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

Posts Tagged ‘manufacturing’

CTE Research Review: The Workforce Edition

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Transforming Workforce Development Policies

A new book from the Kansas City Federal Reserve calls for a comprehensive restructuring of the nation’s workforce development policies and programs to better meet the human capital demands of employers. This compilation of submissions from some of the most prominent thought leaders in workforce development policy today, the Federal Reserve is wading into a relatively new area of research but one where it plans to continue being actively involved.

Transforming U.S. Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century,” provides thoughtful perspectives on the system itself as well as how to redesign these strategies and evidence-based policies and practices.

The Role of CTERoleCTE

What and who has the greatest impact on students and their career choices? This is the central question of a new report, “Attracting the Next
Generation Workforce: The Role of Career and Technical Education,” from The Manufacturing Institute, SkillsUSA and Educational Research Center of America. The study, which surveyed more than 20,000 high school students enrolled in CTE programs of study, also aims to provide insight into students’ perceptions of the value of CTE preparation.

Overwhelmingly (64 percent), students cited their own interests and experiences as the greatest influence on their future careers. The second and third greatest influences were a student’s father (22 percent) and mother (19 percent). Perhaps surprisingly, guidance counselors accounted for 3 percent –the least important influence on a student’s career choice.

So how did students perceive the value of CTE preparation for the future careers? While 47 percent of all CTE students surveyed said that CTE has helped make their career choices clearer, that number rises significantly for CTE students who also participate in a CTSO or are members of SkillsUSA. Also, those students engaged in CTSOs are nearly 50 percent more likely to pursue a technical career in the field they are studying, according to the survey.

Check out the report to learn about how students are exposed to future employers as well as educators’ perceptions of CTE.

Also new from The Manufacturing Institute is a tool that can help educators make the case for work-based learning and employer partnerships. The tool – a return on investment calculator – is designed to help manufacturers calculate the cost of open positions within a company by factoring in costs across several categories including training, recruiting, human resources and operations.

Also Worth the Read:

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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CTE Research Review: Manufacturing Edition

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Mind the Gender Gap

It’s no secret that the manufacturing industry faces a serious recruiting problems in recent years – with a predicted shortfall of 2 million workers by 2025 and an ever-increasing skills gap.

A new study from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute takes a closer look at the industry’s gender gap. Only 26 percent of the U.S. manufacturing workforce is female. Meanwhile, nationally, women make up nearly 50 percent of the workforce. The study found that by overlooking or under-recruiting women into the field, manufacturers are missing an important pool of talent that could help them close the skills gap.

Compared to other sectors, the above reasons contribute to the manufacturing gender gap, according to the study.

Compared to other sectors, the above reasons contribute to the manufacturing gender gap, according to the study.

Study: Parents still don’t understand STEM jobs

Women aren’t the only group that manufacturers need to continue targeting. A new survey from the Alcoa Foundation and SkillsUSA found 87 percent of parents believe STEM education is important for their children, yet there remains a clear disconnect between STEM education and its related careers, particularly in manufacturing.

Preparing the next generation of manufacturers

The Brookings Institute has also weighed in on the state of the manufacturing industry. During a recent forum focusing on preparing the next generation of manufacturers through community colleges, panelists called for new more technical training in new manufacturing technologies.

Be sure to check out three excerpted videos of the daylong discussion, as well as two blog posts: “Preparing the Next Generation of Manufacturers through Community Colleges” and “New Skills Needed for New Manufacturing Technology”.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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CTE Research Review

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

SkillsIndustry-related research is leading the news this month with new reports from the manufacturing and technology sectors.

First up, new data from the National Federation of Independent Business shows that while 98 percent of small business owners say they are optimistic overall, but finding qualified workers remains a problem. In fact, 29 percent reported difficulty in finding and hiring skilled workers – the highest since April 2006 – and of that number, 89 percent said they are seeing few to no applicants.

However, despite this struggle to attract skilled workers, only 20 percent reported raising wages over the past three months and 14 percent plan to raise them in the coming months.

Manufacturing Industry

The Manufacturing Institute, in partnership with Deloitte, released two parallel studies that explore at the manufacturing skills gap and public perceptions of the industry.

In the skills gap study, researchers predict that the United States will need to add nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years, but roughly 2 million of those jobs will go unfilled due to a shortage in skilled labor.

The second survey is part of The Manufacturing Institute’s Public Perceptions Index, which first started in 2009. The 2015 update found that the U.S. public greatly supports the manufacturing industry and would choose a manufacturing plant be built in their region over other employers. However, the same public said they were “unwilling to encourage their children to pursue careers in manufacturing.”

