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CTE Research Review

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013Spotlighting effective apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are increasingly gaining attention from policymakers and employers as an effective tool to fight the skills gap and provide workers with higher wages and employment outcomes. Through a recent series of white papers, Center for American Progress (CAP) is adding its voice to those calling for more and better apprenticeships in the United States.

The DC-based think tank recently spotlighted five innovative apprenticeships including programs in Vermont, South Carolina, Washington and Michigan.

In Washington, apprenticeships have proven to be a smart public investment. For every $1 the state invests in apprenticeships, taxpayers receive $23 in benefits, according to one state study.

Although there is clearly more than one way to structure a program that engages multiple employers, CAP offers a few lessons learned from these five successful examples:

NACTE final report released

The U.S. Department of Education has released the long-awaited final report of the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education (NACTE).

The report focuses on the new features of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV). Although the NACTE is charged with evaluating the implementation and outcomes of Perkins IV, the actual report stops short of providing insight into the effectiveness of the new law. The evaluation period covered only the early years of Perkins IV and as such can only shed light on the new law’s early implementation. Also much of the outside data used in the report comes from before the new law was passed.

The NACTE spotlighted four major areas:

Programs of study: As a new feature in the 2006 law, the NACTE found that programs of study (POS) have been implemented in widely varying ways both within and across states. Also, states played a larger role in POS development on the secondary level, whereas higher education institutions tended to take the lead when developing postsecondary POS.

Funding: Despite sustaining a total funding loss of 24 percent between fiscal years 2007 and 2014, states continued to become creative with the funding levers available to them. For example, states increasingly began using the reserve option to facilitate further funding to rural areas or those serving large numbers of CTE students. Also, in fiscal year 2010, states divided their Perkins money to secondary and postsecondary grantees by a split of 64 percent and 36 percent, respectively. Of the funds allocated to postsecondary CTE, three-fourths of that money went to community colleges.

Accountability:  Though at least three-fourths of states met 90 percent of their performance targets in 2011-12 for secondary and postsecondary CTE, researchers said the flexibility in the Perkins accountability system makes it difficult to draw valid cross-state comparisons. They also raised questions about the validity of some student outcome data.

CTE programs and participation: The NACTE found that nearly all public high school students attended a high school that offered CTE instruction and 85 percent of graduates had completed one or more CTE courses. While the number of high school students taking three or more CTE credits in the same field was much smaller (19 percent), the most common subject areas were business, communications and design and computer and information sciences. At the postsecondary level, more than 8 million students sought a CTE degree or certificate in 2011-12. The most popular fields were health sciences and business.

In addition to mandating the NACTE report, Perkins IV also required an independent advisory panel be formed. The panel prepared its own report with findings and recommendations to Congress. The panel recommended:

Calling CTE a part of America’s long-term solution to economic recovery and sustained prominence, the panel said CTE must continue to reposition itself as a pathway into postsecondary programs that links degrees and credentials to occupations.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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NASDCTEc 2014 Spring Meeting Recap

Monday, April 7th, 2014

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State CTE Directors, NASDCTEc members, CTE expert panelists and many more converged on the nation’s capital beginning on March 31, 2014. Over three days, NASDCTEc’s annual Spring Meeting covered a broad array of subjects, from the pending reauthorization of The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to breakout sessions on secondary-postsecondary collaboration, just in time labor market information, accountability initiatives and much more.

On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), spoke after NASDCTEc/NCTEF President, John Fischer, formally opened the Spring Meeting. In a bittersweet moment for everyone in the CTE community, we learned that Dr. Dann-Messier plans to leave OCTAE in late May. Dr. Dann-Messier received repeated praise from fellow panelists and membership for her five years of dedicated service at the head of OCTAE and at the forefront of CTE.

Tuesday’s sessions continued with panels outlining the state of federal funding and guidance on CTE, with many commentators commending the CTE community’s assiduous advocacy on behalf of CTE along with reminders to remain in contact with your senators and representatives going forward.

On Wednesday, NASDCTEc was proud to honor five critical advocates for CTE with Star of Education Awards. Co-Chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus Representatives Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) both received the Star of Education—Congressional Award for their years of dedicated service as congressional advocates for CTE. Later, recently-retired State CTE Directors Dr. Patrick Ainsworth of California and Dr. Kathy Shibley of Ohio were inducted into the ranks of State CTE Directors Emeriti, while Ainsworth’s successor Russ Weikle received the first-ever Rising Star of CTE Award for his pioneering work in the state of California. Wednesday also included sessions on CTE’s role in the ongoing push to improve STEM enrollment and outcomes nationwide, the growth of competency-based education and CTE, and strategies to utilize postsecondary CTE as a way to maintain the American workforce’s place as one of the most highly-skilled worldwide.

More outside experts on CTE offered their perspectives on Thursday morning’s panels. Beginning with a focus on new reporting guidance regarding the Office of Management and Budget’s “Omni Circular,” Thursday’s sessions focused on developments that will affect CTE in the weeks and months ahead. Panelists throughout the morning reiterated their efforts to establish partnerships with CTE programs, and offered their insight on how the CTE community can facilitate collaboration with business and industry groups and state-level education leaders to broaden the CTE stakeholder base and stimulate the national conversation on CTE. The session closed with updates from the Division of Academic and Technical Education and the National Center for Innovation in Career Technical Education.

Couldn’t make the Spring Meeting? Resources and information on several sessions are available online! While on the site, be sure to sign-up today for the next gathering of Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders in Phoenix, June 16-18, 2014, at Achieving Excellence in CTE: The Career Clusters Institute. Don’t delay — April 8, 2014, is the last day of the early bird registration rate.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

NOTE: Photo courtesy Bob Witchger, all rights reserved

By Evan Williamson in Meetings and Events, NASDCTEc Spring Meeting
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