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Financial Aid Toolkit Now Available from the U.S. Department of Education

Friday, January 17th, 2014

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the launch of an online “one-stop shop” aimed at guidance counselors and other advisers, such as staff or volunteers at community-based organizations, who assist students through the process of selecting and financing their higher education. The Financial Aid Toolkit, available at FinancialAidToolkit.ed.gov, consolidates financial aid resources and content into a searchable online database, making it easy for individuals to quickly access the information they need to support their students. Press Release

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Resources
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Legislative Update: Obama Jobs Plan, FY12 Appropriations, Bills Introduced

Friday, September 9th, 2011

President’s Jobs Package Focuses on Education

Last night, before a joint session of Congress, President Obama unveiled his proposal to create jobs and grow the economy. With unemployment hovering around 9%, the Administration hopes that this plan turn around the economy. Broadly, the American Jobs Act proposes to extend existing and implement new tax cuts, and invest in areas such as infrastructure, housing aid, and education. This $400 billion plan will be paid for using savings identified by the newly-appointed Congressional deficit reduction committee.

Related to education, and CTE in particular, there are some promising elements:

$35 billion to prevent public sector job layoffs – This includes educators, police officers and firefighters. Up to 280,000 education jobs are vulnerable to cuts this school year due to state budget troubles. The fund would support state and local efforts to retain teachers, counselors, tutors, and classroom assistants.
$30 billion school modernization fund – This fund would support efforts to modernize at least 35,000 public schools. The money could be used to update labs, renovate facilities and increase internet access. Priority will be given to rural schools and schools in the most need. The funding includes $5 billion dedicated to community colleges.
$5 billion for low-income youth and adults – This funding will focus on expanding employment opportunities for communities that have been hardest hit by the recession. Called the Pathways Back to Work Fund, it will make it easier for workers to remain connected to the workforce and gain new skills for long-term employment. This initiative will include:
o Support for summer and year-round jobs for youth
o Subsidized employment opportunities for low-income individuals who are unemployed
o Support for local efforts to implement promising work-based strategies and to provide training opportunities, including:
 Sector-based training programs
 Acquisition of industry-recognized credentials
 Career academies that provide students with academic preparation and training
 Free evening and weekend basic computer training classes, adult basic education and integrated basic education

FY 12 Appropriations
The House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education markup scheduled for this morning has been cancelled, with no new date announced. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) has said that the House will vote on a continuing resolution during the week of September 19 that it will likely run through November 18. Congress is hoping to finalize the appropriations process by that date and will use an omnibus appropriations bill, rather than separate bills by subcommittee.

In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee approved a funding level for Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee that is $17.9 billion above the $139.2 billion set by the House. While the $157.1 billion allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee is $23.7 billion below the Administration’s FY12 budget request and $300 million below FY1 levels, this is encouraging news. Despite the fiscal climate, it is clear that the Senate understands the importance of education programs.

Bills Introduced

Technical school training subsidy bill
Rep. John Barrow (GA) introduced H.R. 2851, a bill that would amend the Workforce Investment Act to establish a technical school training subsidy program. The bill would provide competitive grants to the states to provide funds to local workforce investment boards for technical school training subsidies in local areas through the One-Stop system. Subsidies received by individuals shall be used to assist them in paying the cost of tuition for career and technical education at a technical school.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Counselor of the Year Creates Opportunity at CTE School

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Last week, the efforts of an ambitious counselor at a career technical education (CTE) high school were recognized nationally. Dr. Randy McPherson, a counselor at Trezevant Career and Technology Center in Memphis, Tennessee, was awarded School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).

McPherson plays an extensive role in expanding opportunities for his CTE students, many of whom qualify as at-risk. Upon entering the field over 15 years ago, he researched the Memphis job market and helped eliminate programs that did not lead to high-demand, high-paying, and highly-skilled jobs.

