Posts Tagged ‘Excel in CTE’

Getting to Know… Kansas

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know…” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Kansas

State CTE Director: Connie Beene, Senior Director, Adult & Career Technical Education, Kansas Board of Regents

About Kansas: The Kansas State Board of Regents (KBOR) is the state fiscal agent under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), though Perkins funds are split 50/50 between secondary and postsecondary. Interestingly, many rural districts in Kansas are too small to qualify for the minimum grant award under Perkins, so many partner with regional education service centers to apply as a consortium. This not only allows small districts to qualify for funds, but also fosters greater regional collaboration, with many education service centers providing professional development, resources and networking opportunities for the schools they serve.

Additionally, Kansas is home to a network of 26 community and technical colleges that deliver CTE to college students, adults and dual enrolled high school students.

Programs of Study: At the postsecondary level, CTE programs go through a program alignment process to validate standards, generate employer input and anchor programs in a nationally-recognized industry certification.

Under program alignment, KBOR convenes a business and industry committee specific to each field of study. The committee reviews the program’s standards and credentials and offers recommendations for alignment. Recommendations are reviewed by curriculum experts, approved by institution presidents, and, once approved, put into place across the entire community and technical college network. Programs are updated every five years.

A total of 25 programs have been reviewed, validated and modified through program alignment and are available to students statewide at Kansas community and technical colleges.

At the secondary level, Kansas recognizes the 16 national Career ClustersⓇ. In the 2015-16 academic year, CTE students concentrated in all Clusters but one: Government and Public Administration. Although secondary CTE programs do not go through the same rigorous program alignment process as postsecondary programs, state leaders in the Department of Education are working to better align programs with business and industry needs.

Notable in Kansas – Excel in CTE: One of the biggest successes for Kansas CTE is the Excel in CTE program. Launched in 2012, the program was designed to expand opportunities for CTE students to earn industry-recognized credentials and postsecondary credit in high school. The program includes four components:

  1. An incentive fund to compensate school districts for the cost of credential examinations
  2. Free tuition for high school students enrolled in technical courses
  3. A state-identified list of credentials in high-demand occupations, published annually by the Department of Labor
  4. A statewide articulation agreement to facilitate concurrent enrollment in Kansas community and technical colleges

 

In the 2015-16 school year alone, 10,023 students participated in Excel in CTE, earning a total of 79,488 college credit hours and 1,228 credentials.

Notable in Kansas – Adult Education: This year has seen a renewed focus on integrating adult education and skills training in Kansas. In 2012, Kansas joined the Accelerating Opportunity initiative in partnership with Jobs for the Future to help adult learners earn both high school equivalency diplomas and industry-recognized credentials. According to a program impact evaluation, the likelihood of earning a credential increased by 19 percent for students in the program.

After the success of Accelerating Opportunity, Kansas is working to sustain integrated career and basic education services through a combination of federal (through Perkins and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)) and state funds. Kansas also organized an inaugural conference this year to bring together CTE and adult education teachers from around the state to discuss and share promising practices.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Uncategorized
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How Do States Identify and Endorse Industry-Recognized Credentials?

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Credentials_of_Value_2016Latest Advance CTE Brief Explores Promising Strategies

One of the core components of a high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) program is that it culminates in a credential of value. But with more than 4,000 credentialing organizations in the United States today, states are grappling with the challenge of narrowing down the field.

Advance CTE today released a policy brief to help states get started in this work. The paper, titled “Credentials of Value: State Strategies for Identifying and Endorsing Industry-Recognized Credentials,” highlights promising practices from Florida, Kansas and Louisiana, which have each made considerable progress developing a system for students and employers to navigate the tangled universe of credentials. The brief further describes how each state tackles the challenge in a different way, building a system that suits their local economy and context, and highlights a few common strategies.

For one, these states engage business and industry leaders early on in the process to verify that credentials are recognized and accepted in the labor market. This helps ensure that students are only pursuing — and states are only incentivizing — those credentials that have value. One example that the brief explores is in Louisiana, where regional teams are required to submit letters of endorsement from businesses in the state whenever they propose a new credential for the statewide list.

From there, the process of vetting high-quality credentials often involves a concerted effort from a variety of different institutions. The brief describes how, in Florida, the state-approved credential list at the secondary level is developed with input from the Department of Economic Opportunity, the Agency for Workforce Innovation, the state’s workforce development board (an independent non-profit called CareerSource Florida) and the Department of Education. This ensures that the state can leverage the expertise of each agency to approve only those credentials that are valuable to students and to the economy.

Another challenge the brief explores is that credentials available on the market today range in value, quality and the effort required to earn them. Thus, states have begun to recognize this difference and classify credentials based on their rigor and utility in the labor market. Kansas, for example, is examining a framework that categorizes credentials into three tiers: those required by law or regulation, those mandated by industry, and those preferred by industry.

Even then, states should be prepared to adapt to fluctuations in the labor market or unforeseen problems with the credential review process. Take Florida’s Career and Professional Education Act (CAPE) for example. CAPE provided additional funding for teachers and school districts whose students earn state-approved credentials, but the state soon realized that the program was not structured appropriately to eliminate some gaming of the funding incentive. Over the years, Florida has gradually adjusted the funding formula to address these concerns and align incentives to encourage more students to earn high-quality credentials.

With two-thirds of all new jobs projected to require some postsecondary education and training by 2020, there is a growing need for states to play a larger role in identifying and endorsing credentials of value.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Public Policy, Publications, Resources
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