Posts Tagged ‘Employer Engagement’

SkillsUSA: How Industry Collaboration Creates Opportunity for the Future of CTE

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

SkillsUSA ConstructionFor students in high-skill career pathways, winning an invitation to the SkillsUSA national competition is one of the biggest honors in their field. Not only does the annual competition give students an opportunity to showcase their talent in different trades but it also demonstrates what the future of Career Technical Education (CTE) can be: a coordinated, cross-sector effort to put learner success first.

This year’s SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky — the 52nd annual competition — featured more than 6,000 competitors, 4,000 teachers and advisers, and 600 national industry leaders from across the United States. In two days of fierce competition, students took to the exposition floor to demonstrate their mastery in a variety of skilled trades: Automated Manufacturing Technology, Culinary Arts, Health Occupations, Mechatronics, Web Design and Welding, to name a few.

What stood out throughout the conference was not only the passion from competitors and their advisers, but also the relationships that students, educators and conference organizers had with industry leaders in each field. Business and industry representatives were highly engaged, contributing generous prize packages for winners in each category, partnering with SkillsUSA National to align competition criteria to industry standards, and providing judges for each competition. Further, many industry leaders could be seen on the exposition floor throughout the week, observing competitions and scoping out future hires.

While students demonstrated their skills on the competition floor, SkillsUSA allowed CTE thought leaders to demonstrate their own wins through SkillsUSA University sessions. In one such session, Dan Belcher of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) laid out a 12-step plan for facilitating cross-sector collaboration, informed by his experience in the construction industry. He suggested that organizations can start by identifying their needs: the specific skills and knowledge they want to teach their students. This will prepare them to discuss and maximize areas of collaboration with industry partners. On the industry side, organizations should evaluate the resources — equipment, mentorship, strategic guidance, etc. — that they are willing to bring to the table. Such cross-sector collaboration will help streamline pathways from education to career and ensure future success for CTE students. Other sessions included discussions on engaging nontraditional students, engaging the community, and adapting to new assessments.

Advance CTE’s updated Vision, Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, describes a future in which CTE programs are held to the highest standards of excellence and all systems work together to support learner success. The SkillsUSA conference provides an encouraging snapshot of what this world will look like, with industry experts and educators alike working together to prepare students for their futures. The task remains to take this successful model and apply it nationwide so that all students can access the opportunity that CTE provides.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Uncategorized
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CTE Research Review: Youth Employment, Reverse Transfers and More

Monday, June 13th, 2016

We are back with another CTE Research Review. In this edition we explore business-facing intermediaries and a new study on reverse transfer students. And below the fold, we feature some studies and stories you may have missed in the last month.

How Intermediaries Create Shared Value by Connecting Youth with Jobs

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is out with a new report in its Youth Employment Series titled Talent Orchestrators: Scaling Youth Employment through Business-Facing Intermediaries. The report challenges the notion that employer engagement is only a civic or philanthropic venture and outlines how business-facing intermediaries can create shared value by matching businesses with skilled youth. Already, intermediaries around the country are stepping up to the plate by managing employer demand, equipping youth with professional skills and job-specific training, and facilitating the onboarding process to connect youth with employment opportunities.

Consider STEP-UP Achieve, a career-track youth employment program started by Minneapolis-based intermediary AchieveMpls. The program partnered with the Minneapolis Regional Chamber to develop a curriculum and establish a certification endorsement for youth participants who successfully complete a pre-employment work-readiness program. This program, and others like it, created shared value by both preparing youth for the workplace and providing employers with a signal of job readiness. STEP-UP Achieve has provided more than 8,000 internship opportunities since 2004.

For Reverse Transfer Students, Going Backward Could Be the Best Path Forward

Speaking of alternative pathways to employment, a new research study from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) examines academic and labor outcomes for struggling students who transfer from a four-year to a two-year postsecondary institution (aka “4-2 transfer students”). The study, Do Students Benefit from Going Backward? The Academic and Labor Market Consequences of Four-to Two-Year College Transfer, finds that struggling 4-2 transfer students are more likely to earn a postsecondary credential than similar students who do not transfer. What’s more, these students were no less likely than similar students to earn a bachelor’s degree and had similar earnings and employment rates. The outcomes of the study are promising because they suggest that struggling students can benefit from the flexibility and affordability of transferring to a two-year college without putting degree completion or future employment at risk.

