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Posts Tagged ‘Secondary’

Career and Technical Education Leaders Respond to Department of Education Perkins Blueprint

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, at Des Moines Area Community College, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the Administration’s proposal for Perkins reauthorization. NASDCTEc, together with ACTE, issued a statement immediately following the release:

ALEXANDRIA, VA — On April 19, 2012, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan unveiled Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education, outlining the Obama Administration’s proposal for reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) appreciate the Department’s focus on Perkins, and Career and Technical Education (CTE), at a time when many industries face a shortage of well qualified skilled workers. However, some of the details in the Blueprint raise serious concerns.

While we support the themes encompassed in the Perkins Blueprint—alignment, collaboration, accountability and innovation—we worry that the details in the Blueprint could have an adverse affect on CTE programs and result in decreased, inequitable student access to high-quality CTE programs. As the reauthorization process moves forward, CTE stakeholders across the country are looking forward to providing input to develop a new law that will best meet the needs of CTE students and our nation’s economy.

We believe that a new CTE law should provide sufficient resources to ensure that all students have access to high-quality CTE, beginning early in a student’s education with career awareness and broad knowledge and building pathways to more specific career-readiness skills through connections among secondary education, postsecondary education, and the labor market. To achieve this goal, we believe it is critical that the new law focus on improving program quality by building the capacity of secondary and postsecondary educational institutions to prepare all students for success in current and emerging in-demand career pathways.

Recent data prove that CTE is making the difference in the lives of students, in communities and for businesses all across our nation. We are eager to work with the Department of Education, the Obama Administration and Congress to develop federal policy and legislation that builds on strengths, expands opportunities and access for more students to be successful in college and careers, and helps keep our nation’s economy strong and prosperous.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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CTE in the News: Going to Trade School, Should You Do It?

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Programs such as Career Technical Education (CTE) are one of the few bright spots in the education sector during the nation’s slow recovery period, according to a recent Fox Business News article.

“The high school programs are an opportunity for students to try out lots of different career fields and see what they like and what they don’t like,” said Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director. “From the high school perspective, I think it’s really about career exploration, finding your passion and then when you find it, you can begin on your journey for getting the skills you need for starting your career of choice.”

Further, those high school students typically follow a path to postsecondary institutions where they earn certificates and degrees that qualify them for jobs, Green added.

Perhaps, students are identifying the connection between CTE completion, degree or certificate attainment, and job opportunities. CTE and similar programs are experiencing an increase in enrollments at a time graduate schools have seen a decline in student applications, according to the article.

In fact, CTE programs have seen a “sharp increase” in enrollment and many students may be waitlisted, noted Tom Holdsworth, SkillsUSA Associate Executive Director of the Office of Communications & Government Relations.

“There are a lot of careers that just require a certificate or a two-year degree and a lot of those are paying above average wages in areas such as manufacturing, architecture, and construction,” Holdsworth said. “There are opportunities to earn good middle income wage, but you have to have the right set of skills.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that middle-skill jobs will make up approximately 45 percent of all job openings projected through 2014, according to the article. Of the occupations that require postsecondary education, those requiring an associate degree are projected to grow at the fastest rate of about 19 percent, the article said.

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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Legislative Update: WIA, Budget

Friday, March 30th, 2012

House Introduces Workforce Investment Act

The House this week introduced a comprehensive Workforce Investment Act reauthorization proposal, H.R. 4297, The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012. This builds upon three separate bills introduced earlier this session by Reps. Virginia Foxx (NC), Rep. Buck McKeon (CA), and Rep. Joe Heck (NV). Rep. Foxx’s earlier bill, the Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act, allowed states to submit a unified plan encompassing two or more job training and related programs, including both Perkins secondary and postsecondary programs. Under Foxx’s bill, Perkins funds would have been eligible to be consolidated into a Workforce Investment Fund and used for workforce activities. We shared our opposition to this proposal with the members of the Education and the Workforce Committee, and we are happy to report that new language was added to the Workforce Investment Improvement Act that singles out Perkins as the only program that cannot be consolidated in the unified state plan.

House Passes Budget Resolution

Yesterday the House passed the FY13 Budget Resolution introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI) by a vote of 228 to 191. This proposal would cap federal spending at $1.028 trillion, which is $19 billion below levels set by the Budget Control Act and the level that the Senate is plans to use.  Such a large difference between the chambers sets up another potentially long and drawn out appropriations process.

Duncan Testifies Before Congress on Budget
This week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Education and Workforce Committee to discuss the Administration’s FY13 Budget, much like he did last week before the Appropriations Labor-HHS- Education Subcommittee.  There was push back from this committee about the focus in the President’s budget on new competitive grant programs, as opposed to the long-standing formula programs. Secretary Duncan also spoke about the value of community colleges and the need to increase capacity to meet the growing demand of individuals seeking to upgrade their skills.

