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Posts Tagged ‘credentials’

Certificates Account for 22 Percent of All Postsecondary Awards, Report Says

Monday, June 18th, 2012

A new report from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce finds that, if certificates counted towards college completion metrics, the United States would leap forward in international rankings from 15th to 10th place for total postsecondary completions.

The number of certificates awarded in the United States now makes up 22 percent of all postsecondary awards. Certificate programs, which generally take around one year to complete, offer shorter term, occupation-focused programs. According to Georgetown’s study, certificate-holders spend less time in the classroom but often earn more than those with associate degrees, and, sometimes, even those with four-year degrees.

Further, more than one-third of certificate holders also hold an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree. Of these individuals, two-thirds earned their certificate first before completing further education.

Experts agree that many jobs in the future will require at least some postsecondary education and training, yet only half students who start college complete a degree. Certificates offer shorter term, occupation-focused programs, most of which take less than a year to complete and can open doors to promotions and new job opportunities for workers.

In 2010, over one million certificates were awarded, up from 300,000 certificates awarded in 1994.

Click here to view the report.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in News, Research, Resources
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Legislative Update: House Committee Passes WIA Reauth Bill

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a markup of H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 yesterday. The bill represents large scale changes to the current WIA program. The bill was approved by a party line vote of 23 to 15. There is no word on when the bill will go to the floor.

The bill proposes to consolidate approximately 30 existing workforce and training programs into a single, flexible Workforce Investment Fund, and it would give Governors the power to consolidate even more programs under a unified state plan. The bill would also require states and locals to use common performance measures for all workforce development programs.

As we previously reported, an earlier bill introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC), which was merged into H.R. 4297, allowed states to submit a unified state plan encompassing two or more job training and related programs, including both Perkins secondary and postsecondary programs. Under Foxx’s bill, Perkins funds would have been eligible to be consolidated into a Workforce Investment Fund and used for workforce activities. After hearing from the CTE community, new language was added to the Workforce Investment Improvement Act that singles out Perkins as one program whose funds cannot be consolidated into the Workforce Investment Fund.

The Workforce Investment Improvement Act also proposes changes to the Job Corps program to ensure that CTE and job training offered under that program is focused on in-demand occupations and that disadvantaged youth receive a regular high school diploma and/or a postsecondary credential that prepares them for employment.

Democrats on the Committee are not supportive of the bill, and offered a substitute bill as an amendment. Their bill focused on career pathways in high demand industries that lead to industry recognized credentials and postsecondary attainment. It would also expand the role of community colleges in job training. The Democrats’ amendment was voted down along party lines.

A summary of H.R. 4297 can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Survey Finds Many U.S. Employers Still Struggle to Fill Job Vacancies

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Employment rates in the United States have been on an upturn yet half of U.S. employers in a recent survey still report having difficulty filling job vacancies. Manpower, an employment agency, released today its annual Talent Shortage Survey, the result of nearly 40,000 interviews with employers across the globe, to provide a comprehensive picture of how the skills gap is affecting business and industry.

The top positions that employers struggle to fill include engineers, technicians, production operators, finance staff, Information Technology staff, and laborers – areas in which Career Technical Education (CTE) provides students with skills and training that align with the needs of business and industry.

Four in 10 employers report that the shortage of qualified job applicants has had a high or medium impact on its stakeholders. Many reported that applicants lack technical skills and would be more qualified if they had industry-specific certifications and qualifications, experience operating mechanical and industrial equipment, and computer and information technology skills.

The most common strategy used by employers to address the shortage is to provide additional training and development for existing staff. Only 10 percent of those surveyed reported partnering with educational institutions to create aligned curriculum.

CTE leaders are working to strengthen alignment and partnerships among secondary, postsecondary, and workforce entities to help students successfully land jobs and meet employers’ expectations. Through rigorous academic and technical coursework and hands-on learning experiences, CTE programs are preparing students to meet critical labor market demands.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research, Resources
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Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series: Education Malfunction is a Myth

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Todd Thibodeaux is CompTIA president and CEO.

