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

Posts Tagged ‘Employer Engagement’

Spring Meeting Recap: Advancing Employer Engagement in Education

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Business-education collaboration is a “classic win-win,” says John Colborn, director of the Aspen Institute’s Skills for America’s Future initiative. Employer engagement was one of many critical issues featured during last week’s NASDCTEc Spring Meeting.

“It’s seems so obvious,” Colborn said. “So what is it so hard?”

Yet, there are ongoing challenges to breaking down decades-old silos, and there are no quick solutions. Challenges include the differences between national and local interests as well as views between the long-term perspectives of educators and the often short-term views of employers; finding the time necessary to nurture strong relationships; and developing a common language to create common understanding among all partners.

At Skills for America’s Future, Colborn said they are trying to operationalize the idea of effective employer-led partnerships. To do this, the initiative has been evaluating the grantees of the U.S. Department of Labor’s TAACCCT program, which provides community colleges with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that prepare workers for high-wage, high-skill occupations.

The evaluators have found that grantees did a number of things to build and develop employer partnerships, a key feature of the grant. Activities included curriculum alignment to the needs of employers as well as experiential learning, which Colborn said was critical to ensuring students graduated with the skills necessary to perform at full capacity from their first day on the job.

Another collaborative effort highlighted came from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“(The skills gap is) no longer a gathering storm on the horizon,” said Jason Tyszko, senior director of policy and programs at the Foundation.

With mounting evidence such as the recent Lumina/Gallup poll that showed dramatic differences between the views of chief academic officers and employers about college graduates’ career readiness, Tyszko said the recent work at the U.S. Chamber Foundation is seeking to close that gap by applying supply chain management strategies to the pipeline of skilled workers. Read more coverage about the Chamber’s “Managing the Talent Pipeline” initiative on our Research Review blog series.

Since the 2014 release of the Talent Pipeline research, the Chamber has been working to implement some of its recommendations including toolkits about how to better build employer capacity as the end consumer of education.

Tyszko said he often gets asked about how education can engage employers better, but he offered that the entire question needed to be turned around to put the employer in the driver’s seat. Among the many ways to do this, Tyszko said this might mean moving away from traditional CTE local advisory boards to working with an intermediary to connect all of the right partners in the conversation.

To make employer engagement meaningful, Colborn encouraged institutions to dedicate someone whose entire job is engage employers and to devise strategies to grow this work and further, how to measure it over time.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in NASDCTEc Spring Meeting
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Interest in State CTE Policy Growing Across the Country

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

spr1For the second consecutive year, a significant number of states have developed and implemented new policies and programs to advance Career Technical Education (CTE) at the secondary and postsecondary levels.

In a new publication, “State Policies Impacting CTE: 2014 Year in Review,” legislative and regulatory bodies in 46 states and the District of Columbia approved roughly 150 policies relevant to CTE. The paper was jointly authored by NASDCTEc and the Association for Career and Technical Education.

This continued interest shows a growing awareness in using CTE as a means to increase postsecondary credential attainment, provide students with real-world experience and prepare a workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to maintain the nation’s competitive edge, the paper argues.

The paper is the second installment in the “Year in Review” series. The inaugural paper from 2013 can be viewed here. The legislation and policies collected in these papers does not imply an endorsement by NADSCTEc, ACTE or state CTE leaders. Rather, the hope is that by collecting these policies into one document, NASDCTEc and ACTE can continue to inform the community and in turn lead to the adoption of positive CTE policies across the 50 states.

While funding activity grabbed the top spot for the second year in a row, industry partnerships and work-based learning emerged as a newly popular category, with 28 states passing legislation or approving policies designed to accelerate employer engagement with CTE and offer real-work experiences for students.

Policymakers maintained their interest related to high school students earning college credit as well as how credit transfers across institutions. States such as Nevada approved a new policy in 2014 to develop statewide articulation agreements for all CTE programs of study to ensure that earned credit in an approved program has total transferability.