McPherson started a health science program featuring internships, guest speakers, mobile labs, and field trips to hospitals for students hoping to enter health-related fields. He also spearheaded efforts to create a Cisco Network Academy at the school, offering students the opportunity to increase computer networking skills and to earn college credits online. His numerous contributions helped Trezevant to be recognized as one of the nation’s 10 Model Alternative programs.

McPherson himself provides an exemplary model as a school counselor. By greatly increasing the quality of programs available at Trezevant, he creates vast opportunities for his CTE students to succeed.

By Kara in News
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NASDCTEc Fall Meeting: OVAE Holds Perkins Listening Session

Friday, November 5th, 2010

The concluding session at last week’s Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland was a listening session on Perkins reauthorization, moderated by Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, Brenda Dann-Messier, and Sharon Miller, the director of the Division of Academic and Technical Education. Assistant Secretary Dann-Messier told the attendees that this listening session was going to be the start of a national conversation about Perkins reauthorization. She and her staff plan to host a series of listening sessions that will conclude at NASDCTEc’s Spring meeting in April 2011. She also said OVAE is soliciting feedback and comments from the public about Perkins reauthorization at cteconversations@ed.gov.

The session was structured around four topic areas: Programs of Study, secondary to postsecondary transitions, performance measures, and whether there should be more specific or common measures and definitions, including regulations.

Programs of Study

o   Need to better engage postsecondary, but Perkins does not mandate secondary and postsecondary collaboration

o   Need a clear definition of POS

o   Not all community colleges offer all POS, so it can be limiting for students

o   It is also limiting for students that many four-year colleges do not accept credit from two-year institutions

Secondary to Postsecondary Transitions

o   Two-year schools are struggling to get four-year schools to accept credit

o   Not all states have statewide articulation agreements

o   As more and mores students flood into community colleges, there is less of a priority in serving high school students through articulation agreements and dual enrollment

Performance Measures

o   Academic attainment at secondary level – because students are often tested before 11th grade (when most students begin CTE), it is tough to the impact of CTE on academic attainment

o   Certificate completion at postsecondary level – the results go to the students, and it is hard for states to track this information

o   Technical skill attainment at secondary level – this is tough to measure, and is not always appropriate at the secondary level

o   Placement at the secondary level – tough to track because of FERPA restrictions on collecting data

Common measures/definitions and regulations

By Nancy in Legislation, Meetings and Events
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Legislative Update: Education Jobs Fund, FY11 Appropriations, School Counselors Bill

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Education Jobs Bill Uncertain in the Senate

While the House voted last week to pass the Education Jobs Fund, it remains unclear what will happen in the Senate. Last Friday, a group of 13 Democratic Senators, led by Sen. Evan Bayh (IN), sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (HI) opposing the $800 million education offsets in the House bill, while expressing support for the education jobs fund.

FY11 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Markup

House Appropriation subcommittees have begun hearings to markup FY11 appropriations bills, with six bills already marked up. We have heard that the House Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee will markup their FY11 bill next week, possibly on Friday, July 16th. Now that the House passed the Budget Enforcement Resolution, the full House Appropriations Committee can formally make its 302(b) allocations, which set the amounts that each subcommittee has to work with as they set spending limits for programs they have jurisdiction over.

Put School Counselors Where They’re Needed Act

Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA) recently introduced H.R. 5671 the Put School Counselors Where They’re Needed Act. This bill seeks to create a demonstration project in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that would fund additional secondary school counselors in troubled Title I schools in an effort to reduce the dropout rate. While the bill does not specify CTE, it does allow for counseling services such as individual graduation plans, something NASDCTEc supports in our ESEA recommendations.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Institute Report Out: Adams County Education Consortium Provides Students with Multiple Career-Planning Opportunities

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Institute Report Out: Individual Career and Academic Plans: Multiple Years of Exploration under the Cluster Umbrella
Presented by Sandra Steiner, Executive Director, Adams County Education Consortium

Designing relevance in academic instruction and providing students with age- and experience- appropriate access to employers ensures better post-secondary and workforce readiness. This presentation focused on proven middle and high school programs of the Adams County Education Consortium that enhance career development of all students and engage area employers.