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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CTE in the News: California Invests in CTE Programs to Train Students for Energy Industry

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

California is investing $3.2 million in a project that integrates academic and Career Technical Education, business partnerships and internships with the intent of grooming students to work in jobs in the clean technology and renewable energy industry, according to The Epoch Times.

The California Department of Education and the California Energy Commission has teamed up to offer Clean Energy and Technology Academies. The program, which is structured similarly to the state’s California Partnership Academies, is a three-year program for students grades 10 -12 in which students gain a balance of academics, real-world-learning and technical skills training so they can succeed in the energy industry specifically, the article said.

To date, 48,000 students are enrolled in the program, which reaches 21 schools across the state.  Academies will be eligible for the new funding in installments, pending their ability to demonstrate that they offer courses and educational experiences that meet set academic and industry-specific requirements intended to ensure the academies are preparing students to truly succeed in the energy industry.

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager 

By Erin in News
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, Global Competitiveness

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Congress Seeks Support for Perkins Funding

As the FY13 appropriations process gets underway, Members of Congress in both the House and Senate are circulating “Dear Colleague” sign-on letters, asking other members to support Perkins Act funding. The House letter is authored by Congressional CTE Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Glenn Thompson (PA) and James Langevin (RI), and the Senate letter is led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT). After signatures have been collected, the letters will be sent to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate.

Please contact your Members of Congress to ask them to sign the letters to support CTE funding. You can reach your Members of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. The deadline for the House letter is Friday, March 16 and the deadline for the Senate letter is March 23.

Senate Global Competitiveness Hearing Focuses on CTE

Yesterday the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing, The Key to America’s Global Competitiveness: A Quality Education, which is part of a series focused on rebuilding the middle-class. In his opening statement, Ranking Member Michael Enzi (WY) said that there is a major deficit of skilled workers in this country which threatens our ability to grow our economy. He went on to say, “The federal government does have a role to play in improving the education of our nation’s children through programs supported under the Head Start Act, the Elementary and Secondary Act, Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act.”

Dr. Richard Murnane from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education pointed out that not all high students want or need to pursue a four-year college degree: “Many want to enroll in two-year vocationally oriented education and training programs…Some want to pursue traditional trades such as plumber and electrician and others want to enter new trades, many related to technology and health. These trades, some old and some new, provide many opportunities to do valuable work and to earn a good living.” He was clear however, that all students should graduate college and career ready, because most jobs require some education or training beyond high school.

Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) asked the witnesses what the best way is to get business and industry to work with high schools to train students for jobs. Dr. Murnane said that career academies are doing this well by connecting schools with employers and helping students learn the technical and cognitive skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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More Information on President’s Career Academy Proposal

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

As we told you a few weeks ago, in his FY13 budget, President Obama proposed a $1 billion investment in career academies. In a fact sheet released by the Department of Education, there are new details to share. According to the Department:

“Through this new initiative, States would award competitive grants to partnerships of school districts and local employers, creating 3,000 new career academies and increasing the number of students served by 50 percent. This means that half a million more students would have access to programs that studies suggest can lead to higher earnings and better academic outcomes.”

As we learn more about this and other proposals in the President’s budget, we will be sure to share that information with you.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: CTE Floor Speech, ESEA

Friday, February 17th, 2012

House Member Highlights CTE in Floor Speech

Rep. Jim Langevin (RI), co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, took to the floor of the House yesterday morning to shine a spotlight on CTE and its effectiveness in his state of Rhode Island. National Grid, the primary utility in his state, and the Community College of Rhode Island have come together to offer a program that allows students to earn a certificate in energy utility technology and gives them the opportunity to become new employees.

Mr. Langevin also called on his fellow members of Congress to support the President’s Community College to Career Fund, which would invest $8 billion over three years to advance partnerships between community colleges and businesses, such as National Grid.

NASDCTEc was pleased this week to have Mr. Langevin author a guest blog on the importance of CTE.

House Holds ESEA Hearing

Yesterday the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on two recently introduced pieces of ESEA reauthorization legislation, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act. Chairman John Kline (MN) stated in his opening remarks that these bills provide flexibility to States and districts around teacher evaluation systems, standards, and assessments. Ranking Member George Miller (CA), however, warned that Congress should not promote flexibility at the expense of accountability and that legislation must lead to better outcomes for students.

