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CTE Research Review

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013The U.S. Census Bureau released its long anticipated Measuring Alternative Educational Credentials: 2012, a study designed to measure the impact that non-academic or “alternative educational credentials” —including professional certifications, educational certificates and licenses— have on job placement, earnings and career advancement. Designed to establish the labor market value of alternative educational credentials, the study offers unique insight into the importance of educational achievement outside of and in conjunction with traditional measures such as high school diplomas, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and advanced degrees.

The survey reveals that about one in four adults holds some form of alternative credential, and that these individuals represent a broad cross-section of the American workforce. Notably, the study revealed that an individual possessing an alternative credential was significantly more likely to be employed during the course of the study than an individual without one, and that among individuals with some college (but without a degree) or less, the possession of an alternative credential carried a significant earnings premium. A similar pattern also exists among those with professional degrees.

The report concludes that “while traditional educational attainment provides one route to a productive career, it is not the only path.” As the education system evolves and the market demands greater flexibility and expertise from job seekers, these data make a strong case for reexamining the definition of educational attainment, the value of professional certifications and the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE).

The Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC) published Making Workforce Data Work on January 23, 2014. Along with a series of policy proposals, the report makes the case for accurate workforce data, revealing critical contributions workforce data can make to decision making among students, educators, policymakers and industry leaders.

WDQC’s proposals for improving current data collection practices are myriad, but are coherently distilled into a clear set of proposals. By adopting five key reforms, WDQC’s report lays out a pathway to significant improvement in workforce data management. In brief, they are:

1.     Including all students and pathways in charting student progress, not only those in K-12.

2.     Counting industry recognized credentials alongside traditional high school and college degrees in measuring academic achievement.

3.     Assessing employment outcomes for all participants, matching student records to wage records for all participants, allowing analysis of the impact education and training programs have on participants’ careers.

4.     Expanding use of labor market information so that stakeholders can assess the value of educational and training programs against the backdrop employer needs.

5.     Ensuring data access and appropriate use to enable stakeholders to identify programs that lead to individual success after completion.

The report continues with a series of policy proposals for federal and state reform, identifying actionable items to make the five goals outlined above a reality. Taken as a guidepost for future workforce data collection and analysis, the report’s proposals could change significantly how education and training decisions are made, and is worthy of consideration.

Earlier this month, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) unveiled Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues for 2014, its prospectus on the year ahead in higher education. In the report, AASCU identifies 10 key issues —including career technical education, STEM initiatives and promoting college readiness— likely to confront education policymakers over the next year.

The report identifies Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce’s projection that  nearly two-thirds of the occupations projected to grow the fastest by 2022 will require some form of postsecondary education as the main impetus for expanding the role of CTE in the year ahead.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

By Evan Williamson in News, Research
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Republican Platform Highlights CTE

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

With the presidential election just around the corner, convention season is upon us. Republicans are meeting in Tampa this week to formally nominate Governor Mitt Romney as the party’s candidate for President. Part of the convention process includes releasing the party’s “platform” or statement of principles. The Republican party’s platform covers a broad swath of issues, including education, jobs and the economy, agriculture, and government reform. The party’s education plank underscores the value of CTE in preparing students for the workplace:

School choice—whether through charter schools, open enrollment requests, college lab schools, virtual schools, career and technical education programs, vouchers, or tax credits—is important for all children, especially for families with children trapped in failing schools…We support the promotion of local career and technical educational programs and entrepreneurial programs that have been supported by leaders in industry and will retrain and retool the American workforce, which is the best in the world.

The platform also states the party’s belief that the status quo is not working for the higher education system, and calls for “new systems of learning” that can compete with traditional four-year institutions, including community and technical colleges, private training schools, and work-based learning in the private sector. The party also believes that the acquisition of advanced skills is necessary for the 21st century economy, and should focus on STEM fields.

Democrats will convene in Charlotte next week to officially nominate President Obama as their candidate, at which time they are expected to release their party’s platform.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Congressional Resolution Recognizes Community Colleges

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Last week, Rep. Leonard Boswell (IA) introduced H Res 474, a resolution recognizing “the valuable contributions of community colleges and encouraging local partnerships with such institutions to train and revitalize the United States workforce, inspire entrepreneurship, educate skilled workers and invest in local communities.” The resolution has been referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manger

By Nancy in Legislation
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