Also, from the Brookings Institution, a new report looks at the German manufacturing industry for shareable lessons and strategies to aid the U.S. manufacturing industry.

Technology Industry

IBM released a new study on Millennials (those aged 21-34) and how they and others view their effect in the workplace. The survey looked at the preferences and behavioral patterns of Millennials, Gen X (aged 35-49) and Baby Boomers (aged 50-60), and found that Millennials “want the same things their older colleagues do. While there are some distinctions among the generations, Millennials’ attitudes are not poles apart from other employees’.”

The findings are categorized around five common myths about Millennials and three “uncomfortable truths”.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate



By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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CTE Research Review

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

The Manufacturing Institute’s “State Responses to the Skills Gap”: The Manufacturing Institute has collected promising state-level Research Image_6.2013best practices that encourage and promote a skilled manufacturing workforce in its newest report.

These areas, including state examples, are:

ACT Policy Platforms: Testing giant ACT recently rolled out a series of policy recommendations for K-12, postsecondary and workforce development.

“With more than 50 years of data to draw upon, ACT research suggests that for far too many individuals—often those from low-income, first-generation, or minority backgrounds—success along the K-career continuum is out of reach,” according to ACT.

In short the three platforms are:

Linked Learning 5th Year Evaluation: SRI International released its fifth annual report on California’s Linked Learning Initiative, which blends rigorous academics with career preparation including work-based learning.

This year’s report focused on the students themselves – Who participates? What are their experiences? How does their participation in a Linked Learning pathway affect their high school outcomes?

As such the report found:

For another California-centric study, be sure to check out the new report from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, “Recognizing College and Career Readiness in the California School Accountability System.”

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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CTE Research Review

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Data, Data, DatResearch Image_6.2013a! This week’s installment of the CTE Research Review takes a look at new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the New York Federal Reserve.

Analysts at BLS are diving deep into their datasets to pull out trends on manufacturing employment and reemployment rates by industry. Using its Current Employment Statistics datasets, BLS found that Los Angeles had the largest total population employed in manufacturing; however, when taken as a percentage, Elkhart, Indiana (also the “RV and Band Instrument Capital(s) of the World,” according to Wikipedia), took the top spot, 47.8 percent of the working population employed in manufacturing.

BLS also examined reemployment rates for displaced workers by industry – those who were employed for at least three years but lost their jobs through layoffs or because a company closed. Although the analysis does not consider whether workers were reemployed in the same industry, it showed that industries such as hospitality, construction and information (such as telecommunications) posted the highest overall reemployment rates.

Over on Liberty Street…

This week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a series of posts on their blog, “Liberty Street Economics,” examining the value of a college degree, which are all related to an article it released in June.

The third post in the blog series found that a quarter of those who earn a bachelor’s degree reap little economic benefit. In fact, the bottom quartile of baccalaureate holders had nearly identical wages to those with a high school degree. Another post also points to the diminishing economic rewards for students who don’t finish in four years.

These numbers poke yet another hole in the baccalaureate-only focus of the college-for-all mantra. By overlooking the broader set of postsecondary pathways, students – and not just those who may fall in the 25th percentile – may be missing their chance to earn a family-sustaining wage with job security and mobility.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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CTE Research Review

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013In this week’s Research Review, we dive into unemployment rates for community college graduates and a new report on the manufacturing sector from the Milstein Center.

Community college graduates vs. unemployment rates

The New York Times has tapped into data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics linking unemployment rates to educational attainment. Most strikingly among community college graduates, those who finished with an occupational degree had a substantially lower unemployment rate than their academic-degree counterparts at 4.0 and 4.8 percent, respectively.

The data also suggest that occupationally focused associate’s degrees (which encompass most CTE fields of study) “are healthy and growing,” according to additional analysis from the Economic Modeling Specialists International.

Six proposals to expand manufacturing’s innovative capacity

The recently released inaugural report from The Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing, which is part of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, explores challenges facing the future of small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises and their ability to innovate as technologies advance and global demand shifts over the next decade.

Among the six ideas proposed, the commission advocates for “upside-down degrees” to encourage alignment between work experience and college education, a “skills census” to better understand the skills gap and a renewed focus on technology and engineering skills for high school students as a means to stimulate the rise of new manufacturing in the United States.

According to the report, the country’s 258,000 small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises represent more than 98 percent of all U.S. manufacturing firms and now share 45 percent of the sector’s jobs. The report identified a serious and comprehensive cultural change as necessary to create a pipeline of skilled workers from K-12 and workforce training programs. However, those challenges notwithstanding, small and medium firms often lack the required capital to invest in their employees or the on-the-job training needed to keep their existing workforce current.

Check out the entire report to learn more about the six proposals.