Rep. Tom Petri (WI) remarked that there are many unemployed individuals in Wisconsin, but that there are also many employers looking to fill jobs – good paying, middle class jobs – due to the mismatch between preparation students are getting and the changing job market. He warned that we need address this skills gap or “we are going to be in a world of trouble.” Mr. Petri wanted to know whether these two pieces of legislation would advance the collaborative efforts being made by states and businesses, such as through the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, to prepare young people for the modern world of work, or whether they would create barriers to these efforts. Tom Luna, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction, said that while the federal government’s role is be to hold states accountable, there needs to be sufficient flexibility because while the problems like those described by Mr. Petri are the same in many states, the solutions are not the same.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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ED Seeks Student Input on Improving Education

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

On February 1, the Department of Education launched the National Education Startup Challenge, asking students to develop innovative, real world solutions to improve education. Students from across the country are invited to submit a business plan and a video pitch for a for-profit or non-profit startup that includes an innovative strategy, product or service designed to address one of these four topics:

Students in grade 6 through postsecondary, as well as out-of-school youth, are eligible to participate. The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2012.

For more information visit the National Education Startup Challenge Web site.

 Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in News
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Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series: Partnerships Between CTE and CTSOs Have a Meaningful Impact

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

February is National Career Technical Education (CTE) Month. In celebration of that, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education consortium (NASDCTEc) talked with adult and student leaders at the National FFA Organization[1] about the impact of CTE. FFA is one of eleven Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) recognized by the United States Department of Education. Students enrolled in CTE courses can participate in a CTSO as a way to gain more real work experience in a particular field.

We asked both adult and student leaders at the National FFA Organization to tell us about the impact that CTE has had on their lives. All highlighted the important partnership between CTE and CTSOs.

Dr. Dwight Armstrong, Chief Operating Officer of the National FFA Organization, said his life was changed the day he signed up for an agriculture class and joined FFA. “My agriculture teacher served as the advisor for our FFA chapter, and under his caring hand and watchful eye I began to grow in ways I could never have imagined,” Armstrong said.

While Armstrong’s CTE courses gave him the knowledge he needed, his involvement in a CTSO provided opportunities to become part of a team, express himself as a leader, and develop self-confidence. “There is no doubt that I owe the success I’ve enjoyed in my career to the training, opportunities and life skills acquired by being part of a CTSO,” Armstrong said.

Ryan Best, 21, was elected to serve as National FFA President this past October. Best’s experiences mirror those Armstrong described. Best said that being in a CTSO enhanced his experience in CTE, not only by providing real-world career experiences, but also by helping him to develop his soft skills. “I thrived in the agriculture education courses I took in high school, but my experiences in FFA taught me about service and gave me a sense of right and wrong while also helping me develop premier leadership skills, experience personal growth and strive for career success,” Best said.

Rob Cooper, Executive Director of the National FFA Foundation, said businesses tell him that the partnership between CTE coursework and involvement in FFA results in young people who are more prepared for their careers. Cooper said, “During my visits with those who support FFA, one resounding thing I hear is how amazed employers are by their employees who were once FFA members. Through CTE coursework and involvement in FFA, our members are developing the skills that are coveted in today’s workforce.”

Everyone we spoke with at FFA was clear about the important role that CTSOs play. Armstrong said, “Because I realize how important organizations such as FFA can be—and just how much students need them—I’ve devoted the remainder of my career to extending these opportunities to every school system in the nation. Today’s students are our future, and CTE and CTSOs are developing leaders who will build healthy local communities, a strong nation and a sustainable world.”

 

The Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series provides advocates – from business and industry, researchers and organizations – an opportunity to articulate their support for Career Technical Education. The monthly series features a guest blogger who provides their perspective on and experience with CTE as it relates to policy, the economy and education.

The FFA blog entry is one of two that are being featured this month on the Friends of CTE Blog Series. In celebration of February’s National CTE Month, NASDCTEc is also including a blog entry from Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) in which he discusses the Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act and the need to fully fund and support CTE.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Melinda Findley Lloyd, Communications Consultant, at [email protected].

 

[1] The National FFA Organization’s mission is to make a “positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.” Today there are 540,379 FFA members, aged 12‒21, in 7,489 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.ffa.org.

By Melinda in CTE: Learning that works for America
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Budget Level Funds Perkins; Invests in Career Academies and Community Colleges

Monday, February 13th, 2012

President Obama released his FY13 budget today, and there is good news for CTE! The President proposed level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grants, and plans to release a reauthorization proposal that “would restructure CTE to align what students learn in school with the demands of 21st Century jobs.” While the budget does not include specifics about what this proposal will look like, a budget summary released by the Department of Education states that their proposal would increase the rigor and relevance of CTE and strengthen connections between secondary and postsecondary education. In addition to Perkins Act funding, the budget proposes an investment of $1 billion over three years to scale up career academies.

Some other highlights of the budget that may be of interest:

We are continuing to analyze the budget, and will update you on any additional information that could impact CTE.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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