Posts Tagged ‘professional development’

Playbook Offers Upskilling Models to Help Companies, Employees and Communities

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

UpSkill America, part of the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, recently released its Upskilling Playbook. This document highlights promising practices and examples of employer upskilling strategies, and offers guidance on how other employers can implement these practices. Through upskilling, an employer can invest in the long-term competitiveness and success by encouraging existing employees to gain new skills and advance through a company. Research shows that upskilling can help company bottom lines, and increase employee retention, as most employees expect some version of upskilling as a benefit of employment.

The playbook offers several models for companies to adopt, including apprenticeship, pre-employment training, as well as providing support and incentives for completion of certifications and postsecondary degrees. One example cited is Amazon’s Career Choice Program, which will pre-pay 95% of tuition and fees for an employee to earn a certificate or associate degree in a high-demand occupation.

Even companies who already provide tuition assistance may not be fully realizing the potential of upskilling, according to recent research carried about by UpSkill America. Many companies see these benefits merely as recruitment tools when looking for new hires. The playbook argues that companies should imbed upskilling as a cornerstone of company culture.

Report Explores Effective Teacher Professional Development Models

A new report from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) explores the question of effective professional development for teachers through a review of 35 methodologically rigorous studies that have demonstrated a positive link between teacher professional development, teaching practices, and student outcomes. Their research found that effective professional development, including professional learning communities, incorporates the following elements:

Unfortunately, realities within institutions can hinder effective professional development, including insufficient resources (in both time and funding), as well as a poor school climate. LPI recommends evaluating the use and time of school schedules to create more opportunities for professional learning, as well as regularly conducting needs assessments and gathering feedback from educators to determine the areas of highest need for professional learning.

Odds and Ends

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) has been creating and compiling resources related to foster, juvenile justice and crossover youth. Included in those resources are several recorded webinars detailing promising practices in providing career pathways for systems-involved youth. While there are many challenges and barriers to success for these youth and the organizations devoted to helping them, several institutions have uncovered some promising strategies worth exploring further.

The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) recently released a report about the history and progress of Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs. While the report covers many topics, there is an entire section devoted to gender disparities Career Technical Education (CTE). The report finds that though progress has been made in CTE, large gaps remain, and there is certainly more work to be done.

Two publications have recently ranked institutions that effectively fight the nation’s skills gap. The first, from The New York Times, describes seven postsecondary institutions that take innovative approaches to supporting students through completion. The second, from Forbes, ranks two-year institutions based on the same “return on investment” focus of their rankings of four-year institutions.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Uncategorized
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Announcing CTE & Literacy: The Common Core Institute

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education, the College Board, and Student Achievement Partners are excited to announce a two-day institute for CTE educators on the Common Core State Standards, with a focus on literacy in technical subjects on April 16-17 in New York City.

The two-day workshop is designed to be a practical, interactive and collaborative learning opportunity for CTE educators at any level, and across all Career Clusters.  Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the Common Core literacy standards, be provided with resources that they can use freely to provide local training, and have access to tools to help support the ongoing implementation of the Common Core literacy standards in their own communities.  

The Institute registration is free, although participants will be responsible for travel and accommodations.  Priority will be given to teams of educators from individuals schools, districts or states.

Learn more and register HERE!

When:  April 16-17, 2014

Where: New York City, NY

Why: To gain in-depth fluency with the Common Core literacy standards and the tools and skills needed to support effective implementation in your schools and communities.

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Meetings and Events
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, Bills Introduced

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Congress is on recess this week and next for the Easter and Passover holidays. They will reconvene on Monday April 16, 2012.


Dear Colleague Letters Call for Investment in Perkins

Members of both the House and Senate have signed on to “Dear Colleague” letters, asking the appropriators in their respective chambers to invest in Perkins during the FY13 appropriations process. The Senate letter, authored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT), was signed by 22 Senators. In the House, the letter was authored by Reps. Glenn Thompson (PA) and Jim Langevin (RI), and was signed by a total of 65 Representatives.

At a time when Congress is looking to cut spending in all areas, letters such as these show appropriators the level of support among members for individual programs. While it is hard to predict what will happen with funding for any programs this year, we hope that these letters will resonate with the Appropriations Committees and will stave off further cuts to Perkins.

Bills Introduced

Rebuild America Act

Senator Tom Harkin (IA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has introduced S. 2252, the Rebuild America Act, aimed at restoring the middle class through investments in education, infrastructure and job training, and changes to the tax code. Among other things, the bill would:


 Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager


By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Budget, NCLB Waivers, ESEA

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Senate Urges OMB to Maintain Perkins Funding in FY13 Budget

A group of Senators led by Richard Blumenthal (CT) sent a letter this week to Jeffrey Zients, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, asking him to maintain FY12 Perkins Act funding for CTE programs in FY13. President Obama is scheduled to release his budget on Monday, and we hope that support from these Senators will encourage the Administration to maintain Perkins funding.

After the President releases his budget, Congress will begin work on their budgets and start the appropriations process. Members of both the House and Senate have expressed interest in drafting “Dear Colleague” letters to their respective chambers to garner support for Perkins Act funding.

Ten States Receive NCLB Waivers

President Obama this week announced that ten states will receive waivers for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements, so long as they implement college and career ready standards and reform their accountability systems. The ten states are: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. States receiving waivers no longer have to meet 2014 performance targets set by NCLB but must set new performance targets for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps.