NASDCTEc’s state pages updated

Our state profile pages have been updated to include state allocations of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. We’ve also recently added new functionality for members only that allows users to compare multiple states, and have begun identifying and sharing CTE success stories from across the country. We’ll list other new additions here as they become available.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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Grant Competition Focused on Advanced Manufacturing Now Open

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Last week the Obama administration announced a new $26 million grant competition – the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge – designed to support advanced manufacturing and stimulate economic growth. Proposals should show how applicants “will help grow a region’s industry clusters by strengthening connections to regional economic development opportunities and advanced manufacturing assets, enhance a region’s capacity to create high-quality sustainable jobs, develop a skilled and diverse advanced manufacturing workforce, increase exports, encourage the development of small businesses and accelerate technological innovation.”

The initiative is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the National Science Foundation. It will also be supported by eight other federal agencies, including the Department of Education. According to OVAE, one goal of the competition is to engage education and training providers, such as community colleges, to ensure that individuals are prepared for new jobs in the manufacturing industry.

Twelve projects are expected to be awarded the competitive grants. The deadline to submit applications for the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is July 9th. Guidelines for submissions are available at

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager


By Nancy in Public Policy
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President Focuses on Education and Skills Training in State of the Union

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

In his State of the Union address last night President Obama called keeping the middle class alive “the defining issue of our time.” Throughout his speech, he set out proposals to foster an economy “built to last” predicated on education, a skilled workforce, high-paying jobs, energy independence and fairness that would help bolster the middle class.

The President highlighted the skills gap that exists in industries such as manufacturing, information technology and clean energy: “Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job.” In an effort to solve this problem, he called for a national commitment to train two million individuals with the skills they need to land a job, with a focus on partnerships between businesses and community colleges. The President is scheduled to release his FY13 budget on February 13. We hope that his commitment to address the skills gap and provide resources for unemployed individuals will be reflected in his proposal for Perkins Act funding.

President Obama also focused on the current job training system, saying that he wants “to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people…have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need.” His hope is that streamlining the system will get people back to work more quickly in the jobs that exist today, and better prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. While he does not mention the Workforce Investment Act specifically, the program has been due for reauthorization since 2003 and has been top priority for the both the House and the Senate this session. Given the President’s mention of the workforce system, we are hopeful that this signals a desire to reauthorize WIA in the coming year.

The President also touched on other education issues such as high school dropouts, calling on states to require students to stay in school until graduation or until they turn 18. In terms of college access and affordability, the President urged Congress to keep student interest rates low and extend the tuition tax credit. He also asked institutions of higher education to keep costs down and was blunt in his commitment to making postsecondary education more affordable, saying, “If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.”

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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CTE in the News: The Transformation of American Factory Jobs, In One Company

Friday, January 13th, 2012

The evolution of a fuel-injector assembly line in Greenfield, South Carolina exemplifies the transformation of the manufacturing workforce taking place across the nation, according to a recent NPR story. Making it in America, the second piece in a two-part series, highlights the new and old demands of the manufacturing industry, which has moved from largely hiring low-skilled workers on the assembly line to high-skilled and more-educated workers.

The stories of the success and looming threats among Standard Motor Products employees buttresses the argument for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs that align to the economy and raises the rigor and skill attainment for its students.

The 92-year-old manufacturer has moved from hiring a workforce that was illiterate and did not earn their high school diploma to one that is more educated and has high skills to run sophisticated machinery.

“ ’Now it’s all finesse’ could be the motto of American manufacturing today. In factories around the country, manufacturing is becoming a high-tech, high-precision business. And not everyone has the finesse to run [these complicated machines],” the article said.

Closing the skills gap between those who can and cannot succeed in this new business remains the challenge.

By Erin in News
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Leaders Focus on Closing the Skills Gap and Increasing Innovation

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Leaders concerned with America’s growing skills gap met last week in Washington to focus on solutions to this national problem.

The Atlantic, a literary and political magazine, hosted the event to brainstorm how America can regain its competitiveness in the global economy. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison kicked off the event by stressing the importance of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields as early as middle school. She also expressed her support for Career Technical Education (CTE) and emphasized the need for technical jobs and training to fulfill the country’s “responsibility to show that some of the best jobs in the world [require] technical degrees.”

A panel featuring higher education, government, and manufacturing experts described their various initiatives aimed at closing this gap.  Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) described current progress as slow, but he also stated that the nation is set to make great strides in the long-term.  From a higher education perspective, Bob Templin, President of Northern Virginia Community College, agreed that a larger number of high school graduates are not ready for postsecondary training. However, he also noted that secondary and postsecondary schools and business and industry are actively teaming together to create solutions.

View the entire event and additional resources here.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in News
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