Is today’s education system failing our children?

Not necessarily. The problem may be that too many people are limiting the boundaries of what makes up our education system.

Think about it. A lot of folks with a stake in the matter are doing just that and results indicate the traditional college route isn’t cutting it when it comes to career opportunities for young people.

More states, school districts, government leaders and students themselves are demanding improved preparation in career readiness in the form of industry certifications and Career Technical Education (CTE) programs.

In our particular quadrant of the professional world, the technical industry, there’s a greater demand today for young people entering the professional world to gain real-world training not always available through traditional academic avenues.  Add to that the expense of a post-secondary education and one can certainly understand the growing acceptance and encouragement of CTE programs as a viable substitute for an academic
 degree.

 


A student who graduates with a high school degree and an industry certification has the opportunity to garner a well-paying position while pursuing an education to continue up the ladder on a career path.

In the past decade, language within the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act focused on the inclusion of industry certifications as a measure of what must be attained to enter many industries and careers has increased dramatically.

Just as CompTIA certifications come in the form of high-stakes exams, government programs must quantify success or lack thereof to determine individual student achievements and program viability. More and more employers not only are recommending, but requiring attainment of those credentials.

Studies have shown that student graduates of CTE programs have a higher grade-point-average and a higher rate of graduation than their peers in high school.

In a form of unprecedented joint commitment from U.S. government agencies this April, the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor promoted the use of career pathways as a “promising strategy” to help adults earn marketable skills and industry-recognized credentials toward employment. Career pathways such as CTE are to be a chief focus of integrated federal and state funding streams to advance higher levels of future education and better aligned training and employment.

Lest we forget Harvard University’s Pathways to Prosperity Project which balanced its illustration of an education system that has failed to engage students with a solution that has a strong emphasis on CTE?

All in all, actions within our academic, government and technical communities continue to align in favor of CTE programs as a valued method of preparing students to step foot in the workplace and succeed.

Today’s education system is not a failure. The boundaries of that traditional system just need to be expanded.

How Can You Get Involved?

The Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series provides advocates – from business and industry, to researchers and organizations – an opportunity to articulate their support for Career Technical Education. The monthly series features a guest blogger who provides their perspective on and experience with CTE as it relates to policy, the economy and education.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager, at [email protected]

By Erin in News
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April “CTE Monthly” Newsletter: Report Assesses Progress toward Postsecondary Credential Attainment; Arts, Audio/Video Technology and Communications Career Spotlight

Wednesday, April 18th, 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 April issue highlights the Arts, Audio/Video Technology and Communications Career Cluster, an area that is expected to see an increase in jobs over the next decade. A CTE high school in Dallas, Texas, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, is featured in this month’s newsletter.

Also highlighted is a report from the Lumina Foundation, A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, that assesses the nation’s progress toward postsecondary degree and credential completion.

Access the April edition of CTE Monthly, and view past newsletters on our advocacy tools Web page.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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CTE in the News: Going to Trade School, Should You Do It?

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Programs such as Career Technical Education (CTE) are one of the few bright spots in the education sector during the nation’s slow recovery period, according to a recent Fox Business News article.

“The high school programs are an opportunity for students to try out lots of different career fields and see what they like and what they don’t like,” said Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director. “From the high school perspective, I think it’s really about career exploration, finding your passion and then when you find it, you can begin on your journey for getting the skills you need for starting your career of choice.”

Further, those high school students typically follow a path to postsecondary institutions where they earn certificates and degrees that qualify them for jobs, Green added.

Perhaps, students are identifying the connection between CTE completion, degree or certificate attainment, and job opportunities. CTE and similar programs are experiencing an increase in enrollments at a time graduate schools have seen a decline in student applications, according to the article.

In fact, CTE programs have seen a “sharp increase” in enrollment and many students may be waitlisted, noted Tom Holdsworth, SkillsUSA Associate Executive Director of the Office of Communications & Government Relations.