“After waiting far too long for Congress to reform No Child Left Behind, my Administration is giving states the opportunity to set higher, more honest standards in exchange for more flexibility,”  said President Obama. “Today, we’re giving 10 states the green light to continue making reforms that are best for them.  Because if we’re serious about helping our children reach their potential, the best ideas aren’t going to come from Washington alone.  Our job is to harness those ideas, and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work.

Twenty-eight other states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, have indicated that they will seek waivers later this spring. Additional materials can be found here:

House ESEA Bills Include CTE Provisions

Last month the House Education and the Workforce Committee released discussion drafts of two ESEA reauthorization bills. Yesterday, Committee Chairman John Kline (MN) formally introduced the bills, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act.

We worked with Congressional staff, as well as other policy groups, to get elements of the Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act (a bill we told you about in the fall), included in both bills. In the Student Success Act, grantees’ local plans will have to include a description of how they use funds to support programs that coordinate and integrate “career and technical education aligned with state technical standards that promote skills attainment important to in-demand occupations or industries in the state and the state’s academic standards and work based learning opportunities that provide students in-depth interaction with industry professionals.”

The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act allows locals to use funds professional development for teachers and school leaders that is “evidence-based, job embedded, and continuous, such as professional development on integrated, interdisciplinary, and project based teaching strategies, including for career and technical education teachers.”

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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29th Annual Entrepreneurship Education FORUM

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Plan now to attend the leading Entrepreneurship Education networking conference in the USA. The National FORUM is to be held November 4-7, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The conference will be held at the Hilton Netherland Plaza, a beautiful and historic hotel in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. This is a time for learning how to start, operate, and enhance entrepreneurial preparation programs for students from elementary, middle, high schools and colleges as well as community based educators. Educators from through-out the life-long learning spectrum attend to learn and share ideas. One of the highlights is the entrepreneurs who will share their living case studies so that educators can learn how to direct those with whom they work toward successful entrepreneurial ventures.

Scholarships are available for teachers which include conference registration, and two nights stay in the conference hotel. All that is left for the educator to fund is the travel expense and perhaps a substitute teacher for a day. The deadline for scholarship applications is September 23, 2011.

Great featured speakers, teacher directed learning sessions, as well as interactive round table sessions allow for enjoyable learning and networking. Check out the information regarding the National FORUM at and click on FORUM on the left rail. Get prepared now to attend the National Forum this November!

Dean Folkers, Deputy Executive Director

By Dean in Meetings and Events, Resources
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Agenda for the 2010 NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Shares Program Details

Monday, August 9th, 2010

We hope you can join us for the NASDCTEc Fall meeting  – Leading to Transform: Taking Us to Where We Should Be-scheduled for October 25 – 27, 2010 at the Westin BWI Baltimore Airport Hotel.

The implementation of Reflect, Transform, Lead: A Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education will require change in the way we do business. As leaders, how do you lead this change and create an environment focused on innovation?   Please be sure to check out the just-posted, comprehensive agenda that details speakers, workshop goals, etc.

We hope you can join us for this premier professional development event!  

For more information and to register, plesae visit .

By Ramona in Meetings and Events
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Community College 2.0

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Last week, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released Community College 2.0, a brief that calls on the federal government to help community colleges reach their goals of improving student success and helping train our workforce for the future. According to CAP, new funding is needed for the Departments of Education and Labor to be directed toward community colleges, and used to foster innovation in three key areas:

  1. Faculty and staff professional development to help ensure that these school leaders are prepared to teach integrated developmental, occupational, and academic courses and provide career advising
  2. Data systems that help community colleges better understand student learning and provide students with information to better plan their education
  3. New associate’s degree education models built on a foundation of apprenticeship and career pathways

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Report: Big investment, little data on professional development

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

The nation spends about $9 billion annually on teacher professional development, however most programs do not provide nor do states ask for data demonstrating that such investments actually improve student learning, according to a recent National Governors Association Center for Best Practices issue brief.

At a time when educators and administrators are facing enormous pressures to boost student achievement, it is critical that training resources provided by state leaders are in fact effective in improving student achievement. Recent opportunities through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund professional development programs have lent some help to states, according to the issue brief. However, making the right investments that can provide the most impact on student achievement appears to be a challenge.

“Deficits exist with regard to the content and delivery of professional development, and continuing large investments in this system may not be justified unless improvements are made based on the limited research that is available,” according to State Policies to Improve Teacher Professional Development.

The brief notes that most professional development does not collect or offer data that could provide information on the impact programs have on student achievement. Thus, it outlines approaches states can take to improve the quality of teacher professional development by setting standards, implementing accountability strategies and identifying quality programs that encourage the implementation of effective professional development. Generally, the report outlines four core approaches to improving professional development systems:

o Gather and use student achievement data to assess the effectiveness of professional development;
o Use teacher evaluations and student learning data to create individualized professional development plans for teachers;
o Establish research-based state standards to create a vision for high-quality professional development; and
o Create an incentive-driven professional development initiative for teachers to acquire advanced skills.

Some states have made traction in regards to evaluating and monitoring professional development programs, according to the brief. For instance, Iowa requires the school districts to include in their professional development plans an evaluation piece that examines the impact programs have on student learning. In New Jersey, state standards mention the use of research-based professional development with a demonstrated ability to improve student learning.

In order for other states to follow such leads, the NGA Center notes that governors, state education leaders, higher education institutions, teachers associations and professional development providers must collaborate to make systemic changes. Perhaps, the nation’s current fiscal crisis may be the needed impetus to encourage a focus on wise investments in professional development, according to the brief.

By Erin in Publications, Research
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