ICYMI

And in case you missed it, here are some other studies and stories making a splash this month:

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Research
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Advance CTE Legislative Update: President Obama Unveils Final Budget Request to Congress as Senate Honors CTE Month

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

United States CapitalLast Tuesday, President Obama released his final budget request to Congress for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. This document formally kicks off the federal budget and appropriations process for the coming year. As has been the case for much of the President’s time in office, this process is again shaping up to be rather contentious as both parties debate issues of spending and taxation in the context of the looming Presidential and Congressional elections this November.

Overall, the President’s budget outlines an extremely ambitious set of spending priorities for the coming year, totaling $4.1 trillion overall. The budget proposes significant new investments in a number of new and existing education and workforce development programs, but disappointingly does not propose any additional funding for states via the Carl D. Perkins Act’s (Perkins) basic state formula grant program.

Instead the President has renewed his proposal for the creation of an “American Technical Training Fund” (ATFF) that, if created, would constitute a new competitive grant program outside the scope of this foundational support for CTE. ATTF can best be understood as a successor program to the Admisntration’s 2013 Youth Career Connect Initiative, but so far Congress has not acted to formalize this proposal which was also included in the President’s budget last year for $100 million at that time.

As Kimberly Green, Advance CTE Executive Director and others noted on the day of the release, the President’s request for level-funding for Perkins state grants is concerning at a time when demand for high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs is rising— a fact even the Administration has recently highlighted. While the Obama Administration does request an additional $2 million for CTE national activities under Perkins, this increase would also be used for the purposes of evaluating the effectiveness of the proposed ATTF.

Despite these concerning elements, the President’s budget does put forth a set of somewhat more encouraging spending proposals as part of a wider skills development agenda that could compliment much of the work already underway in the CTE field:

The President’s budget can be viewed in its entirety here. The U.S. Department of Labor and Education’s (USDOL / USDE) budgets can be accessed here and here respectively. Of particular note is USDE’s budget justification for CTE and Adult Education which can be accessed here. This document provides further insight into the administration’s thinking behind their Perkins proposals contained in the budget and outlined above.

It is important to note that this budget request is simply that— it does not constitute formal policy and Congress must still pass a budget and respective spending bills to enact any of these proposals. Given Congressional Republican’s continued concerns on federal spending, deficits, and the national debt, there is little chance that most of what is being proposed by the President will become law. In fact, the Congressional budget committees have gone so far as to “snub” the administration and have not asked the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to testify on this proposal—a key indicator on how far this proposal is likely to get in Congress this year.

As the Congressional budget and appropriations process continues to take shape, be sure to check back here for more updates and analysis.

Senate Passes CTE Month Resolution and Hosts Employers to Talk About the Value of CTE

As many are aware, every year February is informally known as “CTE Month”—a time to celebrate and lift up all of the great work underway in the CTE community. Last week, the Senate voted unanimously in support of a resolution—sponsored by Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs Sens. Kaine (D-VA), Portman (R-OH), Baldwin (D-WI), and Isakson (R-GA)— that formally recognizes and honors February as CTE month. The resolution can be viewed in its entirety here.

The resolution was co-sponsored by 17 other Senators from both parties and the Senate’s unanimous recognition and support of this resolution underscores the chamber’s continued commitment to the CTE enterprise. Advance CTE applauds this move by the Senate and looks forward to celebrating the rest of CTE month in the coming days and weeks.

In addition to this effort, the Senate CTE Caucus also played host to a briefing on employer engagement with CTE programs last week. The briefing, co-hosted by the Industry Workforce Needs Coalition and Opportunity America, gave employers—ranging in size and location from a small manufacturing firm in Wisconsin to a large engineering firm in Texas— a chance to speak about the importance of CTE to their respective enterprises and industries. Each of the panelists emphasized the importance of employers having a “seat at the table” during program development and implementation and underscored that there are many ways for employers of all shapes and sizes to engage with states’ CTE systems and with local CTE programs.

Three of the four Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs provided remarks during this event, each speaking about their unique interests in CTE and how they view CTE meeting the needs of students and employers alike in the coming years. The full video of the event can be accessed here—we encourage you take a look!

Odds and Ends

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

By Steve Voytek in Legislation, News
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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 Advance CTE 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 Advance CTE 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.

Speakers:

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!

Speakers:

Register Today

By Andrea Zimmermann in Advance CTE Resources, Meetings and Events, 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 Advance CTE Fall Meeting, Meetings and Events, 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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