While several of the policy areas that were active in 2013 were also prominent in 2014, there were a few exceptions, notably governance. Fewer states made changes to CTE governance structures or clarified regulatory authority in 2014 than in the year prior.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in NASDCTEc Resources, Public Policy, Publications, Research, Resources
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Register Today for Upcoming Webinars

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

There’s still time to register for NASDCTEc’s upcoming webinars!

2014 State CTE Policy Reviewspr
February 5, 2015, 3 – 4 p.m. ET
States are increasingly looking to CTE as a means to help close the skills gap and boost the number of people with a postsecondary credential. Join us as we step through the major state policy trends affecting CTE from 2014 including new laws, executive actions and regulatory activity. This webinar will coincide with the release of the second annual “2014 State CTE Policy Review,” a joint publication from ACTE and NASDCTEc.


Register Today

Employer Engagement: State PerspectivesUntitled
February 10, 2015, 2 – 3 p.m. ET
Join us for an in-depth discussion as we take a closer look at how Alabama and Kansas, in concert with their employer partners, work together to inform, align and enhance their CTE systems at the secondary and postsecondary levels. This webinar is the second in a series on employer engagement. To learn more about employer engagement in CTE, check out our newest report!


Register Today

By Andrea Zimmermann in Meetings and Events, NASDCTEc Resources, Resources, Uncategorized, Webinars
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NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series: The State of CTE: Employer Engagement

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

In late October, at NASDCTEc’s annual Fall Meeting, five state and business leaders joined a panel to discuss their reactions to The State of Career Technical Education: Employer Engagement in CTE, a paper to be released accompanied by a free webinar (register now) on December 3rd. The following are highlights from the panel.

Marie Barry, Director of Career and Technical Education, New Jersey Department of Education, started us off by highlighting ways in which state leaders can use the report once it is released. First, she suggested using it as a reflection tool to answer questions such as: does your state have the right employers at the table? How can your state help in defining what a quality employer and CTE partnership is? She also encouraged states to employee a model of working with schools to ensure states are engaging businesses effectively, while also finding businesses to champion CTE in the state.

Next, Andrew Musick, Director of Policy and Research, New Jersey Business & Industry Association spoke about his group’s support of an effort to pass an eight-bill package, which among other objectives, would increase funding for the state’s Country Vocational Technical Schools. Along with the eight bills, which delve into everything from funding and teacher preparedness to implementation of indicators for student career readiness, Musick identified further goals:

  1. Focus on workforce alignment;
  2. Promote CTE as a resource for employers;
  3. Create a strong infrastructure for school and employer partnerships

Lolita Hall, State CTE Director, Virginia Department of Education, showcased a premier partnership example the Virginia Department of Education has with the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association. Through this partnership, the Association has place over 1,000 students in automobile internships since 2000. Using this collaboration as a model, Hall cited the following steps in developing an effective partnership:

Lastly, Matthew James, President and CEO, Peninsula Council for Workforce Development, Newport News, Virginia, provided a call to action to states. “Your advantage is relevancy; there is a sense of urgency. Entrepreneurs need you.” Though CTE has the opportunity to create a workforce ready population, he stated the importance of recognizing the international implications developing career-ready students has on the U.S. “Businesses will leave if you don’t provide a skilled workforce,” said James.

For more information and resources from the 2014 Fall Meeting, visit the Fall Meeting page.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Meetings and Events, NASDCTEc Fall Meeting, Publications
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House CTE Caucus Hosts Field Hearing

Monday, October 27th, 2014

IMG_0877On Friday, the House Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus hosted a field hearing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to explore the ongoing challenges with the nation’s skills gap and the role CTE has in addressing it.

The bipartisan hearing, titled “The Role of Career & Technical Education in Creating a Skilled Workforce: Perspectives from Employers and Stakeholders,” was co-hosted by State Senator John Blake (PA-22), Co-Chair of the House CTE Caucus Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Rep. Perry (R-PA).