“There are a lot of careers that just require a certificate or a two-year degree and a lot of those are paying above average wages in areas such as manufacturing, architecture, and construction,” Holdsworth said. “There are opportunities to earn good middle income wage, but you have to have the right set of skills.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that middle-skill jobs will make up approximately 45 percent of all job openings projected through 2014, according to the article. Of the occupations that require postsecondary education, those requiring an associate degree are projected to grow at the fastest rate of about 19 percent, the article said.

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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Most Manufacturing Executives Report a Shortage of Qualified Workers, Survey Shows

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

A recent national survey from the Manufacturing Institute, an organization focused on improving and expanding manufacturing in the United States, delves deeper into the “skills gap” issue and examines how industry leaders are responding to this challenge.

Of the thousand manufacturing executives who completed the Manufacturing Institute’s survey, nearly 70 percent reported that they have a moderate or severe shortage of available, highly-qualified workers. Over half expect the shortage to worsen within the next five years. Further, over 60 percent of executives stated that shortages and skill deficiencies are having a profound impact on their companies’ ability to expand and improve.

Manufacturing Institute President Emily DeRocco stated that students and their parents have a limited understanding of the jobs that are available in manufacturing today, partly due to the stigma around the low-skilled manufacturing jobs of the last century. However, today’s manufacturing jobs require more complex skills, like high-level technology and computer skills, and are situated in much better work environments.

Many executives reported that available jobs are in areas of “skilled production,” such as machinists, operators, distributors, and technicians. DeRocco suggests that companies partner with educational institutions, such as CTE schools and centers, to further align education and training to meet the needs of business and industry.

Through the Manufacturing Career Cluster, Career Technical Education (CTE) programs provide a response to manufacturers’ demands by educating students through career pathways that lead to industry-recognized credentials. Still, more students are needed to overcome this skills gap by training in advanced manufacturing programs of study (POS) and acquiring the skills needed to pursue positions in manufacturing.

The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte provide an analysis of the survey results in Boiling Point? The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

 

By Kara in News, Publications, Research
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, WIA, Bills Introduced

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Senate Reluctant to Vote on Education Funding Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) announced this week that he plans to bring three appropriations bills to the floor for a vote this month: Agriculture, Transportation-HUD and Commerce-Justice-Science. However, it is unlikely that the Labor-HHS-Education bill will go to the floor because Senate Republicans are opposed to it.

CTE Highlighted at House WIA Hearing

During Tuesday’s hearing, “Modernizing the Workforce Investment Act: Developing an Effective Job Training System for Workers and Employers,” members of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training heard a number of suggestions on how to improve the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

The consensus among witnesses was that the workforce system must be employer driven, flexible and respond to local needs. Witnesses were also concerned about the heavy burden the current system places on providers, as well as the level of federal involvement. “There is a high reporting burden, and in my mind, before you cut any dollar to the customer, you’ve got to cut down the bureaucracy,” said Kristen Cox, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services.  

Jaime Fall, Vice President of Workforce and Talent Development Policy at the HR Policy Association, urged Congress to “ensure the skills developed through job training programs meet the needs of employers” by giving priority to “training resulting in employer recognized credentials that document skills.” Fall also voiced HR Policy Association’s support for CTE and Perkins-funded programs, saying:

Our members believe that career and technical education programs funded through the Perkins Act are a critical component of the overall national strategy to develop a skilled workforce. We encourage you to strongly support these programs as you discuss WIA, No Child Left Behind and the Perkins Act.

This is not the first time the HR Policy Association has showed their support for Perkins and CTE on Capitol Hill. This summer they sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to restore Perkins Act funding.

Bills Introduced

Ready to Compete Act

Rep. John Yarmuth (KY) has introduced H.R. 3036, the Ready to Compete Act, which would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Workforce Investment Act to award grants to prepare individuals for 21st century careers. The bill would update the Ready to Learn program under ESEA and create a new Ready to Earn program under WIA. These programs would encourage the use of technology and public television to expand the availability of workforce training programs, GED preparation, and adult education initiatives, while providing new resources for classroom instruction and school readiness efforts.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Low College Completion Rates for Students Pursuing Certificate, Associate, and Bachelor’s Degrees

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Despite increases in college enrollment rates, too few students are making it through certificate, associate and bachelor’s degree programs to attain a credential, according to a report released this week.