Programs highlighted included:

Adams County Commissioners’ Career Expo

The Adams County Commissioners’ Career Expo is a unique, one-of-a-kind career fair designed to get 8th grade youth thinking about their future education and career goals. This annual event is particularly remarkable since it is designed to accommodate the total county 8th grade population and introduce them to professionals in their selected industry choices. Guidelines for preparing a student Career Expo

Backpacks to Briefcases

Backpacks to Briefcases is a free sit down dinner and training session for Adams County high school graduating seniors. The first annual event took place February 10, 2010 and included 140 seniors and 42 professional table host/sponsors. This event was designed to help students make the transition from the high school classroom to the world work and/or higher education by providing information on how to best handle themselves in business/professional settings. More

Experience 9 to 5

This is a multi industry career exploration program that is offered over several dates in the fall. The multiple night programs will allow students the chance to dig deeper into an industry of choice.  Students will get hands-on opportunities to “try out” the job and learn more about what is required to be successful. More

By Ramona in Career Clusters®
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Institute Report Out: North Carolina Career Clusters Guide

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

The North Carolina Career Clusters Guide was shared by:
Felicia Gray-Watson , Section Chief, CTE Support Services, lead speaker
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina Community College System collaboratively developed a career clusters resource for counselors to implement career clusters. Using the North Carolina Career Clusters Guide, counselors are able to assist students identify career options, educational goals, and make plans for success. This helpful guide includes “Discover Your Career Personality,” an interest inventory designed to provide focus and direction for future planning. (Note: the guide is a very large file, and will need additional time to download)

By Ramona in Career Clusters®
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Institute Report Out: Listening Session with OVAE

Monday, June 21st, 2010

At last week’s Career Clusters Institute representatives from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education held a listening session to hear from stakeholders about the upcoming Perkins reauthorization, scheduled for 2012. The session was centered around three topics: programs of study, Tech Prep and the legislation generally.

Programs of Study

When asked how reauthorized legislation could better connect secondary and postsecondary levels, attendees responded in a variety of ways:

Tech Prep

In his budget the President proposed consolidating Tech Prep and the Basic State Grant, and reaction from the attendees was mixed:

Perkins Legislation

Finally, OVAE asked what the new Perkins should look like and attendees brought up several areas of focus:

By Nancy in Legislation
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Youth Explore Career Information From the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Friday, May 21st, 2010

It’s never too early to introduce school-age kids to choices they may consider in their future careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Web site for kids, Exploring Career Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides introductory career information for students in Grades 4-8.

The kids’ site is designed to give a quick introduction to a career, and most of the material on the site has been adapted from the Bureau’s Occupational Outlook Handbook—a career guidance publication for adults and upper-level high school students that describes the job duties, working conditions, training requirements, earnings levels, and employment prospects of hundreds of occupations. The occupations are organized into 12 categories, many directly tied to career technical education.

By Ramona in Publications
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ACTE Conference: Career Clusters and Counseling

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Last week I attended ACTE’s Annual Convention and Career Tech Expo in Nashville, TN.  While I was there, I presented a session entitled “Using Career Clusters as a Framework for Successful Counseling.”  I was happy to have a turnout of about 25 people, mostly school counselors.

I first addressed some of the challenges facing education today and suggested that career and guidance counseling could offer potential solutions to these problems.  Next I turned to the cluster model and talked about how counselors could use cluster interest inventories to help students identify their career interests and then use the pathways models and plans of study to help students figure out which classes to take to reach their goals.  Finally, I gave examples of work that schools in Colorado, Nebraska and New Jersey are doing to integrate the clusters framework into their career guidance efforts.  During my comments about Delsea Regional High School in New Jersey, I was pleasantly surprised when a woman in the back of the room raised her hand and said that she was from that high school and was working on implementing the very program I was talking about.  She took a few minutes and gave the audience more detailed information on how the school is aligning their curriculum and counseling to clusters.

You can download a copy of my slides here.

By Nancy in Career Clusters®
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