Rep. Thompson began Friday’s hearing by laying out the central role CTE has in addressing the nation’s skills gap and pointed out that, “the number one asset of any business is its people and CTE is an integral part of developing them.”

State Senator Blake also underscored the hearing’s core focus on the need for more employer engagement in CTE. “We need to better connect our schools to the business community — and our business community to our schools . . . Early and effective career development assures for our children a more efficient transition from school to the world of work and enhances our state’s economic growth,” he said.

Six witnesses, including NASDCTEc Executive Director Kimberly Green, provided expert testimony on how CTE could more effectively engage with employers and the role federal legislation could have in aligning CTE programs more closely to the needs of the local, regional, and state economy.

Green’s testimony highlighted NASDCTEc’s 2010 CTE Vision and the organization’s legislative recommendations for the reauthorization of the principal federal CTE legislation— the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).

In addition to her remarks, five other witnesses provided a broad array of perspectives from both the private sector and institutions, highlighting the unique challenges facing them in their respective industries and how stronger partnerships with CTE programs could help to address these issues and improve CTE program relevancy and outcomes. Witnesses included:

Following testimony, the assembled lawmakers had the opportunity to pose a series of questions to the witnesses, requesting specific recommendations and strategies for how to improve and elevate the entire CTE enterprise to balance the shared interests of both students and employers. A recording of the event is can be viewed here and a press release outlining some of the hearing’s key takeaways can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

By Steve Voytek in News, Public Policy
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Spring Meeting Recap: CTE & STEM— Making the Connection

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

STEM-CTERepresentatives from the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and business communities discussed the ways in which STEM and Career Technical Education (CTE) are linked on Wednesday, April 2nd at NASDCTEc’s annual spring meeting. The panel, moderated by Jay Scott Assistant Director at the Kansas Department of Education, explored the ways in which CTE and STEM are connected and examined issue areas which are of interest to both communities. The panel, spurred in part by NASDCTEc’s Associate Executive Director’s recent publication, CTE is your STEM Strategy, tackled this fundamental linkage and looked for ways to build upon this interconnectedness.

Linda Rosen, CEO of Change the Equation (CTEq), started the session off by outlining what a STEM occupation is and the positive impact STEM skills and knowledge have on one’s ability to find gainful employment. Noting that STEM occupations constitute 11 percent of the U.S. workforce, she pointed out that job postings for those with a strong STEM background generally fared much better than those without similar knowledge and skills. She went on to argue that CTE is an effective method of delivery for STEM education and one way to improve upon existing programs that link the two is through greater alignment of CTE programs with the labor market. “Above all, corporate America expects results,” she said. Among other proposals, Dr. Rosen suggested that employers should be engaged (and vice versa) in more meaningful ways and that accountability provisions within current law should be more closely linked with labor market needs.

June Streckfus, Executive Director of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT), focused her remarks on the work her organization is currently doing in the state of Maryland. She outlined the main points of emphasis for her organization and Maryland’s STEM strategy— accelerating student & teacher growth along with cultivating public support for these initiatives. This last point guided the rest of her presentation where she convincingly demonstrated that employer engagement— something the state of Maryland is ideally situated to leverage given its close proximity to many large national employers— was a key tool for improving employment outcomes for students. To support her argument, she highlighted an article that found a strong positive correlation between the number of employer or professional mentor interactions with students and employment outcomes after program completion.

Ted Wells, Chief Strategy Officer for STEM Connector®, rounded out the discussion with an overview of how his organization seeks to support public-private investment in STEM programs. Throughout his presentation he highlighted the importance of CTE and STEM as strategies to effectively address the nation’s skills gap. He went on to argue that this skills gap is clearly evident and that it has persisted for far too long. Wells recommended that CTE be incorporated more heavily into the standards movement, specifically within the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common  Core State Standards (CCSS). He also emphasized the importance of involving STEM leaders within the CTE enterprise and stressed the importance of educating policymakers on the importance of these twin issues.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

By Steve Voytek in News, Public Policy
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