Complete College America (CCA), a national non-profit organization working to increase the number of Americans with a college degree or credential, presents new comprehensive state and campus college completion data in Time is the Enemy.

The federal government only requires colleges and universities to report data on first-time, full-time students. However, 40 percent of public college students attend part-time and, therefore, are often overlooked in federal data. Others have been overlooked as well, according to the report:

“Start full-time and then transfer to a different institution? You haven’t been counted. Older students, students trapped in remediation, students pursuing valuable career certificates… all have been virtually invisible to policy makers, elected officials, and taxpayers.”

Unlike most federal data, the report’s data shows rates for part-time and full-time students and those pursuing a certificate, 2-year degree or 4-year degree. CCA analyzed this data with the cooperation of governors from 33 states. Unfortunately, these newly-available statistics are sobering:

In Texas, 79 percent of college-going students enter 2-year public colleges full-time or part-time. Of these students, only 2 percent graduate on time. After 4 years, only 7 percent total will graduate with a degree.

Many other states showed similarly discouraging results. To view your state’s results, click here.

The report states that “students who are poor, older or of color struggle the most to graduate.” Some barriers include remedial coursework and inconvenient scheduling.

Programs that yield high student completion rates are also highlighted, such as Tennessee’s Technology Centers and the City of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs. Strategies for increasing graduation rates, such as block scheduling and on-campus jobs for commuter students, are also described.

View the full report and helpful visuals on the Complete College America website.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in News, Research, Resources
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Sec. Duncan: “Voc. Education Hit Its Heyday in the 60s and 70s”

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Leaders in industry and education convened last week to unravel factors contributing to the current skills gap and to debate possible solutions that would strengthen the workforce. Though many panelists, including heads of Google, Snap-On, and the Manufacturing Institute, and keynote speaker Senator Mark Warner (VA), voiced support for Career Technical Education (CTE), one major participant was less optimistic about the role of CTE.

After sharing her observations of successful vocational programs in countries such as South Korea and Finland, an interviewer asked her guest, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, why America doesn’t talk more about career readiness. Duncan replied that “Vocational education hit its heyday… in the 60s and 70s,” and that the country has backed off of the approach since then.

Duncan said that vocational training needs to prepare students for viable careers in fields like technology and healthcare, and not in outdated fields. When asked why he thinks the “heyday” of vocational education was a half-century ago, the Secretary stated that:

“At that point, we maybe had a clearer sense of what we were preparing students for. And my concern today – there are some amazingly high-performing ‘voc’ and career programs in high schools – but you honestly have too many schools today that are still preparing students for the jobs of 30 or 40 years ago. So for me, it’s – are you getting industry-recognized credentials? Are you getting a certificate? Are you getting a piece of paper? Are you getting the training that’s going to lead you to a good job and to a career coming out of high school? And we want to put a lot more resources behind places that are doing that.”

Click here to view Sec. Duncan’s interview (begins at 16:53).

Today’s CTE programs are vastly different than the vocational education programs offered 50 years ago. NASDCTEc developed a new vision for all CTE programs last year that clearly frames principles and actions to ensure high-quality CTE nationwide. States and CTE programs across the country have taken enormous steps to provide students with multiple options and transferable skills through innovative programs. CTE students can participate in a variety of pathways, each providing real-world opportunities for knowledge and skill attainment.

Still, Duncan continues to point to the same measures – rates for credential and certificate attainment, graduation and placement – as the most convincing evidence of a CTE program’s effectiveness. The lack of outcomes data for CTE programs was part of the Department of Education’s rationale for cutting CTE funding in FY 2011.

If your state or CTE programs can provide positive statistics in the above areas, please share this information with NASDCTEc and your Members of Congress. Providing this data is a critical step towards showing the impact of CTE on your state and saving CTE funding!

Please send examples of CTE success, including state or program data, to Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst at [email protected]

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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