veterans or National Guard members who have military experience similar to the existing requirements.

In Washington, a new law requires the state’s higher education institutions to adopt policies that would award academic credit for military training applicable to the student’s certificate or degree requirements. Meanwhile, Utah lawmakers modified a 2013 law to require that veterans receive college and career counseling before the credit is awarded. According to an analysis by the Education Commission of the States, seven state legislatures also passed similar laws in 2013 related to prior learning assessments for veterans.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Legislation, Public Policy
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CLASP Discussion Paper Calls for a Conversation on the Nation’s “Credentialing Ecosystem”

Monday, May 5th, 2014

mapEarlier this month, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) released a discussion paper calling for a national conversation on the nation’s often fragmented “credentialing ecosystem”— an expression the author uses to define the decentralized nature of the country’s credentialing marketplace. Written by Evelyn Ganzglass, the paper urges key stakeholders in the postsecondary education and workforce communities to thoughtfully reevaluate and improve the transparency, utility, trust, and portability of credentials currently available to individuals for use in the labor market.

The paper goes on to call for a “large scale expansion of the use of credentials that recognize an individual’s competencies – regardless of means of acquisition – to improve employer competitiveness, reduce skill shortages, expand career advancement opportunities for workers, reduce time to credential for workers and students, and improve returns of accredited credentialing systems relative to costs.” It highlights the overly complex landscape of the current credentialing marketplace, the widespread lack of transparency within it and goes on to outline the contours of a credible alternative to this current framework by emphasizing the importance of an individual’s competencies rather than the amount of “seat time” needed for attainment.

Ultimately the paper argues that, “using competency as the basis for credentials would create a transparent student-centered approach to credentialing.” This overarching recommendation, along with many other important findings, was endorsed by a number of signatories including the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, of which NASDCTEc is a national partner. The full paper and a list of supporters can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

By Steve Voytek in Public Policy